School founder Lowell Whiteman was first and foremost an outdoorsman. In fact, Steamboat Mountain School was originally a boys’ summer camp. True to our roots, our students continue to participate in a wealth of outdoor activities all year long, learning vital outdoor and leadership skills, developing interpersonal skills, and creating lifelong friendships accompanied with lasting memories.
Steamboat Mountain School believes that learning happens best when a student engages his mind, body, and spirit in a challenging experience that is managed with support. Students discover their abilities, values, passions, and responsibilities in opportunities that offer adventure and challenge. We give the students tasks that require perseverance, fitness, craftsmanship, imagination, self-discipline, and opportunities to achieve goals. We believe that the primary jobs of an educator are to help students overcome what they see as their weaknesses and to help them discover the best they have within them.
Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons. It is to grow in open air, and to eat and sleep with the earth.
The Outdoor Program consists of afternoon activities known as POPs (Physical and Outdoor Pursuits), 14er Camp Trip, Desert Week, and winter backcountry options.
At the start of the school year, students embark on orientation camping trips. These camping trips work to summit one of Colorado’s 14,000′ peaks. For three to four nights in late September, new and returning students practice the most essential outdoor and camping skills and get to know each other as well as the natural environment. Beyond camp and backpacking skills, students are faced with both the physical and weather challenges of high alpine environments.
Following the 14er Camping Trip, Desert Week is western camping and adventure at its best. Trips range from mountain biking in Fruita and Moab to kayaking the Colorado River; to canoeing Utah’s Green River; to rock climbing in Wyoming or Utah. Desert Week serves as an opportunity to hone the various skills gained during previous experiences. Desert Week also gives them the opportunity to immerse in the natural world and the beauty of the desert with great friends and experienced, dedicated teachers. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Desert Week is one of the great experiences a student has while attending Steamboat Mountain School.
Steamboat Mountain School’s competitive sports programs occur in conjunction with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and Steamboat Springs High School. For our outdoor activities, we take as much advantage as possible of our incredible surroundings and participate in a range of physical and outdoor pursuits. Three times each week following the academic day, students venture outdoors to rock climb, mountain bike, kayak, ski, hike, practice Zumba, or participate in outdoor fitness activities. POPs change season to season and year to year.
POPs offers group activities that involve physical challenge, create life-long skills, provide students with learning experiences, and present them with an opportunity for a physical and emotional outlet. Currently POPs occur on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons, and Community Service occurs on Thursday afternoons.