NOLS Announces Winter Wilderness Travel Adventures for Adults that Teach Serious Outdoor Skills from Patagonia to Wyoming Backcountry

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NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) may be best known for its life-changing courses for college students, but the leader in wilderness education also offers transformational travel for adults, with a winter schedule ranging from kayaking Chile’s coastal fjords to touring Wyoming’s Teton Mountain Range backcountry. Set amid amazing wild scenery, the NOLS expeditions help travelers master real-world technical outdoor and leadership skills through experiential adventures.

Travelers gain sea kayaking skills navigating Patagonia’s coastline and immerse in local culture on NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) 14-day expedition (photo by Jordan Cranch/NOLS).

This winter, NOLS is challenging adults with an array of skill-building expeditions, including kayaking on Chile’s coastal fjords.

Experience has become a travel must-have in recent years with immersive travel topping trend lists. “The hottest souvenir to bring back from a trip is a new skill … enriching [travelers’] lives beyond the trip,” TripAdvisor declared in its 2019 trend report, while Conde Nast Traveler coined the name “Intrepid Journeys” for these “more challenging adventures” characterized by “embracing fears, experiencing discomfort and taking on ambitious physical activities.” And where better to search out the ultimate in transformative, experiential travel adventure than NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School), the leader in wilderness education for more than 50 years.

This winter, NOLS is challenging adults with an array of skill-building expeditions, including the opportunity to escape grey cityscapes for blue waters while kayaking on Chile’s coastal fjords. The 14-day Patagonia Sea Kayaking Expedition is one NOLS adventure geared toward individuals 23 years and older. Offered Feb. 21- Mar. 5, 2020, the course not only transforms beginners into confident paddlers, but will also help develop leadership abilities and cultural competency.

This immersive travel opportunity unlocks some of Chile’s wildest landscapes to explore, including Patagonia’s lush temperate rainforest, abundant waterfalls and even glimpses of the distant glaciers that carved this spectacular region. Knowledgeable instructors help travelers master the fundamentals of paddling. And as the course makes its way along the coast, travelers will also have the opportunity to visit coastal communities and learn about their way of life – and will leave Chile with sharpened leadership and communication skills as well as an appreciation for the dynamic wind and sea conditions of the area.

Additional adult winter courses provide a variety of available destinations, dates and skills. Also in February, a week-long Baja Coastal Sailing course offers another way to reconnect with the sea in winter. Beginning with the basics, this expedition is perfect for the novice sailor looking to get away from the cold and spend days exploring quiet sea coves and relaxing on a beach under the stars. And the New Zealand Sailing adventure, Nov. 23 - Dec. 6, 2019, offers travelers the opportunity to learn diverse skills in a remote coastal landscape rich with unique-to-New Zealand wildlife. Both courses emphasize sailing skills and seamanship while also helping strengthen leadership, communication and decision-making skills.

For those who’d rather embrace than flee winter’s snow and cold, NOLS offers a 12-day Winter Backcountry Touring Adventure in the mountains of Wyoming with three offerings beginning December 29 and February 2 and 16. Starting at the Grand Targhee Ski resort, travelers learn the basics of avalanche assessment before heading into the backcountry of the Tetons, where skiing or snowboarding on fresh powder and winter ecology are on tap. At night, retreat to yurts and self-built snow shelters.

Although NOLS – founded in 1965 by legendary mountaineer Paul Petzoldt – is perhaps best known for its famously rugged gap-year and travel-abroad expeditions for students, all of these winter trips are part of a series of expeditions called “Prime,” grounded in the same philosophy of building high-level outdoor and leadership skill sets while reveling in personal growth and fun, but designed for adults 23 and over. Tuition for the four winter courses ranges from $2,100 to $5,490 per person for 8- to 14-day adventures.

About NOLS:
NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) is the world’s leading wilderness school. A nonprofit based in Lander, Wyoming, the school provides students the opportunity to step forward – whether on an expedition, wilderness medicine or custom course. Students of all ages graduate from their courses prepared to lead their communities in a changing world. Graduates have a lifelong desire for leadership, commitment to continued skills development, and ongoing education. Since 1965, NOLS has embraced and explored the unknown through outdoor and classroom-based experiences. To learn more about NOLS, call 800.710.6657 or visit

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