How Apex Mountain School is creating educational events to build community in the outdoors | VailDaily.com
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How Apex Mountain School is creating educational events to build community in the outdoors

The EagleVail company is launching a series of events this month to offer opportunities for learning, mentorship and community building

In January, Apex Mountain School is kicking off a series of free events in EageVail to provide additional outdoor education, community and mentorship.
Apex Mountain School/Courtesy Photo

During the pandemic and the last few years, participation in outdoor recreation has continued to increase with more individuals trying, and sticking with, new outdoor opportunities. The Outdoor Industry Association’s 2022 State of the Outdoor Market reported that more than 10 million new participants have enjoyed outdoor recreation activities since March 2020.

However, this rush to get outdoors has led to a need for more educational opportunities about understanding how to recreate safely. It is for this reason (and some others) that Apex Mountain School, an EagleVail-based mountaineering adventure company, is launching a series of free events starting this January.

“As this egress toward the outdoors goes and people look to get out more, we’re reaching this teetering point where there’s a lot of people out there, but the education of the individuals isn’t always equivalent to experience,” said Collin Appleby, administrative coordinator and guide for the school.



Throughout the year, Apex Mountain School offers guide services for rock and ice climbing, backcountry skiing and splitboarding, mountaineering as well as courses for AIARE avalanche education certification and team-building programs.

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

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But as the number of people entering the outdoors grows, Apex saw an opportunity to broaden what it offers with free continuing education events.

“We want to give the community — specifically, people that are looking to either become professionals themselves or up their game in recreation-based activities — opportunities to build their background, build their education through these events and create a more well-rounded community of certified and educated individuals,” Appleby said.

Through its new series of events, Apex Mountain School hopes to continue opening access and expanding diversity in the outdoor industry.
Apex Mountain School/Courtesy Photo

Apex Mountain School is preparing to kick off this series on Friday, Jan. 27, with a Stop the Bleed course and certification in partnership with Vail Health. Other events in the series include film screenings in partnership with Vail Brewing Company; hosting Eric Alexander, who led the first blind ascent of Everest, to speak on his recipe for success in the mountains; having opportunities for mentorship and professional development for aspiring guides; and bringing light to the importance of mental health and resiliency in the backcountry.



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

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

Beyond getting more professionals to come and speak, Appleby spoke of opportunities to host clinics and courses on gear and equipment or how to use mapping software. He also mentioned setting up something with the Friends of CAIC and creating groups for mentorship including women-specific backcountry nights.

“We want to bring those people together in a space and also open up that floor or that space to less-recognized or marginalized groups in the industry,” he said.

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

While at the core, these events aim to extend the education Apex Mountain School already offers, the company is also setting out to create community and camaraderie.

“The importance of that is pretty big. You often don’t go and do one of these activities by yourself,” Appleby said. “We’re hoping that by offering free events and inviting people to come to an event and not only be a part of the education and learn in the classroom, but be a part of that camaraderie and build that sense of community among individuals.”

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

Schedule of Events

Stop the Bleed course with Vail Health

  • When: Friday, Jan. 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Where: Apex Mountain School classroom (40800 US Highway 6, Unit 7, Avon)
  • What: Earn your American College of Surgeons Stop the Bleed certification with training from Vail Health

Community Film Night

  • When: Wednesday, Feb. 1 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Where: Apex Mountain School classroom (40800 US Highway 6, Unit 7, Avon) and Vail Brewing Company (41290 US Highway 6, Unit B2/B3)
  • What: Join Apex with a viewing of the REI Co-op film, “Spirit of the Peaks,” a film about a Hunkpapa Lakota skier learning to be a better relative to the mountains where he skis. After, there will be a late night Happy Hour at Vail Brewing Company for those that attended the screening.

Speaker: Eric Alexander

  • When: Friday, Feb. 10 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Where: Apex Mountain School classroom (40800 US Highway 6, Unit 7, Avon)
  • What: Hear from Eric Alexander, a professional mountaineer and director of “Adventure Beyond Limits” on the possibility of teamwork, trust and integrity — and the recipe for success — in the mountains. Alexander led the first blind ascent of Everest.

Community Film Night

  • When: Wednesday, Feb. 15 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Where: Apex Mountain School classroom (40800 US Highway 6, Unit 7, Avon) and Vail Brewing Company (41290 US Highway 6, Unit B2/B3)
  • What: Join Apex with a viewing of the Patagonia film, “The Scale of Hope,” which follows a former White House climate advisor as she prepares for a ice climbing expedition in the Alaska Range, discussing topics of climate, climbing and systemic change. After, there will be a late night Happy Hour at Vail Brewing Company for those that attended the screening.

Professional development clinic for aspiring guides

  • When: Friday, Feb. 17 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Where: Apex Mountain School classroom (40800 US Highway 6, Unit 7, Avon)
  • What: A guides clinic for individuals aspiring to get into the outdoor guiding industry, be it for skiing, mountaineering or rock climbing. Join Apex guides and its director as well as AMGA guides to learn about career progression and advice as well as mentorship and counseling opportunities.

Stop the Bleed course with Vail Health

  • When: Thursday, Feb. 23 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Where: Apex Mountain School classroom (40800 US Highway 6, Unit 7, Avon)
  • What: Earn your American College of Surgeons Stop the Bleed certification with training from Vail Health

Mental health and resiliency in the outdoors

  • When: Friday, Feb. 24 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Where: Apex Mountain School classroom (40800 US Highway 6, Unit 7, Avon)
  • What: Join the school for a speaker series on the importance of supporting mental health and resiliency in the backcountry, bringing mental health to light as part of backcountry planning. This will include understanding resources provided through the American Avalanche Association on supports for avalanche victims.

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