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Old 12-24-2014   #11
Old Guy in a PFD
Tucson, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1967
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,022
Originally Posted by View Post
Hi all,

Thanks in advance for your assistance. My niece recently graduated from college and is thinking about taking some time off before graduate school to be a raft guide. She lives in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. A few questions to help her out.

1. What company near Glenwood Springs will give her the best raft guide training?
2. What company near Glenwood Springs will give her the most guiding trips once trained?
3. If she spends the spring/summer guiding in Colorado, will she have the experience she needs to get a job in West Virginia for Gauley season?

Thanks much,
Julie (Keller) Fitzpatrick
Doesn't much matter who as long as they will train her and they have enough variety in their runs to keep it interesting.
She needs to understand; she'll earn very little, work her ass off, and have the time of her life if she gets with the right crowd.

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Old 12-25-2014   #12
Boy Howdy!
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Colotucky, USA
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,054
Originally Posted by View Post

Thanks much!

Tell her to start her search in marchso she can get in her training an be ready to guide in may

Who's your monkey?
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Old 12-27-2014   #13
Reston, Virginia
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 9
Originally Posted by pinemnky13 View Post
Tell her to start her search in marchso she can get in her training an be ready to guide in may
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Old 12-29-2014   #14
crested butte, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 29
I spent my first coupla years in GW and had a blast! The paradox is that a company (in Colorado) who will train really well wont giver her many trips. I would recommend going out to a scene like California where the proof is in the pudding. If she picks it up and rocks she will get work. I felt like Cali didn't have the crazy hierarchy like some commercial guide scenes. I learnd more in my first week out in CA than I did in my first year or to in CO (just personal experience).

Also I would highly recommend heading somewhere else to go to guide school. The camaraderie built in a place where you don't already have a social network is irreplaceable both on the water and for life.
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Old 12-29-2014   #15
Silverthorne, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 7
Originally Posted by Plecoptera View Post
I seem to remember a Julie Keller from, and maybe the '99 slalom championships in Golden? Did you have a pink helmet?

Check out Timberline Tours in Eagle. I don't know if he is hiring, but Greg the owner is one of the nicest, most ethical guys you can meet. Also, he has outfitter permits for many more places than Glenwood Canyon.
I would agree, I bought a used boat from Greg in the early 80's and he is still in biz. His partner Bill M. taught me to roll a kayak. Longevity means something....
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Old 12-29-2014   #16
Castle Rock, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 321
Many of the Colorado outfitters will run a training class, usually in early May. They charge around $500-$600, it lasts about two weeks for paddle, less for oared. The WW shops will mostly be paddle, the oared shops will mostly be fly fishing outfitters. Colorado has a state certification process that she will have to complete to guide, and it should be the basis for any outfitter training. If they can't offer the state cert, she needs to find another shop. Sometimes, but not always, the outfitter will pay back the $500, if the student ends up going to work for them. They will probably also want her to complete Swiftwater, and she will need current CPR/First aid.

Usually, the classes cover the same runs the shop will do during the season. Most shops have enough turnover they will need to pickup at least a couple of newbies. As to the number of days/miles/runs lots of variables. There are years when some of the commercial runs are no-go, either because of too little, or too much water. A cold snap can last a week or more, and few clients show up to be cold and wet. Last I checked, most guides got paid per trip; first years around $30 per trip, max of two a day, not including tips. Bad weather, no trips, no pay. Never heard of a guide getting benefits, but I guess it could happen.

Most of the runs are covered by some form of Federal permit. Outfitters are limited by the permits they hold, and on the number of boats/clients they can launch in a day. The rich get richer, and the startups struggle.
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Old 01-02-2015   #17
Reston, Virginia
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 9
Plecoptera - thanks for the information.

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