By Darcy DeGuise
Special to The SUN
Living in Pagosa Springs, even in the winter months, lends itself to a multitude of outdoor activities. From cross-country and backcountry skiing to snowmobiling and hunting, there is no limit to the fun one can have in the snow. While we enjoy the winter and all its offerings, are we truly aware of the dangers on the mountainside? The Winter Outdoor Learning Fund’s (WOLF) mission is to educate teens and young adults about such dangers while better equipping them for fun, or even a possible future, in the outdoors. Founded three years ago by Wolf Creek Ski patrollers, this nonprofit organization provides scholarships for wilderness medical training and avalanche awareness courses in the hopes of helping to promote safe practices in the backcountry as well as grooming young people for possible employment opportunities in the future. Eric Deitemeyer, treasurer and a founding member of the organization, shared, “I wished that I had more exposure to such opportunities when I was a young adult while trying to decide what I wanted to do for a career.” An accomplished river guide and head of Wolf Creek Ski Patrol, Deitemeyer and the rest of the WOLF Board intend to provide support in making such classes and experiences more accessible to the youth of Archuleta, Mineral and Rio Grande counties. Last year, WOLF awarded 10 scholarships to Creede and Pagosa Springs residents. Four scholarships were awarded in Pagosa Springs, to Liam Doctor, Wyatt Logan, Wes Laverty and Mike Rung. Scholarships are awarded in the amount of $500, which can be used toward Level 1 Avalanche or Wilderness Medicine courses. Applications are available online at www.winteroutdoorlearningfund.com. The application deadline for this year is Feb. 14; however, scholarships are currently available for those who apply and are accepted earlier. To ensure the availability of scholarship funds, WOLF will be holding a fundraiser on Thursday, Jan. 25, from 7 to 11 p.m. at Borde Rio. There will be a silent auction, food and drink specials, and live music featuring Gleewood. All proceeds will ensure that WOLF can grow its message while continuing to create outdoor learning opportunities for young people in our community.