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Update on NOLS at the Olympics

By Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin on Feb 19, 2010

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Topics: NOLS, Olympics, NOLS Yukon, Simeon Hamilton, Casey Puckett, WMI, Inuit Games, Live the Dream, Holly Brooks, Simi Hamilton

What's All This "Leadership Week" Hullabaloo About?

By Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin on Feb 19, 2010

Before I found out the real scoop, "Leadership Week" brought to mind masses of NOLS employees wearing matching t-shirts and holding hands while singing Kumbaya around a campfire and generally extolling the wonderiferousness (yes, that's a word in my dictionary) of NOLS.

Well, I wasn't too far off base when I found out the real scoop. Leadership Week does involve masses of NOLS employees, alums, friends, and family wearing matching t-shirts and generally extolling the wonderiferousness of NOLS. It may or may not involve some hand-holding. And it will involve some singing, more along the lines of "Give me an N! Give me an O! Give me an L! Give me an S! What's that spell?" And it will definitely involve fire, although it will be cooking stove fire and not campfire.

But stay with me here. Leadership Week involves more. It's a call to all the NOLS alums, friends, and family who are hiding in the weeds to come out of the woodwork (yes, I realize I am mixing metaphors) and tell everyone about their NOLS experience. It's also a call to action - tune into the web-site, and pick an item or two (or create your own) to do yourself. You might decide to review a book on Or, if your friends don't know they can make cheesecake or calzones or cinnamon rolls in the wilderness, you might want to invite them to a Whisperlite FryBake to show them the wonders of NOLS cookery. Or, you might want to just have a good time and play outside!

There are also several key events occurring throughout next week all over the country, starting TOMORROW, SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18! If you are in the Tucson area tomorrow, you should drop by NOLS Southwest for the Leadership Week Kick-off Party at 3:30 p.m. Yes, free food and lots of fun to be had. Do it! And if you are enjoying the snow in Sun Valley or Ketchum, put your snowboard aside for a day and join area NOLS grads and friends for cross-country skiing,
mini-seminars, NOLS updates and après ski refreshments at
Galena Lodge. Details for both events are on the web-site.

There are also several events scheduled to occur at NOLS HQ in Lander, including a Leadership Week Olympics that involves a cook-off and an animal call challenge (I am particularly versed in the "Mosquito call"). I will be attending as many as I can and will give you my thoughts on future blogs. Stay tuned!

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Topics: backcountry cooking, NOLS, leadership, Sunn Valley, Olympics, Behind the Scenes, Tucson, Frybake, Southwest, Ketchum, NOLS cookery, cooking in the wilderness

NOLS at the Olympics

By Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin on Feb 12, 2010
Aah . . . the winter Olympics are upon us once again. It’s time for some hard-core athletes
to shred the nar nar. And more
importantly, it’s time for the rest of us to root them on as we lounge languidly
on our La-Z -Boys in front of a fire and a large-screen LCD with a warm mug of liquid
in our paws.

But who should I root for, you ask?

Well, for starters, two 2004 NOLS Wilderness Medicine
graduates are competing with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard team.

is a free-style skier and a five-time Olympian, and Holly Brooks is a
first-time Olympian competing in four cross-country ski events.

Stay tuned for updates on Casey and Holly
- we will be tracking their progress as they shred and slide their way through

But the NOLS-Olympics connection doesn’t stop there. Wyoming native and former NOLS instructor Sarah Konrad is also in Vancouver representing the U.S. team.
Sarah was dubbed “an inspiration” by the Master Skier Cross Country Ski Journal when
she competed as a biathlete in the 2006 Olympic Team at the age of 38.

And here's a unique NOLS-Olympics connection - probably a first. NOLS Yukon Grad and Rations Manager Noel Cockney, a First Nation member from Inuvik, will be showcasing his talents at the Inuit Games. When asked what he was most looking forward to about the Olympics, Noel responded "I cannot wait to show the world Inuit Culture; our games, they way our
ancestors lived, and what kind of people we are."

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Topics: Debbie Armstrong, Olympics, Graham Nishikawa, Casey Puckett, Deb Armstrong, Inuit Games, Yukon, Live the Dream, Holly Brooks, Sarah Konrad, Simi Hamilton