“It was born out of a conversation on the trail in Alberta with Jimmy Chin,” says Christopher Jerard, founder and CEO of Roam. Before founding Roam in 2017, Jerard founded the digital services agency Inkwell Media in 2014, and earlier, in 1998, he was on the founding team at Freeskier Magazine. Roam offers expertise in biking, adventure travel, photography, surfing, and climbing.
“That early chat with Jimmy inspired us to go directly to the audience as he did with social media (Chin has 2.8 million Instagram followers), and how there wasn’t a channel that was bringing that kind of value,” continues Jerard. “We wanted to bring more than content, we also wanted to foster community. That conversation led us to reach out to our professional athletes, people with whom we’ve shared tents and helicopters, to create the greatest adventure club in the world.
“Roam inspires, educates, and activates lives of adventure with purpose,” he says.
For $15USD per month, users gain access to hundreds of online lessons, including finding your path with Jimmy Chin, climbing in Madagascar with Sasha DiGuilian, and crossing Antarctica with professional explorer Mike Horn. Video podcasts include presentations by queer environmentalist Pattie Gonia and National Geographic photographer Andy Mann. Additional episodes include tools for finding creative flow with New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize nominee Steven Kotler.
Jerard sees Roam’s future as a platform to meet adventure partners, learn tips on a diverse range of topics from the pros, and how to prep for big trips. Taking it one step further, Jerard plans to partner with guide services and lodges in the coming years. “All the best in class,” he says.
He started Roam for athletes to hone individual skills and for those who participate in more than one activity. “Here you can learn to build an expedition, approach biking, and learn photography. Because we have the best instructors in the world, some have called us the master class of the outdoors.”
Roam partners include freeride legend Travis Rice and professional climbers DiGuilian, Chin, and Conrad Anker.
Anker says what makes Roam unique to other online adventure academies is because “it’s top athletes speaking to the core audience. My classes include the philosophy of big mountain climbing, but there is so much more.”
Anker’s additional courses include tips for snow mountaineering and what he’s learned — including the ethos — from decades of climbing the biggest, most challenging mountains in the world. His first episode is from his gear shed, showing how to pick the right equipment for conditions and terrain.
For Anker, his partnership with Roam “is about sharing my passion, 30 years of being in the outdoors, with a broader audience of people.”
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