Uncommon Sports in CO

Cayen Foye, Editor

Here in Colorado we are lucky to be a part of an unique environment that supports a lot of interesting sports, some of which you may be unfamiliar with. Local students here at FMHS are a part of clubs or individual sports like fencing, archery, martial arts, rock climbing and shooting. In the winter, we have sports outside as well, but more than the well-known skiing and snowboarding- things like skijoring, kite skiing, skibobbing, snow surfing and snow kayaking. Basically any sport you can do in the summer, you can do in the snow too. With all these options to choose from, it can be difficult to decide if you want to try one, and if so which one? 

To make it easier, the following includes where you can start your journey in these uncommon sports. Fencing classes are offered, at a cost, at the Bookcliff Middle School through the City of Grand Junction. Archery lessons are taught at Red Rock Archery and at Rocky Mountain Gun Club. Even more locally, here at FMHS we have the Fruita Monument Clay Target League. Run by Katherine Eshelmen, she says that “In terms of beginners, this league is very welcoming to them. There is a Novice, JV, and Varsity division and participants will be placed into them based on their averages. This means beginners will always be competing amongst other beginners, and athletes with a lot of skill and experience will be in a competitive bracket that still allows for them to have fun and a challenge.” Definitely open for more people who are interested.  

Moving forwards, rock climbing is a pretty common hobby for students too, as we are surrounded by mountains. You can do this both indoors at places like Grand Valley Climbing, which offers lessons or day passes to climb as well as harnesses and gear for rent. Or you could take a  tour and take your hiking once step further with a vertical outdoor climb with companies like The Colorado Climbing Company, who offer tours described on their website in the following way:  “Lower Monument Canyon have several climbs to keep beginners engaged and learning climbing basics while some of the well known desert towers like Independence Monument have bigger climbs for anyone looking to get their first taste of the sandstone spires.” 

As for martial arts, between the different subcategories a quick search shows that lessons are available at multiple places for jiu-jitsu, karate, kick-boxing, muay-thai, Kung-Fu, Self- Defense and Tai-Chi. FMHS student Lennea Gregg says, “I think the best place for beginners to start would be kick-boxing, it’s where I started at and lead me into muay-thai, which I really enjoy.” In town there’s many gyms to choose from that  offer starting courses for people who are interested in trying. You don’t have to start out super fit either, training and practice gets you in shape while you learn. Gyms like Grand Valley Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Martial Arts Research Systems of Colorado, The Academy of Self Defense, and countless others offer lessons and practices. 

With winter sports, a quick vocab test might be in order. Terms like ‘skibobbing’ are not common household words.  While some like snow kayaking is pretty self explanatory, skijoring might throw you. Skijoring is when you are pulled on skis, by either dog(s), horses, snowmobiles, or any other matter of what you can hold onto. You can start doing this, with some practice and training if you’re using animals, anywhere with enough snow on the ground. Skibobbing is basically biking on skis, it uses a strange sort-of bike looking device that you can cruise downhill on snow with. Snow surfing is unique from snowboarding, and while similar, uses different techniques and boards. Snowboarders go wherever they want, but snow surfers go wherever they’re taken. 

Lastly, if you are getting sick of downhill and want to add a little spice, we have the opportunity of kite skiing  . Kite skiing is fairly rare, but the parachutes used don’t have to be specialized to skiing. You can use them without anything if you want to go for a ride, like you’ll occasionally see people do at a park, or with water sports as well. Colorado Kite Force offers lessons all over Colorado, noticeably on Lake Dillon, known to be great for beginners as it boasts the perfect conditions for it. 

A lot of people have yet to find what they’re passionate about, and some people don’t think they’re interested in sports. But the truth is, there’s still a lot out there to explore. Just these previously mentioned sports have a lot of diversity between them, and are open for beginners. Besides, at the very worst you will discover what you don’t like. So why not try?