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Active fun heats up
So many choices for sports enthusiasts this winter

Shawn Giilck
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, November 13, 2014

This winter, there's an embarrassment of riches available to keep people from becoming a couch potato over the next six months.

NNSL photo/graphic

East Three Secondary students Winter Allen, left, and Julienne Chipesia are all set for a badminton tournament May 31. There are numerous sports activities available for people to keep busy in the coming months. - NNSL file photo

As the days grow shorter and darker, recreational activities are heating up here in Inuvik, with a staggering array of options to choose from.

There are so many that it would be slightly ridiculous for anyone to say "there's nothing to do here."

Those options, too, range from free to low cost, and they range far beyond the tried-and-true classics such as hockey, curling and figure skating, not that there's anything wrong with them.

Natasha Kulikowski is one of the prime movers and shakers when it comes to those other, less-known activities.

She's the boss behind the twice-weekly "boot camp" sessions at the East Three School gym, which are free. She's also involved in the organization of the volleyball and indoor soccer leagues, which run twice a week, leaving anyone who knows her to ponder just when she sleeps.

So far this year, activity in the volleyball league seems to dropping off a little. There's been some discussion of cutting it back to one session a week, but that's not set in stone yet, organizers say.

Indoor soccer is still going strong. It's an exciting sport that resembles squash crossed with soccer.

"Boot camp has had the best turnout I've seen in a few years," Kulikowski said.

"I have participants of all fitness levels, from true beginners to seasoned fitness vets.

"We have an average of about 16 participants ranging from ages 13 (accompanied by a parent) to 60.

"I have seen as many as 22 participants in one evening. It's still free thanks to funding from the Beaufort Delta Sahtu Recreation Association and GetActive NWT.

We run Monday and Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the East Three Elementary gym. We also have a Facebook page for information."

Along with Kulikowksi's boot camp, there are also gym boss sessions being held at Aurora College, organized by Jennifer Rafferty, that have proven to be exceptionally popular.

The men's recreational basketball league is also underway for a new season. Participants can either assemble their own team, or participate in a draft, said Dennis Dulay, one of the organizers.

This weekend, East Three will be the site of a regional badminton tournament, which proved to be quite popular last year when it was resurrected after a period of dormancy.

It goes along with twice-weekly sessions at the school gym that are open to the public at large, courtesy of Aurora College.

The adult squash league is still in the formative stages, but it's slated to run Mondays at the Midnight Sun Recreation Centre.

Stacey Christie, a volleyball coach well-known across the NWT, is helping to organize a skills development program for youth with sessions scheduled for Nov. 29 and Dec. 6 for anyone in grades 6 to 11 at East Three Secondary School.

The Inuvik Speed Skating Club and the Inuvik Figure Skating Club are also offering sessions for interested adults, something that hasn't been offered before.

An informal snowshoeing club is also under discussion by a number of local enthusiasts, although its organization is still in its formative stages and not yet ready for a full-scale campaign.

The Inuvik Cross-Country Ski Club has also just finished preparing an updated map with GPS (global positioning system) co-ordinates provided by the Inuvik Ground Search and Rescue Team.

Training sessions for Northern Games are also being held at the Inuvik Youth Centre Thursday nights and at East Three School on Friday nights.

So, as tempting as it might be, there's no good reason to spend more than the occasional night curled up in front of the television this winter.

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