Specializing in Youth Adventures since 1981

2018 Academy Program Preview



Program Director, Ashley Smith

 March 2018


Spring is in the air in the San Juans! …well, almost. It seems the snow came late this year, so we are keeping skis on our feet until the summer! Here at the Academy office it is hard not start amping up our excitement for summer, and as the NEW Program Director for Telluride Academy, I look forward to the our 38th Summer of outdoor adventures!


The Academy Admin Team has been jamming away these past few months putting finishing touches on programs, and registering dozens of new families and preparing them for their first Academy experience. This Summer, our adventures will once again take us up rugged trails, floating down meandering canyons on rivers, scaling steep rock walls and to the Big Top Circus stage. You can join our four legged friends for a unique trekking or trotting program in LIZARDHEAD LLAMAS or FAIRIES AND UNICORNS! Dial in your pedal and/or paddle skills with a multi-day river trip down the Colorado on FULL MOON RIVER, or tackle a skills-based mountain bike clinic program such as PEDAL PROGRESSIVE! We even have a slew of new programs with fresh ideas and the popular program spin off combos that will have you begging for an endless summer! Our Teen expedition style journeys are bounding with collaborations from our longstanding regional and international student service connections! The result of all this effort is over 100 unique, fun and educational experiences for both the Academy faithful and the new-adventurer alike. As always, the Academy strives to offer opportunities for all ages and all interests to get involved, to challenge themselves and to discover new horizons.


A few STAND OUT PROGRAMS that I am SUPER excited about this year:


…It’s all about the base (camp)

Come experience our new Backcountry Classroom at the High Camp Hut! We are thrilled to be partnering with this incredible destination that offers ample outdoor education opportunities. We have programs offered every week at High Camp this summer, such as ALPINE ACADEMY and HUT HUT HIKE, that bring our Students to this remote alpine cabin for expeditionary style learning and off-the-grid exploration! Each day will play host to a collection of special guests, life-science workshops, backcountry navigation and adventures into the wilderness that surrounds us. 

Speaking of huts... We will again descend thousands of feet in elevation riding from TELLURIDE 2 MOAB, hut-to-hut! Carrying just our clothes and water on our backs, we will ride 215 miles of single-track, fire roads and ridgelines, and spend our nights sleeping in the fully equipped cabins of the San Juan Hut Systems. This program is quickly becoming a Telluride Academy classic and our veteran Students that take on this challenge, often consider this their pinnacle of Academy programs.

It doesn’t stop there! Our love for backcountry cabins just keeps growing! We also have some stellar sprinklings of offerings that will surely satisfy any Students craving for survival training, steep summit attempts and sleeping in the cozy quarters at the Lone Cone Cabin. Come join a PEAK PROJECT or get CABIN FEVER with us as we practice our “climb high and sleep low” mountaineering techniques in our big backyard.  


When in doubt, paddle out!

It seems Telluride Academy is keeping a healthy paddle fixation these days, whether paddling out past the break in SOCAL SURF, paddling rafts down the river and gaining leadership skills in OLC: SAN JUAN RIVER, or learning ferry angles and catching eddies with hard shell kayaks in PADDLE PROGRESSIVE, the Academy LOVES its time in, on and around water.

NEW this year, we will be introducing the Academy world to the mountain sport of packrafting!

Whether trekking with PACKRAFTERS, PACK N PADDLE or ICE LAKES OASIS, imagine carrying light weight inflatable boats on your back to some of the most incredible and remote alpine meadows above tree line, and launching your own raft across the crystal clear turquoise waters that only the purest snow melt can create, all while surrounded by the ominous and magical 12-13,000 ft peaks deep within the San Juan Range. Packrafting is a newly emerging sport and obsession among adventure junkies across the globe. Backpacking can be a grueling and challenging way to get to some of the wildest country and most expansive mountain views. But who says it has to be all about the journey and not the destination? Can’t it be both? Imagine reaching your destination, unpacking small boats and paddling across the alpine lakes by day and setting up slacklines at basecamp in the evenings. The true essence of an adventure is to be present in each moment and live each moment fully. To read more about packrafting and packrafting adventures, check out our Academy Instructor Alumni, Molly Harrison (pictured above) on her recent packrafting journey with Alpacka Raft in the Arctic tundra! Read about it here!

For questions regarding any of these programs, feel free to give us a call at the Academy Office. We would love to spread our STOKE for all we have to offer in 2018!

-Ashley Smith, Program Director