CHASKA, Minn. (WCCO) — It’s a Sunday afternoon and Jeff Isaacson is in his element.
Not just because he’s teaching, but because this is his classroom: The gleaming new Chaska Curling Center, a $26 million complex complete with its own restaurant, is practically so shiny you could see your reflection. If the water wasn’t, you know, frozen.
“It’s certainly right up there with the best of ’em,” Isaacson said. “Curling clubs are not typically this fancy, this nice, but this was done really well, well thought out.”
Isaacson would know. He’s not just the manager here, he’s a national champion and two-time Olympian. And though the talent here isn’t quite up to Olympic caliber yet, that’s to be expected at a Learn To Curl Class.
And lately, there have been a lot of Learn To Curl Classes.
“We’ve had an incredible amount of interest since the place opened here (in December),” Isaacson said.
When the center opened registration in November, it was hoping to draw between 150 and 200 members this first year. They had nearly 800 in the first month. Some of the leagues had a wait list a dozen teams long two minutes after opening for registration.
What they thought would take seven years, took just weeks.
“In 2022 we had projections that we’d max out around 650, something like that,” Isaacson said with a laugh. “So we’re already maxed out.”
What does he attribute that to?
“I think there’s a lot of demand for curling in the Twin Cities right now. It’s been the most popular spot for the growth of curling,” Isaacson said. “Since curling was on television with the Olympics, a lot more people see the game, and they think, that’s something I could try.”
Isaacson points to other clubs as evidence.
“St. Paul has 1,200 members, and they’re turning people away, actually don’t have the space,” he said. “Blaine just had a curling club open up there three years ago, and they’re doing incredibly well.”
And before Chaska opened, there was really nothing in the west metro to meet that demand. It’s drawing its members from all over the western suburbs.
“It’s a sport that anyone can play,” Isaacson said. “It’s accommodating to all ages and abilities, that’s the nice thing with curling.”