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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

Social Distancing Responsibly in the Outdoors

By NOLS on Mar 19, 2020
Photo by Vivian Merill

For many of us, travel and the outdoors provide solace. During these uncertain and challenging times, the outdoors can still provide an escape and add some sense of normality to our lives. As the outdoor industry grapples with the effects of COVID-19, there are ways our community can follow recommended practices to support and keep each other healthy—and still enjoy the nature around us.

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Topics: Environment, Skills, Risk Management, Leave No Trace, Stewardship, Covid-19

4 Spring Break Trips You Haven't Considered

By NOLS on Feb 17, 2020
Photo by Molly Hagbrand

Which of these items is on your spring break wish list?

  1. Snorkel beside a coral reef.
  2. Ski untouched powder.
  3. Climb a towering granite crag.
  4. Wait in a long lift line and at overcrowded ski resort.
  5. Wade through litter and hordes of people at a touristy beach.
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Topics: Skills, education, NOLS Expeditions, spring break

Watch: Yoga for Sea Kayakers

By NOLS on Feb 6, 2020
Photo by Lynn Petzold

Looking for a complement to long days on the water? Yoga is a great opportunity to relax, stretch out tight muscles, and center yourself. In this step-by-step video, NOLS instructor Teresa Miller shares a yoga routine tailored to paddlers’ needs.

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Topics: Sea Kayaking, NOLS sea kayaking, Skills, Baja Sea Kayaking, Kayaking, education, paddling, yoga

How To Build a Winter Snow Shelter

By Erin Rooney Doland on Jan 13, 2020
Photo by Molly Hagbrand

Winter is in full swing in the northern hemisphere and snow camping is in the forecast. People who regularly camp in below-freezing temperatures and piles of snow know it has numerous advantages over warm-weather camping. That’s right, advantages.

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Topics: snow, Skiing, Camping, winter camping, Skills, winter, education, backcountry skiing, quizhee, snow camping

New Year, New Outdoor You

By NOLS on Jan 6, 2020
Photo by Rich Brame

It's a new year and 12 months stand before you with unlimited possibilities for adventure and learning. Alaskan summers have endless days to enjoy, the northern Rocky Mountains are yours to climb, and the refreshing ocean waters of Baja await your sea kayak. And have you been considering earning your Wilderness EMT? This can be the year to make it all happen.

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Topics: goal, Skills, education, trip planning, #optoutside, Leadership

Spring Break 2020: Get Ready for Adventure

By NOLS on Oct 1, 2019
Photo by Molly Hagbrand

Make your spring break an adventure. Forget the crowded ski resorts or touristy beach vacation—it’s time to do something different.

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Topics: Skills, Baja Sea Kayaking, Kayaking, Rock Climbing, education, backcountry skiing, NOLS Expeditions, Announcements, spring break

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

Welcome to NOLS India: Expeditions in the Himalaya

By NOLS on Aug 12, 2019

Written by Annalise Grueter and Manohar D'silva.

Photo by Kirk Rasmussen

line of solemn, snow-capped giants stretches across the three northernmost states in India.

These soaring peaks belong to the world’s highest mountain chain: the Himalaya.

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Topics: Himalayas, Study Abroad Stories, Himalaya, Skills, Backpacking, Mountaineering, NOLS India, cultural expedition, Stories, Locations

My Path to Outdoor Education from a Semester in Alaska

By Katiya Gombar on Jul 15, 2019

Editor's note: Katiya took a semester in Alaska in the summer of 2016 and became a NOLS instructor in May 2019.

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Topics: Semester, moutaineering, Skills, NOLS Alaska, Backpacking, Kayaking, outdoor education, Alaska, Stories, Student Stories

Winter & Spring 2020 Expeditions Now Online

By NOLS on Jun 11, 2019
Photo by Lisa Moen

Summer's here, and we want you to savor every single late-evening walk and early morning paddle.

But don't be fooled—fall and winter will arrive sooner than you think, and you don't want to be the person finishing out summer with nothing to look forward to until next year!

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Topics: Sailing, Events, climbing, Skills, Kayaking, Rock Climbing, backcountry skiing, snowboarding, NOLS Expeditions, Announcements, spring break, affinity

Taking a NOLS River Expedition

By Rob Motley on Jun 5, 2019
Photo by Austin Danicic

“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.

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Topics: Canoeing, whitewater, Skills, Kayaking, River, education, whitewater rafting, NOLS Expeditions

There and Back Again, a Patagonia Tale: The Patagonia Cultural Expedition

By Jen Antocci on May 29, 2019
Photo courtesy of Alex Chang - Cornell Leadership Expedition

I was sitting in my doctor’s office, awkwardly fussing with my johnny gown and glancing down at the NOLS health form in my hands. My doctor comes in and after some formal chitchat I ask her to complete the health clearance for this month long hiking and cultural expedition in Patagonia.

“A month of hiking? Sleeping in tents? In South America? Are you being punished?” she half joked. “No, I’m paying to do this” I joked back. “Well good for you, I don’t even like going out in my backyard.” She signed the form and I left the office, mentally checking off the final item on my expedition to-do list.

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Topics: Patagonia, NOLS Patagonia, Skills, Backpacking, culture, cultural expedition, Stories, Student 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, Becoming an Instructor, inspiring women, whitewater rafting, NOLS Expeditions, Stories, Rafting, Instructor Stories