Alpine Winter Gap
28 + 9 Day Montana Gap Program
Alpine Winter Gap
– 28 + 9 Days –
Below is a sample itinerary for the VISIONS Alpine Winter gap programs. The actual schedule may vary to accommodate community needs, weather and impromptu opportunities.
Welcome to Montana
Welcome to Gallatin Valley, Montana! Settle into your home away from home on Drawdown Ranch, located just ten minutes from downtown Bozeman. Nestled under alpine peaks you will adjust to rhythms of ranch life in the winter, participate in team-building activities, and get to know your fellow participants, leaders, and the “Codes of the West.”
Draft your goals for the experience ahead, discuss leadership roles, expedition behavior, shared responsibility, and winter camping. Relax and enjoy your new home that is a safe place to be yourself in a supportive environment.
Junior Instructor Ski Program
Interested in earning the skills to teach skiing or snowboarding? Students will participate in the Junior Instructor Program, sponsored by the Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI). Learn what is like to work as an instructor, even if you have no prior experience. Completing this nationally-recognized certificate program provides a solid foundation of skills to help you work in the snowsports industry.
Participate in volunteer activities including working with the adaptive ski and snowboard center. Students will also package food for individuals in need and help a local nonprofit that serves Native American reservations throughout Montana.
Food Systems, Agriculture, & Land Use
Delve into important questions and topics such as how we can reduce the pressures on ecosystems and land while still addressing the issues and demands of food security. Students will travel to a ranch in Paradise Valley (the original entrance to Yellowstone National Park) to learn about regenerative agriculture practices, soil regeneration, and agroecosytems. You will also work with our neighbors, Gallatin Valley Botanical Farms, to discover the benefits of conservation agriculture and lend a hand in community food production. One day will also be spent at the Bozeman Community Food Bank, where you will participate in poverty simulations to discuss food security.
Farm to Table
Take all that you have learned about food systems to the table to create local food fusion cuisine with a local chef who was raised on the northern coast of Colombia. Master Hunter mentors; passionate about hunting for their food and utilizing all parts of the animal, will also show techniques of cutting, packaging, and preparing wild game. Travel to Wilsall, Montana to the North Bridger Bison Ranch. An icon of the West, bison roam freely on this ranch, which is rooted in principles of holistic management and regenerative agriculture. Witness the field dressing and evisceration of the bison, done with honor for the animal and the land that supported it. That night optionally enjoy bison meat for dinner, evermore connected to your food and to the land.
Participate in a three-day avalanche course geared towards skiers and snowboarders looking to gain skills for safe backcountry terrain and travel. Students will travel to a variety of backcountry locations in the Gallatin Valley to understand different snowpacks in a comprehensive environmental classroom. The Level 1 Avalanche Course follows national guidelines set by the American Avalanche Association (AAA), and students will receive a certificate upon completion.
Homesteading & Sustainable Living in the Modern World
Get hands-on experience working with local materials to help build a more sustainable ranch. Help out with ongoing construction projects and renovations while learning the fundamentals of energy efficiency and longevity. Construction projects will vary, however, you will have an opportunity to learn techniques in construction and resource-efficient building. Participants will also plan and create composting methods for the ranch, and observe water and sunlight patterns in order to design future homesteading models. Towards the end, you will have a chance to discuss, evaluate, and develop green concepts to drive change towards a sustainable world.
Wildlife Ecology & Microhabitat Selection
Hit the road and travel south into the Gallatin Canyon to Jack Creek, a 4500-acre nature preserve. The preserve is an important wildlife migratory corridor between Yellowstone National Park and the Madison Mountain Range. An experienced biologist will share her knowledge about the many species that occupy this diverse ecosystem and the challenges they face. Travel by skis throughout the preserve to discuss elk migration patterns and survey timber. Explore microhabitats and learn about predator species in the area, such as grizzly bears and wolves. There will be ample time to also enjoy the stay at the cozy mountain lodge under the quiet blanket of Montana’s Big Sky.
Storytelling, Mindfulness & Life Skills
Take in all that you have experienced thus far and begin learning the techniques of storytelling. Guest speakers and lecturers will demonstrate methods of storytelling through film, photography, writing and perhaps even music. You will further embark on a personal journey to develop a practice of mindfulness, resilience, motivation, empathy, compassion and leadership through the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, which was founded by Google executives. The course will help participants develop their full potential in both a professional and personal setting. The program will provide you with practical tools to be applied immediately and in future endeavors. In the midst of uncertainty, complexity, and disruption, SIYLI cultivates mental focus, clarity and resilience.
Optional Program End
Students have the option to leave the program today if they do not have the want or need to get certified with a Wilderness First Responder certification.
Switch gears for a fast-paced and fun 72-hour Wilderness First Responder course that taps into anatomy and physiology lessons as well as the fundamentals of saving someone’s life. The first four days will be spent in the classroom learning the basics of injuries and illnesses in challenging environments. Enjoy a rest day on day five to re-group. For the remaining four days of the course, you will practice hands-on scenarios that occur in remote environments. Upon successful completion, participants receive their Wilderness First Responder and Adult CPR certifications.