Socioeconomic Adventure Gaps: What’s the Solution?

Adventure is a state of mind, you could argue. Available to anyone, anywhere, with the right amount of determination and imagination, adventure is abundant in its infinite forms.

Let’s face it, though. Adventure is oftentimes cost prohibitive. Mountain biking, backpacking, traveling internationally, skydiving, whitewater rafting — you name it, certain components necessary to achieve adventure are simply not an option for many people.

The socioeconomic adventure gap exists, and it’s quite large.

This got me to thinking. What if the barrier to entry were easier? What if cost prohibitive adventures were accessible to everyone?

Let’s crunch a few numbers first. I’ll work within the confines of an activity which has given me countless hours of satisfaction and happiness at a particularly high cost: snowboarding.

General Costs Associated with Snowboarding (give or take a few dollars):

  • Snowboard: $500
  • Boots: $200
  • Bindings: $200
  • Snow Pants: $150
  • Jacket: $100
  • Gloves: $50
  • Goggles: $100
  • Lift Ticket: $90

For a grand total of: $1,390

Note that I did not include the cost of transportation to and from the mountain, or the cost of food/beverages.

Is a family bringing in about the same amount per month going to pony up that kind of cash for their kid to go snowboarding? Absolutely not. They’d be out of their minds.

This is where those of us in a particular community come in — whether you’re a climber, kayaker, snowboarder, or whatever. If you’re anything like me, you have a bunch of extra gear collecting dust. What if we were to put our gear to good use by donating to somebody in need? What if we were then to provide our guidance and transportation and support and everything else associated with the activity?

So many of those barriers would be eliminated.

How this works, I haven’t a clue. Which is why I’d love to hear your ideas. Please do share.

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12 comments

  1. MY 18-year-old is expecting to be able to rent equipment when he gets to college in Vermont and I suppose that is a model that also exists. I know when we were in Colorado we could rent skis from a shop in Pueblo for a fraction of the cost at the ski slopes.

    1. How often does he go? Renting is pricy, too, sometimes. I’m not sure if it’s an option for someone who can’t afford to buy. It’s good for people who head out a few times a year and don’t want to buy all that stuff, though. When does he start school in Vermont? Fall semester?

  2. Up here in the Great White North, winter sports are huge (surprised???). Hockey, skiing, snowboarding, all very expensive. What happens here a lot are exchanges. Kids grow out of stuff, and obviously, very expensive to buy new skates every year (or twice a year). People bring in last years gear and exchange it for bigger gear. No cost. Whatever is left is encouraged to be donated to associations for them to distribute as they see fit. You can also donate rather than exchange if you have no further use for the stuff. There are entire hockey leagues in the poorer sections of cities fully equipped by this program.

    1. I thought you guys would be more into beach volleyball and surfing. Heh heh…

      Anyway, what a great concept you have going on up there. Is it an official program, or an unofficial network of like minded parents banding together to save money? Either way, it appears to work because it’s so simple. I like that.

      I had a feeling I wasn’t reinventing the wheel here.

  3. For areas where it isn’t as popular, maybe teaming up with some sort of Outward Bound type venture would be a good idea.
    I would love to give my old skis a good home…

    1. Good call on the partnership idea. An organization such as Outward Bound is a perfect example, as they have the resources and know-how. I really like their Intercept program for “struggling youth.”

  4. What a great idea! Yes, outdoor adventure can be quite costly, we are finding that out! Some sort of co-op would be cool, although I have no idea how to even get that started. Wouldn’t it be great to have a “library” of sorts for outdoor equipment? Of course, that brings to question a place to store it all. I can’t wait to check back and see what ideas other readers have! Great concept!

    1. It would be great! Imagine needing that last piece of gear that is preventing you from taking the trip. Step into the “gear library”, find your piece, head out. I’m digging this idea!

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