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OIA: Why We Need Adventure

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Heli-skiing in British Columbia, Canada. Photograph by Avery Stonich

Editor’s Note: Today we are launching a new blog column with Outdoor Industry Association. Avery Stonich will be weighing in on industry trends, places to play outside and the federal policies that affect them, with a few tales from OIA staffers’ adventures thrown in for good measure.

As I ponder this assignment—a new outdoor adventure of sorts—I think about what it means to adventure.

Adventure encompasses so many experiences and emotions, which are different for everyone. The universal appeal, in my opinion, is the opportunity to embark on the unknown, experience yourself in a whole new way, and open your heart and mind to a fresh perspective on life.

One of my greatest adventures was when I went heli-skiing in eastern British Columbia. It was extremely remote. The heli operation had been going for just a few years. They had thousands of acres of exclusive, uncharted territory. I’ll never forget how far out of my comfort zone I had to go.

First, I was a little nervous about the helicopter, since I’d ridden in one only once before. Then—even though I’m a strong skier—I faced the raw challenge of jumping out of a bird on a razor-sharp ridge atop a slope that had never been skied before. And there were the physical challenges, as we skied through varying snow textures and landscapes that kept you on your toes—or, I guess, edges—in a constant state of alert and bewilderment.

But then, every fear melted away and I found myself completely absorbed by the sights, sounds and experience. We had pure blue skies. The snow was deep and stable. We could drop anywhere, ski anything. It was ideal—heaven on Earth.

But the thing that stuck with me most was the sheer thrill of adventure. Of living in the moment. Sharing camaraderie with my fellow skiers. And pushing myself to the limit. Because it’s only by pushing our limits that we truly challenge ourselves and learn who we really are and what we are capable of.

Whether you’re a mountaineer who scales the world’s highest peaks, an outdoor guide who mentors budding outdoor enthusiasts, an avid weekend warrior who dreams of backcountry adventures at your desk, or a parent who wants to share your joy of the outdoors with your child—you’re an adventurer.

Come to this blog to feed your hunger for adventure, learn about the outdoor industry, discover new ways to explore the outdoors, or find out how you can help protect our places to play.

The world of adventure is yours to explore. I hope you’ll explore it with me.