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Thread: raft guiding

  1. #1

    Default raft guiding

    hello,

    so im planning on coming up to alaska this summer to river guide. ive been researching alot to see what my best options were and came across this forum and was looking to get some more "locals" info.

    ive been living in colorado my whole life and want a bit of a change. so ive been guiding for 3 seasons now with a little over 3000mi. most of those being on Clear Creek a class 4 creek. but also on the arkansas and colorado rivers.

    so it looks like i pretty much have 2 options; nenana out of denali... or six-mile out of hope. i know that there is many other multi-day rivers out there, but from what ive heard, its hard to get work on them especially for it being my first season out there..any thoughts? so it looks like the nenana is a class 3-4 river with mostly half day trips that you can do 2-3 or 4 a day of, which is most like what im used to being on clear creek. and i would live in denali or healy? i was wondering what the atmosphere of those areas are like and what the living would also be like?

    then there is six-mile. ideally, this look like the best river for me. lower water technical fast-pace boating. it looks like most live out of hope. and there is 2 companys.. chugach outdoor and nova. any beta on those 2 companys? also, how is the town of hope as far as atmosphere? what about girdwood?

    so along with guiding.. i definitly want to get out and explore alaska as much as possible. the kenai area looks more scenic than the denali area but i just want to get out and see as much as i can.

    any beta or info or comments would be greatly appreciated. thanks!

  2. #2
    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
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    There is a lot of marijuana consumed in Girdwood, Hope, and Healy. Girdwood's a fun place in the summer with a few decent local music shows. The salmon bake @ Denali has good beer and good music frequently.
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  3. #3

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    hoping that the herbal is as good as it is here in the rockies!

  4. #4
    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
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    From what I hear, it's as good if not superior. I spent a little time @CU in Boulder and a few years in Girdwood. Girdwood takes the cake IMHO, though the variety isn't as readily available. There is nothing that compares to Sunshine Wheat up here but we get the Oregon brewery beers. The brewhouse in Anchorage makes a decent blonde and their IPA's and Imperial IPA's aren't bad.

    As for the water, 6 mile clientele would be preferred by me over the Denali folks. A few of my ski buddies live in Healy in the summer. If you move to Hope (I'd recommend Girdwood), a trip or two up to the Bake in the summer is worth the drive.

    Good luck!
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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    sounds like you will fit right in @ Denali... call John White of Nenana raft co... to start
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

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    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Smile ...if your good enough...

    Concerning the topic of river rafting and guiding....

    ...Im a south-central type of guy so I would opt for six-mile guiding with Jay/Chugach Outdoors and Chuck/Nova on the Kenai Peninsula. And I enjoy them 27 and 28 inch long dolly varden and rainbow trout on the Kenai River also.

    However, there is a bunch of business and tourist dollars up in Denali also.

    Tough decision. But I would do six-mile...
    ...if your good enough. At high water it's a YeeHaw ride!

    dennis

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    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    I think the Nova guides split their time between Six Mile and the Matanuska. The Mat offers the Class IV Lion's Head portion as well as some tamer options with half-day, full-day, and evening/dinner runs. Nova's hdqtr's are in Chickaloon on the Matanuska.

  8. #8

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    which company would you prefer to work for...chugach or nova?

  9. #9
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Default rafting employers...

    I have never worked for either Chugach Outdoors or Nova.

    But in a former lifetime I operated a small rafting outfit that competed for a very tiny bit of business with Jay and Chuck. At that time they were, I believe, co-owners of Nova Riverrunners operating out of Chickaloon. In addition, I participated in a whitewater rescue class primarily taught by Chuck.

    Both Chuck/Nova and Jay, current owner I believe of Chugach Outdoors, were absolutely super guys to deal with. Chuch was at that time more of the up-front sales spokesman, while Jay impressed me as more quiet. Perhaps I simply had more interactions with Chuck. Hopefully some other rafters, possible some former employees, or even other rafting company owners with contribute and help answer your questions, or correct/update any inaccurate or outdated info I have written.

    Either way, Nova or Chugach, going north or south....sounds like your gonna have a great 2010 summer!

    Dennis

  10. #10
    Member Heg's Avatar
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    I don’t really have much experience with either company, but all the people seem pretty cool at both. If I were to be stuck on one river for the summer, I would prefer 6 Mile to the Nenana for a variety of reasons. First of all, in my opinion 6 Mile is way more fun to float. There is also more going on in South Central than the Interior: salmon and trout fishing, festivals, girls, etc. And, if you are looking to put down some roots for the winter, Hope and Girdwood both have world class skiing with a consistent snow pack. With that said, the scenery in Denali is great, and when the Nenana is high, it is a blast. I have also heard the guides make more money in Denali due to the amount of trips they take a day (not sure how true this is). You won’t be disappointed with whatever decision you make.

  11. #11

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    awesome well thanks for all of the info. i will probably get my logs all together and everything and end up applying at chugach. i guess i will just try and look more into housing as the time comes.. maybe just camp out for the summer with my dog. also, im really contimplating staying out for the winter also in girdwood. any info on housing and jobs for the winter in girdwood? id prolly try and teach parttime at aleyska and also work front desk at a hotel or something. thats what i have been doing the past 4 years up here in colorado anyways. .

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    Alyeska is an alright place. Ski School hires in the fall (read: now). Front desk work is pretty boring and mostly locked up by long timers. Mountain staff is great and the hill has some awesome terrain, some of which is reserved for mountain staff. Lodging almost certainly requires some roommates. If you are around town in the summer, the winter will line itself out pretty quickly.

    I'm friends with most of the staff on mountainside and a few from the hotel. If you like deep untouched steeps, mountainside is the place to be.

    A few of the guys work Chugach/Nova in the summer. Another option if you want to stay the winter is to do some work with CPG as a shuttle driver and PT at Alyeska.

    FYI, most of the folks who spend a winter in Girdwood end up spending more than 1. It's a good time!
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    Member cristancanoe's Avatar
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    I worked for Jay on 6-mile when he was with Nova back in 2000. He's a great guy to work for. I still chat with him occasionally, so let me know if you want his email or number.
    It can be difficult to get a guiding job on 6-mile. I would suggest you contact Jay and/or Chuck as soon as you can. They may only have a handful of open guiding positions that "locals" may be in line for.

    Good Luck and maybe I'll see you on the river!

  14. #14

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    hey, yea that would be great if I could get an email from Jay so that i can start talking with him to see if i can work out there this summer! thanks!

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