CRIPPLE CREEK – If you ever feel like you need a course in how to survive the toughest situations out in the Colorado wild, don’t worry! One Coloradoan mountaineer has you covered!
Up in the hills near Cripple Creek, between the trees and mountains and often deep in the snow, there’s a camp designed specifically for aspiring mountain men and women.
Run by Jason Marsteiner, the Survival University doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the outdoor craft. “We’re basically teaching food, fire, shelter and water in survival situations,” commented Jason.
An outdoorsy guy since the very beginning, Jason early on opted to learn the lay of the land instead of staying indoors.
“I was strapping on a survival kit and telling my mom or dad, ‘I’m going that way, don’t worry about me,’ I’m sure they were a wreck.”
Along the way, he’s managed to wrangle up a veritable Swiss-army knife of survival skills and adventure related abilities. “You give me a knife I can do anything. I can start a fire with just a knife, I can procure food or water or shelter with just a knife.”
Fast-forward to 2010, and Jason is choosing to utilize his mountaineering experience to educate others.
“I’d rather be doing this instead of sitting in front of a PlayStation. That’s it,” stated one student.
“The thing that I like about this, is that this is the first time that I’ve built my own lean-to and then slept in it. So it’s one thing when you just talk about it, it’s another thing to go out and do it and so it becomes part of you,” said another student.
The unusual university teaches a wide range of skill and brings in skilled professionals from all over, “People that are experts in the field that are beyond my expertise,” also holds classes lasting up to 50 days, for the hardcore nature enthusiasts.
Long or short, extreme or entry level, the education regimen is always meant to accomplish very specific outdoorsy goals: helping visitors and Coloradans learn how to appreciate and live more symbiotically with nature.
“Most people aren’t prepared, they’re hoping for the best.”
The course is meant to help everyone make it back home even when faced with the worst of circumstances.
“[I’ve] hunted and fished all my life, and I frequently get caught in the back country and I figured it would be good thing to be able to come back to my family if I did,” said one student.
Jason personally knows the heartache that comes attached to someone close not making it home. “I lost my father in an accident, it wasn’t exactly an outdoor experience, but he didn’t come home.”
It’s an event that shaped his belief that nobody should have to experience anything remotely resembling his tragedy. “I know what that feeling is like, so I want people to know how to come home to their families, should they be in an accident out in the woods, and it happens all the time.”
So each class teaches aspects of survival, tools needed, resources available and what to look out for. “Mother nature will provide everything you need if you know what to look for,” he continued.
The class is nearly 10 years in, and the programming is expanding, “If we continue to grow, hopefully we’ll continue to keep more people safe.” All working towards that homeward destination.
Follow the link if you would like to learn more about The Survival University .