Freshmen, a number of faculty, and administrators at Wyoming Catholic College spent last week in the Teton mountain range as part of learning how to stay warm in the winter months, understanding the snowpack, avalanche risk and preparedness, constructing quigloos and quinzhees for shelter, as well as perfecting their skiing skills.
The Outdoor Leadership Program at WCC is an integral part of the liberal arts education at Wyoming Catholic College. It was, according to the College, created to not only serve the vision of educating students in body, mind and spirit but also to help students develop strong leadership skills they will use in their communities, their professions, their country and their Church. WCC says that the OLP provides students with “direct experiences in the first great book of God’s creation.”
The recent outing was the second of freshmen’s two mandatory Outdoor Expeditions. The course, which takes place prior to the start of the Spring Semester each year, immerses students in the winter environment, specifically preparing them to plan and lead winter outdoor adventures over the next three academic years, and to participate in winter field science labs during their sophomore year.
According to a press release from the college, the first morning in the outdoors was a particularly memorable one.
The night before, visibility had been poor. But when the sun arose the next morning, it offered the students their first clear view of the spectacular Teton range (which many were seeing in person for the first time). One student who had expressed particular nervousness prior to embarking on the trip mastered the “art” of staying warm after the first few days ,and enthusiastically exclaimed that “We should spend an entire semester out here!” Jonathan Tonkowich, WCC’s Dean of Students and an instructor on the course, agreed. “I thought the freshmen responded really well to the adversities of camping in winter weather like this,” he said.
The week concluded with a refreshing 8-inches of fresh powder at White Pine Ski Area near Pinedale, after which it was time to return to Lander and prepare for the Spring Semester.
Photos of the expedition are available for download at the college’s Press Room.
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