River Trips

Classes & Instruction

FULL DAY & MULTIDAY - Rafting, kayaking & more!

Whitewater Rafting Guide Training

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

Rookies gettin' Wet

The whitewater raft guide training class at Mountain Whitewater Descents is designed to teach new guides (no previous experience required) everything that they need to know about how to be a raft guide in the State of Colorado. 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 Descents, 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 Descents must be fully competent in guiding class IV rapids, requirements to guide at Mountain Whitewater Descents 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 Mountain Whitewater Descents standard is 100 hours of training minimum. We will also conduct longer classroom hours and require that all guides are trained in proper Swiftwater Rescue techniques.

Rookie Written Exam

The first week of class starts out with classroom instruction in the mornings. We will hold all dry land instruction and classroom sessions on the grounds of Mountain Whitewater Descents. 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, slide show
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

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.

Rope Throwing Practice

Training Investment: $395 (1/2 is returned after the second season working with MWD, ½ returned after the third season working with MWD). This cost includes the classroom sessions, dry land sessions, equipment used during training (PFD, wetsuit, booties, splash jacket, and helmet) and transportation to and from the Cache la Poudre River Canyon.

All classes at Mountain Whitewater Descents are designed and taught by Mountain Whitewater Descents employees and instructors. Please call 888-855-8874 to inquire about class dates & times or to sign-up for any class. Mountain Whitewater Descents does not conduct a training class every season, please call to check availability.

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Introduction to Whitewater Rafting

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

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.

Class Investment: $250 This cost includes the classroom sessions, dry land sessions, equipment used during training (PFD, wetsuit, booties, splash jacket, and helmet) and transportation to and from the Cache la Poudre River Canyon.

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