With temperatures rapidly dropping below freezing and leaving Bellingham under a thick blanket frost every other day, it’s safe to say that winter is here. While some are unveiling their fancy new flannel jackets, or huddling for warmth around soy lattes, the AS Outdoor Center is preparing for those who are ready to grab winter by the icicles and have some fun with its recently released calendar of winter excursions.

This winter the Outdoor Center has prepared a plethora of activities, ranging from a visit to the Seattle Aquarium, rafting down the Skagit River, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and snow caving, to more advanced activities like ice climbing in British Columbia and back country skiing. Additional dates for free yoga and snowboard/ski tuning and waxing workshops are currently being scheduled.

“I’m really excited for this winter quarter, we have a very jam-packed schedule with activities on pretty much every weekend,” said Excursions Assistant Coordinator Jason Davis.

Davis, along with Excursions Coordinator Kelsey Ball created the schedule at the close of last quarter. After tweaking dates and deadlines, as well as taking inventory of the required equipment, the schedule was made into what it is now.

Between Feb. 5 - 23, there will be a backcountry ski course. For a $150 course fee, participants will learn the nuances of how to backcountry ski in the classroom and on the slopes, as well as all of the necessary tips and tricks that might accompany that sort of venture, like avalanche awareness.

“These are super-fun trips, but I also want people to be able to do these things safely out on their own,” said Davis.

On Jan. 15 will be $45 trip down the Skagit River where participants will be exposed to moderate rapids while observing the flocks of bald eagles.

“I’m really excited for the eagle float. That’s something that everyone always has a lot of fun on,” said rafting trip leader Peter Dykes. “We usually have really good equipment, so that even if it snows like it did last year, people are still enjoying themselves.”

On the Feb. 4 there will be a $35 cross country ski trip. Gear is included in the cost. From Feb. 14-17, ten lucky participants will be able to go ice climbing in British Columbia. This $180 trip will teach participants how to ice climb as well as expose them to the natural beauty that can be found in Canada’s Lillooet. 

The OC will offer students the opportunity to go ice-camping from March 1 to 2. Included in its $60 cost will be a trip out on snowshoes, a lesson on how to build your own snow cave, and the personal experience of being able to say “I went camping in the snow.”

An advanced snowshoeing day will take place on March 8 for $35.

“We just revamped our snowshoe collection, so we have a lot of new material in that department,” said Davis.

Days to wax and tune your skis and snowboards will be on Feb. 5 and Feb. 26.

In addition, the Outdoor Center is also gearing up for their newly offered Spring Break trip, an event that hasn’t occurred for the last seven years: a mountain biking trip to Moab, Utah.
Once again, all of these activities are listed on the as.wwu.edu/outdoor. Further information is also available in the Outdoor Center in Viking Union 150.