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Old 01-27-2007   #11
rwhyman's Avatar
Unincorporated Douglas County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 961
I think I have to agree with Dallas on this one. A couple of years ago, when I got into rafting, I contacted several of the companies in the Ark area about guide training. While they didn't say they wouldn't take me, when I told them I wasn't interested in being a guide, I just wanted the training, they didn't seem too excited. Again, mostly paddle training, not much on the oars.

From all reports, the Mike Mather course is the way to go. I'm just waiting to hear the dates for this year, so my son and I can take the course.
A couple of friends of mine took the SWR course from Bill Devorak (sp) last year and said that was also good.

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Old 01-27-2007   #12
WhiteLightning's Avatar
Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 928
I would disagree, at least where I work. I trained with a senior finance executive from a major luxury hotel chain. He was there because he wanted to buy a raft, and take the family on trips. He was very happy with his experience, and it really met his objective. No one seemed to mind that he joined our training class. A lot of the good outfitters can't hire everyone at thier guide school, so they allow for open enrollment for whoever wants to come.

The only "guide school hardships" you should have would be maybe being cold, swimming whitewater, and having to carry boats, take your turn washing dishes, etc. Any reputable school will be about learning on the river (while having a good time) and not doing naked push-ups or something stupid like that. If so, you don't want to train there or work there anyways. Ours was professional, but laid back and fun too. Talk to some of the people who do the training. If they have good personalities and seem cool, then it should be fine.

If you are into fishing, maybe an oar cert class for fishing guides would get you some good practice with some experienced oarsmen. I guess it depends how much experience you already have.

Books for rescue are fine, but you really need to get out and practice. Mike's SWR class is great for that. FYI- he's also a great guide instructor and guides and teaches at our guide school at Lakota.

Someone mentioned Shoshone... One of those Shoshone only outfitters in Glenwood pretty much only guides on stern frames down there. Might be worth looking into.

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Old 01-27-2007   #13
rwhyman's Avatar
Unincorporated Douglas County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 961
I'm glad to hear that your company, whoever that may be, welcomes all comers. I wasn't trying to bash anyone, just a general feeling I got. I can't even remember what companies I talked to, but they were in the Ark area, not Vail. As in most things, there are always exceptions, I was just not persistent enough to find them.
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Old 01-27-2007   #14
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,909
One additional resource, that would probably be good to get and study whether you do raft guide training or not, would be Jeff Bennet's "The Complete Whitewater Rafter." This book has chapters on river-running history, river morphology and hydraulics, rowing techniques, river rescue, planning and executing multi-day trips, and a variety of other topics that should be of interest to the beginning rafter. The book's not the end-all, but it'll give you a good theoretical background for what you put into practice when you get your boat out this spring.

Get the miles under your belt and make the most of your rowing by taking the lines less traveled on your second time down a given stretch of river. Try rowing backwards or doing 360s going down straightforward wave trains, when you go down a Class II rapid, try catching eddies behind rocks and work your way down hopping from one eddy to another, and find little surf spots. For example, on Brown's you can surf the river L side of Toilet Bowl and do 360s until you get ticketed for loitering (and wash your boat out) above about 1500 cfs, and Canyon Doors is a fun surf at low levels.

Most of all, have fun rowing that big inflatable toy you've got!


PS - White Lightening (Dave) worked for Lakota last season. For gear, you may be able to pick up used PFDs, paddles, wetsuits, booties, etc. cheap from Lakota or Timberline over in Minturn. Also check other outfitters for used gear.
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 02-02-2007   #15
Peyton, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2
Far Flung Adventures has a raft school that is 100% oars, good school with good instructors. They also offer SWR classes as well.
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Old 02-02-2007   #16
Peyton, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2
Far Flung Adventures- Taos, NM

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