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Guide School

Quick Details

5-Day Course May 4-8, 2020
6-Day Course May 2-3, 9-10, 16-17
Single Day

Colorado Raft Guide Certification Course

Thank you for your interest in Pagosa Outside’s Professional Whitewater Guide Certification Program. The goal of our certification program is to train and certify individuals who are interested in exploring the amazing world of whitewater. Our training teaches the skills, techniques, thought processes, rigging, and safety tactics needed to become an exceptional river guide.

Training takes place primarily on the San Juan River but we also challenge ourselves on different sections of water. We start with basic fundamentals and safety techniques with a daily focus on boat guiding, customer service, and logistical skills. There are specific days with instruction in swift water rescue, flipping and swimming, and boat repair. You’re expected to swim in the river potentially everyday… rain, snow, or shine.

Our instructors have tens of thousands of river miles and years of experience. The training program is based on these years of experience and real life situations. We emphasize a variety of training styles, with one to fit most everyone who shows up. We take training very seriously. It is the foundation of your rafting career, and the foundation of our business. Your training will be of the highest quality possible.

For 2020 we are offering 2 different Guide School course schedules.
– The traditional five-day intensive course runs May 4th-8th. Cost is $450.
– The Weekend Warrior course will take place May 2-3, 9-10 and 16-17. Cost is $540

The rough schedule is as follows:
Day 1: Intro to the gear, rigging, and maneuvering
Day 2-3: Intermediate boat handling, reading river features and hazards, scouting and running rapids
Day 4: Basic river rescue and emergency procedures, LNT rafting practices
Day 5-6: Advanced boat handling, surfing, rescue practice.

Cost is $90 per day for the full course or $120 for individual days. A $100 deposit is required to hold your spot. Scholarships are available for the right people.

Following guide school, potential employees continue training by riding along on regular commercial trips, shadowing in trainee boats, and rowing solo boats until they feel prepared for a check out trip. Even though we hire almost all of our new employees from the training course, we’d like to emphasize that you are not guaranteed a job after the program is over.

If you are looking for one-on-one learning, check out our Private River Instruction options