Adventure Sports Program

The Northwood Adventure Sports Program is designed for aspiring outdoor enthusiasts to build a lifelong passion for adventure sports while utilizing world-class venues and unique assets within the Adirondack Park, North America, and internationally. Students will develop soft and hard skills, environmental stewardship, risk management procedures, and leadership skills while working closely and collaborating with faculty, staff, and professional guides.  


Several outdoor recreation activities within the disciplines of climbing, paddling, backcountry, and back country skiing, backpacking, wilderness navigation, and outdoor living skills are available under the Adventure Sports Program.   



Experienced Leadership


The Adventure Sports Program Director is Robert “Bobby” Michael O’Connor II, overseeing the education and adventure program.  Mr. O’Connor is an avid outdoor professional with expedition and teaching experience in paddling, rock climbing, ice climbing, backcountry skiing, and mountaineering. He is a NYS licensed guide, wilderness first responder, certified whitewater, kayaking/canoeing, and climbing wall instructor. He has received advanced training in NYS wildland search skills, challenge course technology, and avalanche response. O’Connor received a B.S. (2013) and M.S. (2017) in Expeditionary Studies from SUNY Plattsburgh. Before Northwood, Mr. O’Connor was a recreation professor at Paul Smith’s College and the Outdoor/Adventure Education Coordinator overseeing the infrastructure necessary for running the outdoor programs.    



Academic Course Offerings


The courses offered under the Adventure Sports Program align with the guiding principle of Northwood’s experiential learning program, Learn, Engage, Apply, Perform (LEAP), launched in 2017.


Classes have included:
  • Peak Pathway – Outdoor Leadership
  • Introduction to Climbing
  • Introduction to Paddle Sports
  • Expedition Planning/Avalanche Awareness
  • Adirondack Wilderness Experience


“The Wales sea kayaking trip was great. The experience as a whole was life changing. The UK is a special place, and I’m so grateful to have experienced it with the crew we had.


Sophia S. ’25


“The Northwood adventure sports program takes high school adventure sports training to the next level. A key component to this is their expedition style trips that take place world wide.


Casey Henley, Assistant Professor, Head of Climbing and Skiing and Expeditionary Studies at SUNY Plattsburgh