The Valhalla Training Center is located in the San Juan mountain range above Montrose in southwest Colorado. The training center is within the world class Elk Mountain Resort, which features five-star service and accommodations within 275 acres surrounded by a national forest. In operation for only a couple of years, Valhalla has already made quite a name for itself for its amazing facilities and world class training by Rob Pincus.
Valhalla is not your standard police training facility. Everything about Elk Mountain reminds you that they spare no expense to run the resort or the training center. Just a five-minute walk from your lodge room is the center. The center contains a fully functional indoor range and a two-story, 360-degree live fire shooting “maze.” Maze is a more accurate description than shoot house.
Valhalla’s mazes recreate all manner of businesses, homes, cars, aircraft, hallways, and stairways filled with furniture and props. This is not a Spartan, railroad tie, pee gravel-floored shoot-house with no furniture. You feel that you are actually in the environment the scenarios place you. Lighting and noise can recreate a bar or disco, which adds to the realism of the training.
The use of frangible ammunition and fixed or portable bullet traps permits 360-degree scenarios with the targets primarily being full-size, plastic, 3-D mannequins that may or may not be armed and may require several center mass hits or head shots to “drop.” Students are then outfitted with UTM air munitions pistols and sent into the mazes against live role players with everyone wearing Tony Blauer’s High Gear™ helmets and body protectors.
The scenarios that follow are close range, intense and violent. It is not easy training. Lying on your back with instructor and former Navy SEAL Jeremiah Miles on top of you trying to take your gun can be intense, and at 9,000 feet where the air is thin, it can take you a couple of minutes to recover.
Due to its location at Elk Mountain, Vahalla may come across as a playground for the well-to-do, but my experiences are the opposite. Regardless of the student, don’t come to Valhalla expecting to take it easy. My fellow civilian students were put the same paces as I. Even the instructors were a little sore the morning after class. Pincus and his staff at Valhalla believe in intense and realistic training. This means that a training course can have you fighting off attackers one after another for an entire morning and afternoon with minimal down time.
On the walls within the training center are various pictures of training classes that have completed Valhalla’s courses. From military spec-ops units to classified groups of a civilian government or military nature, they have come to Valhalla Training Center to take advantage of the instruction and facilities. They, like myself, were not disappointed, according to comments written on the photos.
Staying at Elk Mountain is not cheap. It is, however, an awesome resort that provides accommodations and amenities that are world class. From the fully laid out lodge rooms, to the five-star cuisine from the Tarragon restaurant, everything is designed to cater to the guest. The resort features all manner of facilities and recreation activities such as tennis, racquetball, nature walks, horseback riding, motocross, skeet and trap ranges and more.
If you are on a budget, you can stay in Montrose at one of the area motels and commute each day, pack lunches, etc. The 40-minute drive up the mountain is an awe-inspiring trip. This may save you 20% on expenses. If you rent a car, however, the costs get a little closer, and you miss staying at a truly amazing resort.
I benefited from my training at Valhalla. From my arrival at the resort and training center through the intense two-day course, everyone made sure I had a positive and beneficial experience. Led by the highly motivated and professional Rob Pincus with an able training staff, Valhalla Training Center is a worthwhile training trip where, in the midst of natural splendor, you can experience intense training chaos and violence and learn from it.
Maybe that is the paradise from which Valhalla derives its name. When I was being driven down the mountain to the airport, I was sore and battered, but the majestic spectacle of the mountains reminded me that I was refueled, better prepared and re-energized both in spirit and soul. For a professional law enforcement officer, that is Valhalla!
Kevin R. Davis is a 23-year veteran of law enforcement. He is a 13-year veteran of the Akron, OH Police tactical team and lead instructor. Visit his Web site at www.advancedtactical-concepts.com. He welcomes your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.