Matanuska Outdoor Institute

The Pillars of Matanuska Outdoor Institute


By working together collectively, we have a better understanding of what individual support for success means. Moving and learning with the land is an important facet to understanding how we operate as a whole. By investigating through outdoor immersion, we are able to offer multi-layered experience based community development through complex challenges and difficult negotiations.


The word resiliency takes on different shapes and nuances as it adheres to each context. And by definition it means “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change” (Merriam-Webster). We understand that this passion to overcome and persevere lies within us all. And we believe that through skill and practice you can hone in on these skills. By learning how to meet and address challenges in a wilderness setting we learn more about the aspect of character that thrives through life’s hardships and how to embrace that part.


Wilderness to us, is everywhere that humans are not. It is where we visit and walk through, setting no claim except to experience and be in relation with. The wilderness provides a space for us to step outside the lines and structures of human modified areas like roads, buildings, and developed sites. Here, we can develop our relationship with humanity and the changing world around us.

An Alaskan Gap Semester

Imagine, an outdoor educational course developed by professionals for your gap semester. And, it’s located in the wilderness of Alaska for a fully immersive and hands-on learning experience. The Matanuska Outdoor Institute is a company curated and cultivate by outdoor experts, professional educators, program directors and a group of advisors that share a vision. With the Alaskan wilderness as a classroom and teaching setting, this institute aims to create community where a person intent on developing resilience, leadership, and outdoor skills can thrive.

What You’ll Learn

  • Navigation
  • Rope and anchor systems
  • River safety
  • Wilderness first aid
  • Managing outdoor elements
  • Alpine travel
  • Fire building
  • Leadership
  • And so much more!

The Semester

Is a three week based semester. This adventure based learning will fill your days and expose you to the grandeur of Alaska and what it takes to adapt and create. Two of the weeks are primarily focused on skills training, knowledge and day adventures. This is all in preparation for you and your community to accomplish an Alaskan backcountry wilderness 5 day backpacking trip.

Week One

The first week consists of diving into wilderness medicine, navigation, Alaskan field studies, gear/equipment examination, meal planning and the critical elements of living outside. You’ll meet your new crew and get very familiar with the valley and surrounding mountains. Everyday will be integrated with hikes, trekking, climbs, and backcountry rambles.

Week Two

This week consists of building core skills and collaboration, putting concepts into practice, traveling into the field to test out practical group leadership, river crossings, scree scrambles, and reading the landscape.  This week will have a lot of planning time and preparing for your 5 day wilderness expedition.

Week Three

In the final week you will execute your planned backcountry wilderness trip. With your newly honed skills, you 5 day expedition begins.  No defined trails, no designated campsites, the team decides the route, you all plan your destination.  Accompanied by our experienced wilderness guides your crew and you will be deciding where to navigate to.