You vs. Wild: Bear Grylls’ ‘Survival Academy’ Coming to U.S.

"Man vs. Wild" star’s outdoor school to open in the Catskills next spring

If you’ve ever watched the Discovery Channel’s hit show “Man vs. Wild” and thought that you, too, would like to drink your own urine, eat maggots and learn to survive in the wilderness, then host Bear Grylls has a special treat for you.

The British survival expert, who launched his Survival Academy in the Scottish highlands last year, is bringing his hard-core brand of outdoors education to the United States in the spring.

“So many people have asked me over the years where they can learn extreme, practical survival—the type that requires spirit, determination and the skills to self-rescue against the odds, in some of the harshest terrain around,” said Grylls in a press release. “So it is with great pride that we can now finally launch the Bear Grylls Survival Academy in the USA to be able to share some of these skills and what it really means to be able to look after yourself when the chips are down.”

“Oh, and it may hurt a little,” he added.

The Survival Academy will open for business in April 2014 in upstate New York’s Catskill mountains after a November preview. No word on prices just yet, but 24-hour classes in Scotland currently run for about $547 per person.

The courses, which range from 24 hours to five days, were designed by Grylls himself, and will be lead by head instructor Scott Heffield and other members of Grylls’ team. (As with his Scottish academy, Grylls may make appearances as his schedule allows, but no guarantees.) They involve learning a variety of skills for remote land and water survival, including fire lighting, building emergency shelter, first aid, foraging for food, river crossings and more.

“The five-day course will … culminate in a wilderness expedition designed to put the participants' new found skills to the ultimate test,” said Survival Academy spokesman Lee Edelstein.

And of course, no Bear Grylls-branded survival course would be complete without a “gross eat challenge,” in which participants—you guessed it—chow down on on some of the less appetizing fruits of the wilderness: rodents, grubs and other creepy crawlies.

“The gross eat challenge really is a product of Bear Grylls’ ethos of dynamic survival and self-rescue,” said Edelstein. “[It’s] the idea that no one is going to come and find you so you need to keep moving and take calculated chances to keep yourself on the way to rescue.”

Grylls also currently hosts the reality show “Get Out Alive” on NBC.


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