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Old 11-08-2015   #1
InflatableSteve's Avatar
Cave Creek, Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 671
Small outfitters to guide for Ark/Animas

It wouldn't let me bring back the Guiding on the Ark thread, so lets start something new.

The time is rapidly approaching to apply for a guiding job and get certified. My original plan was to head to the canyon city area, but now I am consider other options like BV or Durango....

I would rather work for a smaller company with long time river runners than some folks just looking for a fun summer job. So I am all ears for suggestions.



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Old 11-08-2015   #2
lmyers's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,207
Hey Steve,

I don't know that I would call them a small company, but Performance Tours is a good company. They might not be the ones who have the biggest parties, but I know several guides who have worked for them for many years. Ownership is top notch and they guide on a couple different rivers. Plus my girl has been in the office for like 8 years.

Colorado Whitewater Rafting - White Water Raft Trips in Colorado

GARNA’s mission is to foster stewardship of the resources of the greater Arkansas River region through education, volunteerism and experiences.
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Old 11-08-2015   #3
DanOrion's Avatar
Indian Hills, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,448
+1 for PT. Good folks.
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Old 11-08-2015   #4
B.V., Colorado
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 192
+2 for PT! Great program, safety first, very professional training for
1st years.
"Huck Finn?...more like huck-and-swim"
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Old 11-09-2015   #5
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 808
Durango is awesome but probably not the best place to be a raft guide. 95% of the trips are on the lower animas, which is right through town, and which gets pretty damn boring once the water drops- like you will have to explain to your custies why they are in a raft, and surrounded by inner tubers.

The Upper A is a lot of work, with hard logistics, cold weather, and unpredictable water levels. Perhaps more importantly, unless you have a very impressive resume, it is unlikely that any company in town is going to let you guide up there your first year in town.

The Arkansas does not have the wild west excitement of the Animas, but the logistics are so much better for commercial rafting.
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Old 11-09-2015   #6
CaptBiggler's Avatar
Arvada, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 31
Independent Whitewater on the Arkansas. They are a small outfit run by a couple guys out of Salida who have been around the business for a long time. This was one of the first companies to run commercially on the river. They are also one of two companies that runs Siedel's Suckhole and Twin Falls in the Brown Canyon half day. You will get more rapids and miles with every trip than any other rookie.

I guided with them back in college and if things are still the same, they are selective in their rookie guides. Since they are a small company, they cant take on a lot of new people every year, so bring your A game and personality.
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Old 11-10-2015   #7
Boatin', Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 201
PM sent.
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Old 11-10-2015   #8
lmyers's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,207
Just to follow up and give you a more thorough answer (considering we paddled together and hope you find the right company for you).

Independent Whitewater is an excellent company and would be a great outfit to work for, as would be Arkansas River Tours out of Cotopaxi. Both have quality, stand up ownership that take pride in the Arkansas. There are several other larger companies that are very good in addition to Performance Tours, but for "smaller" company my suggestions are definitely IW and ART.

They are both going to have much more competitive and limited work than a larger outfitter. IW will be running mostly Browns with a little bit of stuff up and downstream from there. ART will be running mostly Parkdale and the Gorge as well as fishing floats.

PT runs mostly Browns, but also runs all the other stretches of the Ark (Gorge,Numbers), pretty regularly too. They also guide on the Blue and the Upper Colorado.

GARNA’s mission is to foster stewardship of the resources of the greater Arkansas River region through education, volunteerism and experiences.
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animas, ark

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