As Thanksgiving comes and passes, Black Friday arrives and the chaos of holiday shopping ensues. REI Co-op takes a stance against the day in favor of indulging in nature with its annual #OptOutside event.

For the fourth year in a row, REI Co-op takes a day off, closing all of its 153 storefronts and shutting down online sales for the sake of supporting its 12,000 employees with a paid day off.

This year, Denver takes its ranks in the top 50 cities to embrace the #OptOutside movement having some of the best access to the outdoors. REI has taken part in supporting Colorado’s mission to keep access to the outdoors available by pouring in almost $900,000 into nonprofits that benefit local parks and trails.

Colorado is also making a greater effort to push for getting its residents outside with Fresh Air Friday. The event features free entrance to all of Colorado’s state parks during Black Friday. That means you can travel to any of the 41 state parks and adventure for free.

Photo Courtesy of REI

The #OptOutside event has given hundreds of REI employees a chance to spend precious time with their friends and families experiencing the wonders that the world has to offer. In Colorado alone, 858 employees will be able to take that time that would have been spent working tirelessly to cater to shoppers instead of enjoying their Thanksgiving holiday, to embrace the outdoors and the connections that matter.

#OptOutside and REI are promoting the use of technology within the bounds of enhancing your outdoor experience. Jerry Stritzke the CEO of REI gives insight into the #OptOutside mission, “We’re asking people this year to reevaluate that picture of themselves. To see technology as the starting point to a journey outside, not the destination. And to go explore the world with someone they love – on Black Friday and every day.”

So this year, instead of bustling to those claustrophobic shops, take a deep breath of fresh air in the wilderness of Colorado and #OptOutside.

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