EPIC looks forward to new adventures this year

By Amye Ellsworth, Senior Reporter

New this year to EPIC is river surfing. River surfing is done on whitewater rapids using a stand-up paddleboard. Juniors Amanda Stricker and Stephanie Schildt went on a stand-up paddleboarding trip with EPIC that cost them each five dollars.
“It was a challenge.” Stricker said. “But by the end we were doing it by ourselves.”
The EPIC Adventures coordinators feel confident in their ability to help people succeed at their activities, even if they have never done them before. “We focus primarily on getting people to try new things. We’re really good at getting people, on their first day of trying something, to be successful,” outdoor program coordinator John Fair said.
“Our guides were amazing. They made it really fun,” Schildt said.
Stricker admitted that she was initially nervous about going on the trip, and Fair acknowledged that all EPIC Adventures do come with potential danger. “Twisted ankles tend to be the injury most common.” Fair said.
But Fair also said that injuries are not the norm. “Serious injuries are pretty rare, which is why we can do what we do,” he said. “But they do happen because what we do is risky.”
If an injury were to happen on a trip, all the trip leaders are Wilderness First Responders. This means they have taken a 90 hour course that teaches them how to deal with an injury. “They have protocols they follow, and we have the tools we need to take care of the situation,” Fair said.
Fair also recognized the potential for someone to try something for the first time and end up not liking it. For some activities, it is okay for participants to opt in or out as much as they like. However, Fair said that not all trips can offer that option. “There are some trips, like mountaineering, where the whole trip moves and does the activity at once, so you kind of have to stay with the group.”
According to junior Dan Koerner, EPIC trips are a great way to meet new people. “I shared a room with two or three other guys I didn’t know. It’s a really good way to meet people. My favorite part was definitely getting to know the people.”
Koerner went on a snowboarding trip to Schweitzer last winter, and Fair said it is the winter trips that fill up the most quickly.
EPIC is travelling throughout this year to locations in Washington, Canada, Oregon, Idaho and Montana to ski, snowboard, rock climb, ice climb, whitewater raft, hike, canoe and even dogsled. Their next weekend trip starts Oct. 5 and involves canoeing and hiking on Lake Chelan.
Beyond weekend trips, EPIC also features day excursions. These include mountain biking, riverboarding and a Halloween float down the Spokane River.