As the semester winds down and dreams of hitting the slopes overtake the reality of hitting the library, organizations around Fort Collins are providing training to sharpen up your skills in the snow.
Ranging from medical response to avalanche awareness and skiing basics, classes covering nearly every facet of outdoor safety are being offered at a discounted, or free, rate.
The CSU Connection
Being nestled so close to some of the nation’s best mountain adventures, CSU students may overlook the fundamentals of staying warm and smart in the winter.
To help get people outside and prepared, the Outdoor Program offers numerous programs at a reduced cost for students.
For people looking for the skills and confidence in emergency situations miles away from help, the Outdoor Program is providing Wilderness First Responder training Jan. 3-12.
The 80-hour course will “provide you with the tools to make critical medical and evacuation decision in remote locations,” said Eric DeLuca, the Outdoor Program Coordinator at CSU.
The class, which is nearly full, is sponsored by the nationally recognized Wilderness Medicine Institute of National Outdoor Leadership School â€“â€“ a leader in emergency medicine at a cost of $595 for students and CSU Recreation Center members.
The program trains people in basic safety measures and treatment for head injuries, fractures, hypothermia and even search and rescue.
â€œAnyone who spends a substantial amount of time in the backcountry or who has a desire to work in the outdoor industry would benefit from this course,” DeLuca said.
A recertification course will be offered Jan. 13-15 for $245.
In addition to the responder classes, the Outdoor Program offers, â€œextremely discounted ratesâ€ for winter gear essentials, including avalanche probes, ice axes, snowshoes and helmets.
â€œThere is no reason any student should go into avalanche terrain this winter without the proper safety equipment,” DeLuca said.
The Outdoor Program also offers snowshoeing, skiing and climbing classes next spring, and an updated schedule of clinics will be available online in the coming weeks.
Clinics around FoCo
In addition to full-on classes and certification, JAX Outdoor Gear and REI are providing several winter preparedness classes throughout December and into 2012.
Chad Hendricks, the store manager of Jax, stressed the importance of safety, especially after a dangerous summer of rafting emergencies on the Poudre River.
Winter, he said, is extra dangerous with the worry of avalanches and hypothermia.
â€œThatâ€™s the last thing anyone wants to see,â€ Hendricks said.
He said providing classes like the avalanche awareness clinic Dec. 13 is just a key step in getting people safely outdoors.
â€œThe more we are able to educate people, the safer they will be,â€ he said.
Similarly, REI offers classes through December including avalanche awareness, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing basics, and tips on winter-weather biking.
Amy Brannan, the store manager for the Fort Collins REI, explained these classes are intended to bring people into a new hobby in a careful and responsible way.
â€œItâ€™s about safety and getting people involved,â€ Brannan said. â€œIt really is an opportunity for people to get started.â€
She said the planning phase is often forgotten as people gear up for a trip. But taking one of the free classes offered almost weekly, she said, is a step in getting people prepared for anything that could happen in the winter.
â€œItâ€™s a great season,” she said. â€œWe really encourage people to be safe and have a great time.â€
Senior Reporter Jason Pohl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opportunities for outdoor education around the city
*Gear rental rates and information available online
CSU Outdoor Program:
Wilderness First Responder $595
Dec. 8 from 6:30-8 p.m.
Cross-country skiing basics
Dec. 15 from 6:30-8 p.m.
Dec. 13 from 6-7:30 p.m.