The student news site of Aspen High School


The student news site of Aspen High School


The student news site of Aspen High School


Experiential Outdoors: Aspen Mountain Guide School

Courtesy of Brent Mailolo
Aspen Mountain Guide school battling extensive injuries.

An exceptionally unique course has been offered at Aspen High School known as ‘Aspen Mountain Guide School’. This course presents both aspects of active involvement and leadership development through experiential learning undertakings. Led by science teacher Brent Maiolo, this course is open to juniors and seniors but juniors may have a harder time making it in due to the rising popularity of the class and seniors being first in line.

“Guide school started by an interest in just kind of extending a lot of the philosophical components of Ex-Ed(Experiential Education) to an actual class. So I wanted to create a class where kids could build a resume to help them find jobs either within the valley or beyond Aspen,” Maiolo said.

This increasing popularity is a result of various reasons including the exclusivity of the certifications and the future pathways these open up for real-life jobs and opportunities throughout the valley and beyond. The class itself offers a wide range of job opportunities as well as a general wider range of learning regarding the outdoors and knowledge surrounding backcountry safety precautions.

Maiolo explained that the certifications within the program include, “Leave No Trace, Wilderness First Aid, Professional Ski Instructors of America PSIA level 1, an AIARE avalanche 1 certification, and an AMGA climbing certification.”

Each certification is accompanied by an aspect of individuality in that the different course opportunities attract a variety of students based on personal background and future pursuits. For example, the Wilderness First Aid certification is one that locals within the valley may put more emphasis on given our surrounding environment. It provides basic medical training in wilderness settings which includes CPR and anaphylaxis certifications. Students are able to earn their PSIA level 1 ski instructing certification which could land them a local job with Aspen Ski co.

Though all of the courses primarily revolve around the outdoors, a certification like AMGA rock climbing can be taken anywhere and the others can be applied to rural communities. Although, in the case that a student is uninterested in a course certification, the experience still offers students an opportunity to step out of their comfort zone and absorb new, unanticipated knowledge which in itself may prove useful in the future.

“Again, the idea of the class is to build your resume so the idea is that you can take these certifications and they may help you find a job. I have some kids who have come back, say from college during the winter, and they use their level 1 Ski instructor to get the benefits of working for Ski-co and a job teaching skiing during the vacations. It is good money and you get a free pass,” Maiolo said.

This program, Maiolo explained, is a mix of excited and adventurous students ready to dive into aspects of outdoor exploration and knowledge.

“They are all kids who are interested in the outdoors and hands-on learning.” Maiolo added, “They are willing to challenge themselves and work in real-world scenarios.”

This class is another example of the distinctiveness of Aspen’s education. Through the utilization of the surrounding mountainous environment, engaged students/leaders, and an all-around willingness to learn, Aspen Mountain Guide School has become the one of the many faces of experiential learning at Aspen High School.

“Moving forward, I would love to just have more time to complete more certifications and it would be nice to offer another section of it but it is hard logistically to manage so many students and the schedules of all these different course offerings.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Stella Iverson, Editor-in-Chief
Stella Iverson is a senior at AHS. This is her fourth and final year writing for The Skier Scribbler. Stella's  favorite person in the world is her grandpa because of his innate ability to stay an active rancher at 75 years old. As an Editor-in-Chief, Stella is excited to continue tackling global social issues, and challenging topics. She hopes to study journalism after high school, and often dreams about settling in New York.
Rylee Smith, News and Sports Editor
Rylee is a senior at Aspen High School and one of the Sports/News editors. This is her second year writing for the Skier Scribbler and she has appreciated the new lens of leadership which has helped her to grow in her own writing. In her free time, Rylee is spending time outside, basking in the sun during the summer, flying through the slopes during winter, and watching the sunsets in the evening. Moving forward, she looks forward to growing her faith in the Lord and spending time with her family/friends. 

Comments (0)

All THE SKIER SCRIBBLER Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *