Fourth-Fifth Grade Fall/Spring/Fall - Aspen Country Day School

Mountain biking sequence

These trips are listed together here because they form a series that leads to mastery in mountain biking, an essential skill for children raised in the Rockies.

For their fall expedition, the Fourth Graders practice on campus and nearby, then head to Western Colorado and the trails near Fruita. In springtime of Fourth Grade, they mountain bike the red rock canyonlands near Horsethief, Utah. In Fifth Grade, students return to the trails near Fruita, Colorado, where they revisit some of their first routes and then move on to more varied terrain where they can consolidate their skills and recognize how much they have grown and learned over the expedition sequence.

These three trips — fall and spring in Fourth Grade, and fall in Fifth Grade — are each three days/two nights long. They take students onto trails that rank among America’s best mountain biking destinations. This sequence allows them to build their riding skills in a gradual, age-appropriate way, all while fostering the confidence and resilience that are hallmarks of the Aspen Country Day School experience.

Students learn desert ecology, basic bike mechanics and maintenance, and techniques for navigating the trails. In tandem with these hard skills, children discuss and practice the habits of expedition behavior to deepen their understanding of the school’s core values of character, respect, responsibility, and perseverance.

A gentle introduction to mountain biking starts on the nearby trails of the Marolt Open Space. This meadow criss-crossed with smooth trails is just a short ride from campus on the new Castle Creek bike trail. Fourth Graders practice here and on other local trails before heading out on fall expedition to Western Colorado, then in spring to the sandstone landscapes of Utah, then back to Fruita in the fall of Fifth Grade.

Complete instructions, packing lists, and staffing details arrive via ParentSquare shortly before each trip. At least one certified Wilderness First Responder accompanies every expedition. NOLS Risk Services of the National Outdoor Leadership School has recently completed a comprehensive analysis of policies and procedures for the Outdoor Education program at Aspen Country Day School. This program operates under special use permit from the USDA Forest Service, White River National Forest.