January 17 2012.

January 17 2012.

Curlers get back to the basics

Invermere's Bonspiel on the Lake has always proven an extremely popular winter event.

Invermere’s Bonspiel on the Lake has always proven an extremely popular winter event. Teams from Washington, Montana, Alberta and across B.C. have had their names on waiting lists for years for an opportunity to take part in the event, which is entering its 29th year.

This year, the bonspiel takes place on the weekend of January 20, and begins that Friday at 4 p.m.

Sixty four teams and 256 curlers will take the ice over the three-day event, which wraps up Sunday.

Also on Saturday is a dinner and dance for the teams involved at the Invermere Community Hall.

“Seeing the same people come back year after year, enjoying the event, there’s a big camaraderie about the whole thing nowadays,” said Vic Briar, manager of the Invermere District Curling Centre and long time participant. “It’s a beautiful locale we have here, and the fact that it is an outdoor event just adds a little bit of value to the curling.”

Curlers out on the ice will have to deal with ever-changing ice conditions, leading to “a whole different strategic aspect to the game,” according to Briar.

Spectators are of course always welcome, and Briar says that the Friday night matches under the lights always prove extremely popular.

“The amount of volunteer work is just massive,” Briar said.

“The amount of support we get from the local community is awesome, I’d just like to thank the community in advance for all the support they’ve shown the bonspiel.”

“I think (it’s so popular) because it’s the desire for people to get out in the fresh air and to get back to the basics,” former bonspiel chairman Jim Galloway said. “And there’s nothing more basic than curling outdoors.”