Outdoor Adventure Program Winter Courses and Activities

As fall term draws to a close and the temperature outside drops, students may be looking forward to a long holiday break. However, the fun in the snow doesn’t have to end once classes start up for winter term. The EOU Outdoor Adventure Program (OAP) offers a variety of both for-credit courses and non-credit activities this winter, ranging from weekly outdoor excursions to instructions in wilderness survival skills and first aid training.

Kicking off the list of winter courses, the OAP offers several options for both beginner and advanced level winter athletes. These courses, all under the OUT-180 designation, include Introduction to Skiing, Introduction to Snowboarding, Advanced Skiing, Advanced Snowboarding as well as backcountry skills, a mix of both snowboarding and skiing along with general winter traversal techniques. During an email interview with The Voice, OAP director Michael Hatch noted that introduction to skiing and snowboarding are generally the most popular among students each term.

 The OAP climbing wall course, also OUT-180, will also be available in winter term, offering a single credit class for entry level climbing enthusiasts. The climbing wall is still available to all students regardless of course enrollment and is open Mon-Thur, from 4-9 p.m.

For those looking to hone their outdoor survival and emergency response skills, the OAP has you covered. OUT 220, Avalanche Fundamentals: Processes and Leadership, offers both on campus instruction and some field experience in avalanche survival and navigation. Students will earn two course credits along with a level one certificate from the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE). 

OUT 352, Wilderness First Responder, provides students with introduction to the administration of emergency medicine and care in remote environments through an 80-hour national certification course.

OUT 180, Winter Camping and Backcountry Travel, as the title suggests, offers students experience and training in camping and backcountry travel, including shelter building, equipment management, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. The course culminates with a field excursion near Anthony Lakes.

OUT 180AT, Animal Tracking, gives students the opportunity to study the patterns and behaviors of wild animals and track them. The course is divided between in-class study and in-field work.

For those looking for a more relaxed winter term, the OAP also offers Restorative Yoga, Yoga for Stress Relief and Yoga- Meaning in Movement, and Meditation.

According to Hatch, roughly 160 students are currently registered for OAP winter courses, though that number is estimated to reach as high as 180. Hatch’s personal favorite course is Avalanche Fundamentals (OUT 220), though he is enthusiastic about other OAP course offerings and their variety, stating “What I love about all the OUT course offerings is that we have something for everyone. There are beginning classes for those new to snow sports, there are technical certification courses in avalanche safety and wilderness medicine, students can relax and take a yoga or meditation class, or take interesting skills-focused courses like animal tracking and winter camping.” 

It’s not just courses that students can look forward to; the OAP also will be hosting weekly excursions. As described by Hatch, “The OAP will offer weekly ‘Outdoor Friday’ trips through winter term. These trips usually go out in the afternoon for 3-4 hours and can involve fun wintertime activities like snowshoeing, sledding, cross country skiing, and backcountry skiing and snowboarding.”

In addition, the OAP is collaborating with Wallowa Avalanche Center and Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort to host the 10th annual Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival. According to Hatch, the event is meant to celebrate the various local mountain cultures and help raise money for the local avalanche center. The festival runs February 4-6 and will include both online and in-person fundraising auctions, a backcountry race at Anthony Lakes, avalanche snow safety clinics, and will conclude with a bonfire night up at the ski resort.

“I’m looking forward to getting as many students stoked about the outdoors as possible. It is so rewarding to see students try new sports and learn new skills. I’m always impressed with how well students adapt to the winter environment, and even after a night of camping in the snow, come away smiling and feeling confident in their abilities,” Hatch said. 

More information on OAP winter activities can be found on their courses page and upcoming events page. In addition, the OAP offers a weekly e-newsletter with sign-ups available through their rental shop, open Mon, Tues, Thurs, and Fri from 12-5 p.m. Most OAP provided equipment can be rented free of charge. Further details and updates can be found on OAP social media platforms.




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