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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, 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, instructor, rock-climbing, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), gratitude, stories, instructor-stories

USNA Midshipman Turned NOLS Instructor

By Mike Titzer on May 16, 2019
Photo by Nick Valentine

It was the second week of our course, and our hiking group of US Naval Academy Midshipmen sat on the side of an Alaskan mountain overlooking a giant herd of caribou.

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Topics: leadership, nols instructor, Alaska, military, service academy, US Naval Academy, stories, instructor-stories

5 Things I Learned from Going on a Paddling Expedition with My Spouse

By Ashley Drake on May 13, 2019

Going on an expedition is one thing—going with your spouse can be something else entirely. NOLS Instructor and Custom Education Account Manager Ashley Drake shares how, with intentional planning and plenty of good humor, adventuring with your spouse can be some of your best time spent outdoors.

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Topics: skills, River, nols instructor, instructor, inspiring women, whitewater rafting, NOLS Expeditions, stories, rafting, 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, 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

Meeting the Experts: NOLS Winter Instructor Kate Koons

By Caleb Walker on Dec 18, 2018
Photo by Kate Koons

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."

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Topics: winter camping, winter, NOLS Teton Valley, backcountry skiing, inspiring women, snowboarding, splitboarding, women in leadership, 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, instructor, Instructor Development Fund, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), stories, instructor-stories

Up Mountains and Down Rivers: Packrafting at NOLS

By Tim Kelley on Jan 16, 2018
Paddling with icebergs on the Nizina River.

I found packrafting in the summer of 2015 on a three-week trip in Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness. While I was already an avid whitewater paddler and backcountry hiker, packrafting clarified my love for the backcountry into something more simple. It was not just about the feeling of traveling with a river’s current or across eddy lines. It was not just the feeling of lactic acid in my legs after a steep climb. Packrafting was a synthesis of all I loved about exploration—a celebration of traveling through the backcountry by any means. It begged me to look further and it opened doors to adventures that were otherwise impossible.

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Topics: skills, Alaska, packrafting, stories, rafting, instructor-stories