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Twice the adventure, double the learning

Want to attend the Top Adventure College? Look no farther than Colorado Mountain College.

CMC has once again earned the title following a readers’ poll from Elevation Outdoors magazine. The regional outdoor industry magazine announced on Aug. 2 that the college received the most votes in its 2019 online poll. In the poll, readers decide which among 32 colleges and universities in seven western states provides the best outdoor experiences and learning opportunities.

And just like it did last year, CMC has come out on top.

CMC earned the distinction because of its numerous educational opportunities in outdoor recreation and natural resource management, and its proximity to many year-round world-class adventure-based locations.

The outdoor recreation industry is a growing part of Colorado’s economy. In fact, last year the governor’s office reported that in 2017, outdoor recreation contributed $62 billion to the state’s economy and $35 billion to its gross domestic product. This was nearly double the impact since the state’s previous analysis in 2013.

“Our students, faculty and staff are so excited to receive this honor two years in a row,” said Brian Barker, Colorado Mountain College director of marketing and communications. “There is no other college that boasts insider access to nearly a dozen mountain campuses which offer career-focused educational adventures for our students.”

Across its 11 locations, CMC provides students with a wide range of choices to learn how to work in, care for and live in the outdoors. The college offers continuing education classes, specialized certificates and degrees in outdoor education, avalanche science, natural resource management, professional fly-fishing guide, environmental science and studies, wilderness emergency medical services, ski area operations, action sports, and ski and snowboard business, to name a few.

The first-of-its-kind Rocky Mountain Land Management Program is an example of CMC’s innovative programs tied to the outdoors and adventure. Designed and co-developed by the college at the invitation of the U.S. Forest Service, this internship includes intensive field-based learning and research experience while students pursue their bachelor’s degree in sustainability studies and other disciplines. Students receive a stipend and, upon completion of the program, can compete for jobs with the Forest Service and other agencies with a special hiring status.

“This partnership is ideal because CMC provides an unprecedented educational opportunity, students gain great field experience and our communities gain a diverse, well-trained workforce,” said Scott Fitzwilliams, White River National Forest supervisor. “It’s an ideal opportunity to fill our talent pipeline and help train the next generation of natural resource specialists and land managers.”

Turning classes into adventures

Elevation Outdoors magazine’s Top Adventure College contest began in 2015. The contest gives readers an opportunity to vote for their favorite colleges and universities that champion a healthy dose of adventure and education, all within the Rocky Mountain West.

Each year, the magazine selects colleges that compete online for adventuresome bragging rights, elimination-bracket style. In both 2018 and 2019, the CMC Eagles triumphed, earning and defending an inspiring distinction.

“At our campuses in Aspen, Steamboat Springs, Leadville, Buena Vista, Rifle, Breckenridge, Dillon, Glenwood Springs, Spring Valley, Carbondale and Edwards in the Vail Valley, our students have hands-on opportunities to turn their passions for outdoor adventure into meaningful careers,” said Kristin Colon, CEO of the CMC Foundation and vice president for advancement. “And because our college campuses are deep in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, our faculty can turn almost any class into an adventure – from biology to business.”