Pre/Post Conference Workshops

Pre and Post Conference Workshops give attendees a one-stop shop for industry training and certification renewals. These workshops, held before and after the conference, add to the many perks of attending the annual conference. Activities include trainings, certifications and social events relevant to students and professionals in the industry.

The Sweet Smell of Learning: Field Trip to Great Salt Lake 
Jaimi Butler, Westminster College
Cost: $110.00

Tuesday, October 23 | 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM | Pick-up from Snowbird (8:30-8:45 AM)

Westminster College is uniquely situated between the Wasatch Mountains to the east and Great Salt Lake to the west.  We are firmly rooted in an urban landscape in a major metropolitan area adjacent to one of the great terminal lakes of the world.  Proximity and passion for the lake and its inhabitants led to creation of Great Salt Lake Institute (GSLI) at Westminster College.  Attracting an unusual blend of funding, GSLI has developed a vision that embodies research, education and community outreach. Visit our sometimes smelly and always salty neighbor with Great Salt Lake nerds from Westminster College.  While at the lake we will recreate, we will experience this critically important ecosystem, we will do activities that you can transfer to your own place in the world.  Most importantly we will have fun before you sit down inside at the conference.

The Art & Science of Experiential Group Facilitation and Teaching
Jennifer Stanchfield, Experiential Tools
Cost: $149.00

Tuesday, October 23 | 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM | Snowbird - Wasatch A

This interactive workshop explores brain-based techniques to inspire and motivate participants, create a positive and supportive learning environment, and facilitate meaningful reflection and dialogue. We will focus on ways to thoughtfully design and sequence experiences to increase engagement, meet specific educational and group development goals, and promote social and emotional skills. Participants will learn what the field of educational neuroscience is telling us about attention, buy-in, and creating lasting lessons. Attendees will explore methods for empowering participants to take ownership of learning and make connections between educational experiences and real-life situations. Participants will leave with creative inspiration and new perspectives on their role as a facilitator and outdoor educator.


This course will explore:

  • Experiential, brain-based approaches to actively engage learners physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually
  • Research from the field of educational neuroscience that supports and informs experiential education practice
  • Practical strategies to impart the fundamentals of experiential group facilitation such as the importance of participant choice and control, sequencing, ongoing assessment, and meaningful reflection to create lasting lessons
  • Techniques for increasing participant involvement, buy-in, and ownership in learning experiences
  • Methods to help group leaders design, sequence, facilitate and adapt activities to enhance learning outcomes
  • Innovative reflection tools and techniques to increase relevancy, meaning, depth of understanding, and connection to future learning situations
  • The role of the facilitator as guide, and the importance of flexibility, attitude, adaptation, and awareness of group and individual needs and differences
  • Ways to enliven the traditional sharing circle with active methods to facilitate processing and dialogue that meet the diverse needs of learners

Women's Mentorship Leadership Institute 
Amanda Preperato, University of Maryland

Monday - Tuesday, October 22-23 | Monday - 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM, Tuesday 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM | Snowbird

AORE will be hosting the inaugural Women’s Leadership Mentor Institute (WLMI) in Snowbird, UT October 22-23. The Institute will consist of both classroom and field-based sessions and will be led by women, for women. The goal of WLMI is to provide an inclusive environment for women to enhance their technical outdoor skills, gain confidence in addressing sexism and gender bias in the workplace, and to build relationships and increase confidence through mentorship. We hope that participants will feel supported and encouraged to take on greater leadership roles within their organization and within the AORE.

Google Geo Wilderness Academy 
Wendy Gorton, EdTechTeam
Cost: $99.00

Tuesday, October 23 | 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM | Snowbird - Cirque

Welcome to the Google Geo Wilderness Academy! 

We’re going to dive headlong into Google’s geo suite of tools to help you learn how to engage and delight students in the outdoors in the whole adventure cycle- planning, playing, and reflecting afterwards.


We’ll use Maps, My Maps, Earth, and get you competent and confident in 360 and virtual reality – you’ll even get a copy of “Bring the World to Your Classroom with Google Geo Tools”, a Google Cardboard Virtual Reality Viewer and a copy of “50 Hikes with Kids: Oregon and Washington”.


All participants are eligible for Google door prizes, like a Google Dream! Let’s get Googley!

Outdoor Orientation Program Symposium (OOPS)
Cost: $149.00 for Students / $199.00 for Professionals

Tuesday, October 23| 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM | Snowbird - Superior A/B

The Outdoor Orientation Program Symposium is dedicated to bringing program directors, school administrators, student leaders, researchers, and land managers together to discuss strategies for supporting students in wilderness pre-orientation programs.

Every Symposium provides context for program development and growth, best practices, new program techniques, and nuts and bolts information that help established and aspiring outdoor orientation programs. Attendees will learn from multiple presenters and a keynote speaker in multiple presentation formats including experiential formats.

The outdoor orientation experiences provide students and young leaders with the unique opportunity to develop supportive peer groups during transition to college. These intensive, adventure-based experiences impact over 25,000 students a year, providing many students with their first intensive outdoor recreation experience. These experiences have also become a burgeoning area of growth for outdoor recreation leaders.
Please note that a morning snack and boxed lunch are included.

Wilderness First Aid Certification Course
Robert Schumacker, Adventure Training Consultants
Cost: $225.00 / $250.00 for Re-Certifications

Monday, October 22 -Tuesday, October 23 | 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM | Snowbird - Twin Peaks B

Wilderness First Aid is a two-day comprehensive introduction to general medical concepts and basic life support skills. It is a relevant and realistic first-aid training for seasonal outdoor activities for short-term wilderness endeavors and pursuits. A professional instructor with significant patient care and backcountry experience will teach this course. Upon successful completion of the course, students will earn a certification from Wilderness Medical Associates International in Wilderness First Aid, CPR, AED, and Anaphylaxis treatment. This course can be used to recertify a Wilderness First Responder certification from past WMA graduates. WFR’s wishing to recertify must complete a precourse work packet that will be turned in on the first morning of the course.

PCIA Single Pitch Climbing Instructor Course and Exam
Lucas Kramer, PCIA
Cost: $675.00 includes exam / $500.00 for course only

Friday, October 19 - Tuesday, October 23 | Momentum Climbing Gym, Salt Lake City

The Single Pitch Climbing Instructor Course is comprised of four separate potential modules: The Base Managed Climbing Instructor Course, Base Managed Climbing Instructor Exam, Top Managed Climbing Instructor Module and the Single Pitch Climbing Instructor Module. Each module provides instructors in-depth and standardized understanding of the skills essential to teaching climbing in the respective outdoor setting. Reinforcing the need for technically accurate information and debunking common myths are among the primary focuses of the courses. Additionally, close attention is given to applied teaching skills through practice lesson opportunities throughout the duration of the course. 
  • 18 years old -Minimum
  • 2-3 years climbing experience
  • Prior experience with climbing instruction
  • Lead climbing not required but recommended
  • Participants should be able to comfortably set up base managed climbs, belay, and rappel without guidance 
  • Participants should be able to demonstrate basic familiarity with anchoring principles, natural anchors, and artificial anchors
  • Participants must possess all necessary equipment for the course
  • Participants must be able to comfortably climb 5.8 terrain on top rope.

PCIA Climbing Wall Instructor Course
Lucas Kramer, PCIA
Cost: $325.00

Saturday, October 27 - Monday, October 29 | Momentum Climbing Gym, Salt Lake City

The PCIA Climbing Wall Instructor Course provides instructors and potential instructors with an in depth, standardized understanding of the skills essential to teaching climbing in an indoor setting. It is the first step in a sequential approach to professional climbing instructor development. The course reinforces the importance of teaching technically accurate information and debunks many common climbing myths.
  • 2-3 years experience with a high intensity of climbing in the past few months.
Candidates must be able to:
  • Put on a harness and appropriately tie in to climb
  • Belay with an aperture belay device and an assisted locking device in a competent, comfortable and confident manner
  • Comfortably climb 5.9 on an artificial climbing wall
  • Possess all the equipment necessary for the course

Black Diamond Testing Lab
Garth Tino & Russell Slaugh, Black Diamond 
Cost: Free

Tuesday, October 23 | Demo Day Area, Snowbird

Do you have questions about climbing equipment uses, failures, proper vs. improper use? Do you ever wonder about specific scenarios you have encountered in climbing and wondered about the results that could happen? This this session will be an interactive presentation of the laws of physics and how it interacts and effects climbing gear. We will create scenarios in which we push equipment to the limit and beyond, showing failures and how to avoid these issues. We will show how and why equipment fails or can fail, and how to mitigate these failures. We shall be joined by members of the Black Diamond Quality Control team to answer a multitude of scenarios. See their work in their blog.

Hybrid Wilderness First Responder Re-Certification
Tiana White, Wilderness Medicine Training Center
Cost: $275.00

Saturday and Sunday, October 27-28 | 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM | Westminster College Campus, Salt Lake City

Graduates from approved wilderness medicine schools who are currently certified OR in their grace period may recertify their Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness EMT certification through this course. Attendees must successfully complete and pass our online WFR & WEMT Recertification test and then attend and fully participate in this two-day practical session. Click here for a list of currently approved providers.
  • Current WFR or WEMT certification that has not expired or is in the grace period.

PCIA Top Rope and Single Pitch Climbing Instructor Provider Training 
Jon Tierney, Acadia Mountain Guides
Cost: $300.00

Saturday - Tuesday, October 20-23| Momentum Climbing Gym, Salt Lake City

Join the growing pool of PCIA providers across the nation. 
The climbing instructor plays a pivotal role in the experiences and skill development of recreational climbers. On one day the instructor may be facilitating a climbing experience for a group of ten year olds while on another day the instructor is providing a lesson on anchor construction to clients who want to start climbing on their own. In essence, they are helping to form lifelong habits. The PCIA believes that climbing instructors be extremely well informed about climbing equipment and techniques, be superb technicians who are highly skilled in the management of clients in hazardous terrain, and be patient, caring educators who continually strive to better their own knowledge and delivery methods. 
The climbing instructor provider and examiner plays an even more critical role in this chain. The instructor trainer is expected to provide state of the art education and to evaluate and decide about the readiness of instructor candidates to become instructors. Thus, the PCIA is highly selective in seeking the best of the best to become instructor trainers. Selected individuals are expected to be active in educational development and personally interested in furthering the professionalism of climbing instructors.
Pre-Requisites: Each applicant is reviewed individually by the PCIA Technical Committee and evaluated on the merits of their background.  The following is the ideal instructor trainer applicant:

  • Has a professional degree related to outdoor education.
  • Has over 200 days of professional experience teaching entry level climbing to both individuals and groups that includes base and top managed climbing as well as rappelling.
  • At least 5 years of traditional lead climbing experience with a current ability to lead 5.7 routes with comfort.
  • PCIA, AMGA or similar certification for three or more years strongly suggested.
  • Can demonstrate a performance level well above the PCIA exam level.
Provider Process:
Step 1:  An interested individual should submit a cover letter, resume, and supporting materials illustrating the above characteristics and why they are interested. 
Step 2: Participate in and perform admirably in a provider course and evaluation to become an Assistant Provider. Assistant providers may instruct courses but are not allowed to examine without a lead provider present. 
Step 3: Assistant providers seeking to become providers are expected to demonstrate exceptional commitment to PCIA curriculum development through such things as related research, newsletter writing, conference presentations, development of teaching materials, etc. and to have assisted on a number of PCIA courses and received favorable evaluations from a current PCIA lead provider.


PCIA Climbing Wall Instructor Course Provider Training 
Jon Tierney, Acadia Mountain Guides
Cost: $200.00

Saturday and Sunday, October 27-28 | Momentum Climbing Gym, Salt Lake City

The PCIA Climbing Wall Instructor Course Provider training program is designed to create a network of qualified instructors through the United States who can deliver high quality yet economical courses to the many universities, summer camps, and private companies that operate artificial climbing walls.  This training will provide a foundation for becoming a Climbing Wall Instructor Course provider. The course will address instructional strategies for teaching climbing related information and skills including common equipment, knots/harnesses, and belaying as well as climbing movement. Participants will also develop methods for assessing climber skills, risk management strategies for a climbing gym environment and practice basic rescue skills.
To become a PCIA Climbing Wall Instructor Course Provider an individual is required to:

  • Be a member of PCIA.
  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Provide a resume showing at least 50 days instructing / supervising in an artificial wall setting.
  • Preferably possess a Climbing Wall Instructor Lead certification or higher level certification by either the PCIA or the AMGA
  • Receive a recommendation from a PCIA or an AMGA instructor and at least one other professional peers
  • Submit a letter of application to the PCIA along with an instructional carnet (resume) illustrating a strong history of climbing wall instruction and leadership.