With the 2010 Olympics coming up fast in Vancouver, opportunities abound for Ottawans to try some of the sports for themselves.
“Over the last few years, I really noticed that more people are trying to get out and get active,” said Erin Hope, a ski instructor at Camp Fortune. “And with the Olympics coming up, there’s a lot more interest. People want to try the sports that they’re going to be watching.”
Better understanding of a sport can also increase appreciation of the Olympic games, she said. “It gives a greater appreciation of what the athletes are actually accomplishing.”
Hope, 28, founded Ripple Adventure last December to allow adults to try new sports.
Sometimes, it can be difficult for adults to get into a new sport, she said.
“Adults have muscle strength and the coordination, but as they get older, they’re more apprehensive,” she said. “That’s often the biggest barrier.”
A group will learn long blade skating on the Rideau Canal Thursday.
Hope said growing interest in the sport could be attributed to Clara Hughes being announced Canada’s flag bearer. “I think it’s a sport that is exciting and new to many,” she said. “Most people grew up skating as a child, but long blade skating, that’s something new.”
Ottawa’s outdoors and its green space is “phenomenal,” Hope said. “We’re really lucky.”
Local instructors will also teach downhill skiing and snowboarding at Camp Fortune, snowshoeing along the Ottawa River and Mooney’s Bay, dog sledding at Kazabazua in Quebec and cross-country skiing in Gatineau Park and Britannia Park.