River guides love June! It’s the time to reflect on last year’s guiding season and prepare for the upcoming one. The senior guides talk about how much fun they had last rafting season while the new guides listen intently to their stories. June is all about learning and boating. Old guides sharpen their guiding skills and new guides learn the ropes. Most people think it’s a relatively quick process to become a guide and that guides just need to “learn” the rapids, but it’s so much more than that.
First part about becoming a guide is “training.” We spend countless hours rafting the Salmon River. This familiarizes new guides with the rapids, rocks, put-ins and takeouts, plus it’s tons of fun. Guides first experience the river the same as our customers do, by sitting in the customers seats. They learn about Shotgun Rapid, Sunbeam Dam, piece a cake rapid, etc. They become knowledgeable about the history of Stanley and the Sawtooth Mountains. As guides become educated about the Salmon River and the surrounding areas, we start “putting them on the stick. This basically means letting them guide the boat.
We start them out on flat water, then riffles, and then rapids, each time critiquing and analyzing their boating skills and giving them pointers until they are confident in their rafting abilities. Along the way guides are also learning about ropes, safety speeches, paddle commands, and all the gear associated with whitewater rafting. This training process takes up most of the month of June and also includes an intense 3-day swift water coarse as well. As our new guides continue to progress and grow, we slowly work them into have customers in to the boat. First we get them accustomed to talking and interacting with guests by inviting friends of White Cloud Rafting and local business for comp trips. These trips are basically free and really help new guides learn how to interact with customers while also teaching them how to guide with new groups of people.
In addition to “on the water training,” our guides learn all about customer service. They learn about local biking trials, hot springs, restaurants, and family activities in the area. We read history books, hiking books, watch interpretative videos and learn everything about Stanley, the Sawtooth Mountains, and White Water Rafting – anything that might help advise our customers on what to do while visiting the Sun Valley area, our guides know about it.
By the end of our extensive training our guides are well educated, intelligent boaters with desire to uphold the highest of customer service. The guides work as a team to provide an unforgettable family rafting experience. With great preparation comes great results. For more information on our trips please browse the site!