UN International Mountain Day

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Image shows four individuals with their arms raised on top of a mountain with the moon behind them.

“You are not in the mountains. The mountains are in you.”  -John Muir

December 11 has been designated by the United Nations as International Mountain Day. Obviously College of the Rockies is always up for celebrating mountains!

Rocky Mountain Inspired

Whenever possible, we take learning out into our amazing surroundings. Two programs that get to enjoy the Rocky Mountain lifestyle the most are our Adventure Tourism Business Operations (ATBO) program run out of our Golden campus and our Mountain Adventure Skills Training (MAST) program at our Fernie campus. Both of these programs celebrate their location by balancing outdoor skills training with the academic skills needed to succeed.

Backcountry Safety

Our MAST program recently undertook an applied research project, in partnership with Canadian Mountain Holidays, in order to identify the best practices for safely extracting skiers/boarders who have fallen in tree wells and to develop safety instruction protocols for Canadian Mountain Holidays staff and guests. Thanks to this great research, skiing and boarding in the backcountry of the mountains can be safer for everyone.

Celebrating Mountains Across the Globe

Though we’re partial to our stunning BC Rockies, we’re not above exploring other mountain ranges, like the eastern Pyrenees in the microstate of Andorra. The College is offering both a semester abroad opportunity and a via ferrata field school in Andorra (located in between France and Spain).

Through a partnership between the University of Andorra and College of the Rockies, Management diploma (2nd year), Marketing diploma (2nd year), or Bachelor of Business Administration students (3rd year) at the College can complete their winter semester in Andorra. Students pay their regular tuition and fees to College of the Rockies and earn College credit – all while gaining an incredible intercultural experience.

Reaching New Heights

Students can also combine their studies with their love of climbing through a via ferrata field school, also held in Andorra. Via ferrata is a protected climbing route found in the Alps and certain other locations (like Andorra, which boasts the greatest concentration of via ferrata routes in the world). Typically, a steel cable runs along the route and is periodically fixed to the rock. As part of this field school, open to ATBO or MAST students, participants will be trained in via ferrata and utilize skills gained in the first year of their College program through a four-day, hut-to-hut, high-altitude trek around Andorra.

A Mountain of Facts (#MountainsMatter)

According to the UN’s official International Mountain Day site:

  • Mountains cover almost a quarter of the earth’s land surface (22 per cent)
  • Mountains provide 60 – 80 per cent of the world’s freshwater
  • 28 per cent of the earth’s forests are hosted by mountains
  • Six of the 20 most important food crops originate in mountains: potatoes, maize, barley, sorghum, apples, tomatoes and barley. So, next time you enjoy a nice frosty beer over a plate of fries – be sure raise your glass to mountains.
  • Mountains also attract 15 – 20 per cent of global tourism.

Happy International Mountain Day!