There's a breeze of fresh air going through the University of Calgary. The Varsity Outdoor Club celebrated its birth last weekend with the first two hiking trips in Kananaskis Country.
"One thing I noticed when I came here, there was no outdoor club, no hiking club or anything like that," said third year geophysics major and founder of the VOC Jason Hendrick. Hendrick came to Calgary from the University of British Columbia.
"The focus is climbing, hiking, backpacking and skiing," said Hendrick. "Other things that people have requested were snowshoeing, cross country skiing, caving and indoor climbing."
He said the VOC is open for all outdoor activities and offers both organized trips open to all students and a forum for anybody who wants to set up their own excursion.
Currently the gear needed comes from the Outdoor Centre, but future plans include purchasing club equipment.
"The system that I modeled it after is the one at UBC," said Hendrick. "They have a bunch of equipment and if you want to borrow it, it doesn't cost anything, but you have to volunteer for the club."
The club welcomes both those experienced in outdoor activities and newbies looking to form a good community. Hendrick stressed the VOC are not professionals or guides.
"I think we live so close to the mountains and all students of the university need to get outside, and here it's just an easy way to do this cheap," he said. "We're just sharing the cost of gas, so that's pretty much the only cost we have to worry about."