What is the programming like at Snowbird?
Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters is a full-service ministry, providing biblical teaching, small group leaders, practical breakout sessions, meals and a plethora of recreational options. From giant swings, zip lines and paintball to mountain biking, whitewater rafting, and hiking, our passion is to share the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. At the core of every ministry endeavor is the expository preaching of Scripture. This is what sets Snowbird apart from other student camps. Our passion is to share the truths of God’s Word and allow the Gospel message to impact lives. Whether our staff is teaching breakout sessions, leading recreation or hanging out in student cabins, our goal is to share the Gospel of Jesus continually and to serve as ministers of the reconciliation He offers us through His life, death, and resurrection.
What ages attend Snowbird camps, retreats, and conferences?
Snowbird’s Summer Camp and all other student conferences are open to middle and high school students. SWO also offers several adult conferences, including the Be Strong men’s conference, Respond women’s retreat, The Marriage Retreat, etc. Our SMO Missions Camps are for middle and high school students, and the OLD School semester is designed for college-age students from 18-25 years of age.
What forms do we need to have?
The required forms for your retreat are listed in your reservation agreement. Each person must have a medical history and liability form filled out completely to be on our property. Forms are also located on the registration page of the SWO website.
When are deposits due
Deposits are due upon registration. Please see your reservation agreement for more details.
What if I’m not part of a group?
Individuals are able to attend SWO camps, conferences, and retreats. Please contact the SWO Registration Director with any questions. SWO office phone is (828) 321-2210.
How do I register for an event?
- If you are attending Snowbird with a group, follow the group itinerary link given to you by your group administrator. If you did not receive the link, please contact your group administrator.
- If you are attending Snowbird as an individual, please click on the registration tab on the Snowbird website and follow the steps to register for the desired event. If you do not see the event you would like to register for during this process, please contact the Snowbird office at 828-321-2210 to check availability.
How do I register a sibling or another family member for an event?
- If you are registering with a group, you must sign out after registering each child/family member and begin by following the itinerary link again. This will ensure they are not registered outside of your group.
- If you are registering individually, you can choose to register another person after completing each registration.
How do I add or drop additional spots to my group?
Call the Snowbird office at 828-321-2210 to add or drop additional spots.
What should I bring?
Where is Snowbird located?
Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters is located in the corner of Western North Carolina, just west of the Smoky Mountains. We are approximately two hours from Chattanooga, TN; Asheville, NC; Knoxville, TN; and Atlanta, GA. Get directions to Snowbird.
Do the group leaders sleep in the same cabins as the students?
The SWO staff will be pursuing relational interaction with your students while they are here, until bedtime. Your chaperones are then responsible for your students. So, group leaders and chaperones will lodge in the same cabin as your students, but the SWO staff utilize separate housing.
What are some local lodging options?
There are several area hotels and Bed & Breakfasts in the greater Andrews area. You’ll find a list here of available options and contact information.
Quality Inn – Andrews, NC – 3.3 miles from SWO
Stonebrook Lodge – Murphy, NC – 15 miles from SWO
Best Western – Murphy, NC – 16 miles from SWO
Hampton Inn – Murphy, NC- 16 miles from SWO
Holiday Inn Express – Murphy, NC – 20 miles from SWO
Fernwood Cottage Suites – Andrews, NC – 3 miles from SWO
Collett Creek Cabins – Andrews, NC – 3 miles from SWO
Mountain Riders Campground – Andrews, NC – 2.5 miles from SWO –
Wicklow Woods Cottage – Andrews, NC – 7 miles from SWO
Cherokee Mountain Cabins – Topton, NC – 18 miles from SWO
Do we need prior experience to participate in any of Snowbird’s activities?
Each recreation activity is managed by trained staffers. There is no prior experience needed, as staff will teach your students and facilitate the activities.
What if my student/child has a special dietary need?
The SWO kitchen serves three hot meals a day, with a soup & salad bar offered as an additional option. If there is a specific need, we will do our best to accommodate your needs but might be limited by a large number of attendees. Please contact the SWO office for more detailed information.
Do we need to bring any extra money?
Most Snowbird camps and retreats are all-inclusive. There is an extra cost if you wish to purchase additional rounds for shooting recs (paintballs and shotgun/AR-15) than are allotted. Horseback riding (except during summer) and rafting on the Ocoee River are also additional costs to recreation. You may also want to bring money to buy T-shirts, snacks, etc. at the Snack Shack.
What is your lost and found policy?
Due to the number of campers we have each week, SWO cannot be responsible for items left at Snowbird, Cataloochee or any other off-campus location. Skateboards, helmets, skis/snowboards, paintball guns, sleeping bags, jewelry, cell phones, cameras and the like will be thrown away or given to the local thrift store. Please read below and inform your group/individual of this policy. It will be strictly enforced.
- Snowbird is not responsible for any items lost, damaged or stolen while at Snowbird.
- Do not keep things in black trash bags, they are “at risk” for being considered trash
- If a participant chooses to bring any of their personal recreation equipment (skateboards, paintball markers, etc), Snowbird is not responsible if they are lost, stolen, or damaged.
Can we bring our own paintball guns?
You may bring your own paintball guns/materials; they will be checked in upon your arrival. You can not use your paint in Snowbird guns, but you can use personal paint in your own guns, or purchase more while you’re here.
What is the cost of additional supplies on the paintball course?
Each participant begins with a full hopper of paint (200 rounds). The cost afterward is $40 for a box of 4 bags (2,000 rounds), $20 for 1 bag (250 rounds), $10 to fill a hopper (200 rounds).
How can I reach someone during an emergency?
The SWO office is open Monday–Friday (8:30am—12pm, and 1pm—4:30pm). If you are unable to reach someone during an emergency, you can call Spencer Davis at (828) 557-1463.
Is there a registered nurse to administer medications and care for injuries?
We do not have a registered nurse on our property, but many SWO staff are certified in first aid and CPR. All medications must be administered by group chaperones. In the event of an emergency, the nearest hospital is located 13 miles from the property.
Missions & Outreach Camp (SMO)
What type of work will we be doing?
SMO projects may include anything from painting, repairing a roof, cleaning projects and mowing lawns to small construction projects like building a wheelchair ramp or reinforcing a porch. We suggest each group brings one skilled laborer, but this is not a requirement. The Snowbird Missions staff is ready and equipped to run the entire work site.
Can I plan a Snowbird Missions Camp even if it’s not summer?
Yes. We have special customized missions camp weeks that we can schedule during spring and fall breaks. Give us a call to discuss the option that best fits your group!
What is included for my students in the cost?
The cost for one week of Summer Missions camp is per person and includes a materials fee for the work project. This price includes all 5 nights of lodging, 14 meals, 3 workdays, and 1 full day of recreation (rain or shine). One price covers ALL activities and meals your group will participate in from registration on Monday to departure on Saturday.
Do Missions Camp students participate in recreation?
Yes! SMO participants have the opportunity to take advantage of our on-campus recreation Friday afternoon during the Summer. If you’re here during the Retreat Season, then please refer to the schedule for Rec time.
Are groups required to pay an additional site fee?
No, SMO Missions camp and retreats no longer require a site fee. The materials expense has been combined into the per person camp cost in order to simplify group registration and planning.
What does a week of Summer SMO look like?
In one week of SMO summer camp, your group will work on a project for 3 full days. On Friday, your group will go white water rafting and participate in Snowbird recreation.
Will my students be in the main Summer Camp services?
Each morning you will participate in a smaller group Bible Study (led by SMO missions staff) and attend the larger Snowbird services each evening.
What if I’m not part of a group?
Individuals are able to attend Snowbird camps, conferences, and retreats. Please contact the SWO Registration Director with any questions. SWO office phone is (828) 321-2210.
Winter & Ski Conferences
Will transportation be provided to and from the Cataloochee Ski Area?
No, you must provide your own transportation to and from the Cataloochee Ski Area, which is approximately 70 miles to Cataloochee.
Do we need to provide our own ski equipment?
Individuals will have skis/snowboards provided but there will be an option to rent bibs and jackets at Cataloochee Ski Area for an additional charge. The charge will be paid by the individual at Cataloochee Ski Area and is based on availability.
What if I do not know how to ski or snowboard?
Ski/Snowboard lessons are available at Cataloochee for $10/person.
Will there be additional activities planned for those who do not want to ski or snowboard?
Any students registered for the non-ski package will stay at Snowbird for on-campus recreation
during the afternoon, then dinner and services that evening.
Will food be provided at the slopes?
Yes, Snowbird will provide dinner. Snacks will also be available for purchase at the resort.
What does the price include?
A ski retreat at SWO runs 2-3 days and includes accommodations, meals, worship, and teaching
sessions, on-campus recreation, lift ticket and ski rentals.
What if I have a reservation and not all of my students want to ski/snowboard?
Please contact the office 2 weeks in advance with the breakdown of who will and will not be skiing and to make price adjustments for your reservation. No changes can be made once the 2-week deadline has passed. A chaperone must remain at the resort with any who do not plan to ski.
Outdoor Leadership & Discipleship School (OLD School)
What is the cost for the semester?
The full cost for the semester is $6,900 and covers lodging, travel, camping, gear, activities, and meals. Students are encouraged to bring along extra money for personal items, entertainment, and days off (approx. 8‐10). Expenses for college credit hours are handled through Southeastern University www.seu.edu.
When is the application and first deposit due?
The deadline for Fall Semester applications is July 1, and the first deposit is due at time of acceptance.
Do I need to have experience before arriving for the OLD School Semester?
You do not need any prior experience to participate in an Old School course. We have professional and experienced guides who lead each course. We will provide you with all the equipment and training necessary to complete your course.
How much of a physical challenge should I expect?
It is always hard to gauge the difficulty level of an area of wilderness you’ve never visited, or activities you’ve never participated in. If you are in good shape, keep it up. If not, then you need to get up and start some conditioning in preparation for your course. Semester sections involve carrying 50-60 pounds for large portions of the day, up hills and over rocks. You need to be healthy and physically fit when you arrive. While physical strength is needed, you would do well to focus on your cardiovascular endurance for this course. It is recommended that you exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. For help on a pre-semester fitness plan, please contact us. You don’t have to be in peak athletic shape for your course, but huffing and puffing always makes your day less enjoyable. We require every semester student to provide proof of a doctor’s physical examination prior to this course.
What type of food do we eat during the OLD School Semester?
Your diet in the backcountry will showcase your creativity. We will provide the ingredients and teach you how to cook some amazing dishes using camp stoves and cookware. You’ll use pasta, rice, flour, cheese, tortillas, vegetables, and many other things to whip up culinary masterpieces.
Where will we stay when not in the backcountry on a section?
During downtime between course sections and during in-town sections, students will stay in cabins at Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters (SWO) where you will have access to nearby bathrooms/showers. All meals will be provided, except on days off (approx. 8-10 during the semester).
What happens during Thanksgiving?
Students get a significant break for the Thanksgiving holiday, usually 10 days. Many students use this as a chance to return home and visit family or friends.
Is there a separate semester for guys and girls?
Male and female students (aged 18-25) will participate together for the majority of the semester. There will be several days in a given section where the guys and girls are separate, the entire group will function together during most sections. In co-ed portions, you will be in girl or guy-specific tent/room groups and every effort will be made to protect your privacy and purity. We ask for this same effort on your part as well.
What if a student gets hurt on the trail or parents need to get in touch with a student because of an emergency situation at home?
Our staff is certified to handle most injuries or unexpected incidents while on the trail. OLD School trips are never more than 30 minutes away from a main road and are met by a replenishing team throughout their trip. Trips all have at least 2 leaders certified with a WFR (Wilderness First Responder), CPR and First Aid, and several have more extensive medical training.
What about college credit?
Southeastern University is offering a maximum of 15 credit hours for the OLD School semester. If you’re interested in getting these credits, please email Curtis Batten at email@example.com with specific questions.