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.

The 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 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.

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


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.


Mountain Whitewater takes great pride in our training program; We have two main facilitators of our class and many of our returning guides help with training and instruction as well.

Owner & Raft Guide Brad ModesittBrad Modesitt (Owner: Facilitator), 25th-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 for 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  5th year guide, Lead Guide Trainer, SwiftWater Rescue Technician.

Evandel “Vano” Crabtree 4th year guide, Lead Guide Trainer, SwiftWater Rescue Technician

Matt Troyanek 27th year guide, Guide Trainer, Swiftwater Rescue Technician, Emergency Medical Technician, Professional Climbing and Mountaineering Guide

Jack Reed 18th year professional guide, Guide Trainer, Safety Kayaker, Swiftwater Rescue Technician

Casey Batezel 16th year professional guide, Emergency Medical Technician, Swiftwater Rescue Technician, Firefighter I

Coe Stemple 8th year professional guide, professional snowmaker,

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, email application and resume to contacts@raftmw.com or by calling 970-419-0917.


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: $395 This cost includes the classroom sessions, dryland sessions, equipment used during training, and transportation to and from the Cache la Poudre River Canyon for the initial week of training.