26 February 2019
For students looking for outdoor excursions and activities during the semester, the UCCS Student Outdoor Learning Experience (SOLE) Center has a variety of outings planned for the rest of the winter and spring.
Each semester, the SOLE Center, located in the east wing of the UCCS Recreation and Wellness Center, provides a variety of outdoor trips and educational opportunities.
Inside the center itself is a free bike and ski workshop, a climbing wall, outdoor equipment rental and the school’s bike share headquarters.
The SOLE Center is open Monday through Friday from noon to 9 p.m. for trip registrations, workshop usage, equipment rental, indoor rock climbing and general support for the UCCS community explore the great outdoors.
Recently, the SOLE Center conducted a backcountry snowshoe trip in Weston Pass on Feb. 16 and 17. The pass is located along Highway 22, southwest of Fairplay. The trip is one of intermediate difficulty, due to elevation change and trail conditions.
Ertman said via email, “I believe it’s truly a unique experience. The Backcountry Snowshoe Trip allows participants the opportunity to explore the beauty and nature of Colorado, interact and meet new friends, or if they are so inclined, simply relax and read in front of a fireplace.”
According to Ertman, the location where participants spent the night was at 11, 950 feet, facing an open valley.
“It faces an open valley with stunning views of Mount Holy Cross and the surrounding mountains,” said Ertman. Mount Holy Cross is one of Colorado’s 58 fourteeners.
The participants had the opportunity to see a large variety of wildlife, such as elk, hawks, moose and deer. “Participants were to expect a warm cabin, hot chocolate, board games and more after arrival,” said Ertman.
The cost of the Backcountry Snowshoe Trip was $80 while other trips will range from $10 to $225 based on the activity and the length. Ertman said the cost includes all equipment, with the exception of clothing, “unless otherwise noted.”
The SOLE Center has lots of trips coming up in the future for the rest of the semester. The highlights include snowmobiling, skydiving, a week-long trip to Utah over spring break and the Ski and Soak trip to Monarch Mountain and the Mount Princeton Hot Springs.
This semester is also the inauguration of the Wellness Retreat Weekend, a weekend trip in Estes Park, filled with wellness and outdoor activities.
The next class run by the SOLE Center is the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) which is hosting an NOLS Wilderness First Aid class for Wilderness First Responder (WFA) certification. Participants will learn about wilderness medicine and first aid expertise. The course will take place on March 23 and 24. The listed cost is $245 for students.