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Outdoor Fitness Fusion

Fun Fitness on the Move

According to a study conducted by U.S. News, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the 2nd week in February.  So with January now behind us, it’s time to do a check-in on your resolutions.  For those who promised to spend less time in front of a screen, or to exercise more, or to spend more time in nature, there is a new business in Ellicottville that can help you achieve those goals and more.  So whether you made those kind of resolutions or not, read on because we could all use a little more time in the great outdoors.

Melinda Jones loves being outside.  “My favorite places to work out in the area are Holiday Valley, McCarty State Forest, Little Rock City, Zoar Valley,  Allegany State Park and various parts of the Finger Lakes Trail,” Jones explains enthusiastically.  “The Ellicottville and surrounding areas are saturated with hiking and mountain bike trails that are well kept by various organizations such as WNYMBA (Western New York Mountain Bike Association) and the Finger Lakes Trail clubs.  The views of the slopes, gorges and vistas in the area are breathtaking.  There are so many miles of trails that guests are unaware of.”

It doesn't matter if she’s hiking, biking, snowshoeing, or going for a leisurely jog, Melinda just prefers to be outside in nature.  So it should come as no surprise to find out that Melinda is the energy behind Outdoor Fitness Fusion, an endeavor that allows her to share her zest for physical activity and her love of nature with others who are looking for a little help to get them started on a more active lifestyle.

Every year, Ellicottville turns into more and more of a four-season destination area.  Melinda recognized that, while there are plenty of traditional fitness opportunities in the area, there is still a need for something in the outdoor fitness landscape.   

“I like to get people on the trail but also push them physically,” Jones said.  “Hiking, snowshoeing, mountain biking and other outdoor activities naturally provide a solid cardio and strength training calorie burn while heightening the senses and calming the mind.”

A full-time employee of Holiday Valley, Melinda has found nothing but support from management at Holiday Valley.  “I've already been approached by Dennis Eshbaugh, President of Holiday Valley, to conduct a guided hike for a group of Holiday Valley guests,” said Jones.

And while she is working to slowly build her business, she is not adverse to it eventually being her primary focus.  For now though, she is very happy with it being a part-time business that allows her to share her passion with others.    

As she delves further into her business motivations, Melinda explains that ultimately she really just wanted to share her passion with others.  She spoke with a number of people who explained to her that they weren’t totally comfortable out on the local trails on their own.  Given her knowledge of the area and due to the countless amount of time she had spent navigating the local trails, Melinda saw an opening to help people experience the thrill that she felt when she was outside immersed in nature.

“I enjoy the outdoors and love sharing my passion for outdoor fitness with others.  Many people don't feel comfortable navigating the trails on their own so I offer the opportunity to get them on the trails without fear of getting lost.  I take the work out of hiking by coordinating and leading the hikes. Ellicottville is making progress to be come a four-seasons destination.  Guided hikes and outdoor fitness opportunities fit nicely into that vision.”

While she does offer one-on-one hikes, Melinda prefers classes to be in a group format.  “The outdoor fitness is typically in a group setting with friends, family, various groups or with business colleagues,” explains Jones.  “I do offer one-on-one hikes as well.  The classes I teach are typically a blend of community participants.”

To further the idea of community participation, Melinda went on to say, “I would LOVE to reach out to the Cattaraugus County Department of Child and Family Services to implement guided hikes for children in Foster care or children who need additional support who could benefit from a positive outlet like hiking and other outdoor activities.  I also would like to continue to provide fitness classes in smaller communities such as Cattaraugus where there may be limited access to these types of services.”

Melinda’s fitness classes typically run about one hour and are usually booked for month long sessions where the participants can drop-in at a higher rate or purchase the monthly package at a discounted rate.  The guided hikes can range from one hour to all day excursions.

“My schedule is flexible and I can typically accommodate for client needs,” said Jones.  “Holiday Valley has been more than supportive of my endeavor and will work with me regarding any schedule needs I have to take a group on a hike.”

The next time you find yourself atop a treadmill or elliptical machine, wondering how much longer you have to go before you meet your daily step quota, remember that Outdoor Fitness Fusion is out there and is waiting for you to decide to take your normal fitness routine and give it a new twist.  The great outdoors awaits and Melinda Jones wants to take you there.

For more information or to book your next outdoor fitness adventure, head to or contact Melinda directly at 716-664-1000, email