How Apex Mountain Faculty is creating academic occasions to construct group within the open air

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In January, Apex Mountain School is launching a series of free events at EageVail to provide additional outdoor education, community and mentoring.
Apex Mountain School/Photo courtesy

During the pandemic and in recent years, participation in outdoor recreation has continued to increase as more people try new outdoor opportunities and stick with them. The Outdoor Industry Association’s State of the Outdoor Market 2022 reported that more than 10 million new entrants have enjoyed outdoor recreation since March 2020.

However, this rush to get outdoors has created a need for more educational opportunities to understand how to safely rebuild. For that reason (and a few others), Apex Mountain School, a mountaineering adventure company based in EagleVail, is launching a series of free events beginning in January.

“As this exit is getting out there and people wanting out more, we are reaching this tipping point where there are a lot of people out there but individual education doesn’t always equate to experience,” said Collin Appleby, administrative coordinator and leader for the school .

Year-round, Apex Mountain School offers leadership services in rock and ice climbing, backcountry skiing and splitboarding, mountaineering, as well as AIARE avalanche training certification courses and team building programs.

Through these programs, Apex aims to “share passion and excellence in mountaineering education with skill development and challenging programs,” Appleby said.

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But as the number of people getting into nature grows, Apex saw an opportunity to expand its offering with free educational events.

“We want to provide opportunities for the community — particularly people who are either becoming professionals themselves or wanting to improve in recreational activities — to broaden their backgrounds, expand their education through these events, and create a well-rounded community of certified and educated individuals,” Appleby said .

Through its new series of events, Apex Mountain School hopes to further open access and expand diversity in the outdoor industry.
Apex Mountain School/Photo courtesy

Apex Mountain School is preparing to begin this series on Friday, January 27th with a Stop the Bleed course and certification in partnership with Vail Health. Other events in the series include film screenings in association with the Vail Brewing Company; Hosted by Eric Alexander, who led the first ever blind ascent of Everest, to talk about his recipe for success in the mountains; Provide mentoring and professional development opportunities for aspiring guides; and to shed light on the importance of mental health and resilience in the backcountry.

“We want to work to increase that access to knowledge, understanding and education simply by providing these events and a space for them,” Appleby said.

While the school currently has events through February, it hopes to extend the series through March and April with more opportunities. The possibilities, Appleby said, are endless.

Aside from more professionals coming and speaking, Appleby spoke of opportunities to host clinics and classes on gear and equipment or the use of mapping software. He also mentioned starting something with the Friends of CAIC and starting groups for mentoring, including women-specific backcountry nights.

“We want to bring these people together in one place and also open that floor or that space to less recognized or marginalized groups in the industry,” he said.

From ice climbing to backcountry skiing and snowboarding, Apex Mountain School events aim to take participants’ knowledge to the next level.
Apex Mountain School/Photo courtesy

While these events are essentially aimed at expanding the educational offerings at Apex Mountain School, the company also seeks to create community and camaraderie.

“The importance of that is quite big. They often don’t go alone and do any of these activities,” Appleby said. “We hope that by offering free events and inviting people to an event, we can do that and not just be a part of the education and learning in the classroom, but also be part of that camaraderie and build that sense of community between individuals.”

Visit Apex Mountain School on Facebook or at ApexMountainSchool.com to learn more and register for events as they are released.