We take professionalism seriously here at USAFA OAP which means that our staff are ACTUAL professionals.
Many people don’t necessarily ask about what that really means. The difference between a credentialed pro and the yahoo who taught themselves and has been doing it a while without any oversight, is obvious in the product you receive. Our guides and instructors have been through extensive vetting processes, participate in annual professional development trainings, and constantly try to improve their craft and advance their skills to improve your experience.
In order to become a certified or otherwise credentialed professional working in the areas we do, it can take years of dedicated training, examination, and participation in intentional experiences through organizations such as the American Mountain Guides Association which fosters professional growth. It takes the average river guide at least 5 years of experience to reach the highest level of guide license in the state of CO. It takes the average mountain guide between 7-10 years and a minimum 520 days of courses, exams, and prerequisite experience to reach full certification!
The USAFA Outdoor Adventure Program (OAP) is the US Air Force’s premier MWR program of its kind, offering guided and educational outdoor adventure experiences all over the southwest and beyond. Since its creation, the Air Force Academy has always fostered a strong ethic of pursuing outdoor activities between its cadets and the many service men and women stationed here. Over 40 years ago, USAFA Outdoor Recreation established a dedicated OAP office to address the most adventurous needs of our community. Not all Air Force installations have a dedicated programming office like ours, but we are proud to have had a robust operation offering hundreds of diverse and exciting trips and activities for our population through the decades. It is a necessary function of our installation, and an obvious need given our location in Colorado.
We strive to offer the highest quality experiences for our guests so that you can take full advantage of the many recreational opportunities in the southwest. Our programs are on par and often exceed the commercial outdoor industry in terms of staff qualifications, equipment quality, and overall experience. On top of our attention to detail and your needs as our guest, we are happy to be able to offer these programs to you often at an incredibly discounted cost due to Air Force sponsored funding. Our programs are usually 20-50% less than the private commercial outfitters, and sometimes even free! Because of the incredible support we receive and our returning guests, we have the flexibility to offer custom trips to address your personal adventure needs as well!
In the summer months, whitewater rafting on the Arkansas River near Canon City, CO is our most popular program. We safely shuttle over 1500 people down various levels of rapids each season between our beginner and advanced day trips, as well as our overnight and multi day expeditions.
The summer is also full of other programs such as rock climbing, a Colorado must do activity, mountain biking, kids camps, lake recreation, alpine climbing/mountaineering, kayaking, instructional skill based classes, and other specialized programs. We run an average of 250 trips and activities just between the months of May and August!
In the winter, we shift to the fantastic cold weather recreation the southwest is famous for. With our ability to get to any one of a dozen world class ski resorts in just a couple of hours, our weekends are often packed with daily and weekend long ski trips. We also run trips such as backcountry skiing/snowboarding, ice climbing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and many weekend long programs involving these activities. We are proud to be the only DoD MWR program to be an accredited provider of American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) avalanche safety courses which prepare our guests for safe and intelligent travel in the winter backcountry. Our winters are full of fun and excitement and we guarantee to make your experience unforgettable!
Eligible users of our program include active duty military of any branch and their dependents, retirees, DoD Civilians and their dependents, reservists and National Guard. Additionally, each eligible user over the age of 18 can sponsor up to 5 of their non-eligible family or friends to participate in our programs. We often give further discounts to our regularly subsidized prices for active duty Air Force members and their dependents as well.
To sign up for any of our trips, call 719-333-4475 or 719-333-2940 and we can take your reservation and payment over the phone, or you can visit our shop and say hello, ask questions, and tour our facility at 5136 Eagle Dr. USAF Academy, CO 80840. Our email, firstname.lastname@example.org is also a great way to get more information on our trips and activities coming up! Hope to see you soon on a new adventure!