Here's what our students get up to (weather & season dependant)
Students practice canyoneering in 3 different areas in the state, with the highlight being in The Grand Staircase Escalante, where students will discover an area where over thousands of years, the water has dug three separate pothole arches into an overhang. When the sun is overhead, the daylight shines down through the arches in great, golden columns, giving this place the name Golden Cathedral.
Utah is one of the prime areas in the world for canyoneering due to the breathtaking, unique landscape of the Colorado Plateau and the incredible colors and slot canyons. Here students focus not only on appreciating the miracles of nature, but focus on advanced anchor building and rappelling techniques that afford them a chance to work on creative problem solving, group cohesion, personal awareness, and safety skills.
Mountain biking takes place in both the Wasatch Range in Northern UT, where students are climbing up beautiful trails surrounded by trees and incredible mountain views; and in the Mojave Desert, where students negotiate smooth rock trials on the red sandstone terrain of Southern Utah. While mountain biking, students gain a unique opportunity to find a rhythm and get lost in the moment, finding their “zone” or “flow” where they are one minded, immersed in the present, and focused.
Learning to find this flow, helps students gain the ability to create synchronicity in other situations, leading to a calmness and confidence. Students are also able to practice distress tolerance and gain personal confidence on a mountain bike itinerary by tackling the challenge of a new and potentially intimidating skill.
Students rock climb in various areas across the state of Utah, including The Mohave Desert, The La Sal Mountain Range, and The Wasatch Mountain Range. This provides them the opportunity to practice on various types of rocks such as granite, quartzite, sandstone, and limestone and gives them the appreciation for numerous environments and settings.
While on rock climbing itineraries, students not only get the opportunity to work on rope techniques and climbing techniques. More importantly, they are practicing group management, mindfulness skills, trust and accountability, as well as the ability to face and manage fears and anxiety.
Backpacking / Hiking
Students have a unique opportunity at Vantage Point to backpack in many different locations, landscapes, and climates, including in the High Uintas, Mojave Desert, La Sal Mountain Range, high desert of the Awapa Plateau, and the rustic landscape of the Ouray Wilderness. The backpacking itineraries help create grit – the ability to dig down deep, test oneself, and persevere.
Few things build more resilience than reaching a summit and enjoying the quiet remoteness and beautiful views below, especially after a few physically challenging days of hiking with full backpacks. This affords students a great sense of accomplishment, an appreciation for simplicity, and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for their lives.
Skiing takes place at Sundance Ski Resort with the beautiful backdrop of Mt. Timpanogos, one of the most iconic mountains in the Wasatch range. Students come to us at all experience levels, and all become better skiers through a standard curriculum, taught by our expert instructors, that breaks down the fundamentals and challenges each student just beyond their current level.
While skiing, students learn about goal setting by challenging themselves on ski terrain throughout the resort. Students learn how to fully engage in this activity by engaging in mindfulness, practicing tolerance and patience for themselves and others, as well as learning mentoring and coaching skills.
During the winter months, students are able to access many unique backpacking areas in the high Uinta forests, that can only be reached with snowshoes on. Here they have the privilege to enjoy the serenity and peacefulness of remote forests surrounded by incredible, peaceful, winter landscapes that have been untouched.
Snowshoeing creates a great opportunity to practice appreciation, meditation, and to find serenity.
At Vantage Point we have a custom designed challenge course at base camp, where students spend time learning how they can contribute to the overall effectiveness of the group. They practice skills like leadership, problem solving, coping with distress, active group engagement, and appropriate assertiveness.
Through completing the various challenges such as “Giant’s Finger”, where they have to get a tire over a large vertical log without out touching the log and “waking the giant”, they learn to engage in the group process, to contribute ideas actively, and how to become an active part of solutions. They also practice following the Vantage Point agreement, which is, “I will do what is best for the group, leaving no one out, including myself.” This reinforces the value of a community as well as personal value and importance. Our challenge course boasts 23 different initiatives that require collaboration, patience and creativity to complete.
The Primitive Skills program provides an opportunity for students to spend a number of days working with their hands using primitive materials such as leather, wood, and twine. They can use these materials to create anything from beads and a necklace, to a small stool, pair of sandals, or even a chess set or piece of art.
Students learn primitive wilderness skills such as busting a coal and beginning a fire with a wooden bow drill, to carving a spoon. This is a great creative outlet for students where they can really tap into all that nature has to offer and can appreciate the simplicity of creating something entirely out of the gifts of nature.