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 low functioning lungs 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. 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.
After years of dealing with numerous medical issues while adventuring, Chantelle has recently started seeking treatment with National Jewish Hospital, her medical team has discovered her birth defects were not repaired. Chantelle's trachea collapses 90% while eating, speaking or exerting herself, making Chantelle hypoxic. Chantelle is now a supplemental oxygen dependent adventurer, and is exploring procedures to repair her illness.
Her favorite adventures include but aren’t limited to camping, hiking, volunteering, paddleboarding and backpacking.
Chantelle founded Always Choose Adventures to remind people who may be suffering from various physical or mental conditions that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!
PRESIDENT OF THE ACA BOARD
Wilderness First Aid Responder
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.
VICE PRESIDENT, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS & SECRETARY
Wilderness First Aid Certified
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!
DIRECTOR OF GRANTS & ALL-AROUND ACA NINJA
Tanya is an avid runner and loves going camping, hiking, or doing anything in nature. The mountains are, as she puts it, the place where her heart is happiest. A close second is traveling around the world and experiencing new cultures. She enjoys meeting people with her same appreciation of the wonders of this amazing Earth, and readily shares her passion for the outdoors and her sports with anyone who even hints at a glimmer of interest.
Why she Always Choose Adventures:
The greatest gift you are given and can give in this one life is your TIME. Tanya always chooses adventures because she believes it is immeasurably important to use her time wisely, spend it with those she loves, and spend it doing meaningful things that create memories. She grew up camping in the mountains of northern New Mexico. Tanya remembers youthful summers of running wild through meadows and exploring for hours. She now enjoys carrying those experiences and memories forward with her children. Over the past 15 years, Tanya has also created deep bonds with friends through distance running, and is looking forward to pushing herself further and faster in the upcoming year. Through Always Choose Adventures, Tanya hopes to share her sports and experiences, and to learn of new ways to spend time in appreciation of nature.
Chandler's love of the outdoors began in Kodiak, Alaska camping with her Girl Scout troop. This led to her becoming an expedition leader for an outdoor recreation program in college, culminating in guiding trips throughout the southeast as well as several multi-sport expeditions to Canada, Croatia, and Nepal. In 2015, her body unfortunately began to fail and developed an autonomic nervous system disorder. After years of struggling with chronic illness, she was diagnosed with a genetic connective tissue disorder - Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. An easy explanation for this condition is that your body is built with substandard materials. Not an easy diagnosis for an avid outdoorsman and guide. Seven years, countless surgeries, and minus many organs, Chandler has learned how to not only live day to day with chronic illness, but has discovered she can still participate and thrive in the outdoor community she loves so dearly. She now advocates to create accessibility for all in the outdoor adventure realm where accepting limitations due to chronic illness does not have to mean accepting limitations as a barrier to access. Finding ACA and the ACA community was a perfect fit for this mission and has helped Chandler reestablish her confidence in the world of outdoor adventuring - something she had long feared was forever lost. Today, she gladly has three words to combat that fear: “Always Choose Adventures”!
DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL MEDIA
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.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS ADVISOR
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.