It may be spring, but we remember winter! The crazy mix of warm, sunny days and heavy rains didn’t stop our intrepid Explorer West students from completing their winter Outdoor Education Program to rave reviews. Having had virtually no snow in 2015, this year we were excited to get up to explore the Cascade Mountains.
We all went up to Snoqualmie Pass for several Fridays. Students learned new skills and participated in winter activities most had never experienced before. The 6th graders made their own snowshoes out of willow branches, bicycle tire tubes and other sustainable materials. (See the video below and watch them build their snowshoes.)
Then they put them to the test. They learned quickly how important on-the-go repairs can be, as attempting to walk on snow sans snowshoes found them waist deep in powdery snow. Not the fun part. They also learned how to navigate through the mountains using compasses. (Watch the video below to see them in action)
The 7th graders tried their hands, or more accurately their feet, at cross country skiing. They gathered at the Nordic Lodge at the Snoqualmie Pass Ski Area and received lessons from the staff. They learned how to effectively move around the snow on historic style skis. The first thing they learned was how to get up when you fall down – a big part of skiing. Luckily the snow was nice and soft. Seemed like they actually enjoyed the falling down part. (Watch below to see some 7th grade fun)
The 8th graders did a mix of activities. They started with snowshoeing to get used to being on snow again and reviewed some of the avalanche and snow science they learned in the past. Then they moved onto cross country skiing. Since they didn’t get to ski last year, due to lack of snow, this was the first time for many of them, learning the same skills as the 7th grade. They enjoyed it so much that they elected to ski again on upcoming Outdoor Education Programs.
Unfortunately, we were not able to play in the snow on the last day of programs due to the closure of Snoqulamie Pass. Instead we made the most of it as it was a warm and sunny day in Seattle. Each grade explored different parks and places along our beautiful Puget Sound. We explored Carkeek Park, Discovery Park, Lincoln Park and even the Ballard Locks .
Students, faculty and volunteers had a blast and learned a lot about the different winter activities available and how to stay safe while doing them. Most importantly, we learned how fortunate we are to live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Rain, snow and shine.