Outdoor Education

Take a drive through the VMS parking lot and it becomes readily apparent that our students are passionate about the outdoors. Mountain bikes, kayaks, skis, golf clubs and stickers from favorite companies adorn cars as badges of pride in their recreational pursuits. Built on underpinnings established in lower and middle school and supported by families who lead active mountain lifestyles, VMS kids get outside and get after it.

Though many students actively pursue recreational interests outside of school, structured trips provide opportunities to explore new locations or activities and serve as a means to build community in the upper school. Each year begins with two-night action-packed orientation trips on the Western Slope — kayaking, canoeing, fly-fishing, mountain biking, llama trekking, rafting, and stand up paddle boarding.  Led by certified guides and teachers, students are encouraged to develop selflessness and teamwork, and in this way, VMS builds a strong learning community before school begins.

Upper school students also may elect to participate in an annual winter hut trip or serve as “guides in training” on middle or lower school school hut trips. Additionally, opportunities to get outdoors abound through Intraterm and class trips.  Intraterm courses have ventured as far as Costa Rica and the Grand Canyon, while simultaneously, students locally had the opportunity to shadow Ski Patrol while earning certification in wilderness first aid. While in New York, seniors explore the urban jungle, but also Central Park with its specimen trees and perennial gardens that were established more than a century ago.

For young adults eager for adventure, Vail Mountain School provides ample opportunity and a perfect base camp from which to explore the incredible natural treasures just outside in our back door.