Need Poudre rafting company advice. - Mountain Buzz

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Old 01-19-2012   #1
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 4
Need Poudre rafting company advice.

Hey all, not trying to start a flame war, just looking for past experiences (good or bad) with a few companies that run commercial rafting on the Poudre. The companies I'm currently looking at are A1 and Wanderlust.

The backstory is that my fiance and I are getting married in June and instead of the usual drinking/dancing reception, we decided to just rid ourselves of bickering extended family by having them dashed against the canyon walls.

Ok seriously though, we thought it would be more fun for our more active friends & family versus a traditional venue. While the people who would be going are healthy and capable, their safety is the priority, so experience and professionalism counts.

Aside from that, general knowledge of the area (good places to break for lunch for example) would be a plus.

Also, if anyone has used the companies I mentioned (or someone else) for a 20-30 person group event specifically, and could post a review, that would be especially helpful.


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Old 01-19-2012   #2
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 786
I haven't been a customer on a trip with either company, but I have worked at both so here is my best attempt to give an objective review:


You would be hard pressed to find a more experienced/professional rafting crew for a company that only runs day trips than the crew at Wanderlust. I have been on many trips at Wanderlust as a 7th or 8th year guide, and still been the least experienced guide on the trip.

A1 has a good bit more turn over than Wanderlust, and if you go in July/August you have a good chance of rafting with a rookie guide who doesn't know what they are doing. That said, in June at high water on their more advanced trip they have a very experienced crew of a handful of guides that goes out nearly every day. Many of these guides are good friends of mine, and I would put them up skill wise against anyone.

Knowledge - Both companies have been rafting this same stretch of river since the early 80s, they both know all the good spots.

Atmosphere/Intangibles - Here is where I would make my choice:

Wanderlust - Slightly older crew, very laid back atmosphere, the operation runs like a swiss watch - everything happens on time and there are little to no surprises.

A1 - Younger, more college aged, crew, more energetic feel to the operation (louder, etc), weird/unexpected logistical issues come up regularly.

In my opinion, you can't go wrong with either, but they are different. Hope that helps.
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Old 01-19-2012   #3
(800) 369-4165
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Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 8
devicenull, Brian is correct that both companies have teams of solid guides running at high water. In fact, we will have solid veteran guides running trips from opening day on May 15 until the very end of our season. We will be training a small class of first-year raft guides, and do turn them loose to show people safe, fun trips toward the second half of the summer. However, most of our intermediate and advanced trips will only feature guides with multiple years of experience on the water. We won't send you out on the river with a guide who can't show you an exceptional, SAFE trip. I would also like to note that we have evolved our operations to remove the "weird" or "unexpected". With quality busses, a great location, and a top notch staff we are excited to make 2012 our best year yet!

Again, both outfitters offer quality experiences and you won't ever find us saying a bad word about our neighbors. You really can't go wrong commercial rafting on the Poudre - we have the best guides in the state!

I hope this has been helpful. I'd be happy to talk with you in person and make sure that A1 Wildwater is a good fit for your group. Call or drop in any time.

Randy Rothwell
A1 Wildwater
(800) 369-4165
Rafting Colorado since 1981
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Old 01-19-2012   #4
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 444
with randy every trip is wierd and unexpected.
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Old 01-19-2012   #5
Wellington, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 12
Wanderlust, or MWD.
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