Students pursue outdoors

By Kevin Ortiz

While UK sports teams are battling opponents on the weekends, another team of students is taking on the great outdoors.

The Outdoor Pursuits Program looks to spruce up students’ weekends with a variety of outdoor adventure trips.

The weekend trips are beginner-oriented and open to any student or faculty member, said program director Mark Lattin. Trips range from sightseeing at Red River Gorge to skiing in Indiana.  Last week, the program took students whitewater rafting on the Gauley River in West Virginia.

Prices for the trips range from $5 to $120.  Equipment, transportation and food are covered in the fee.  Each trip has a certified guide to lead and assist the group.

“These trips are an opportunity to get exposure to a sport you won’t get so easily after you graduate,” he said.  “With a career there is so little free time, and to go out and find a program to take you on a trip then have to pay their price, it’s going to be difficult.”

The group is currently negotiating a deal to have a ski trip in Utah for Spring Break 2011.  This weekend, the group will go on a three-day backpacking trip to Monongahela, WV.

“Students are going to be hard-pressed to find an opportunity like this for the price,” business administration senior and Outdoor Pursuits worker Nick Miles said.

“There is no other group like this in the city,” mechanical engineering senior and Outdoor Pursuits worker Andrew Denmark said.  “Getting to work in an environment that I like, we’d do it anyway.”

The Outdoor Pursuits Program is a division of campus recreation that aims to provide UK with group outdoor recreation and educational opportunities, according to its website.  Several trips remain this semester.