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Get Your Certification with RMOC’s Expert Instructors

Whether you are a passionate recreationalist, an aspiring guide, or just adventure curious, obtaining wilderness certifications from accredited providers is something that should be on your to do list. Beyond progressing your skills, meeting new partners, and taking your wilderness adventures to new heights, almost all of these certifications are centered around providing experiences that help you become a better athlete and partner. Whether you are paddling in class 3 rapids, pursuing more technical climbing routes, or navigating through avalanche terrain, there are complicated risks every step of the way. Receiving a certification provides you with a toolkit that will help you and your crew understand the risks, mitigate those risks, and respond if/when something goes wrong.  Kate Stepan is a partner, Instructor, and Guide at Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center (RMOC) in Buena Vista, CO. As a multi-disciplined instructor, Kate reflected on her own certifications, “while my certs are all very job-specific, the training I received made me a better group leader and partner in my personal expeditions too!”  

For most backcountry travelers, no matter the means of travel, there is an expectation, often a demand that you and your traveling partners share similar goals, experience, and practice to ensure that if something does go wrong, everyone in your group is able to play a role in responding to any emergency that may arise.  A Wilderness First Aid (WFA) certificate can give you and your crew skills that can be applied in most remote emergency situations. These are skills that can help keep a tough day from turning tragic. Skylar Schalit, a Guide and Instructor at RMOC stated, “When I was younger, I remember helplessly watching my touring partner tomahawk uncontrollably down a bowl and about 60 yards into the basin, I kept thinking to myself, what am I going to do? I was certain she was going to break her neck and I had no plan besides calling 911.  It is terrifying, embarrassing really, to think about now.” Thankfully, fortunately, his partner was uninjured, but he says that the helplessness he felt during that incident prompted his pursuit of better skills, emergency skills, and obtaining multiple certificates that he now relies on professionally.

Instructor/Guide certifications offer something for the recreationalists as well! Building on teamwork, communication, and self-discipline, most wilderness certifications teach skills that can be utilized in many aspects of daily life. As Brandon Slate, Primary Partner and self-styled Adventure Specialist of RMOC puts it, “Certification courses are a great way for anyone to improve their personal skills – on and off of the water!”  Learning to overcome challenging terrain in a complex environment takes a lot of humility, patience, and the ability to challenge one’s own biases and assumptions. Learning how to teach others these skills is a commitment to a lifelong pursuit of experience, discipline, humility, and keeping an open mind. Skills that we could all use more of in our daily lives.

While RMOC is best known as the premier Kayak school in the U.S.A., it offers a variety of quality education and instruction across the spectrum of outdoor adventures. Headquartered in Buena Vista, CO, RMOC offers everything from ACA rafting and kayaking certificates to AIARE Avalanche certificates and Wilderness First Aid.  To give RMOC employees a hand in keeping their professional certifications up to date, RMOC offers scholarship programs to their guides. This allows the guides the opportunity to expand their skills, increase their earning potential, and pursue new passions with purpose.  

If you are looking to become a better athlete, have a better understanding of your backcountry environment, or are looking to pursue a career in outdoor adventures and education, get certified! Click here to find out more about the certifications, education, and opportunities that RMOC has to offer.   

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