Outdoor Leadership Gap Program
WILD AND SCENIC
The Wild and Scenic Gap Program focuses on outdoor adventure, leadership training, and environmental stewardship while giving participants valuable outdoor industry training in the American West. In addition, students learn valuable leadership and communication skills by working with inspiring leaders in the outdoor industry and conservation movement. Learn more about the Culminating Leadership project here
Length: 90 days + Alumni Support/Programming
Approximately February 2 to May 3.
Application Deadline: December 1st*
*If you are unable to apply by the application deadline, please reach out to an admissions representative for an enrollment plan.
Alzar Gap has secured funding to offer four $3,000 scholarships for four qualified candidates applying to our Patagonia Exchange Fall 2022, Patagonia Exchange Spring 2023, and Wild and Scenic Spring 2023 programs. In order to be considered, candidates must submit their full applications by May 1st, 2022, and respond to 2 prompts about their next steps after Alzar Gap. Apply for Alzar Gap Scholarship here!
During the Alzar Gap experience, students have the option to earn up to 16 college semester credits through our relationship with Portland State University, and Western Colorado University. All of our college credit opportunities are entirely optional and designed to add depth, and value to your Alzar Gap experience. Click here to view the college courses.
Outdoor Adventure and Training
Earn industry-recognized certifications and learn necessary skills to plan your own epic adventures or work in the ski, whitewater or outdoor education industry.
With its rugged mountains, varied landscapes and wild scenic rivers, the American West is the perfect place to find adventure for participants of all abilities. Our team of highly-skilled instructors and local partners will guide you through multi-day skiing, backpacking, rafting, and whitewater kayaking experiences in beautiful locations. Along the way, you will earn valuable certifications and learn necessary skills to plan your own epic adventures or work in the ski, whitewater or outdoor education industry. In addition to technical experience, you will learn how to manage risk, group dynamics, and medical emergencies and develop the skills facilitate transformative experiences in a variety of backcountry and front-country environments.
Students have the opportunity to gain the following industry-recognized certifications:
- PSIA Level 1 Ski Instructor
- SSI Swift Water Rescue Technician
- Wilderness First Responder
- American Red Cross – CPR and AED
- Leave No Trace Trainer
We welcome all skill levels
You are not required to have experience backpacking or rafting/kayaking before you join us. We would love to teach you! We are able to differentiate to a variety of skill levels by choosing appropriate crafts and sections for the group. Each cohort is a mix of students with varying experience levels in the outdoors.
The program will be split between front-country and backcountry environments. While in the front-country, students will have the opportunity to stay in cozy yurts at our Idaho campus, as well as at campsites next to hot springs and pristine rivers. In the backcountry, our students camp along sandy beaches, in beautiful forests and alpine meadows, and at historic ranches for a complete wilderness experience.
A gap program with Alzar Gap is packed with memorable experiences. Here is a basic overview of what your adventure might look like. Feel free to click on each location to find out more.
Please note that although our itineraries are powerful and well-thought-out, they are subject to change.
We begin the semester on our Idaho Campus, surrounded by the snowy peaks of the West Mountain Range. During the day our students head to the slopes of our local resort to ski or snowboard fresh powder and learn about the winter sports industry from ski patrollers, snowsport instructors, and resort managers. Each evening, we return to campus for a hot shower and begin stoking the wood-burning stoves in our yurts. During this component, students have the opportunity to take their PSIA Level 1 Ski/Snowboard Instructor exam, and gain entry to the winter sports industry.
In preparation for our remote adventures, students will take a Wilderness First Responder (WFR), Adult CPR and AED, as well as Epinephrine Auto-injector Administration course. The Wilderness First Responder certification is the recognized industry standard for people who work in remote environments including wilderness guides and trip leaders, camp counselors, research expedition members, and search and rescue team members. The WFR course is also an excellent option for individuals who are seeking intensive medical training in order to be prepared during personal wilderness trips or extended expeditions, as well as those considering studying medicine in their university career.
The group will pack up and head to the warmth of southern Oregon to spend two weeks backpacking through the Owyhee Canyonlands while learning about leading groups in remote environments, Leave No Trace principles and planning land-based expeditions. We switch gears and learn about leading river-based expeditions while rafting and kayaking down the Owyhee River. During this component students will take a Swift Water Rescue Course. This three-day course meets the needs of professional river guides as well as recreational river runners seeking to learn techniques for managing water hazards and emergencies.
We continue our road trip to the whitewater of northern California. Our instructors help students refine their whitewater skills on the California Salmon and Klamath Rivers. Our whitewater adventures will consist of both multi-day and day trips on the water.
We return to the Payette River basin in Western Idaho to kayak on the North, South, Middle and Main forks of the Payette River.
We end with a multi-day trip down the Salmon River, where students can showcase their new skills on the longest free flowing river in North America.