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Anna Ericson (left) and Kara Schmitz (right) practice the art of curling at the Denver Curling Club. Photo by Christopher Chase Edmunds

4 Places to Start Your Olympic Career in Denver

Feeling inspired by Team USA? These local spots offer intro lessons for adults in several Olympic sports.

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Odds are you’ve already watched a few figure skating routines and witnessed some ridiculous halfpipe runs at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. But because this is Denver, we aren’t satisfied just watching athletes compete; we want to try the sports ourselves. Whether you’re obsessing over the rules of curling, hoping to stick a double axel (or maybe just a simple waltz jump), or looking to perfect your slalom technique, here are four places in the metro area where you can practice your skills before the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.

Curling

Where: Denver Curling Club, 14100 W. 7th Ave., Golden
Cost: $40 for a two-hour “Learn to Curl” session
If you’ve recently found yourself live-streaming every Olympics curling match (maybe you’re even yelling at your computer about guard placement) or you’re sure that you could master the game, it’s time to stop talking the talk and start tossing the rock. The Denver Curling Club offers public learn-to-curl sessions, where you’ll get two hours of instruction and gameplay against fellow curling newbies. It’s tradition that the winners buy drinks for the losers, so be ready to stack your brooms and meet up at the club’s bar to start planning for your first bonspiel (that’s a curling tournament).

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Speed Skating

Where: Colorado Gold Speed Skating, 13150 W. 72nd Ave., Arvada

Cost: $10 for a first-timer session and loaner speedskates

If you’ve got the need for speed and a desire to turn left as hard as you can on a knife’s edge, you can jump on the ice and try your hand at short-track speedskating with Colorado Gold. The club offers a discounted rate for first-timers, which includes rental equipment. Be warned, there’s a lot more to it than going fast. Speedskating is a physically and mentally demanding sport, so if you’re up for the challenge of a high-speed chess match on cardio day, sign up on the website and don’t forget to bring a helmet.

Figure Skating

Where: The Ritchie Center at the University of Denver, 2240 Buchtel Blvd. S.

Cost: $128 for an eight-week series, which includes instruction, rentals, parking, and practice time

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If you want to take to the ice with more grace and dramatic flair, the University of Denver’s Ritchie Center offers an all-inclusive Learn to Skate program for adults. Whether you’re a beginner or knocking the rust off, the workshop-style instruction will help you glide into your next public skate with confidence and few skills to impress the judges (er, bystanders).

Ice Hockey

Where: The Ritchie Center

Cost: $150 for eight-week series; $75 for four-week summer mini-series

Speed and agility on the ice aren’t just useful for throwing triple axels. Skating skills are essential for adults looking to make a power play and get into ice hockey. The Ritchie Center offers an adult Learn to Play Hockey program at two class levels based on previous experience. Some essential hockey gear is required, but the instruction in power skating, stick handling, passing, and shooting will make it all worth the initial investment in your Olympic future.

Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding

Where: Snöbahn Indoor Ski + Snowboard, 6955 S. York St., #404, Centennial

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Cost: $30 group intro session, gear included

So maybe ice isn’t your thing, and you would rather carve up the slopes or eventually get some big air in the halfpipe. You can learn proper ski and snowboard technique without all the hassle of lift passes and I-70 traffic with a session at Snöbahn in Centennial. This indoor facility features inclined treadmills that simulate the slopes, so everything can be adjusted based on your skill level. After working on basic technique in this controlled environment, you’ll look like a pro your first time out on the mountain.

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