Male UMF skier at mountain

Looking for a degree that combines your passion for the great outdoors with a valuable skill set that’ll allow you to manage — or start your own — four-season outdoor recreation-related businesses? The University of Maine at Farmington Outdoor Recreation Business Administration Program (aka ORBA) is an innovative academic program with a broad four-season focus. It has an emphasis on business, with substantial coursework in outdoor recreation — including areas like snow sports, the river industry, adventure sports, hiking and camping, golf and inland fishing.

A particular strength of the Outdoor Recreation Business Administration program is the required internship, which provides you with valuable hands-on experience and a network of professional contacts in the outdoor recreation industry, one of Maine’s largest employment sectors.

University of Maine at Farmington Outdoor Recreation Business Administration (ORBA) major Charles Katz recently participated in a paid internship at Maine’s Saddleback Ski Resort as part of his Resort Management course where he learned the ropes of being a member of the Ski Patrol team. Saddleback Ski Area is located just an hour from campus. Charles self-produced this video as part of his final project.

See recent Outdoor Recreation Business Administration grad Kyle Joseph (included in this three-student video) on why he chose Farmington

After graduation in 2020, Kyle splits his time between the East and the West, working as a rafting guide at Moxie Outdoor Adventures at The Forks in Maine, then working as a Terrain Park manager at Alta Ski Resort, just outside of Salt Lake, Utah.

Kyle says he’s living the dream life he has always wanted — a working professional in the exciting outdoor recreation industry.

In the ORBA program you’ll develop a broad range of business knowledge and skills, together with skills in writing, oral presentation, problem solving, decision-making, leadership, and team building.

The program was developed with guidance from outdoor rec industry partners and leaders, so we are confident that it will provide you with the skills and knowledge that you will need to succeed in outdoor recreation.

UMF has a strong and longstanding connection to the active outdoor lifestyle, particularly in skiing and snowboarding. Located in the foothills of Western Maine, the Farmington area is rich in natural and scenic resources: spectacular lakes, great hiking trails, beautiful and challenging ski slopes, and the best whitewater rafting and kayaking in the Northeast.

We have a number of student leadership opportunities through Mainely Outdoors — our year-round outdoor adventure program designed to help UMF students and community members of all abilities take advantage of our region’s amazing outdoor activities: hiking, snowshoeing, kayaking, camping, mountain biking, Nordic skiing, canoeing, geo-caching, and more.

Many ORBA students simultaneously earn a UMF Alpine Operations Certificate while they complete their degree in Outdoor Recreation Business Administration.

Get a Taste of Real World Experience — in your classes

The ORBA program brings professionals from the outdoor recreation industry into your classes to guest lecture. You’ll get to meet industry leaders as they guide you through their experiences and opportunities and present you with an idea of how their business operates. you’ll also have the opportunity to network with them.

Plus, you can become involved in aspects of their business as part of a classroom project. For the past few years, UMF ORBA students worked with Maine Outdoor Brands, a trade and advocacy organization UMF partners with. Maine Outdoor Brands represents outdoor recreation businesses across Maine, and UMF ORBA students work with them to produce their annual online Gift Guide.

This project connects students with numerous outdoor businesses on a months-long class project: writing product descriptions, obtaining and shooting photos, developing an ecommerce website and more. It is great hands-on experience and provides countless opportunities to work closely with industry leaders — without having to leave campus.

Internships – Real-World Experience in the Outdoor Recreation Industries

At UMF you can find out, first-hand, what it’s like to work in Outdoors-focused fields while you learn valuable career skills and develop a strong network of professional contacts.

Here’s a short list of where our Outdoor Recreation Business Administration students have recently interned:

  • Sugarloaf Ski Resort: marketing, park crew, ski school management, lift maintenance, guest services management, races & courses management, ski retail management, golf club management and more
  • Sunday River Ski Resort: assistant to the president, ski patrol / mountain operations, snow sports school management, parks & pipe supervisor, marketing, ski school management and instructor, retail management and more
  • Copper Mountain Ski Resort – Colorado: ski school management
  • Winterstick Skis: retail / product management
  • Crab Apple Whitewater Rafting: rafting guide and guest services
  • Lost Valley Ski Area: marketing, management, snowmaking
  • Northern Outdoors Rafting & Adventures: rafting guide and guest services
  • Titcomb Mountain Ski Area: assistant to general manager, assistant manager, coaching, terrain park management, ski school management and more
  • Black Mountain Ski Area: terrain park management
  • Farmington Parks & Rec Dept: various positions
  • UMF Mainely Outdoors Adventure Program: assistant to the director
  • Breakwater Inn & Spa: management, hotel, hospitality
  • The Riders Club Snowboarding / Surfing / Skateboarding Youth Program: youth coach / mentor
  • Carrabassett Valley Academy: alpine ski coach
  • Lake Winnipesaukee Golf Club: pro shop management
  • Sebago Trails Paddling Company: management, marketing
  • East Millinocket Recreation Dept: various positions
  • New England Marine & Industrial: management
  • Hammond Lumber Corporate Headquarters: marketing
  • UMF Athletics: marketing, videography
  • UMF Fitness & Recreation Center: various positions
  • Mt. Blue high School Athletics: coach
  • And many more

See Outdoor Recreation Business Administration student Ali Banks-Mitchell (included in this three-student video) on why she chose Farmington

Want to save nearly $6,000 per year in tuition? This program qualifies for a New England Regional Student tuition discount for residents of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. See details here

Got questions? Ask a professor in this program

Contact Us

Office of Admissions
University of Maine at Farmington
246 Main Street
Farmington, Maine USA 04938-1994
tel  207-778-7050
fax  207-778-8182
TYY (via Maine Relay Service) dial 711
umfadmit@maine.edu