ASHEVILLE – It’s hot, it’s cold, it’s snowy, it’s balmy. This winter has been a wacky one, making it hard to plan outdoor activities.
But Asheville area outdoors outfitters and organizations will help get you through by offering indoor classes on getting prepared, getting practice in outdoors skills and getting you dreaming about spring, and possibly more reliable weather.
“In winter we try to offer classes toward getting people outside and getting in a new routine,” said Bree Miller, store manager of Asheville REI, which holds classes and clinics, many for free, throughout the year.
She said hiking related programs are always a hit, especially with people starting to plan for hikes on the long distance Appalachian Trail, or an entire 2,190-mile thru-hike.
Bike maintenance classes area also popular, with classes for beginners who want to learn how to start taking care of their bike, and then intermediate and advanced riders who want to specialize in brakes or drive train.
REI also offers women-specific classes.
The winter is a great time to prep for fly-fishing season. Many fly-fishing outfitters hold classes on fly-tying, rod building and other topics in the fly-fishing world.
Hunter Banks in Montford holds fly-tying classes from beginning to intermediate and advanced, and provides all equipment necessary. Exact class dates are still being worked out, said Patrick Brady, Hunter Banks guide service coordinator and instructor. They typically are held on an evening the first and third weeks of the month and run between $25-$50.
“The classes usually fill up. It’s first-come, first-served. It’s been growing leaps and bounds. We’ve had children all the way up seniors, and women, who are usually much, much better than men,” Brady said.
“It’s an excellent way to gauge your interest in fly-tying but aren’t sure if you want to make a financial investment in all the tools.”