Winnipeg alley owner hits a strike with community ‘snow bowling’ concept

Click to play video 'Snow bowling in Island Lake' Snow bowling in Island Lake
WATCH: Coronation Bowling Lanes owner creates 'snow bowling' as his business sits closed due to the pandemic – Jan 26, 2021

A Winnipeg bowling alley has come up with a unique way to keep its customers rolling despite a pandemic-related shutdown.

Jim Llewellyn, owner of Coronation Bowling Centre on Tache Avenue, said the pandemic has been difficult for his business, with long periods of closure and without the option to provide the type of curbside services that other industries have — so he got creative.

“We have a pretty active lake area here in Island Lakes, and we were walking around the path one day and I thought, ‘This would be a pretty great spot to do some ice bowling.’

“So I cleared off a spot, grabbed some pins that were doing nothing at the bowling alley and set up a community bowling lane, we’ll call it, on the ice.

“I put it out there on Saturday, and it’s been pretty busy. At least they get a curbside bowling option.”

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Llewellyn said the ‘snow bowling’ uses real bowling pins and milk jugs instead of balls, and has proven to be a fun, family-friendly activity for community members who are missing indoor fun.

Llewellyn said within minutes of him setting up the DIY bowling lane, a family walking by stopped for a quick game, adding that its proximity to a toboggan hill means people can take a break from sledding and throw a few jugs.

Read more: Winnipeggers enjoy outdoor activities to beat the holiday blues

The provincially-mandated closure of his alley, he said, has been devastating.

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“Just in the total time we’ve been closed… we were closed in March for 80 days, and then we reopened in the summer, and then Nov. 2 we had to close again,” he said.

“You probably couldn’t pick a worse time for bowling alleys to close — during spring break and Christmas holidays.”

The unexpected popularity of the snow bowling, however, has Llewellyn reaching out to local schools to see if they want to use his equipment for students’ outdoor gym classes as a unique way for him to share his love of the game.

Click to play video 'Pursuing hobbies during a pandemic' Pursuing hobbies during a pandemic
Pursuing hobbies during a pandemic – Jan 26, 2021

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