Pre- & Post-Conference Workshops & Activity Sessions

Pre- and Post-Conference Workshops give attendees a one-stop shop for industry training and certification renewals. These workshops, held before and after the conference, add to the many perks of attending the annual conference. Activities include trainings, certifications and social events relevant to students and professionals in the industry.


The Path Less Pedaled: Building Outdoor Leadership Skills Through Bikepacking
Whitney Ford-Terry, Adventure Cycling Association
Joey Parent, Virginia Commonwealth University

Friday through Tuesday, October 27-31 | The ride will begin at the Virginia Commonwealth Campus in Richmond and at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center in Roanoke

So you like mountain biking? Backpacking too? What better way to explore the Appalachian Mountains than by combining the two on a 5 day bikepacking excursion from Richmond to the 2017 AORE conference in Roanoke! Learn the basics of bikepacking and sharpen your outdoor leadership skills while finding out more about one of the outdoor industry's fastest growing activities. During this workshop we will be building on backcountry, mountain bike and group leadership skills by combining a bike-packing basics curriculum with the Adventure Cycling Association’s Leadership Training Course. Workshop participants will gain the skills and experience necessary to plan their own bikepacking excursions and gain insight into career options within the bike travel industry. This course does have pre-requisites. Please click the icon above to learn more.

PCIA Top Rope and Single Pitch Climbing Instructor Certification Course
Jon Tierney, Acadia Mountain Guides

Saturday through Tuesday, October 28-31 | Great Falls

The course provides an in depth and standardized understanding of the skills essential to teaching top rope and single pitch climbing. It reinforces the importance of teaching technically accurate information and debunks many common climbing myths. The emphasis is on refining core skills and improving educational delivery of material.

Building upon the existing skills of competent recreational climbers the course provides an in depth look at site selection, equipment, knot selection, anchor construction, rope systems, Leave No Trace practices, rescue and assistance skills as well as key instructional skills. Most importantly the course stresses blending these skills together to form a more seamless and efficient climbing experience for participants. Participants may elect to take either the PCIA Top Rope Climbing Instructor or Single Pitch Climbing Instructor certification after course. This course does have pre-requisites. Please click the icon above to learn more.

PCIA Top Rope and/or Single Pitch Climbing Instructor Course Provider Training 
on Tierney, Acadia Mountain Guides

Saturday through Tuesday, October 28-31 | Great Falls

Bring the PCIA to you. This course lays the foundation for becoming a PCIA Course provider for the Top Rope or Single Pitch Climbing Instructor courses. The instructor provider is expected to provide state of the art education and to evaluate and decide about the readiness of instructor candidates to become certified climbing instructors. Upon completion of the provider training, instructor candidates typically begin observing and assisting lead instructors and take on increasing responsibilities until they have fully transitioned to delivering courses on their own. Fully qualified providers are then able to instruct PCIA courses on their own.

The PCIA seeks providers who have significant experience teaching climbing, are well informed about climbing equipment and current techniques, are superb technicians and are patient, caring educators who continually strive to better their own knowledge and delivery methods.

Individuals interested in attending should contact the PCIA for complete information and should submit a resume to the PCIA prior to registering.

Each candidate is reviewed individually by the PCIA Educational Committee and evaluated on the merits of their background prior to acceptance into the provider pool. This course does have pre-requisites. Please click the icon above to learn more.

NOLS Risk Management Training for Administrators
Katie Mettenbrink, National Outdoor Leadership School

Monday & Tuesday, October 30-31, 2017 | Hotel Roanoke

Using lecture, discussion, exercises, and hands-on scenarios, this two-day training will provide a structured approach and the necessary tools to build a risk management plan appropriate for your organization. You will walk away with a detailed action plan designed to improve your curriculum, administrative process, staff hiring, field support services, and crisis planning.

Basic Rescue Skills for Rock Climbing 
Michael Farnsworth and Pete Guyre, Professional Climbing Guides Institute

Tuesday, October 31

The Basic Rescue Skills for Rocking Climbing course will be a day long, technical, hands-on rescue course for rock climbers with at least one year of experience. The course will take place in a climbing gym local to the AORE conference in Roanoke, VA. A Professional Climbing Guides Institute (PCGI) certified mentor will discuss common climbing mistakes, related rescue scenarios, and how to safely handle rescue scenarios when they occur. After discussing common rescue scenarios, the mentor will demonstrate rescue techniques used to handle those scenarios. Students will then practice analyzing and resolving rescue scenarios using the presented techniques. Please visit for more information about the PCGI. This course does have pre-requisites. Please click the icon above to learn more.

Rock Climbing Transition from Gym to Crag 
Michael Farnsworth and Pete Guyre, Professional Climbing Guides Institute

Tuesday, October 31

The Transition from Gym to Crag course will be a day-long course consisting of technical, hands-on climbing skillset development, as well as analytical discussion about topics that will benefit climbers who want to spend more time climbing outdoors. Climbers should have at least one year of climbing experience in a gym environment and bring their own UIAA/CE harness, shoes, and belay device. The course will take place in a climbing gym local to the AORE conference in Roanoke, VA. A mentor certified by the Professional Climbing Guides Institute (PCGI) will discuss common knowledge and skills that will assist climbers in their transition to outdoor environments. Topics covered will include climbing ethics, environmental impacts, climbing gear overview and inspection, safety considerations when climbing outdoors, knots and hitches, and basic techniques relevant to outdoor climbing. Students will engage in discussion and practice techniques learned during the course. Please visit our website: This course does have pre-requisites. Please click the icon above to learn more.

Liberty University Program and Facility Tour 
Mike Ellsworth, Liberty University

Tuesday, October 31

Liberty University Outdoor Recreation department would like to host a facility tour as a pre-conference workshop. This tour would provide participants access to the 25 acre Hydaway Outdoor Recreation Center, 5,000 acre Liberty Mountain Trail System, Hydaway Challenge Course, Liberty Mountain Snowflex Center and the 4,000 sq foot LaHaye Rock Wall. The new Outdoor Rec facility at Liberty was renovated in 2013 and helps us to provide a diverse amount of programming to our students including: equipment rentals, trail races, campsites as well as our full calendar of trips. Join the staff for a personal tour of our program. Questions and active discussion are encouraged!

Simple Canoe Rescue Skills 
Terry Dash and Scott Scheneider, North Carolina State University
ACA Insurance Fee

Tuesday, October 31

Land and water based session with lots of hands on skills instruction/practice session for canoe trip leaders. Canoe outfitting techniques to provide for safer expedition and whitewater paddling for instructional programs. Land base and on water rescue skills used to simplify participant, boat and equipment recovery. Equipment and transportation will be provided. This course does have pre-requisites. Please click the icon above to learn more.

The Element of Choice 
Thomas Leahy, Leahy and Associates

Tuesday, October 31 | Hotel Roanoke

The Element of Choice© is a journey to discover how we make choices and when we let others or situations choose for us. The Element of Choice© opens outdoor educators to the “depths” of adventure facilitation and encourages them to see beyond the ineffective promises of participation by choice. Simply promising choice in your program is not enough. When promises of choice are broken or participants do not perceive they have a choice, risk becomes both physical and emotional. This potential for misadventure can defeat our goals for…recreation, personal growth and/or therapy.

This workshop is a powerful exploration of choice and the confusion between encouragement and coercion. It is a model for participant empowerment, and how an understanding of locus of control and self-efficacy can produce dramatic gains for your participants. You will leave with new awareness, language and tools to support dramatic growth and reduce the frequency and severity of incidents in your program. .

The Language of Money: Demystifying Business for the Outdoor Professional 
Stephen Backus, Northeastern Illinois University and Tim Moore, Boston University

Tuesday, October 31 | Hotel Roanoke

Strategic Planning! ROI! Business Plan! Market Analysis! P&L Statement! SWOT Analysis! Target Market!

Does it sometimes seem as if the financial people at your organization speak a different language? Are you confused, irritated or intimidated by the business terms and concepts they use? Would you like to go into your next program budget meeting confident in your understanding of the financial issues that impact your program?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this is the workshop for you. We are ready to help you gain a solid understanding of the basic business practices that every outdoor professional requires to take their program to the next level.

U.S. Forest Service and Coalition for Outdoor Access Permitting Workshop 

Tuesday, October 31 | 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. | Hotel Roanoke Crystal Ballroom AB

The new USFS guidance is meant to simplify the process for obtaining Forest Service permits and provide new opportunities for facilitated access to Forest Service lands. During these sessions, representatives of COA and USFS will provide attendees with a briefing on the new Forest Service guidance and engage attendees in a dialog on how the various aspects might relate to their program or activity.

IMBA Trailbuilding School: Designing, building and maintaining sustainable shared-use trails 
Anthony Duncan and Andy Williamson, International Mountain Bicylcing Association

Saturday, November 4 | Explore Park

Learn about sustainable trail design and construction from the organization that literally wrote the book. This course is built on five training components consisting of Trailbuilding Theory, Essential Elements of Sustainable Trails, Designing Successful Trails, Building You Dream Trail, and Trail Maintenance.

The course will consist of three hours of classroom work followed by three hours of field work to apply sustainable trailbuilding concepts in real-world situations. This course is an essential tool for land managers and volunteer trailbuilders aspiring to raise their shared-use trail systems to the next level.

AMGA Climbing Wall Instructor Provider Training 
Ed Crothers, American Mountain Guides Association

Saturday and Sunday, November 4-5

This is a training for qualified instructors who would like to become licensed of offer the AMGA CWI Certification Course. Interested individual should contact Ed Crothers for a list of prerequisites. Email: Phone: 303-327-9479.