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Learn how to navigate, Beaver Creek workshop

Daily Staff Report
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily
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BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” Maybe it just feels more comfortable to use a GPS device. Or perhaps, even the acronym GPS, which stand for Global Positioning System, is equally as frightening as following a map at night without a light. Either way, navigation is an important skill for everyone, especially everyone who lives in this valley.

Whether the tool of choice is an old-fashioned compass and map, or a GPS navigation system that speaks, it might be time to consider learning more about navigation. On Wednesday from 9:45 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Vail Symposium will partner with the Beaver Creek Hiking Center and Vail Resorts to present a navigation skills workshop atop Beaver Creek Mountain. This hands-on outdoors program will focus on how to become oriented in the great outdoors using all the available technology.

“It’s a great opportunity to learn the basics of backcountry skills,” said Nate Goldberg, the hiking director at the Beaver Creek Hiking Center.



Hikers can’t always rely on the trail, or the absence of other unpredictable elements like poor weather and visibility.

“Learning how to read a map, use a compass and understand terrain can prepare you for the unexpected, allowing you to pack like a pessimist and hike like an optimist,” Goldberg said.



Beginners and intermediate navigators alike will learn new skills and tips from retired Army Colonel Nick Fickling. During the program, participants will learn and practice introductory navigation skills using a map and compass.

Fickling’s theoretical and practical experience in navigation and mapping includes 26 years of military experience, where he served as the commander of the British Defense Mapping School at Hermitage and as the head of the U.S./U.K. mapping and navigation cell in the allied headquarters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during the Gulf War. He has also won individual and team U.K. Army Orienteering Championships and competed in numerous orienteering and ski-orienteering events across Europe. He currently works at Beaver Creek as a hiking guide.

As part of the Vail Symposium’s “Know Your Valley Series,” this navigation workshop enables participants to learn another way to explore the valley with an expert, Fickling, and with fellow explorers. “It’s always great to have a couple extra tricks in your bag,” Goldberg said.



This program will be led by a specialist from the Beaver Creek Hiking Center and Vail Resorts, which operates under special use permit from the White River National Forest.

To join in the Navigation Skills Workshop, or to learn more information about it, please call the Vail Symposium at 970-476-0954, or visit their website at http://www.vailsymposium.org. The workshop is $30, which includes lunch but does not include the cost of the lift ticket. Lift tickets may be purchased at the Beaver Creek Hiking Center.


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