Robert Peisl is wrapped up warm as he stands on the frozen pond. He pulls his woolly hat a little lower over his ears, takes his curling stone and walks onto the frozen water, where his neighbours and friends are waiting. Wild curling remains a popular way of passing the time in winter for many of the inhabitants of the Lower Bavarian village of Kröning, as it has always been. They create a long, broad run on the ice and follow the simple rules of the game: A wooden log – the Daube – stands at the end of the run. The players split up into teams and attempt to roll their curling stones so that they land as close to the Daube as possible. Or they aim to knock their competitors' stones out of position.
Village life on thick iceFor the players and spectators, it is always about the community spirit. "It is quiet in the village in winter. Curling is a great opportunity to meet for a few hours on a regular basis and to keep village life going a bit", explains Robert Peisl.
Besides the game, young and old chat about what is happening in the village, sample the biscuits that people bring along and enjoy hot tea and mulled wine. Parents with children also enjoy spending their afternoons on the ice, meeting friends and neighbours. Anyone who wants to play can join in.
But patience is required before the curling stones can be slid across the frozen ponds: It must have been cold for long enough to ensure that the ice is thick enough to hold. "Once we have reached that point, we try to play as often as possible. Even during the week, in the evening after work. We create a little floodlight system", explains Robert Peisl, who is an engineer by trade and a woodturner on the side.
Hand-turnedThe hand-turned pieces created by Robert Peisl are in great demand on the ice. Apart from everyday items, his work tends to focus on producing curling stones. "I always have a selection of standard stones ready. There is demand as soon as the temperature falls and it has been cold for a while."
Anyone who wants to try out curling for the first time can borrow curling stones from Robert Peisl's workshop. "Then you can spend an afternoon finding out if you like it."
The most important thing: A knack and practiceIs wild curling difficult? – "You obviously need to practise a bit", says Robert Peisl. "But you also need a feel for the weight in your hand. Then a feel for how fast the ice is. Mastering the basic swing – you've got to learn that. And a bit of Dutch courage helps too..."
On the subject of "Dutch courage" – It is all part of spending time together on the ice for the adult players. "Everything is kept within limits, of course. It is well-known that too much alcohol dilates the blood vessels and makes you cool down faster", smiles the curling enthusiast, before picking up his curling stone and taking aim.