Campus Recreation will add four new intramural sports to complement its outdoor trips and classes during winter session and spring semester.
Montana’s intramural sports program will expand to include grass volleyball, a laser tag tournament, a three-on-three basketball tournament, four-on-four soccer in Washington-Grizzly Stadium and Madden and FIFA video game tournaments.
“We feel that if we offer a diverse amount of activities, we’re going to get more of (students) involved,” said Natalie Hiller, a senior assistant director at Campus Recreation responsible for coordinating intramural sports.
Four-on-four soccer was offered last year in the spring, as well as eight-on-eight soccer, but this year it will be played during February and March under the lights in Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
“Any time you play under the lights, it’s more exciting,” Hiller said.
Soccer isn’t the only sport played under the lights. For four years, flag football has played in Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
“It takes the experience to the next level,” said Andy Mikkola, a member of the Discount Double-Check flag football team. “There is a sense of stakes, and it helps bring out the competitiveness.”
Campus Recreation pays for the stadium and the lights in two different ways.
For access to the stadium, Hiller said it's kind of a trade between Campus Recreation and athletics.
Intramurals can use the stadium for football because UM athletics uses the Campus Recreation fields across from the Recreation Center for tailgates prior to home football games.
Scholarship money from the Montana National Guard paid for use of the stadium lights for a paintball tournament on the Oval during fall semester. Montana National Guard also will sponsor laser tag and paintball in the spring.
Hiller said Campus Recreation receives $3,000 from the Montana National Guard last year, which helped pay for new maroon-and-silver jerseys for intramural basketball.
The rest of the budget for intramurals comes from the Campus Recreation fee that students pay.
A three-on-three basketball tournament will be held on April 26-27 in the Adams Center. The tournament will be open to college students and the community.
Hiller said they will offer grass volleyball in the spring because of the popularity of the sport and because softball numbers were down 20 percent last year.
For the Campus Recreation Outdoor Program, Elizabeth Fricke, senior assistant director of the program, said classes and trips are offered seasonally.
This winter, the program will continue to offer avalanche trips sponsored through Western Montana Avalanche, cross-country ski weekend trips in Glacier National Park, snowshoe classes, climbing technique clinics, mountaineering classes and climbing classes.
“Want me to keep going? We have so many,” Fricke said.
Fricke said the Outdoor Program is trying to get more people familiar with it by staying current on students' interests.
“The avalanche trips always seem to fill up, but the trip we get the best feedback from is the mountaineering and trekking trip down in Peru,” Fricke said.
She said students describe the trip as “mind-blowing” and “life-changing.”
On a climbing trip to Vantage, Wash., on Nov. 8-11, students climbed nonstop everyday, said Lee Martin, one of the trip’s participants.
“Climbing 30-foot-tall pillars of rock was just epic,” Martin said.
The trips are paid for by a lab fee — if the class is for credit — or a course fee, with all the money going back into the program to update gear and to pay for transportation, permits and instructors, Fricke said.
Some of the upcoming outdoor events include an avalanche transceiver clinic Dec. 7, a beginner cross-country ski class Dec. 8, a Level-1 avalanche class on Jan. 22, 23, 25 and 26, and an avalanche-awareness workshop on Jan. 28 and 29.
Registration for indoor soccer, dodgeball, inner-tube water polo and five-on-five basketball is Dec. 8.