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Whitewater Rafting Guide: Off-season Adventures

Written by Ashlee Sack, 04.08.2016

They spend all summer guiding folks down some of the most exciting rapids in the world...but where do they go when the weather cools down?

Raft Guide training class at Echo CanyonEver wonder what those care-free, hard-working, exceptionally strong guides do in the off season? Just about everything! Raft guiding is a season occupation that allows students, travelers, and rafting enthusiasts to get paid for doing something that they love for 4 months out of the year. But as the summer comes to a close, where does you whitewater rafting guide go?

For a rafting guide who attends college, the rafting season conveniently falls between spring and fall semesters at college or university. Some are looking to find careers in the outdoor industry upon graduation, including recreation management, the Forest Service, or business management. Others, however, are future lawyers, teachers, dentists, pilots, and graphic designers. Their summer job offers a welcome break from specialized major courses. Most will tell you, however, that some aspects of whitewater raft guiding helped them in whatever career they chose.  

rafting guideTour Guiding
It’s possible that you could run into your favorite rafting guide while taking a snowmobile, horseback, or sledding tour this winter. That’s because many of our guides take full advantage of the recreational seasons that we have in Colorado (and across the US). You may find them blazing trails through fresh powder on a snowmobile, or donning a cowboy hat and spurs on the prairie.

Ski Instruction
Many a multi-talented rafting guide often heads to the high country in winter to help folks enjoy snow
before it melts and becomes whitewater. That same calm, knowledgeable, relaxed voice that comes in so handy in Class IV whitewater is also helpful when teaching adults and kids alike to form a pizza-wedge down their first green run in Breckenridge.

Flexible Jobs
Thanks to the ability to work remotely, some guides are able to carry on their career work while working at Echo Canyon for the summer. After they get off the river, some guides are busy at their laptops, reviewing court cases or editing papers. In the off-season, they’re back at home (guides come to us from all over the US and the world) or the office.

Just like their students, many of our teacher guides use summer break from school to earn a little extra money, strengthen their biceps, and enjoy some much-needed time outdoors. Teachers make fantastic raft guides due to their unprecedented level of patience and ability to adapt to any situation.

Those lucky few who are able to travel after summer ends sometimes send us postcards from all over the word. After the season ends, your whitewater rafting guide may be headed down to Arizona, England, and beyond to visit family, backpack Europe, or just relax.

Whitewater Rafting GuidesRafting
You read that right. Many of our guides follow the summer season and raft in the eastern US in the fall, then travel on to New Zealand, Argentina, or Belize to guide rafting trips down exotic rivers. These guides are easily identifiable: they’ll be the only ones with a tan on the first day of the season.

No matter where they are as the snow flies or thaws, as soon as the weather warms up, they are eager to return to the rapids of the Arkansas River. Many people love coming back to Echo Canyon River Expeditions and rafting with the same guide year after year. It can be fun to catch up, compare seasons, and share memories as a group. Do you have a favorite guide? 

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About the Author

Ashlee has been living and rafting in Colorado for over a decade. She loves exploring and sharing all the best of the Royal Gorge Region with her husband and two little boys.
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