Photo by Matthew Taylor
Six pickleball courts are now available for play three days a week at the Winthrop Rink.

By Matthew Taylor

Six new pickleball courts opened at the Winthrop Rink for the Methow Valley Pickleball Club this month.

The club, which meets on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 9 a.m., has been playing in Twisp for the past three years – outdoors at the town park, and indoors at the Methow Valley Community Center – but decided to move to a new venue for more space. The club expanded from two courts to six with the move.

The rink’s concrete surface was cleaned and the courts were painted by club members and volunteers before the June 13 opening of play. Two of the six nets were donated by the club, while the rest of the materials were provided by the rink.

The extended capacity allows for most of the club’s growing membership to play at the same time, limiting waits for an available court.

John Fleming, who founded the club with his wife, cited the more-central location, better playing surface, protection from wind, and natural beauty as additional benefits of the new location.

“The club’s responsibility is just to show up and play,” he said, noting the hospitality of the rink.

“It is a sport people have discovered they really enjoy with any ball sport experience,” said Fleming.

Pickleball involves elements of ping-pong and tennis, and can be enjoyed by people of all ages. A pickleball court is smaller than a tennis court, and the players are required to cover less ground, making it “easy on the joints,” said Fleming.

People of all ages and with all levels of experience are encouraged to show up. The cost is $3, and loaner paddles are available.