Whitewater Raft Guide Schools for 20th Consecutive YearNovice river runners or paddlers who want to learn how to safely lead whitewater raft trips safely can choose from one of three upcoming classes near Missoula. The comprehensive five day Whitewater Raft Guide Schools are being offered in April, May and June by Montana River Guides on the Blackfoot and Clark Fork Rivers. Montana River Guides instructors have been teaching the courses for twenty years.
After learning about proper equipment, boat rigging, trip preparation, river safety and reading water, students learn basic paddle commands and get the opportunity to guide both paddle and oar rafts under the supervision of instructors.
“The class focuses how to read the river and guide rafts in whitewater “ said Mike Johnston, owner of Montana River Guides. “We give students as much information as we can in the classroom session and then spend four and a half long days on the river, giving them hands-on experience. “
Johnston said the Blackfoot River is ideal for introducing people to guiding because there are so many features in the river and plenty of places to practice simple maneuvers such as eddy turns, peel outs, and ferrying. After working on the Blackfoot the class will move on to the bigger whitewater of Alberton Gorge where they will get the opportunity to practice in-flow rescues, boat flipping, and reading more challenging rapids.“After practicing swimming, self-rescue, and dealing with rescue situations, the students are ready to be challenged by the Gorge’s bigger rapids and features”, says Johnston. “They’ll have to apply everything that they’ve learned to scout rapids, select their route, and then run the rapid safely as a team with their paddle crews.”No experience is necessary. Participants who complete the class will receive a Swiftwater Rescue Technician certification from the Whitewater Rescue Institute. The first Whitewater Raft Guide School is April 1,2,7,8 & 9. Other sessions are scheduled for May 12-16 and June 10-14. The cost $485. For more information or to register call Montana River Guides at 406-214-0245.