Skip to content

Come, Learn, Change.

Since 1968, the Boulder Outdoor Survival School–known to most simply as BOSS–has delivered life-changing, wilderness-based experiences to adventurous people from around the world. The first focus of all of our courses is on teaching our students survival and traditional skills that people have used to live in the wilderness for millennia: simple shelters, finding water, making fire with friction, the priorities and mindset of survival. The second focus of every course is offering a life-changing challenge. Since the school’s inception in 1968, BOSS has been offering people the chance to grow and change through big challenges in the wild beauty of southern Utah.

As a result of their time on the trail with us, people gain competency in the wilderness and confidence in themselves.

The BOSS Mission

The Boulder Outdoor Survival School is dedicated to the instruction and preservation of traditional living skills and the development of people through experiences within the natural world.

Keeping Traditions Alive

For more than 50 years, BOSS has preserved and taught traditional living skills – the skills that humans around the world have used for millennia to thrive in the wild environments where we lived for the majority of our history. We focus on these skills because we believe that connecting with an ancient way of living and thriving can offer a totally new experience and a great deal of perspective to people in the modern world. In living by the rhythms and patterns of the natural world, it is possible to sink more deeply into an understanding of our place in the landscape and in the wilderness. By living in a new (old) way, we are also able to offer students a unique perspective on modern life, and what it means to be human.

Teaching primitive skills does not mean we want to live in the past. Nor does teaching survival skills mean we live in fear of catastrophe. We believe that by practicing these skills and living for a time in this way, we can become more connected to our world and better understand our place in it.

Better People Through Adversity

Our second focus as a school is on “the development of people through experiences in the natural world”. We operate our courses in some of the wildest land in the continental United States, and we know the value of facing big challenges in nature: over our many years of teaching and operating we have learned that this model offers our students the chance to find great insight, growth, renewal, and personal change. This kind of experience is not always easy, and we bring all of our experience to bear in order to carefully offer challenges to our students that are appropriate for each of them. These experiences are most available in our Field courses, where we try to intentionally push each student beyond what they think they are capable of, beyond where they are comfortable. This kind of experience is often thought of as a right of passage, and the challenges we offer are not offered in a malicious way, but in the way that we have learned through all our years to produce the kind of powerful experience each of us knows is possible. We also never ask our students to push themselves in a way we are not willing to match. Every BOSS instructor began as a student.

BOSS Master Instructor Cat Bigney starts a bow drill fire