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Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
The toboggan run at Pokagon State Park allows riders to imagine what it might be like to ride a bobsled at the Winter Olympics.

Olympics closer to home

Winter sports available here, in Michigan

Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Curling is one Winter Olympic sport that is available in the Summit City. The Fort Wayne Curling Club will have learn-to-curl sessions every evening over the course of the Games.

– On Friday, sports fans around the world will come together to watch the opening ceremonies of the XXII Olympic Winter Games.

The U.S. Olympic Committee has selected the 230 athletes that will travel more than 5,000 miles to Sochi, Russia, to represent the U.S. in the Olympics.

Thanks to some local sporting venues, you won’t have to travel quite that far to have your Bode Miller or Lolo Jones experience.


The Fort Wayne Curling Club may sound like an obscure place to find yourself on a winter evening, but for Craig Fischer, president and co-founder, it is the perfect place to begin your Winter Olympics experience.

“The strategy and the actual playing of the sport is important, obviously, but there’s a second part of the sport and that’s the social aspect,” Fischer said. “It’s based in sportsmanship, you socialize with your opponents after each game. The sport attracts people that are fun to be around.”

Fischer and the FWCC opened a curling-dedicated ice facility last month that will provide a home for recreational and professional curlers in the area.

Over the course of the Winter Olympics, the curling club’s doors will be open every evening for learn-to-curl sessions. These $10 sessions will consist of 30 minutes of instruction followed by 30 minutes of game play.

No equipment or experience is required, and all ages are welcome.

More information can be found at

Figure skating, hockey

If you feel as if you are missing out on the Russian culture of the Sochi Games, Lutheran Health SportsCenter has you covered.

Alena Lunin, the programs manager and skating director, is a former international figure skater from Russia who now enjoys spreading her love for winter sports to Hoosiers.

“In Russia, you pick a sport because you like it, but you are only allowed to advance if you are good enough,” Lunin said. “In the United States, sports are more recreational, so we have children who can try all different kinds of sports, like figure skating and hockey.”

Lutheran Health SportsCenter held a Pre-Olympic Splash event Saturday that featured demonstrations in figure skating, hockey, speedskating and sled hockey Paralympics.

If you missed the Splash, there are still plenty of opportunities to try your hand at the winter sports. The SportsCenter will have daily public skates as well as figure skating-only sessions and pickup hockey games.

The schedule and more information can be found at

Skiing, snowboarding

Think you’re ready to start “shredding” down a fresh powdered mountain?

Dick Goodwin, the Fort Wayne Ski Club’s racing director, is your man. Goodwin has been organizing and training skiers and boarders from Indiana for decades.

“We work with all ages of people and teach them how to race,” Goodwin said. “Whether you want to win an Olympic gold or just join us for a weekend ski trip, we’ll work with you.”

The Fort Wayne Ski Club is one of 16 Indiana clubs that accepts members to compete in regional and national competitions.

Most of the racing and competitions are in Michigan due to the lack of high-quality ski sites in Indiana. The club welcomes single members as well as families to join in on social events and regional ski trips.

For more information, go to


If your Olympic spirit is channeling you toward a need for speed, Pokagon State Park offers the opportunity to feel the cool wind in your face.

The quarter-mile toboggan track allows riders to reach speeds of 35 to 40 mph as sleds rush down the hill.

According to Fred Wooley, interpreter at Pokagon State Park, the track has been around since 1935 and about 90,000 riders of all ages visit the attraction each season.

The track is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through March 2. The park charges a $5 entrance fee for in-state vehicles and rents the toboggans for $12.84 per hour. One toboggan can fit up to four riders.