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Discussion Starter #1
We all know working in the whitewater industry wont neccessarily make you wealthy, but I'm wanting to open the tap here to see what lucrative opportunities are out there.
As far as guiding, what are the best/highest quality rivers and companies to work for in the American West? I'm talking five star experience all the way around.....

Lets hear it!


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5 star guide deals

Lots of experienced guides on this message board for better information.

However,
If your definition of 5 star pay, food, lodging is included in job requirements - gonna be hard to find.

On the other hand, if you want to spend time on a river, definitely river guide work is 5 star.
 

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If you are looking for "lucrative opportunities" and "great pay" in the river guiding world, you are destined to be disappointed. A post substituting the words "fast food" anywhere you use the word "whitewater" and "rivers" makes about as much sense as far as questions to ask on the internet go.

There are obviously other benefits to working on a river, but you seem to be focused on pay and lucre, whereas the "other benefits" is pretty much where its at.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, but still waiting on a legitimate positive answer to my question...


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They've answered it amigo. Your looking for a money river and they are trying to get through to you that there is no such thing and they are correct. Guides don't get into this buisness for the money. But that is okay, if you don't think their answers are "legit" you just keep waiting for someone to tell you what river it is in a positive light. Hold your breath while your at it.
 

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Maybe post how much you are looking to make a day? Then we can help you choose between the ones where you can realistically expect to make what you want to make.
 

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I've heard that the Rainbows and Puppies Adventures and Tours offers great pay, plus full benefits (including dental, 6 weeks paid vacation, and posh living quarters-- they've even got a personal chef on duty 24-7, at your beck and call) on the Faux River. Give them a call or send in a resume!
555-123-5555
[email protected]
#realitycheckbruh
;)
How's that for a positive reply?
Sorry, I couldn't resist. I think we're all looking to make billions whilst pursuing our passion.
Seriously though.... are OWNERS of rafting companies even that well off? Ponder that one for a tec.....
 

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One of the guides I ran Cat with last spring was headed to Alaska for the season and said he was going to be getting $150-$200 per day on multi day trips. That's probably about the top of the food chain. Multi day trips on the GC or Salmon are gonna be probably a distant second.

With that said you don't just get any of those jobs without an impressive river log and/or knowing/blowing the right people.

To make good money you are going to need to do at least 3 of the following
1)work nearly every day in season
2)work a river where you can run multiple trips per day
3) work for a company that brings in wealthy clients
4) work for a company that either includes a tip in the bill or tells customers how much to tip
5)be the best of the best. There are some damn good guides out there that don't make shit...
6) work expedition trips for rich/famous people
You're searching for a unicorn. Congrats if you find it
 

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I will blow the the wrong people for little pay. Or is it the other way around? Realistically though, I plan to start guiding this season on the Ark. I don't expect or need to make a lot of doe, as long as I can afford 3 hots and a cot, I will gladly float some folks down the river and show them the joy that is rafting. I imagine even the customers that are a PITA won't bother me too much. I do hope you find a high paying guide job, but even if you can't, don't let that keep you from a job that you will most likely cherish for the rest of your life.
 

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The last season I ever guided on the ark I was making about a hundred a day, plus tips.
Was a good money summer for me, but I worked the entire month of july, had a C.D.L.
and often would get off a double dip gorge and go pick up a late afternoon trip with a bus in heavy traffic, definitely worked my ass of for it.
Mostly spent my guiding career broke, ate a lot of ramen every spring, and never new how I would feed myself till ski season. Owners never really had much of anything to there name either.
Best summers of my life though, wouldn't trade em for a million bucks!
 

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The guides I new that rarely boated and supplied every one else with weed definately made more then I did!
 

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As a Guide Instructor with more than a decade of experience, higher end rescue and medical certs, really good contracts with two solid outfitters, and well above average tips I make about $15k between May 15 and October 31 on the Arkansas, New, and Gauley. I work six days a week in the summer and five in the fall. It's amazing, but not lucrative by any standard. I know about 100 guides and maybe five of them earn more - and not much more.

The good news is there's more to life than money, some of the money is cash, and if you do it well you don't have much overhead (rent, food, etc.).

Look for reliable flows and a long season. Buy a guide a beer to see last season's pay stubs - early and late season can be more thin than you might think!
 

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As a Guide Instructor with more than a decade of experience, higher end rescue and medical certs, really good contracts with two solid outfitters, and well above average tips I make about $15k between May 15 and October 31 on the Arkansas, New, and Gauley. I work six days a week in the summer and five in the fall. It's amazing, but not lucrative by any standard. I know about 100 guides and maybe five of them earn more - and not much more.

The good news is there's more to life than money, some of the money is cash, and if you do it well you don't have much overhead (rent, food, etc.).

Look for reliable flows and a long season. Buy a guide a beer to see last season's pay stubs - early and late season can be more thin than you might think!
You're suppose to hang on to your last seasons pay stubs? I thought if anything, you wouldn't have to hang on to pieces of paper as a guide.
 

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Just make sure you hang on to your river miles at the least!! Stopped counting once I hit trainer miles, and kick myself for it.

Make sure you keep copies of training training logs and all that stuff to, don't really on the outfitter, and if paper work turns up missing from there logs at inspection time, they will Love You if you got your own copy's to show the rangers.
( makes inspection day so much less stressful for you in the boat yard!)

Is a really good practice to keep pay stubs.
 

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Just make sure you hang on to your river miles at the least!! Stopped counting once I hit trainer miles, and kick myself for it.

Make sure you keep copies of training training logs and all that stuff to, don't really on the outfitter, and if paper work turns up missing from there logs at inspection time, they will Love You if you got your own copy's to show the rangers.
( makes inspection day so much less stressful for you in the boat yard!)

Is a really good practice to keep pay stubs.
River miles I understand. I will hang on to old pay stubs if I need too, but I am a little OCD of hanging on to things I don't use frequently. And I hate paperwork! Also I doubt I will have a filing cabinet in the tent I will most likely be living in during season. Still better than a desk job though.
 

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River miles I understand. I will hang on to old pay stubs if I need too, but I am a little OCD of hanging on to things I don't use frequently. And I hate paperwork! Also I doubt I will have a filing cabinet in the tent I will most likely be living in during season. Still better than a desk job though.
I hear ya brother, I hate fuckin paper work.
 

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River miles I understand. I will hang on to old pay stubs if I need too, but I am a little OCD of hanging on to things I don't use frequently. And I hate paperwork! Also I doubt I will have a filing cabinet in the tent I will most likely be living in during season. Still better than a desk job though.
I'm not smart enough to be disorganized and a lot of that paperwork will come in handy sometime in the future - like when you're filing your taxes or tallying up receipts for your deductions. For $7 you can get one of these to keep your stuff together:

C-Line® 13 Pocket Expanding File, Letter Size, Plaid | Staples®

Or really go big:
http://www.staples.com/Smead-Poly-Frequency-Expanding-File-12-Pockets-Flap-and-Cord-Closure-Letter-Size-Blue-Black-70863/product_811574?externalize=certona
 

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As a Guide Instructor with more than a decade of experience, higher end rescue and medical certs, really good contracts with two solid outfitters, and well above average tips I make about $15k between May 15 and October 31 on the Arkansas, New, and Gauley. I work six days a week in the summer and five in the fall. It's amazing, but not lucrative by any standard. I know about 100 guides and maybe five of them earn more - and not much more.

The good news is there's more to life than money, some of the money is cash, and if you do it well you don't have much overhead (rent, food, etc.).

Look for reliable flows and a long season. Buy a guide a beer to see last season's pay stubs - early and late season can be more thin than you might think!
Sounds right compared with my experience doing multi-days in Utah. I think MF Salmon and Grand both have better daily rates, but harder to get the job. The "income" part of it for me was only being in town a day or two a week, and having no food or lodging costs, so I would bank my whole paycheck and a good percentage of my tips.
Good luck! It's a dream job, as long as you don't dream of IRAs and McMansions.
 
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