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 Post subject: National Outdoor Leadership School splitboard course
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 7:05 am 
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Has anybody checked these out. They are 14 day snow cave based courses in the tetons, includes avy training. Has anyone taken one. What are peoples opinions.


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 Post subject: Re: National Outdoor Leadership School splitboard course
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 10:15 am 
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I did one of these as part of a NOLS semester in 2005. I came into it knowing how to snowboard, and that was about it, no avy knowledge, no snow camping experience never really even having ridden in Deep snow. I had a blast. A couple of caveats though. You won't be riding crazy lines. You probably will not ride every day. Snow camping is hard. It takes a lot of work to make water, to cook, to build your snow shelters. Not everyone in your group will be a strong snowboarder (or even know how to snowboard). You will learn the NOLS way of doing things. That can be a positive or a negative, depending on your level of experience.

Would I do it again? Absolutely.

Would I do it again if I was an experienced back country snowboarder? Probably not.

It really depends on what your experience level is and what your expectations are. I would be happy to answer your questions, if you have any more specific ones.

My NOLS course was an amazing experience, I had an amazing time, and I learned a TON. It was a life changing experience and I would recommend it to any one. But, like I said, I went in as a blank slate. If I had a lot of experience, it may not have been as useful.


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 Post subject: Re: National Outdoor Leadership School splitboard course
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 10:19 am 
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Location: The Belly of Ham baby!!
If you have the funds to spend on a course, its an extremely valuable experience. A few years ago my folks bought me a 2 week alpine ice climbing and leadership course through AAI. It added TONS of detail to my climbing that I otherwise would have spent years learning on my own.

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 Post subject: Re: National Outdoor Leadership School splitboard course
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:26 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 10:10 am
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Location: Denver
Depending on you skills, and your budget, you might check into other options as well....

http://www.newsomesnow.com/html/courses.html

http://www.mcnabsnowboarding.com/details/page/32

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 Post subject: Re: National Outdoor Leadership School splitboard course
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:18 pm 
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Location: Bozeman, MT
If you just want to ride that terrain come to Scrubfest because it's about 30 minutes from where those photos were taken.

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 Post subject: Re: National Outdoor Leadership School splitboard course
PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 2:26 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 8:56 am
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Location: Northern UT
I took the NOLS splitboarding course in January of '07. It was an amazing experience, I gained a lot from my time there and I would do it again. A few things about the course though:

You spend two days at Grand Targhee (one of my favorite resorts) taking snowboarding lessons. At the time of my trip I had been boarding for 11 years with many 50+ days/year, so I felt lessons were not the most well spent time. Several people in our group were very new to snowboarding (from never ridden to 1-3 times/year folks), so lessons were good for them. All in all, I think we spent 10 nights/11 days in the backcountry.

We had very challenging conditions. When a cold front moved in after a huge storm on day 2, we never saw temperatures go above -10F during the day with -30F hitting almost instantly after the sun went behind the mountains and -40F during the nights/mornings. It was cold. Our stoves struggled to work in the mornings, often times we'd stick them in our jackets for 5 minutes to get them operable. Cold temps were expected, but with these temperatures we spent several hours a day cooking/melting water just to stay properly hydrated and our calories up, let alone energized to lap sweet terrain. Which leads me to my next point.

There was ample sweet terrain for riding, but our instructors were very cautious in letting us shred the goods. No burly, steep lines or big jumps were to be hit, too afraid of us getting hurt. That's understandable, liability as well as a serious injury can really screw group dynamics, but I went on the trip with intentions of shredding some serious pow and I signed a waiver. After a slight revolution and heart to heart, they opened up a bit and riding time increased lots.

The avalanche trainings are not certifiable courses. I came into the course with my Level I certification and about 30 days of experience with that training. The avalanche awareness they taught was thorough and the instructors were knowledgeable and it was great to get more experience in, but I don't think any of them are certified avalanche instructors. I don't think everyone has to be certified to be safe and teach others, you just won't come out of the course certified and ready for your level II cert training.

I wish they would offer a splitboarding course like they offer several other courses, ages 23 and up and requiring more experience. It was a youthful bunch and fun in that sense, but I would love to work in those group dynamics again with people who share similar goals and ambitions and are more on the same level. They also have a very strict alcohol/drug policy and gave us all sorts of hell for having a beer with our lunch at Targhee, even though we were all adults; live and learn.

If you do take the course, a few tips: Dry socks are a must and when you are out for that long some planning is required to achieve that. If you experience very cold temperatures, keep one of your Snickers bars (2 allotted/day) and eat it when you crawl into your sleeping bag at night. It will provide your body some good fuel to start a warm fire that will help you warm up the bag and stay comfortable all night. Take time to build a good cave. My 3-man group kicked ass and our cave was comfortable and roomy for the entire trip, where as the other two 3-man/woman groups did not plan well and had super lame, cramped/sinking caves. Leave the world behind when you go; I had brand new, young, hot love waiting for me to get back and there is nothing worse than being in a cramped bag in a pitch black cave for 12+ hours with a heavy mind trip and only one book to read to pass the time. Release all your other cares and be one with the experience and the beauty that surrounds you, living outside in the wintertime has become my most treasured outdoor experience and I will attribute much of that to my NOLS course.


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 Post subject: Re: National Outdoor Leadership School splitboard course
PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 2:58 pm 
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I agree with 100% of what LoganSplit said.

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 Post subject: Re: National Outdoor Leadership School splitboard course
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:09 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 17, 2008 10:51 am
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Location: The SLC
Hey chickenshack--

i work for NOLS and have been teaching these courses for a few years... it seems like all the other replies were pretty right on, regarding their experience. each student will have their own experience, and i think the most important part is to come with an open mind and a willingness to do some work. let me know if I can answer any other questions for you...

--kelly robbins

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 Post subject: Re: National Outdoor Leadership School splitboard course
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:36 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 8:17 pm
Posts: 69
Location: so. or
I took the course with KR as an instructor several years ago. I had a great time and I frequently use the skills I learned.

I would stress that this is a course, not a typical guided trip. A couple people in my course had the wrong expectation and were dissapointed.

I would say the breakdown was something like:
60% : living in the snow (cooking, building snowcave, melting water, travelling between camp locations)
20% : splitboarding/avy awareness
20% : group dynamics, leadership, etc

This is full-on winter camping and it is hard work. You can be comfortable most of the time but it requires constant attention. The instructors know what's up and won't let you die :wink: .

If you are newer to the backcountry and want to expand your skills, you should love it.

Good luck and post some pics. It is amazing country!

one more thing. NOLS doesn't do TP. You wipe with snow. :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: National Outdoor Leadership School splitboard course
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:03 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 4:15 pm
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Location: san diego CA
Where do you live Chickenshcak and how long have you been riding?

Take some certified avalanche courses (Level one , and maybe level 2) Get you a nice split, pack, beacon , shovel ,poles , helment(optional) ice axe crampons and post up for a partner. lost of people here will help you out.
Like SamH said...go to scrubfest or the PNW splitfest or the kali splitfest
Plenty of free help

Not that a guided tour/class isnt nice, but there are other ways


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 Post subject: Re: National Outdoor Leadership School splitboard course
PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 11:09 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:54 pm
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I took one of these last year and it was awesome. I had been rideing in the backcountry for a couple of years, but I learned so much in the time at NOLS that it was totaly worth it. We got an avy 1 cert. which the instructors made happen because enough of us wanted it.
The instructors were super solid, tones of fun and made sure we rode as much as possible.
I actualy had to take an afternoon off and have a knap because we rode so much.
Being in the back country with instructors for 10 days (the actual lenghth of the expedition) was so good for my skills, constantly evaluateing terrain, snow conditions, route, weather, human factor ect...The winter camping skills are invaluble. the amount of tips and tricks learned for staying warm, comfortable, safe have made me so much more comfortable in the backcountry, even if is just a day trip I feel confident beingable to survive if I get stuck out.
Can't say enough, I fully recomend this course.


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 Post subject: Re: National Outdoor Leadership School splitboard course
PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:42 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:41 pm
Posts: 35
I'm really glad to see they are finally offering this course. I took a NOLS course in 2007, and they were only offering a backcountry skiing course. I suggested they open it up to splitboarding as well, and ended up taking a mountaineering course in the Himalaya.

The course was extremely rewarding, however as other people have said, the benefits of taking a course will depend on your experience level. There will definitely be beginners, and you will be learning the basics, but that doesnt mean it wont be a great experience. I got very frustrated during the course because a lot of the people in the group were unprepared and unexperienced, but looking back on it I am very glad I did it and definately recommend it to the right person.


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 Post subject: Re: National Outdoor Leadership School splitboard course
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:28 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:51 am
Posts: 1
I'm glad I found this post. I was looking at taking one of these this year and it's good to here some opinions. Does anyone have any recent experience with them? In the last couple of years?


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