“When I first came to Green Mountain, I had very little experience outdoors,” said Jamie Bernstein.
Today he is an adventure education major and leads rock climbing and ski trips into the backcountry with GreenMAP (Green Mountain College Adventure Programming).
Jamie was initially planning on attending a college more than 1,000 miles away from Poultney. Instead, he took a year off to venture away from his hometown of Lexington. Mass. to visit New Orleans where he volunteered building houses with a vision of sustainable design in mind.
When touring GMC, Jamie found himself walking beside a rec major at Green Mountain College. After a few encouraging stories, he was “sold right off the bat.”
Jamie says that his first real backcountry experience was during the Wilderness Challenge, the College’s outdoor program offered to first-year students as part of fall orientation. Nearly four years later, he is leading Wilderness Challenge trips while acquiring numerous certifications, been hired as an adjunct-climbing instructor, and has had the privilege of speaking at the national conference for the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE).
At GMC, Jamie was inspired by a film on the Chic Choc Mountains, a wonderland of snow and a haven to any ski bum in Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula. One year later, he went there himself. Though Jamie and his fellow students each made the twelve-hour ride into the mountains, Jamie wasn’t just along for the ride. Alongside GreenMAP director Bruce Saxman, he was leading this trip. For seven days, Jamie and the people who had followed skied by day and retreated to a hut dubbed Le Falcon by night. “It was some of the best backcountry skiing that I ever experienced and it was all right off the road,” he said.
All of Jamie's hard work will surely pay off in his quest to pursue work in the field of adventure education. Working for Outward Bound or the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) are a few opportunities he’s looking into for his future after college.
“I’m also considering grad school at the University of Utah. Regardless of whether or not that happens, I would like to end up in the college recreation field running a program like GreenMAP.”
By Zachary Stark '15