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by Alexia Johnston

Freezing temperatures are proving good for one thing – curling.

Curlers braved icy conditions at Rob’s Pond near Lake Tekapo on Sunday, marking the start of the season for the area.

Among them was Lake Tekapo resident George Empson.

“There was about one foot [30cm)]of ice, which is very good,” he said, on Monday night.
He said talk of snow, which was predicted to fall in the area this week, could spell the end of the ice, or improve it.

“How that’s going to affect us, I don’t know,” he said.

“[It will be OK] so long as we don’t get westerlies after [snow].”

If the westerlies stayed away, the pond could be used for curling for another six weeks to two months, he said, provided some hard frosts followed.

“When we finished about 4.30pm-5pm, oh boy, she was freezing.” – George Empson

About 10 curlers ventured to the pond for its opening day on Sunday, where they put their skills to the test in about 0degC.

“When we finished about 4.30pm-5pm, oh boy, she was freezing.

“By then, it would have been -2degC or -3degC.”

The group’s season has started later than usual.

That late start was due to a westerly, followed by rain and “slushy” snow – a bad combination when trying to get ice to form, Mr Empson said.