By: Nora Fulcher
During 2019, the Halton Outdoor Club is marking its 46th anniversary. Back in 1973, cross country skiing was practiced by very few people in Southern Ontario. It was rare to meet someone else on skinny skis and if you did, you stopped to talk to them. Friendships were formed and when a few local ski trips were organized, the seed of a club for cross country skiers was planted.
By the 1974-75 season, the club had adopted the name Halton Cross Country Ski Club and a logo had been developed so members could identify each other in parking lots and on the trails.
It wasn’t too long before skiers started cycling together in the “off season.” Hiking and paddling activities followed and in the late 90s the club name was changed to Halton Outdoor Club to better reflect the breadth of activities that were offered year-round. This not-for-profit club has always had a reputation for being well run. It grew and prospered because of a focus on outdoor activities and friendship regardless of athletic ability and because of dedicated volunteers.
Lessons have always been a key feature of the club so that even people who have never skied or kayaked before can get involved and more experienced skiers or paddlers can register for clinics to improve their skills. Some original members of the club are still around – proof that continued activity is good for health and wellbeing. “It grew and prospered because of a focus on outdoor activities and friendship.”
In the winter months there are bus trips for cross country skiers and snowshoers that go to resorts in Southern Ontario every Saturday and Sunday with some mid-week trips as well. Even when there’s little snow in the GTA, there can be excellent snow conditions on professionally groomed trails a short bus ride away. During the warmer months, members can participate in hiking, cycling and kayaking activities around Southern Ontario.
With the help of the club manager, experienced members plan extended trips throughout the year to destinations farther afield. These range from a few days to a few weeks and may focus on skiing and snowshoeing, hiking, cycling or kayaking. In 2019 members will ski & snowshoe in Italy and Austria, Huntsville and Thunder Bay, cycle the Camino Portugal Coast and hike in Tuscany and Venice.
For more information on how you can get involved, stay active, and make new friends, visit haltonoutdoorclub.ca. Better yet, come out to the club’s Spring Info Fair 7-9 pm on Friday, April 5th at Mainway Arena in Burlington. Next winter’s activities will be showcased at the club’s Fall Info Fair in November.