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Aspen Mountain Guide School: A new mountain skills course will take advantage of Aspen environment


AHS students on the mountain


Come this fall, Aspen School District juniors and seniors will have a unique opportunity to earn certifications for jobs that are tailor-made to professions found in the Aspen Valley. Falling under the Certified Technical Education (CTE) Business umbrella, science teacher Brent Maiolo has created a class where students can earn post-secondary certifications allowing students to enter the job market experienced and prepared.  


The new program is divided into four quarters. 


 Q1: Outdoor Leadership and Ethics- This course will focus on outdoor leadership and ethics where students will earn a Leave No Trace Trainer Certification and is a collaboration with Wild Rose Education. Other topics include understanding public lands, maps and compass, and trip planning.  Students will also adopt a trail and participate in a service learning project.  


Q2: Wilderness First Aid- This course will teach students what they need to learn in order to pass the Wilderness First Aid Certification exam. 


Q3: Ski Instructor Training- This course will focus on students earning their PSIA Level 1 ski instructor certification.  The Aspen Skiing Company will partner with Aspen High School to help students prepare for the PSIA three day exam. In addition AHS will partner with Aspen Expeditions to focus on backcountry ski knowledge and Avalanche One Certification. 


Q4: Rock Climbing- This course will allow students to earn their AMGA Rock Wall certification.  Graduates of this course could utilize these skills to find jobs at summer camps, recreational centers, and leading rock climbing groups. 


The Aspen School District is the only district in the country to offer all four of these courses. Discussions are underway with Colorado Mountain College to potentially offer dual enrollment for college credit. 


“Through Ex Ed I’ve seen kids thrive in the outdoor environment,” says Maiolo. “These courses will offer real world experience focusing on the specific attributes of our valley.”