Wilderness survival expert trains others to be prepared for weather changes, emergencies | Cheyenne Edition

Survival skills are important to know at any time, but they seem especially needed during

Survival skills are important to know at any time, but they seem especially needed during this time of rampant wildfires and global pandemic.

Colorado native Jason Marsteiner, founder, owner and operator of Colorado Mountain Man Survival in Cripple Creek and The Survival University in Colorado Springs, has the skills and knowledge to share.

He’s set to instruct an Introduction to Wilderness Survival class designed to teach basic outdoor survival skills will be held from 6-8:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 5 at the Bear Creek Nature Center, 245 Bear Creek Road.

From this class participants will learn basic wilderness survival skills including the Rule of Threes, Top 10 must-haves in the back country, Top 10 mistakes people make in the outdoors, gear recommendations and wild animal safety awareness. Participants also will learn outdoor safety and how to find warmth, food, shelter and water in the Colorado outback.

Marsteiner will share some of his experiences and divulge how he has endured some of the world’s harshest conditions, and teach participant’s skills needed to maximize their success in difficult situations.

Theresa Odello, recreation coordinator for El Paso County, Recreation and Cultural Services, thought of the idea to start a wilderness survival program while residing in Virginia. Odello, who operated an outdoor adventure program and taught a basic survival course, believed Colorado Springs residents would welcome a similar course.

“In 2018, when I started as recreation coordinator, I was tasked with providing unique programs to our residents that filled a void or that opened opportunities for those that attended the program,” Odello said. “Rather than teach it (class) myself, I wanted to bring in an expert and contacted Jason with The Survival University. We collaborated to create a shorter, basic introduction class. We started partnering in 2018 and have offered this class three times since then.”

To become a top survival instructor, Marsteiner spent much of his life hiking in the mountains, trained for 45 days in the forests of Arkansas and Missouri, and spent 12 days in the jungles of Costa Rica with only a basic survival kit.

“Theresa reached out to me to teach the class to their visitors,” Marsteiner said. “I officially started my journey in teaching classes such as this in 2010 when I founded CMMS. I recognized a need and want for these types of skills as Colorado has a very large population interested in outdoor recreation. Few know what to do when something goes wrong.”

He added, “For many people the word ‘survival’ is scary. Add instructor to it and it becomes even more intense. I do my best to keep ‘scary’ and ‘intense’ out of the picture, and help people realize these skills are valuable and to enjoy their time in the outdoors even more.”

Attending a wilderness survival class benefits the community, Marsteiner said. Knowing what to do in an emergency situation or how to prevent a situation from happening makes the job safer and easier for local law enforcement, Search and Rescue and Emergency Medical Service personnel.

“How many people in Colorado have perished, or were badly injured or stranded because they were not ready for our freakish spring blizzards? How many times has SAR (search and rescue) been dispatched because someone wasn’t properly prepared for their adventure up a mountain trail?” Marsteiner asked.

According to Marsteiner, his class teaches people to be aware of Colorado’s temperamental weather patterns, how to be prepared in the event of a disaster and know what gear to wear and how to use that gear when venturing into the mountains.

“A person educated in the skills I teach is more of an asset than a liability. I hope they never face a survival situation but, if they do, I hope what they learn from me and my team of instructors will bring them home to their family,” Marsteiner said.

Residents who enjoy backpacking, hiking, hunting or other outdoor activities and want to be more prepared for an emergency situation are encouraged to attend. Participants also are recommended to bring note-taking material and any wilderness survival questions to class.

Although the Bear Creek class is filled to capacity, there is a standby list should someone cancel. Cost is $25 and online pre-registration is required. For info, visit elpasocountynaturecenters.com.

Through The Survival University and Colorado Mountain Man Survival, Marsteiner has several upcoming classes including three-day basic survival and five-day outdoor survival skills. More advanced two- and three-week courses are planned for the summer months. Learn more at thesurvivaluniversity.com.

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