Camping on a summer day in the Yukon. Photo by Ari Bruns.
Dreading the end of summer? We are too, just a little.Read More
“It’s impossible to be bored running a rapid,” according to Fabio Oliveira.
He would know. Despite spending 289 weeks in the field as NOLS instructor, he’s never gotten tired of leading river expeditions. A long-time instructor from Brazil, Fabio has spent the last five years primarily teaching whitewater courses that are full of rapids, cheering, and giggling.Read More
Rather than my watch alarm bringing me out of sleep, it was roosters and cows. Instead of bundling up to get out of my tent and start boiling water for my cook group, I was waking up in someone else’s home.
This was all pretty different than what I had gotten accustomed to during the previous six weeks of backpacking on my NOLS semester.Read More
Musnicki climbing on Mt. Moran in the Tetons. Photo by Paul Rachele.
Editor's note: Adapted from the Fall 2016 issue of The Leader.
When Jaime Musnicki was first introduced to skiing at age two, it led to a lifelong love of winter sports and an unexpected career path.Read More
Kate Koons takes a photo of her friends on an expedition in Alaska.
Kate Koons has a love affair with winter sports.
It began when she learned to ski as part of an after-school program in northern New Jersey.
"There was one lift and one Poma and many of my first memories revolved around trying to push my sister off the Poma lift, or not fall down while skiing the icy moguls to the bottom."
These days she is referred to as the "winter guru" around NOLS.Read More
NOLS President John Gans announced on November 28 his plans to retire at the end of 2019. He is the fifth president in the school’s 53-year history and longest-serving leader. Gans has been a part of the school for 38 years and at the conclusion of 2019, he will have served as the school's executive director and president for 24 years. He started his NOLS journey as a scholarship student in 1979 on a Semester in Kenya, later serving as director of NOLS Alaska, admissions and marketing director, and operations director before assuming the role of president in October 1995.Read More
Photo courtesy of Kyle Courtaway.
I’m looking down the long dinner table at a rifugio (mountain hut) in the Dolomites with my childhood friends mixed with new NOLS friends. As I sit, I'm reflecting on what it took to get my friends here. We're happy, enjoying our time together in these Italian mountains.
Contrast that with a moment earlier that day: Our hiking group took a break and I spied one of my childhood friends lying prone on his back, giving me two thumbs up. But I was worrying that he was questioning his decision to go on this trip.Read More
Photo by Nikole Wohlmacher.
Picture a leader in your mind.
Maybe you're imagining a lone individual singlehandedly making decisions and wielding authority.
Or, maybe you're thinking of someone completely different—like your friend who avoids the spotlight, but always has their eyes open for places to help.
Which one’s a “real” leader? Of course, the answer’s both—and more.
Photo by Jordan Cranch.
On her Rocky Mountain Outdoor Educator semester, Erin Phillips skied backcountry mountains, canoed whitewater rapids, and hiked more than 100 miles across the Utah desert. Each new landscape brought fresh experiences, including the day she and her coursemates hiked for hours to reach a water source in the desert’s slot canyons and danced in celebration.
The desert awakened another kind of thirst as well, a burning curiosity about the beautiful and harsh environment that surrounded her: “Escalante taught me a very special lesson: to stop. To stop doing and start listening.”Read More
Last summer, the Antler River was a knee-deep stream flowing through a broad meadow deep in the mountains of Alaska. Now, it was a moving lake, flooding the entire meadow.Read More
Crossing a river. Photo by Eric Page.
While taking my instructor course to teach for NOLS, we spent a lot of time talking about decision making. For example, would we cross this river using the snow bridge or a wading technique—the bridge looking like the more comfortable option compared to the guarantee of wet boots, but which might collapse and dump us into the chilly water anyway.Read More
Ahlqvist on an acclimatization climb in the Himalaya. Photo courtesy of Carina Ahlqvist.
“I am driven to do my part for a better world, not just reach the summit and get an adrenaline kick.”Read More