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CMC named top adventure college

During Colorado Mountain College's recent study abroad course in Chile, students from CMC Steamboat Springs spent 12 days exploring Chilean rivers by kayaks and pack rafts while studying the impacts dams are having on the surrounding culture and environment. Here, the group floats the Nuble River near Pucon, Chile. Elevation Outdoors Magazine recently named CMC Top Adventure College.
Shelby Pierce/courtesy

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Earning the title of Top Adventure College from Elevation Outdoors Magazine for 2018 in a tight competition, Colorado Mountain College’s students, staff and curriculum are tightly woven into the surrounding environment.

“We really are all about the outdoors,” said JC Norling, CMC Steamboat’s associate dean for academics and avalanche education course leader.

And it isn’t just about where they live, work and play.

“Our courses are connected to the environment,” Norling said. “And the environment is unparalleled.”

Michael Martin is director of the ski and snowboard business program, which began in 1982 out of a desire to connect Steamboat’s ski racers to education and employment opportunities in line with their passion. Today, Martin is working to expand the program into the biking realm — and fostering four season opportunities.

With many students coming from cities and eager for adventure, one of the best parts of his job, Martin said, is introducing them to mountain life.

They also get exposure to the many sides of the resort industry. “It’s one thing to say you are passionate about snowboarding,” he said. “It’s another to make a living at it.”

CMC has close partnerships with the Steamboat business community in terms of matching their students to the needs of employers.

“We are pushing to stay at the forefront of what’s going on in the outdoor industry,” Martin said. “So our students become the next generation of the industry elite.”

John Saunders, professor of wilderness studies and sustainability studies, has been running the outdoor education program for nearly 20 years. He started with six classes and now offers 55 through which students can earn credits exploring mountains, deserts, canyons and rivers across seasons.

There are different sides to what can be learned outdoors, Saunders said — both philosophical and practical. There are the skills and certifications, and the chance to “use the outdoors as a platform to think critically, and think about who we are and how we fit in.”

To reach Kari Dequine Harden, call 970-871-4205, email kharden@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @KariHarden.

 


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