Q&A with World Curling Federation Ice Technicians

Mark Callan pebbling ice © WCF / Céline Stucki

The World Curling Federation Ice-Tech Course kicked off our series of summer camps and courses this week in Fuessen, Germany. We chatted with two of the best ice makers in the world – Mark Callan and Stefan Roethlisberger – who made the ice for the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games and Paralympic Winter Games respectfully.

This week they are sharing their top tips for making world class ice at the Basic Ice-Tech course.

Introduce yourselves and share some of the events you’ve made ice for?

MC: My name is Mark Callan and I am an Ice Technician for the World Curling Federation. I have been extremely privileged to have worked at two Olympic Winter Games in Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 and a Paralympic Games in PyeongChang 2018. As well, I’ve done over 100 other events including World Championships, European Championships, Pacific-Asia Championships, Junior Championships and Wheelchair Championships.

SR: My name is Stefan Roethlisberger. I have been an Ice Technician for the World Curling Federation since 1997 where I had the chance to do the first World Championships in my hometown in Bern, Switzerland. After this I had the chance to do numerous European Championships, World Championships for the Juniors, Women and Men, and I had the privilege to be working for the Paralympic Games in PyeongChang in 2018.

How many people are on the ice-tech team at a curling event? What are the roles?

MC and SR: Normally, there is a Chief Ice Technician and a Deputy Chief Ice Technician and hopefully a volunteer crew of up to 12 people. This way, it’s possible to work in shifts for the install and also during the championship.

What do you like about making world-class curling ice?

MC: I love that you have to be involved with many new people, get to see some amazing places, as well as a great deal of satisfaction in providing the world’s top athletes with top quality ice conditions.

SR: I like to work as an Ice Technician because I love the sport, getting involved with the different levels of the sport and learning everyday more about the ice in all the different places where I’ve had the chance to work [pictured below © WCF / Céline Stucki].

Why is being at courses like Fuessen important for you?

MC and SR: The Fuessen course is fantastic as it gives us a chance to give some of the knowledge, that we have gained over the years back to the students and it is great to see the enthusiasm from the students who are keen to learn.

Where do the students at the Ice-tech course come from in the world?

MC and SR: This year’s students came from ten countries: Andorra, Chinese Taipei, England, Finland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Korea, Lithuania, Scotland, and Slovakia.

What does a day at Fuessen look like?

MC and SR: A typical day in Fuessen starts with all meeting in the classroom at 9 a.m. The schedule then involves some theoretical work contained in PowerPoint presentations to give all the information for the practical tasks that the students will be involved in.

The course lasts five days and covers all aspects of the ice from installation to having the ice prepared for a game. A typical day starts at 9 a.m. and finishes at 6 p.m. Certificates are awarded to all the students who complete the course.

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Fuessen, Germany

3 July 2019