OUR DIRECTORS

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CHANTELLE SHOAEE

Founder & Executive Director

Wilderness First Aid Responder

Board Member at Colorado Search and Rescue Association - CSAR

A premature birth alongside multiple birth defects (Tracheoesophageal fistula) is how her story began. A story of being born to overcome life’s adversities and what it means to fight to live. Just a few hours after she was born – she endured major surgery and in the process had to be resuscitated 13 times. Because of a challenging beginning, she now endures vocal cord dysfunction, severe asthma, and COPD which come with their own set of unique challenges in the form of frequent and multiple respiratory infections. During her childhood – doctors instructed Chantelle’s parents to keep her indoors as much as possible; she was a bubble child. Never being able to participate in camping, hiking, backpacking, climbing, exploring or adventures left a void her a young Chantelle that would only be filled later in her life.

 

Fast forward to Chantelle’s adulthood and she still continues to overcome life’s adversities in the form of continued and persistent health issues, addiction, and depression. Desperate to break free from the ties that bind her to a life where she felt it served no purpose knowing deep down she could do so much more; she began to always choose adventures which began her new journey. She began to acquire the skills and knowledge needed to tackle almost anything she missed out on and in the process was blessed with meeting hundreds of kind, adventurous souls who've changed her world as she knows it. 

 

Her favorite adventures include but aren’t limited to camping, hiking, volunteering, and backpacking.

 

Chantelle founded Always Choose Adventures to remind people who may be suffering from various physical or mental conditions that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!

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GERRY ROACH

BOARD MEMBER & ACA MOUNTAINEERING TEAM

 

Favorite Adventures:

Gerry’s favorite adventures are his new route climb on Alaska’s 17,400-foot Mount Foraker’s North Ridge in 1975. He named the ridge Archangel as a remembrance for his fallen climbing partner Gary Lukis.

His traverse of Alaska’s 16,390-foot Mount Blackburn in 1977 is a close second as a favorite adventure.

His second favorite major adventure was his ascent of 16,050-foot Vinson Massif in 1985, Antarctica’s highest peak.
With this climb, Gerry became the second person to have climbed Earth’s seven continent summits. 
He likes to joke that he was the first non-millionaire to achieve this feat.

Why He Always Chooses Adventures: 

Gerry learned as a young teenager that he was happiest on the rocks and in the high mountains. preferably both at the same time. Now, almost seven decades later, he still pursues his outdoor passions with all the energy that he can muster. 
Looking back across a lifetime of grand adventures, he has recently asked himself what adventure would he have sacrificed to put him in a better financial position today. His answer was an immediate and emphatic “None!"
Gerry jokes that he will climb K2 when he is 85. Who knows? He might actually go for it! 

Gerry is happy to promote Always Choose Adventures with gusto, since with today’s global environmental issues, we need to understand and bond with raw nature more than ever before. 

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NATASHA SALEM

DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

Favorite Adventures:

Her Favorite adventures are when her husband and her pack up the dogs in the Jeep and just go. They head for the mountains and look for dirt roads. The best part is when you stumble upon a ridiculous camp site with an amazing view. She absolutely loves camping. Day hikes would be next on the list and really just being outside and listening to the sounds of nature. She is looking forward to learning more about rock climbing this year and fine tuning that skill.

 

 

Why She Always Chooses Adventures:

After moving to Colorado from Michigan and growing up in Florida, she realized all the things she was missing out on. Finding the mountains was like finding religion. Since that 1st time rock climbing in Golden she's been hooked. The outdoors is like therapy and helps feel more connected to the Earth. We are all flowers just trying to find the sun!

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ROLF ASPHAUG

ATTORNEY

Favorite Adventures: Hiked from Arizona to Oregon. Former wilderness instructor, trip leader and president of Colorado Mountain Club. Now a park patroller for Colorado state and Jefferson County parks.

Why He Always Chooses Adventures: Loves supporting outdoor adventures for beginners and people from diverse backgrounds.

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JACQUE WAGNER

ACCOUNTANT

Favorite Adventures:

Jacque loves packing up for the weekend and heading to the lake with her kids and husband! From boat rides, to exploring all of Colorado Jacque adores spending quality time with her family. 

 

 

Why She Always Chooses Adventures:

Jacque knows sunshine and fresh air helps the soul and mental health. She encourages everyone and anyone to get outdoors! 

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SCOTT GARCIA

DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Favorite Adventures:

Hiking Alpine lakes, climbing 14ers, cooking, taking scenic pictures, telling jokes, traveling new places, discovering breweries, meeting new people and being an inspiration to the Autism community and all who love the outdoors.

 

Why He Always Chooses Adventures: 

It helps him get through life and it's challenges. He has lost both of his parents and has mild autism. He has a huge passion for being outside, enjoy nature and taking amazing scenic pictures of mountains. He has the dream and the large goal of completing all 58 of Colorado's fourteeners. When he completes this feat he will dedicate his CO 14er finisher medallion to his late parents, family, and friends that have guided and supported him when he needed it. He says, "It's an honor to meet all the amazing people in ACA, it's inspired me to become a great hiker and man." He also says, “After my 20 hour Blanca Peak mishap in May 2018, ACA stepped in and helped educated me to camp and have hiking partners for my next hikes.” He also stated “My biggest accomplishment was the day I successfully climbed and summited one of the toughest 14ers in Colorado, Capitol Peak. I wouldn’t have done it without ACA.” He's very proud to be an inspiration to a lot of people and he's very excited to inspire more people to get outside and reach their adventurous goals.

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GABBY GALE

DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

Favorite Adventures:

Running, Peak Bagging, Hiking, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Mountain Biking and Ice/Rock Climbing. 

 

Why She Always Chooses Adventures: 

Being in nature is where she finds herself and re-centers. After committing to recovery from an eating disorder and alcoholism in 2015, she made the bold decision to sign up for an expedition to climb Cotopaxi & Chimborazo. The training process kept her outside, focused on learning the needed mountaineering skills, and true to health. Since then, she is half way through summitting the Colorado 14ers, has ran 5 ultra marathons, and continues to get people outside to try things they never believed they could do! 

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JARED MOYA

ASSISTANT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & ACA HQ MANAGER

Favorite Adventures:

His favorite adventures encompass anything that involves long, vertical days including rock, ice, and alpine climbing, and also sliding down whatever he climbed up with a pair of skis. Other favorites include long walks through Aspen groves, and casting a fishing line through a few feet of ice in the winter.

 

Why He Always Chooses Adventures:

Jared was fortunate enough to grow up in a household with the quintessential "trad dad" on call. He learned to develop an affinity for the outdoors as a kid, which magnified into a love for the high mountains and being knee-deep in snow as a teenager. In his first year of college, he bought a pair of alpine boots with his graduation money, and has managed to make the best use possible out of them. He believes in the healing spirit of the alpine, and the beauty of feeling vulnerable in places that make you feel smaller than yourself, a feeling that can only be attained by choosing adventure!

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ALEX TORRES

LEAD AMBASSADOR & OPERATIONS TRAINER

Favorite Adventures: 

Hiking, Snorkeling, Biking, Climbing, Trail Running

 

Why He Always Chooses Adventures: Growing up in an unstable home, Alex found comfort in the outdoors. He grew up in a rural town in Puerto Rico, the outdoors we were just a step away. Five years ago, he joined the U.S Coast Guard and got to travel around South America and the Caribbean. From snorkeling the second largest barrier Roatan, Honduras to swimming in rivers in the tropical forest of El Yunke in Puerto Rico, an adventure is just around the corner. Alex can't wait to adventure with you in Colorado!! 

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Always Choose Adventures is a Colorado nonprofit corporation exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. EIN #83-1239243

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