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Outdoor Wilderness Risk Management Train

Risk Management for Outdoor Programs

Online Training Course for Outdoor Professionals

February 3-24, 2021


February 3-24, 2021


The course is a combination of four real-time video-conference sessions, each one hour long, spaced one week part, and independent work periods between live sessions.


Four live online sessions:

    Wednesday, February 3

    Wednesday, February 10

    Wednesday, February 17

    Wednesday, February 24


Each session is one hour long.


The course is divided into two separate cohorts, which meet at different times.

  • The timing of one cohort is designed to be convenient for participants from the Americas/Europe region.

  • The timing of the other cohort is designed to be convenient for participants from the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, including the west coast of the Americas.


Participants choose one of the two cohorts to join, based on which set of live sessions is most convenient for their time zone.


Live session schedule (AM-EU, timed for Americas & Europe)

  • 8 – 9 am Los Angeles (UTC-8)

  • 11 am – noon New York (UTC-5)

  • 4 – 5 pm London (UTC+0)

  • 9:30 – 10:30 pm India (UTC+5.30)

  • 12 midnight – 1 am Singapore/Beijing (UTC+8) (Thursday, the day following)

  • 2 – 3 am Sydney AU (UTC+10) (Thursday, the day following)


Live session schedule (APAC, timed for Asia-Pacific including west coast Americas)

  • 7 – 8 pm Los Angeles (UTC-8) (Tuesday, one day earlier)

  • 10 – 11 pm New York (UTC-5) (Tuesday, one day earlier)

  • 3 – 4 am London (UTC+0)

  • 8:30 – 9:30 am India (UTC+5.30)

  • 11 am – noon Singapore/Beijing (UTC+8)

  • 1 pm – 2 pm Sydney AU (UTC+10)


Participants enroll in either the AM-EU or APAC cohort, and take part in all live sessions and group activities with their cohort. When enrolling, please make sure that you select the cohort most suitable for your personal schedule (Americas/Europe or APAC).

Independent individual and group work occurs between live sessions.


  • Gain critical knowledge of best practices in outdoor program risk management

  • Learn procedures, systems and plans essential to meeting key outdoor safety standards

  • Understand how to apply successful risk management strategies to adventure programs, experiential education, wilderness expeditions, and outdoor trips


Valuable for

Program Coordinators/Managers, Risk Management officers, Risk Management/Safety Committee members, members of Boards of Directors, executive leadership.

Course Format

The course is composed of four live video-conference sessions and three independent work periods:


1. Live sessions. Four live, video-conference sessions, one hour long, occurring the same day and time each week, for four consecutive weeks.  These include structured real-time small-group and large-group discussions and participant project presentations.

2. Independent work. Between live video-conferences, there are three week-long independent work periods for individual and remote small-group activity. This work includes:

  • Review of pre-recorded slide presentations with presenter video

  • Completion of readings

  • Participation in online discussion forums

  • Participation in interactive video-based decision-making activities

  • Completion of writing assignments (including writing risk management plan outline and strategic improvement plan content)

  • Peer review of select classmate writing content

  • Completion of organizational self-assessment of risk management

  • Completion of online worksheets

  • Participation in online risk decision-making role-playing scenario

  • Structured analysis of case-study examples

  • Completion of quizzes and final exam


Independent work is anticipated to take a minimum of 7-12 hours per week.


Jeff Baierlein, Director, Viristar; past Executive Director at Outward Bound USA




USD $259 individual enrollment.

USD $225 per person for groups of 5 or more.

Course fee includes four live sessions, materials for independent work sessions, lifetime access to an electronic, online-based copy of the course textbook Risk Management for Outdoor Programs: A Guide to Safety in Outdoor Education, Recreation and Adventure, and certification.


Live Session 1

Welcome, Orientation, Introductory Concepts in Risk Management


Independent Work 1

General Concepts in Risk Management

  • Approaches to Risk Management

  • Standards

  • Laws


Risk Domains

  • Organizational Culture

  • Activities and Program Areas

  • Staff

  • Equipment

  • Participants

  • Subcontractors

  • Transportation

  • Business Administration       


Live Session 2

Facilitated Discussion

Participant Presentations: Self-Evaluation of Risk Management in Risk Management Domains


Independent Work 2

Risk Management Instruments

  • Risk Transfer

  • Incident Management

  • Incident Reporting

  • Incident Reviews

  • Risk Management Committee

  • Medical Screening

  • Risk Management Reviews

  • Media Relations

  • Documentation

  • Accreditation

  • Systems Thinking


Special Topic: COVID-19 Management


Live Session 3

Facilitated Discussion

Participant Presentations: Self-Evaluation of Risk Management with Risk Management Instruments and COVID-19

Risk Decisions Role Play: Introduction


Independent Work 3

Synthesis & Application

  • Risk Management Plan Development

  • Strategic Improvement Plan for Your Organization

  • Risk Decisions Role Play: Preparation


Final Exam


Live Session 4

Facilitated Discussion

Participant Presentation: Strategic Improvement Plan for Your Organization

Risk Decisions Role Play

Conclusion & Certificates

Download a PDF version of the syllabus here.



The course textbook is Risk Management for Outdoor Programs: A Guide to Safety in Outdoor Education, Recreation and Adventure ( This 218-page text is provided to each student in electronic online-based format.


Participants take four short quizzes throughout the course and a final written exam. Individuals who fully participate in learning activities and successfully complete the final exam receive a certificate from Viristar valid for three years.

Previous Participants Say:

  • “Viristar delivered a high quality training and I would recommend it to any outdoor program.”  Si Dilks, ChinaClimb

  • “Extremely useful, important and informative course…very enjoyable and worthwhile.” Kelvin Fawcett, Nord Anglia International School

  • “Great insight into risk management—took a lot away to implement back at my workplace. Very well run.  Great course!” Liam Warren, Harrow International School


Register by selecting one of the four enrollment options below. Scroll down as needed to see all four options for single or group enrollment and Americas/Europe or APAC live session timing.

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