SOLE offers outdoor experiences for all students

Kate Marlett 

kmarlett@uccs.edu 

     With beautiful changing weather these past weeks and cooler weather approaching, winter sports and outdoor activities are on some students’ minds. The Student Outdoor Learning Experience offers a wide variety of opportunities for students to learn about outdoor events both on and off campus. 

     From climb nights and Bike Share to skydiving outings and international trips, SOLE has something for everyone. They also offer discounted ski passes, bike and ski workshops and outdoor equipment rentals. 

     Chris Ertman, the manager of SOLE, described the organization’s mission and programs offered to students. “Participants will build friendships, learn outdoor related skills, and have the opportunity to take part in activities they may otherwise not feel comfortable doing on their own,” he wrote via email.  

     The SOLE center is located at the Gallogly Recreation and Wellness Center on campus. The organization is dedicated to outdoor life and encourages students to form community through outdoor activities. 

     “SOLE truly is a complete outdoor center,” Ertman said, “We have a 27 foot climbing wall, a bike and ski shop (during the winter), outdoor equipment rentals such as skis, paddleboards, camping equipment, and mountain bikes.”   

     According to Ertman, the SOLE program has continued to expand since its founding in 1999. “Currently we are investing in our equipment rental program to offer snowboard rentals for the first time this year,” he said. 

     SOLE also has opportunity to create a more environmentally friendly organization. According to Ertman, “SOLE received a GAF grant to offer clothes and equipment repair for students in the new SOLEStainable Gear Repair Station.” 

     “SOLE also is exploring the option of adding additional programming next semester to meet the demands of our student base for trips and classes,” Ertman said. 

     According to Ertman, “Each semester we have backpacking and hiking trips, winter activities such as snowshoeing or skiing, water sports such as paddleboarding, rafting, or cliff jumping, and much more.” 

     In addition to engaging the campus outdoors, SOLE also educates students on outdoor activities. “We also offer a wide variety of on-campus classes, courses, and social events for students to participate in each week,” Ertman said. 

     Some upcoming classes and events are open for students to join. On Nov. 2, the Knots and Hitches class will be held in the Mountain Lion Meeting Room. The Ladies Climb Night will be held on Nov. 4 in the SOLE center. 

     Both of these events are free and students are welcome to join. Trip prices vary from event to event and their costs can be found at the SOLE center website. 

     Some upcoming trips the SOLE center will offer include a Ski and Soak at Monarch Mountain on Dec. 11 and a Ski and Snowboard at Red River, New Mexico on Dec. 18. 

     The SOLE center is open noon to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday and is closed on weekends. All students are welcome to visit and receive a tour of the center. For more information on upcoming events, trips and trip pricing, visit the website here   

The rock climbing wall in the SOLE center. Photo courtesy of Scribe archives.