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Old 04-10-2011   #1
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 646
Is Holiday River Expeditions too big?

Holiday River Expeditions is an outfitter out of Salt Lake City. They run a lot of trips all around Utah.

It's kind of scary how big they are. Are they too big? Do they treat their guides well? Or, I should ask, do they treat their guides as well as other outfitters?

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Old 04-10-2011   #2
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,408
Don't know much about Holiday's current situation.

Back around 1980 company I worked for in SLC did a group outing with Holiday on the GC.

The deal involved a flight to a dirt airstrip on the Canyon's rim and a chopper ride down to the river. Where we would meet the rafts for a multiday float. Sounded like quite an adventure.

So the large group met at the Las Vegas airstrip to hook up with a series of bush planes for the early morning flight to the canyon rim. Well, a mistake was made. Me, my wife and another couple did not have room to fly in with the rest of the group so Holiday found another plane for us but it took some time to get it there. We were told we would hook up with the rest of the group at the dirt strip. We got to the strip and no one was there. Pilot told us to wait and a chopper would come for us. No shade, no water no sign of life just desert and we waited till afternoon and no one showed up. We saw a US flag maybe a mile away and walked to it. It was a ranger station. No one there. I thought I could hear voices inside and walked around and found a unlocked window. Turns out it was a radio for the forest service. At the time I was a licensed private pilot, I climbed in the window and got on the radio. Took a while for the Ranger on the other end to believe me, but he understood and said he would contact Holiday. After a while a chopper showed up and went into a low hover not touching the ground. A guy jumped out and told us the chopper would transport us one couple at a time down into the canyon that the group had left in the rafts and they would attempt to catch up to the rafts. I was not that excited about flying as it was late in the day. We asked if both couples could be carried and the guy doing the talking could wait on the ground. No way he said as he had to ride along. The other couple looked at me and we said you guys have lied to us all day and no way are we going to split up. More words were spoken and the gent got back in the chopper and they circled the area. Came back down to a low hover and the gent said we should walk back to the airstrip and wait for a cessna. We were not too happy but did that. Just as we got to the dirt airstrip a cessna landed as last daylight turned into darkness. We jumped in and the pilot immediately started his take off run as I shut the door. We got back to Las Vegas after dark. We never found out how all this mis communication happened. Holiday gave us back our money and there is no way I would ever go on any of their trips. Things may have changed by now but leaving two couples on the desert with no water, shade or nothing but the clothing on our backs did not give me much of a good feeling about Holiday.

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Old 04-10-2011   #3
moab, Utah
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 12
If you want a small family own company that puts on great river trips. Check out Moki Mac River Expiditions. They run Westwater, Cataract, Deso, and the Grand. In green river they only have about 4 guides. You will get great personal service. Do a deso with Chelsea she is the best river guide ever.
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Old 04-10-2011   #4
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 524
basil - Are you looking to work for them, or just interested in the philisophic question? Holiday's pretty small when you compare with OARS, but huge compared with Eagle Outdoor Sports...

I've guided for them on and off for the past 8 years while trying to hold a "real job". I think guides are treated better than many outfitters. Free housing, some meals paid for by the company even when you're in town, lots of flexibility to do quite a few stretches of river and bike trips in the shoulder seasons. Dee & Sue still have a huge presence, plus various 2nd & 3rd generation employees, so it really is still a family business.

okieboater - sorry to hear your story. I can't even imagine anything like that happening on any trip I've ever been a part of. But I do head counts so often it's like Seasame Street... is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2011   #5
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,408
Maybe things have changed since our trip, but I want no part of Holiday River trips!
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Old 04-10-2011   #6
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,909
Its kind of interesting that Basil seems to be asking about outfitters' quality as a function of the size of the company. I'd expect there are plenty of small companies that have poorly trained guides who don't know to do a head count at every juncture of a trip, and there are plenty of larger companies that have been doing it long enough that they make sure all their trip leaders have their act together and do a set routine that keeps them from screwing up things.

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 04-11-2011   #7
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 33
as far as i know Holiday has never run any commercial trips on the Grand.
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Old 04-11-2011   #8
caverdan's Avatar
C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,443
Really.......Their web site has trips available.

Grand Canyon White Water Rafting | Holiday River Expeditions
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Old 04-11-2011   #9
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 33
they book trips but I'm pretty sure OARS actually takes them down the river. (I used to work for holiday full time and am now part time) they may have run trips in 1980, but i was always under the impression that Dee wanted to concentrate on Utah rivers and not run the grand commercially. i could be wrong.
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Old 04-11-2011   #10
caverdan's Avatar
C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,443
I'm sure as a past employee you would know better than I.

Interesting thought.......I wonder if OARS uses Holidays permitted spots as I'm pretty sure Holiday is listed as one of the permitted outfitters in the Grand.

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