22 countries at World Cup in ancient sport ice stock

Bron: Vereniging Rembrandt
Bron: Vereniging Rembrandt

The painting Winterlandschap met vogelknip by the Dutch painter Pieter Brueghel the Elder shows the sport ice stock. The print is dated around 1565, it is said there are around 127 copies of the print, mainly made by Pieter Brueghel the Younger, the son of the original painter.

On the painting seven people can be seen in the left corner below, playing a game with stones with a stick on top: ice stock. Other names are Eisstockschiessen, Stocksport and Bavarian Curling. It is a wonderful scene about an ancient sport.

This weekend is the Ice Stock World Championship in South Tyrol, in the winter sports resort of Klobenstein (or Collalbo, known by skaters for its ice rink in open air). The sport is mainly practiced by the elderly from the Alpine countries, but 22 countries have settled in the snow and on the ice in the last weekend of February. Countries you don't expect: Namibia, Kenya, India, Colombia, Brazil. Are there ice rinks in Namibia? No. “But the sport is also played on asphalt,” says Barbara Tschager of the organizing committee. “Then it is not ice stock, but stock sport and other stones are used. For some participants, it may well be their first time on ice.”




Ice stock is reminiscent of curling; the stones are moved to a target, the stone closest to the Daube wins. But ice stock is definitely something else. For example, there is no angle in the stick above the stone; you give the stone a swing without a turning technique. There is no sweeping and there is one completely different discipline: the long distance. Simple and powerful: whoever swings the stone the furthest across the ice wins. Extra special in Collalbo, because there is the only track over 400 meters.


Leisure activity


In certain regions of the Alpine countries of Italy, Germany and Austria, ice stock (and stock sport) is played in clubs, but it is also a leisure activity that is part of the culture. “The sport does want to grow, but it is mainly played by many older people,” says Tschager. “Young people are more likely to choose ice hockey.”


The sport has been shown twice as a demonstration sport at the Olympic Games: in 1936 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and in 1964 in Innsbruck. The 2026 Games will be in Cortina d'Ampezzo, less than 90 kilometers from Collalbo, but attempts to be a third time on the agenda as a demonstration sport have failed. New efforts for 2030 are being prepared.


The organization can receive 900 spectators in this year’s event. The tournament can also be followed at the livestream on the event site.