email a friend iconprinter friendly iconHow to Survive (Almost) Anything: Survival Schools
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5. National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), AK
Wilderness Skills: Live Off the Land

"We don’t teach dropped-off-in-the-jungle-with-a-knife survival," says NOLS curriculum and research manager John Gookin (a former Marine Corps Arctic warfare instructor). "We teach people how to avoid those situations." During a 75-day NOLS semester in Alaska, students digest a range of outdoor skills—from esoterica like the dynamics of glacier travel to essentials like route finding, backcountry cooking, stream crossing, and the basics of building a fire in damp weather ($9,975; nols.edu). Backwoods wisdom comes in due course, but NOLS emphasizes leadership, attitude, and judgment—fundamentals that keep everyone functioning as effective team members. "You learn the rules, you know what works," says Gookin. "But eventually you acquire such expertise that you don’t even have to think about them." NOLS also offers two-week leadership courses in Wyoming ($3,005) and snowboard outings in Idaho ($2,010), in case the boss can’t survive three months without you.

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