• Alison Whiting

Rocky Mountain Adaptive – Making the Canadian Rockies More Accessible!

A photo of an adaptive skier skiing down a mountain.

Founded in 2009, Rocky Mountain Adaptive (RMA) is a registered charity organization based in Canmore AB, on the doorstep of Banff National Park, their mission is to enable all individuals regardless of age or disability to participate and excel in outdoor recreational activities in the Canadian Rockies.

So often, people with disabilities are told they can’t do something, and that becomes an ingrained belief that they can’t. But RMA wants everyone to know that they can! Their motto is “No Limits!”. Through their different programs and lessons, they want everyone to feel confident accessing the provincial and national parks in the Canadian Rockies.

While originally known for its adaptive ski lessons, RMA now offers over 20 different adaptive sport and recreational activities, catering to entry-level participants, developing competitive athletes and everyone in between. RMA provides private lessons, supported experiences, multi-day programs and camps, equipment rentals, and programming to disability groups. On an average year, the organization offers more than 2,000 experiences year-round.

Winter activities on offer include skiing, both cross-country and downhill, snowboarding, sit ski, snowshoeing, skating, and sledding. Summer activities available include cycling, both leisure and mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, golfing, hiking, and paddleboards.

This is a photo of an three wheel mobility device.

One of RMA’s primary goals is to promote independence through education, lessons, and training. That’s also the reason the organization offers rentals for assistive equipment like sit skis, standup outriggers, Simultalk headsets, TrailRiders, hand cycles, Bowhead Reach, kayaks, canoes and paddleboards; you don’t have to rely on camps or lessons to do these activities & can simply rent the equipment you need and make your own adventure.

This is a photo of an adaptive paddleboard for individuals with mobility limitations.

While most participants at RMA are local, the company knows that not everyone is. They provide information and assistance with booking accessible transportation to/from the Calgary International Airport, and accessible accommodation in the Banff/Canmore area.

Two adaptive hikers look down a mountain during the winter.

In order to keep costs down and help make accessible adventures available to everyone, RMA accepts donations year-round and holds a number of yearly fundraisers. Their three main fundraisers are ForeAbility, their annual Golf Tournament, ShredAbility (their winter ski/ride treasure hunt fundraiser), and the Town Party, an evening dinner fundraiser with a silent auction. RMA also has a number of corporate and community sponsors that help with equipment and programming costs.

Have you had a chance to participate in any RMA experiences? Tell us!

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