KITCHENER -- The boost in popularity for cross-country skiing during the COVID-19 Ontario lockdown has been doing wonders for the Waterloo Region Nordic Sports Club.

They say membership has increased by 50 per cent since province-wide restrictions came into place during the winter.

Ken Campbell of the club says it's the perfect sport to stay active while keeping distanced outdoors.

"There's a place in it for everyone," he said. "The very best go to the Olympics, but most people just come and they have fun on the hills."

Celeste Laube has just started cross-country skiing this year and says she's already having fun.

"Because the downhill slopes are closed, I thought I might as well do something outside if I can't do what I normally like to do," she said.

Under current provincial guidelines, leaving the house for exercise is still permitted.

The Waterloo Region Nordic Sports Club is asking those getting out to ski either do so alone or with one household.

However, since one-on-one lessons have been cancelled for the time being, Campbell can only offer advice for those thinking of trying the sport for the first time.

"The biggest tip is everyone falls," he said. "You just get up and you try again. You see it in the Olympics, you see it in beginners, just don't be afraid."

Campbell says the club has gone from 170 people last year to 260 this year, full of people of all abilities and ages.

"I think the best thing about cross-country skiing is the difficulty level isn't very high," said Laube. "Anyone can get into it."

More cold weather and snow on the horizon for the area could also mean an increase of people trying out the hobby.

"It gives you speed, it gives you momentum, it's challenging, and there's always something to learn," said Eva Sanz-Sole. "I always say you can be an 80-year-old man learning how to ski and still have something to take home with you."