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What Can Spring Learn from Winter? Lessons for the Transition

By Jonny Hepburn on Apr 2, 2020
Photo by Eric Page

Instructor Jonny Hepburn reflects on lessons learned in one season and how they apply to the next.

Evening light catches mountains shrouded in snow as we head south—spring slopes tinged with the hues of sunset. It's a time of seasonal transition. We're headed to the river now, saying goodbye to snowy mountain adventures till next year.

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Topics: whitewater, Skiing, Skills, Kayaking, winter, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), Instructor expedition, Stories, spring, Instructor Stories

3 Mottos I Learned From My AMGA Ski Guide Training

By Jesse Quillian on Sep 18, 2019
Managing loose dry sluffs in "Mozambique." Photo by Mike Poborsky, Course Director.

In Spring 2019, NOLS instructor Jesse Quillian, also the field staffing director, participated in a 10-day AMGA Ski Guide Course based out of Jackson, WY, through the support of NOLS’ Pete Absolon Memorial Endowment and the Field Instructor Development Fund.

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Topics: Skiing, Skills, Becoming an Instructor, winter, backcountry skiing, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), Stories, Instructor Stories

Learning to Say “Thank You:” The path to building community while climbing

By Andy Notopoulos on Sep 3, 2019
Photo by Alex Thomas

“Thank you!!!”

My words echoed into the misty air that hovered between the granite canyon walls where cracks, edges, and ledges wove together a treasure of rock climbs. I was amidst a rescue skills test of Single Pitch Instructor exam with the American Mountain Guides Association, with support from the NOLS Instructor Development Fund.

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Topics: wilderness education, climbing, Skills, Becoming an Instructor, Rock Climbing, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), gratitude, Stories, Instructor Stories

Instructor Expeditions of 2018

By NOLS on Mar 25, 2019

How do you become a better educator? There’s no one best answer, but continuing to be a learner yourself is certainly up there.

In 2018, NOLS instructors took their professional training to the heights of Washington and Alaska, to rivers around the world, and to the hills of Wyoming, on both wilderness expeditions and frontcountry trainings.

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Topics: whitewater, Training, Kayaking, Becoming an Instructor, Mountaineering, Rock Climbing, education, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), Instructor expedition, Stories, Instructor Stories

The Places that Scare You: First Ascents on Patagonia’s Northern Icefield

By Willy Oppenheim on Feb 4, 2019
Approaching Pantragruel (left).The peak at right is Gargantua. Photo by Willy Oppenheim.

Months later, I still find myself wondering what brought me there, and what I brought back.

Always it is like this: from the warmth of home, the mind moves towards cold and distant lands. From known to unknown, from comfort into fear, from one set of questions towards another at once more vast and elemental.

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Topics: Patagonia, Skills, Mountaineering, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), Instructor expedition, Stories, Instructor Stories

NOLS Instructor Expeditions of 2017

By Molly Herber on Jun 6, 2018
Photo by Eric Page.

How do you become a better educator? There’s no one best answer, but continuing to be a learner yourself is certainly up there.

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Topics: Canoeing, Himalaya, Kayaking, Mountaineering, Alaska, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), packrafting, Instructor expedition, Stories, Instructor Stories

Sea Kayaking the Great Bear Rainforest

By Jonathan Brooks on Feb 6, 2018
Jonathan with bonsai island. Photo by Julie Bremner.

“This place is full of life on life on life!”

Julie’s assessment of a toppled sitka spruce couldn't have been more accurate. This giant nurse log spanned the tides, it housed a slug oozing over deer ferns at one end and a crab picking over some barnacles at the other.

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Topics: Sea Kayaking, Skills, Kayaking, British Columbia, Becoming an Instructor, Instructor Development Fund, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), Stories, Instructor Stories

Black Wolf Expedition: First Descent Packrafting in the Canadian North

By Chad Lorenz on Nov 13, 2017

“I am going to say it's not really possible to connect the Broken Skull with other rivers in the area, the mountains are just too impassible…Black Wolf Creek is unknown. Drops at a significant gradient from Grizzly…and passes through some very narrow canyons which would probably be huge whitewater. Not really recommended to go there...It is not possible to connect Broken Skull or Black Wolf (to) Thundercloud Creek without helicopter support.” -Local river guide

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Topics: Canada, Becoming an Instructor, Instructor Development Fund, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), packrafting, Instructor expedition, Stories

Instructor Expedition: A Grand Canyon Trip with Friends

By NOLS Blog on Jan 16, 2017
A classic Grand Canyon view from the Nankoweap Granaries, Mile 53, Photo by Jane Koopman.

Ribeye steaks on day eleven? This was not a NOLS course. This was a descent of the Grand Canyon, made possible by the NOLS instructor development fund—the classic journey, with all the iced sodas you can drink and rapids that might keep an oarswoman awake at night.

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Topics: Skills, Instructor Development Fund, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), whitewater rafting, Stories, Rafting, Instructor Stories

Thriving as Women Boaters on the Main Salmon River

By Liz Hardwick on May 24, 2016

NOLS instructor Liz Hardwick writes about learning new tricks on a familiar river.

Jen pokes me awake as I am drifting off, trying to sleep before the moon gets up above the canyon walls. “Do you think I can run Vinegar in a solo boat?” she asks.

We’re camped on the Main Salmon River, all white sandy beaches, steep dry mountains and fun, fun rapids. This is the night before we get off the river and Vinegar is downstream of us, the last big rapid and one of the most challenging ones on the river.

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Topics: Leadership Skills, NOLS Rocky Mountain, canoe, adventure, Educators Notebook, Becoming an Instructor, education, NOLS Teton Valley, IDF, Instructor Development Fund (IDF)

Educator Expedition: Golden Gate Sea Kayaking

By Mike Dooley on Apr 6, 2016

NOLS instructor Mike Dooley talks about lessons from a sea kayaking leader training course in San Francisco Bay.

Where did you go for your trip and how long was it?

In February 2016 I was a participant on a British Canoe Union (BCU) 5-Star Sea Kayak Leader Training. The three-day course was located at Golden Gate, the entrance to San Francisco Bay.

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Topics: Sea Kayaking, NOLS Alaska, Educators Notebook, Becoming an Instructor, education, IDF, Instructor Development Fund (IDF)

Educator Expedition: Kiwi Boot Camp

By NOLS Blog on Mar 29, 2016

 

A short paddle on the Landsborough River before the rains came: Aaron Reimer, Amy Christeson, Ben Weigl, Dulkara Martig (pictured left to right). Photo courtesy of Amy Christeson.
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Topics: Leadership Skills, NOLS Alaska, NOLS New Zealand, Educators Notebook, Becoming an Instructor, education, IDF, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), packrafting

Educator Expedition: Avalanche Training in the Tetons

By NOLS Blog on Mar 17, 2016

 

Digging an avalanche pit. Photo courtesy of Mandeep Nandal.
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Topics: Leadership Skills, Educators Notebook, Becoming an Instructor, winter, education, backcountry, NOLS Teton Valley, backcountry skiing, IDF, Instructor Development Fund (IDF)

Educating the Educators: Instructor Development with the American Canoe Association

By Justin Kleberg on Nov 23, 2015

Instructor development workshops are a cornerstone of the American Canoe Association. Each fall, Mike Mather of Mather Rescue hosts an annual swiftwater instructor workshop in collaboration with ZOAR Outdoors and the ACA on the Deerfield River in Charlemont, Massachusetts. Having obtained training from several individuals who dramatically impact the swiftwater rescue world, I was eager to study under Mike's tutelage.

Dropping into Tunnel, Gore Canyon on the Colorado River. Photo by Adam Mayo.
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Topics: Leadership Skills, Canoeing, National Outdoor Leadership School, Educators Notebook, Becoming an Instructor, education, Instructor Development Fund (IDF)