They say the best way to keep the winter blues at bay is by getting your body moving. Xtra did a little digging, and readers may be surprised at just how many winter activities are available this season to help you stay in shape and to give the cold dreary months a little more cheer.
Ottawa-Gatineau Gay Hockey
Did you know there are weekly gay hockey games in Ottawa year-round? The Ottawa-Gatineau Gay Hockey Association organizes scrimmages Sundays at 8pm at Carleton University ($17 for drop-in players). Once the outdoor rinks are up and running, there will also be regular outdoor games, which are open to players of any calibre. Rumour has it that the local gay hockey team, the OG Capitals, is on the hunt for new players for a big gay hockey tournament in Boston in May. If you’re more the voyeur type, the Capitals also welcome adoring new fans.
For more information, visit ogcapitals.ca.
An entire league of gay curlers that’s been running for a decade? There’s something quintessentially Canadian about that. While the 2011/2012 Rainbow Rockers season is already underway (meaning no new teams can register), existing teams are always looking for spare players to rotate in if their regular members are sick or away. Players of all skill levels are welcome — including newbies. There are also frequent clinics to brush up on sweeping or throwing skills. If you’d like to get in on the action and try out the league as a spare before committing to being a full member, get in touch at rainbowrockers.com/contact.
For more information, visit rainbowrockers.com.
Gay Ottawa Volleyball
Gay Ottawa Volleyball is a group of gays and lesbians who meet twice weekly from September to May. Monday nights are recreational and more about socializing, while Wednesdays are competitive and open only to pre-registered teams. Volleyball clinics are held on some Wednesday nights for people who want to improve their game. If you’re interested in recreational play, just show up to the gym at Vision-Jeunesse Catholic Elementary School (235 McArthur Rd) any Monday night at 8pm. There’s a small drop-in fee of $3.
For more information, visit gayottawavolleyball.com.
Lesbian Outdoor Group
While December and January are comparatively quiet months for the Lesbian Outdoor Group (whose acronym is — yep, you guessed it — LOG), there are winter activities on the go and most are open to non-members. The group organizes fun urban hikes in Ottawa and, once the snow starts coming down, you can count on snowshoeing outings and skating parties on the canal. It sounds strange given the name of the group, but LOG organizes indoor events as well. A weekly badminton group meets every Saturday from 10–11:30am at Jack Purcell Community Centre, and there’s a bimonthly LOG potluck.
For more information, visit lesbianoutdoorgroup.ca.
Rideau Speedeaus is a swimming club that welcomes gays and lesbians, trans folks and allies who want to swim for fitness, fun, competition or community. While swimming expertise isn’t necessary, you should be able to swim unaided in deep water. If that’s not you yet, no worries — from time to time the club offers special learn-to-swim programs. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to challenge your existing skills, you’re sure to find a training partner to inspire you. Swims take place at University of Ottawa’s Montpetit Hall every Wednesday (6–7pm), Friday (6–7:30pm) and Sunday (12–1pm).
For more information, visit rideauspeedeaus.com.
Frontrunners is a queer and trans running club that meets twice a week, year-round, and welcomes runners of any age or skill level. The best part? After each run, the group heads out together for coffee or a meal so they can get to know each other better. Runs range between five and 10 kilometres and there is no fee to join. To link up with the group, meet at City Hall (111 Lisgar St) each Tuesday at 6:30pm and Saturday at 9am. The first Saturday of the month includes a women’s run. Come to train or come for fun.
For more information, visit ottawafrontrunners.org.