Rafting Trips

Raft Guide Instruction

Whitewater Raft Guide Instruction Program

Train to be a professional raft guide. This course may not be available every year.

Raft guide class outdoors at Mountain WhitewaterThe whitewater raft guide instruction class at Mountain Whitewater is designed to teach new guides (no previous experience required) everything that they need to know to be a raft guide. The course will complete all of the objectives required to be a legal guide anywhere in the State of Colorado, and will specifically teach guides how to navigate the Cache La Poudre River as a paid guide.

The course will also function as a job interview, allowing for trainees to earn a position as a whitewater raft guide at Mountain Whitewater, but is NOT a guarantee of employment. Not hiring everyone in the training class fosters better competition and creates a learning environment that will get the most out of every trainee.

Because all guides at Mountain Whitewater must be fully competent in guiding class IV rapids, requirements to guide at Mountain Whitewater are going to go above and beyond the state standards. The minimum number of training hours for the State of Colorado is 50 hours, while the Mountain Whitewater standard is a minimum of 100 hours of training. We will also conduct longer classroom hours and require that all guides are trained in proper Swiftwater Rescue techniques.

Taking the final exam during raft guide training.The first week of the course starts out with classroom instruction in the mornings. We will hold all dry land instruction and classroom sessions on the grounds of Mountain Whitewater. 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 and lecture. Here is a list of the required classes:

  • Class one: Paperwork, Employee Handbook, Equipment and Gear, Rigging
  • Class two: River Currents, River Features, Paddle Commands, rating scales
  • Class three: Running the Rapids, Safety, Safety Talk, River Hazards, Video Examples
  • Class four: River Rescue, Emergency Procedures, Heads Up Video, Rope Rescue
  • Class five: Miscellaneous, Outdoor Impacts, How to be a Better Guide

Trainees will receive training materials containing rafting related stories and techniques compiled from several books including: River Safety Report, Whitewater Rescue Manual, River Rescue and User’s Guide to the Cache La Poudre River.
Rookies ready for another run on the Cache la Poudre

Professionally Guiding Whitewater & 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. The books and videos mentioned above and other materials are available to trainees through the Mountain Whitewater library.

The following weeks of the course will consist of mostly rafting trips (two per day on most days), along with a couple of days of Swiftwater Rescue training (river level permitting) and a basic CPR and First Aid class. This portion will last between two and four weeks depending on river level and and trainee attendance during daily raft trips.

There will be two main guide trainers. However, we will also have some of our returning guides help with training and instruction as well. The two main trainers are:

  • Brad Modesitt (owner), 20th year guide, 24,000+ river miles, Canyons Inc. River Rescue Course, Emergency Medical Technician – Basic (trained), Outdoor Emergency Care Technician, Wilderness First Responder.
  • Ben Costello (river manager), 16th year guide, 12,000+ river miles, Swiftwater Rescue Technician 1, ACA Swiftwater Certified, Wilderness First Responder.

Training Investment: $395 (half is returned after the second season working with Mountain Whitewater, half returned after the third season working with Mountain Whitewater). This cost includes the classroom sessions, dry land sessions, equipment used during training and transportation to and from the Cache La Poudre River Canyon.

All classes at Mountain Whitewater are designed and taught by Mountain Whitewater employees and instructors. Please call 970-419-0917 to inquire about class dates & times or to sign-up for any class. Mountain Whitewater does not conduct a training class every season, please call to check availability.


Introduction to Whitewater Rafting

Want to learn how to guide a raft, but not work as a guide?

Raft guide class outdoors at Mountain Whitewater

This class is exactly the same as our professional raft guide training class, but is specific to paddlers who want to learn whitewater rafting skill sets, but do not want to work as a professional guide. The course will teach topics like understanding river currents and features, running rapids, paddle and safety commands, equipment and rigging, river safety and rescue, outdoor impacts and more. This is a one week course and will take place concurrently with our professional guide training class.

Class Investment: $250 This cost includes the classroom sessions, dry land sessions, equipment used during training and transportation to and from the Cache la Poudre River Canyon.