Skins Competition

The Skins format differes from regular curling in that a point ‘skin’ is awarded for each end won, with the skin value for each end increasing as the game progresses. A skin is awarded if the team with the hammer scores two or more points or the opposing team steals the end. If neither of these occur the skin is carried over to the next end and the total value at stake grows. This results in a very exciting offensive style of play where every end is like the final end of the game with teams going all out to win. At the completion of eight ends the team with the most skin value wins the game.

Skins Rules as played at the Potomac Curling Club:

  • Games will be eight ends (each end will be referred to as a ‘skin’).
  • A coin flip will determine the hammer and stone color.
  • If your team has the hammer you must have at least two stones counting to take the skin.
  • If your team does not have the hammer you must steal at least one to take the skin.
  • If the team with the hammer only counts one point or the end is blanked, the skin is carried over and added to the value of the next skin.
  • After a skin is taken by a team, the hammer belongs to the other team for the next end (same as usual, if you score, the other team gets the hammer).
  • The hammer will also turn over to the opposing team if the end is ‘blanked’ or the team with the hammer only counts one stone for the end.
  • The four rock Free Guard Zone rule applies as do all other ‘standard’ curling rules.

Scoreboard Usage:

For the purposes of skins, the numbers on the scoreboard will represent ends instead of point values (similar to baseball scoring). The winning side for a skin should place a marker (white side out) above or below the end they won. When a skin is carried, simply place the marker on the left hand side in whichever side has the hammer going into the next end (similar to a blanked end) until the winner of the skin is determined, then place the marker to indicate the winner of that skin (the same as if the skin had been taken in that end).

Skin Values (varies by club):

  • First and second ends: 1 skin
  • Third and fourth ends: 2 skins
  • Fifth and Sixth ends : 3 skins
  • Seventh and eighth ends: 4 skins


As ‘skins’ can often be viewed as a very aggressive type of curling format, it’s important that we all be keenly aware of observing the accepted rules of on-ice etiquette at all times.

Why do they call it a skin?

The term ‘skin’ is borrowed from golf, that other Scottish sport played during the summer. The actual origin is unclear, but’s golf history faq web site offers the most reasonable explanaton of the term.