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Raft Guide Training School 2024 | Mountain Whitewater



by Lindsey Modesitt, January 2024

Are you looking for a challenging, active, and rewarding career in the outdoors? If so, raft guide training school at Mountain Whitewater is perfect for you. Become a certified raft guide in the State of Colorado and earn the chance to be part of the Mountain Whitewater team by enrolling in our 2024 guide school.

Schedule & Materials

Mountain Whitewater Guide Melissa Matsunaka on the Poudre RiverThe course starts at 8:00 am on Monday, May 20th, 2024. The first week will consist of classroom sessions in the mornings. Classroom sessions will last until around noon, followed by on-river training in the afternoons (river level permitting). These classroom sessions will consist of a compilation of videos, slides, handouts, lectures, and quizzes. All dry-land instruction and classroom sessions take place on the grounds at Mountain Whitewater.

Trainees will receive a training packet containing materials related to the course. The packets include all the required materials from the State of Colorado and Mountain Whitewater. The packets will serve as a guide throughout the course. Professionally Guiding Whitewater and The Complete Whitewater Rafter will be used as the main texts for the course and will be loaned to you for the duration of the course. Other books, videos, and other rafting-related materials are available to trainees through the Mountain Whitewater library.

The classroom sessions that are required by the State of Colorado to obtain your guide license are listed below. They will help visualize what is happening on the river and to understand why the boat acts a certain way in rapids. Classes are held early in the training process so that the skills learned in the classroom can be applied to the river.

  • Monday, May 20th – 8 am: Paperwork, Employee Handbook, Equipment & Gear, Rigging
  • Tuesday, May 21st – 9 am: River Currents, River Features, Paddle Commands, rating scales
  • Wednesday, May 22nd – 9 am: Running the Rapids, Safety, Safety Talk, River Hazards
  • Thursday, May 23rd – 9 am: River Rescue, Emergency Procedures, Rope Rescue
  • Friday, May 24th – 9 am: Miscellaneous, Outdoor Impacts, How to be a Better Guide


Mountain Whitewater Raft Guides | Season Opening Day 2018
All trainees are required to meet the following criteria to become a raft guide at Mountain Whitewater.

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must be able to attend all the above-listed class sessions
  • Complete 100+ hours of on-river training required by Mountain Whitewater
  • Must complete the Mountain Whitewater Rapid Check-off Sheet
  • Must pass a basic First Aid and CPR class if not currently certified. Mountain Whitewater will host a class for staff and trainees sometime in the spring.
  • Must complete the Mountain Whitewater Swiftwater Rescue class (included in training investment)
  • Must pass a top to bottom check-out run with a trainer
  • Treat the training course as if it were a very long job interview to show why you deserve to be part of the Mountain Whitewater team.


There will be three main guide trainers; however, we will also have some of our returning guides help with training and instruction as well.

Owner & Raft Guide Brad ModesittBrad Modesitt (Owner), 24rd-year guide, Canyons Inc. River Rescue Course, Emergency Medical Technician-Basic (trained), Outdoor Emergency Care Technician, Wilderness First Responder. Brad Modesitt is from Michigan but has lived in Colorado most of his life. Privately he has boated on four continents while pursuing his passion of traveling. He has over 24,901 river miles which is the circumference of the earth! His favorite trip so far has been canoeing to New Orleans and then bicycling to Chile.

Justin “Baby J” Romero- Justin grew up in Fort Collins where he explores the mountains.  Justin Graduated from Colorado State University in December with a degree in Forestry and Rangeland Management.  He enjoys spending time in a hammock in the mountains and listening to the wind whip through the trees.  When not on the river, Justin can be found eating burritos and listening to rock ‘n roll.  He likes fishing, hunting, hiking snowboarding and many other things.  He is trained in SwiftWater Rescue Techniques.  This is Justin’s 5th year guiding on the Cache La Poudre

Evandel “Vano” Crabtree- Vano is from Dayton, Ohio where he grew up playing football and running track.  He graduated from Sinclair College in Dayton, Ohio.  Vano’s next adventure was to follow his heart and chase his passion for rafting.  That passion found him in Fort Collins, Colorado.  Vano’s love for rafting came from rafting trips as a kid in West Virginia.  After discovering that guides were like superheroes, he decided that would be a perfect fit for him, we agreed.  Vano is a SwiftWater trained and this is his 4th year as a guide on the Poudre River.

Also assisting with Training for 2024

Matt Troyanek, Coe Stemple, Casey Batezel, Jack Reed, Melissa Matsunaka, Jacque “tiny” McVey, Casey Kramer

How to Apply

Training Investment: $395. Taking the class is not a guarantee of a job, but all new guides will be hired from the training class. If hired, half of the class fee is returned after the second full-time season working with Mountain Whitewater, the other half is returned after the third full-time season working with Mountain Whitewater. This cost covers the classroom sessions, dry-land sessions, equipment used during training (PFD, wetsuit, booties, splash jacket, and helmet), Swiftwater rescue class, and transportation to and from the Cache La Poudre River Canyon. Being a river guide is a multidimensional job requiring both physical skills and an outgoing personality. We are looking for people who can fulfill those needs. Ask around…we have the best-trained guides you will find.

If interested, contact us at or by calling 970-419-0917.