RMOC believes the outdoors is a source of reprieve and a foundation for adventure. To its owners, managers, and staff, the outdoors is where they meet challenges, overcome barriers, and bask in the joy of accomplishment. It is where thrill lives alongside peace and where all are welcome.
This is not a new statement from RMOC but an ethos they have carried from the moment they began offering employee ownership in 2016. For RMOC’s owners, making the outdoors accessible and inclusive is just part of the gig. It’s why they have so many women and members of the LGBTQ+ community on their staff, including in ownership and management roles. It’s why they have such a large range of trips to support all abilities, and it’s why they are consistently bringing in those 5-star ratings.
However, RMOC is not naive, and it recognizes the barriers that prevent some folks from enjoying extreme outdoor activities. And while this outfitter knows it can’t fix all these problems by itself, it has created programs to help reduce the hurdles.
The price to play is often too high
Buying a mountain bike, renting a kayak, or booking a raft trip is no small financial feat and is out of reach for a good share of the population. RMOC knows this and has created structures and partnerships to help combat this problem.
For example, when booking any trip with RMOC, such as a mountain bike, rock climbing, or kayak trip, all the necessary gear is included with the trip price, and RMOC is one of the few outfitters to do this! This means you don’t have to own a mountain bike or climbing shoes to experience those outdoor activities. Just show up with sunscreen and a water bottle, and you’re good to go!
RMOC has also played a role in grant funding that brought underserved communities down the river, and it’s currently in partnership with GARNA (Greater Arkansas River Nature Association) to build a gear library available to Chaffee County residents—GARNA is working to secure the funding and RMOC will provide the storage facility, conveniently located between Salida and Buena Vista.
In addition to these initiatives, RMOC also offers the Adventure Pass, available year-round and arguably Colorado’s greatest deal in outdoor recreation. For $950, the RMOC Adventure Pass buys you 10 RMOC group adventures of your choice. That’s $95 per course versus the regular $200 price. For $95 a day, guests will experience a full day of adventure, receive all necessary equipment, be taught by professional instructors, get free transportation to and from the activity from RMOC’s Buena Vista headquarters, and enjoy wonderful camaraderie throughout the day.
Inclusivity and outdoor adventure
Many industries have yet to address the issues that have historically excluded marginalized communities—including those with larger bodies or disabilities—and the outdoor industry is not immune. A space with so many physical, mental, and emotional health benefits, has, unfortunately, historically been quite exclusive.
RMOC aims to change that by offering gear to fit all body types and hosting trips of varying levels of difficulty. First time out? No problem. RMOC’s guides love to share easy trails and sections of the river with those new to Colorado’s great outdoors. The outfitter also offers printed safety instructions for the hearing impaired and has rafted with groups made up of the visually impaired, guided by RMOC’s most seasoned and expert staff.
“Our courses have always been open to everyone and will continue to be open to everyone. We also strive to hire staff and guides who are welcoming to everyone regardless of age, size, disability, and cultural and sexual identity. It’s something we’re very proud of,” says Owner Brandon Slate.
RMOC has been a leader in outdoor adventure since 1982, offering everything from rock climbing, kayaking, and mountain biking, to backcountry skiing and mountaineering. Name the outdoor sport, and RMOC most likely leads a class or trip in it. In addition to its incredible course catalog, RMOC also offers several levels of certification for raft guides, ski guides, and more.
Only a short drive from Colorado Springs and Denver, RMOC’s riverside outpost is located on the banks of the Arkansas River. With Browns Canyon National Monument lining its property and the breathtaking Collegiate Peaks as its backdrop, RMOC offers incredible views and opportunities for truly unique outdoor recreation in all directions.