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About Pagosa Outside 2016-11-04T16:37:56+00:00

Meet the Owners

“We are proud to have been voted Pagosa’s best rafting company and river guides.”

Owners Tobi and Alison Rohwer fell in love on a river trip in 2004, got married in 2008, and took over Pagosa Outside in 2009. They bring years of experience, a wealth of knowledge, and a young family’s enthusiasm to what has become the fastest growing raft company in the area.

Tobi worked as a whitewater guide for 15 years, amassing over 25,000 miles on rivers all over the West and Alaska. He has worked with many industry leading whitewater outfitters on some of the most difficult commercially rafted sections of river in the US, but the Piedra river is still his favorite whitewater run.

After finishing her studies in wildlife biology at the University of Georgia, Alison moved to Colorado to pursue her degree and was swept off her feet by the enthusiastic river guide who would soon be her husband. She supports Tobi’s rafting dreams by working as an environmental consultant for Ecosphere Environmental by day and the behind-the-scenes wizard for Pagosa Outside by night.  Without her “real job” to support them, Pagosa Outside wouldn’t be possible.

Our goal as owners is to share our love of Pagosa and show you why we decided to make this place home for our family.

Why Pagosa Outside

aboutpagepic1We didn’t set out to be the biggest outfitter in the area, just everyone’s favorite outfitter.  Our efforts to share a professional but friendly, small town, family owned and operated experience has been overwhelmingly embraced by our guests and employees.  Our primary goal is for each and every one of our guests to have a safe, comfortable, fun and memorable time.  One of the biggest things that makes us stand out from other outfitters is our attention to all of the tiny details that add up to make the biggest difference in our guests experience.  It is a point of pride that we run a diverse fleet of rafts, have clean, nice, quality gear for our guests, and operate smooth trips by being time efficient in all the little places that most folks don’t even notice.  We take pride in working in a fun, professional and rewarding workplace, so we do everything we can to maintain that.  Everyone that works at Pagosa Outside takes pride in being the best around.

west-fork-put-inA Note From the Owner: I worked for 15 years as a whitewater guide for more than a dozen different companies before becoming an owner.  I have had the unique opportunity to take all the things I really liked from every other company I worked at and then apply them to Pagosa Outside.  One of the most important things I’ve learned is that the quality and attitude of your guide makes the biggest difference in the quality of your trip.  I strive to create the workplace I always wished I had when I was working for other companies.  Our guides get paid well above the industry norm, are treated with trust, dignity and respect, and are given every opportunity to excel.  With a fun, professional and motivating workplace we are able to draw and keep the best employees because they take pride in the company they work for and have a hand in its success.

Our Raft Fleet:  Our raft fleet stays new and gets updated regularly. By selling the oldest boats in our fleet and replacing them with the newest coolest technology, the average age of our rafts is less than 4 years. By having a diverse fleet, we are able to use the most appropriate boats for each different section of river and water level. With our vast experience and connections in the industry, we have helped many of our manufacturers develop new and improved designs that are industry standard today.

Gear: You’ll notice that our vehicles are well maintained and cleaned daily, and our river gear is always clean, comfortable and the nicest around.  We take on the extra expense of having the finest gear available for our guests and pride ourselves on taking the extra effort to maintain it.  Our wetsuits and booties get washed and sanitized after every use and you won’t ever have to wear a stinky old lifejacket.  We know you’ll appreciate the difference it makes in the quality of your trip.

Convenience: We have the shortest shuttles in town. Our downtown location right across Main St. from the river means that you will get to spend more time on the river and less time driving to get there. Three of our river access points are just minutes from the shop.  Our store serves as a meeting point for all of our trips.  Here we offer changing rooms, bathrooms, a great selection of whitewater gear, clothing, souvenirs, and all of those often forgotten accessories.

kayak-tour-2Photos: We offer photos of all our San Juan trips available for viewing and purchase at our store immediately after your trip as well as online at PicThrive.  We take lots of shots of each raft and keep our photo prices well below the industry standard so that you can take your memories home with you.

Value: We know that our trips are the finest in the area and our guests agree.  You can read what they’ve said about us on TripAdvisor.    Pagosa Outside was voted the best raft company and river guide by readers of the Pagosa Sun.  Our trip prices include all of the gear required for the trip. We rely on the locals to send folks to Pagosa Outside because we are who takes them rafting with their friends and family. Please take the time to shop around …. we are positive that our trips are the best value in town!

Staff: Our guides and staff are what makes the biggest difference.  They are local characters, lovers of the outdoors, professional fun hogs, and just friendly people who love what they do, where they work, and take great pride in being a vital part of the Pagosa Outside team.  They are all highly trained, licensed, certified, and experienced in sharing the magic of the Pagosa area.  When you pick up the phone, it won’t be answered by a booking agency, you will be chatting with friendly local folks who know the ins and outs of your trip and the whole Pagosa scene.  These folks have all chosen Pagosa Outside as their place of employment, so rest assured that you will be assisted by and travelling with the finest shop and guide staff around.

Meet the Guides

Dan Witting

Head Boatman, Guide Instructor, Trip Leader
Director of Company Culture

Dan’s mischievous sense of humor and ability to wring adventure out of the mundane and ordinary has been found to be quite infectious.  His fondness of fun and expectations of excellence have been a vital part of creating the lively and professional workplace that keeps everyone on their toes at Pagosa Outside.

Matt Schwarz

Operations Manager, Guide Instructor, Trip Leader
Hydrological Gear Repair Specialist

Matt found Pagosa Outside after his previous career as an assault climber with the United States Marine Corp.  His passion for all thing gear related means that our state of the art fleet of whitewater assault equipment is always the finest available and ready for rapid deployment.

James Kirkham

Land Based Operations Manager, Stepchild

What to say about James?  Former Infantryman for the U.S. Army and general Jack of All Trades, this wild redhead came back to his roots in Pagosa to fulfill the life long dream of not being bound by having a “real” job.

Kyle Frye

Senior Guide, Trip Leader
Migrant Wave Farmer

Kyle’s love of sharing the camaraderie and compassion to be found on the river brought him back to Pagosa after a career of migratory raft guiding and ski bumming.  His hobby of building wooden whitewater dories and running them down the rivers of the West keeps him in high demand.

Jay Lally

Trip Leader, Guide

After running his own business for many years, Jay escaped to Pagosa to live the simple life.  He found the love of the river later in life, but has been quickly making up for lost time.

He has a great appreciation for deep powder days at Wolf Creek and sunny high water days on the river that only someone who has lived in the “real world” can.

Aaron Dominguez

Trip Leader, Guide

You can also spot this smiling face slingin’ tacos at Kip’s, or tearing up the mountain in the winter.  He loves kittens, long walks on the beach, and watching Big Foot frolic in the meadows of the high San Juans.

Kate Wilson

Guide

A former homecoming queen and cheerleader, Kate found her true self in the mountains and waters of the Southern San Juans. She is now an avid ripper –putting most guys to shame on the slopes–and outdoor enthusiast who doesn’t mind getting down and dirty!

Ben Qualls

Head Driver

Don’t let Ben’s gruff and surly front fool you, he’s really just a big teddy bear.  He has recently had to cut back his amount of time spent baking cookies, writing poetry,and collecting butterflies to focus on his latest project.  We hope to see his hovercraft tours in operation by the summer of 2015!

Shane Starr

Master Tube Ninja, HMFVD

Record holder for the most tubes wrangled, Shane has furthered his love for tubes by opening his own winter tubing hill!!!  Stop by the High Country Lodge during the winter months to continue the tubing fun!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Dress to get wet!
  • Swimsuit or quick-dry clothing.
  • Water bottle
  • Shoes or sandals that can get wet (no flip flops)
  • Neoprene booties are available for rent.  1/2 price for rafting guests
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses with strap
  • Hat for sun protection
  • We supply life jackets and splash gear
  • You will be wearing wetsuits, helmets, splash gear, and booties
  • Swimsuit or light nylon shorts to wear under wetsuit
  • Quick drying shirt to wear under splash top
  • Water bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses with strap

Don’t take nice watches, jewelry, wallets, cell phones, or car keys rafting!

*On Piedra trips you will be changing into and out of your rafting gear at undeveloped riverside put-ins and take-outs.  We highly recommend wearing light synthetic shorts or swimsuits that will fit comfortably under your wetsuit for your own modesty and that of the other folks on your raft trip!

We offer a wide variety of rafting trips – from short family floats to white-knuckle wilderness whitewater.  The River Bend and Mesa Canyon trips are great for first-timers, families, and anyone looking for a less intense rafting experience.  Our West Fork trips are a perfect intermediate experience for anyone looking for whitewater thrills – first-timers included – without making a full day commitment.  Piedra river trips are spectacular, intense and require a hearty appetite for excitement and adventure.  We recommend previous experience on class III or IV rivers.  Our West Fork trip is the perfect warm-up for the Piedra River.  Your level of physial fitness needs to be better than average since Piedra trips take place in a wilderness environment where advanced medical care can be hours away. Please email or give us a call if you need help deciding what trip is right for you or your group.
May and June are best for whitewater thrills.  Peaks flows usually happen in late May or early June.  July and August are warmer, but the river flows are usually much lower.
YES! We are a small company and many of our trips fill up.  Making an online reservation is the easiest way to secure your trip.  We usually have our trip schedule open for bookings by early March, once the Forest Service and BLM confirm our permits, launch dates and capacities.  During our summer operating season a quick phone call to  (970) 264-4202 can get you set up.  Before our shop is open in late April, you and also drop us an email at info@pagosaoutside.com with your inquiry.   Some trips have a minimum number of participants so you will have to contact us to schedule a launch.  Simply go through the trips reservation page to contact us and we can get your trip reserved as soon as the minimums are met.  Our different trips have different cancellation policies, so please make note of this on each trips reservation process.
15 minutes prior to your trip time is usually adequate.  All of our trips meet at our shop in downtown Pagosa Springs.  You will need to take care of payment, sign our waiver, watch a 5 minute safety video, and be ready to get geared up by the specified trip time.
Rafting is a service industry.  If you feel that your guide has done a great job to enhance your river experience a gratuity is greatly appreciated.
Yes.  Every participant must complete a state required liability form which may be downloaded from our site or completed at our office when you check in. DOWNLOAD WAIVER FORM
ALL MINORS not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian must bring a waiver form signed by their parent or legal guardian.  Without this form, the minor will not be allowed to participate.  If this applies to you or your group, please call to request our waiver or download it from our web site.

Our Favorites / Pagosa Springs Area Links

Where we go out to eat:

Where our friends stay if our couch is full:

What to do for fun:

Local News, Weather and info:

Pagosa Outside Loves attention:

  • Canoe and Kayak Magazine article on Mini Raft Mayhem
  • A bikers take on a rafting trip with Pagosa Outside – HERE
  • Travel blog and video from a travelling chef who went tubing with Pagosa Outside – HERE
  • National Geographic Adventure calls Pagosa a top 100 Adventure Town – HERE
  • The Amarillo Globe calls Pagosa a “Placid Playground”  – HERE
  • Keep Tabs on us at: Friends of Pagosa Outside on Facebook.