(positions still available)
A maximum of six guide trainees will be accepted into the training class. The number of trainees we hire will be determined by 1) how many trainees complete the class and 2) how many trainees have demonstrated during training that they will be good guides and good employees.
Guide trainees may choose whether they want to be full-time guides, weekend guides, or fill-in guides. Full-time guides and weekend guides are in our guide rotation. Fill-in guides are not part of the guide rotation. Fill-in guides tell me which days they are available to work. If we need extra guides on a day they are available, I will ask them to guide.
This is a great job for someone who wants to get hands-on experience working in a small business. We want someone who will get involved in the work and accept responsibility. You will be dealing with customers over the phone, answering their questions, and making reservations. You will be checking in customers at our Johnson Village office, collecting final payments from customers, and helping them rent wetsuits and booties. You will need strong organizational skills because you will help us keep track of reservations, credit card payments, photo orders, sales, and guide records. The things you will learn in this job might very well help you succeed in your own business someday.
Guide Training Class: May 24th – June 1st, 2019 (Nine training days.)
Guide Training Cost: $300.00
Guide Training Class Size: Limited to Six Guide Trainees
The $300.00 training fee includes nine days of training, lunch on the river during training, and the use of wetsuits, booties, and splash gear during training. This class is for people who want to work for us as full-time guides, weekend guides, or fill-in guides.
In the 22 years we have kept records on our guide training classes, we have trained 230 people. Of these 230 people, 190(83%) completed the class. Of the 190 people who completed the class, we invited 173 trainees (91%) to work for our company.
We train our own rafting guides so we have control over the quality of training our guides receive. We charge less for guide training than most other rafting companies because we do not run guide training as a money-maker. Most rafting companies do run their guide training class as a moneymaker and train a lot more guides that they can hire. We limit the size of our classes and focus on training fewer guides extremely well. Our guide training exceeds the standards required for guide certification by the State of Colorado because the purpose of our training program is to produce guides who are good enough to guide for our company.
Guiding is a challenging job that requires physical fitness and mental stamina. Most people who are in good physical condition and have the perseverance to stick with a job until it is done can learn to guide. We train on the Arkansas River because that is where you will be guiding customers. After completing our guide training class, the trainees our instructors feel are guiding well enough to check out and who have a good attitude and work ethic are invited to do a final check out run. In their final check-out run, trainees guide customers with their instructor in the boat. If the instructors feel a trainee has the potential to be both a good guide and a good employees but is not guiding well enough to check out at the end of the training class, he/she will be given the opportunity to do additional training at no extra charge. Trainees the instructors feel will not be able to learn to guide well enough to check out, even with additional training, or who have a poor attitude or work ethic, will not be invited to do a check-out run. If you complete our guide training class and pass your final check-out run, you will be a certified guide and will be qualified to guide for any rafting company in Colorado and most other states.
Most people can learn to guide if they are willing to make the commitment in time and effort. The percentage of guide trainees we hire varies from year to year. In seasons where all the trainees were committed to the training, worked hard, and learned to guide well, we checked out and hired everybody we trained. In seasons where the instructors felt that some of the trainees were not going to be good guides and good employees, we only hired the people the instructors felt would work hard and be an asset to our company.
One reason that we are able to hire such a large percentage of the people that we train is that we try to bring people into our training that we feel have a high probability of making good guides for our company. If we accept you into our class, we consider that spot to be filled and turn away applicants for that position in the class. It is very frustrating to fill the class, turn away qualified applicants, and then have trainees call us and tell us their plans have changed and they want their training fee back.
Therefore, we have a strict policy on refunds. If you are accepted into our class, we require a non-refundable deposit of $200.00 to hold your place in the class. Please send us your $200.00 deposit only if you are totally committed to doing the class. The balance of $100.00 is due on May 24th, the first day of the training class. (The total training cost is $300.00). If you need to make other payment arrangements, please contact me.
We provide wetsuits, booties, and splash/rain gear during training. We recommend you also bring polar fleece or a wool sweater, a hat, and gloves (either neoprene gloves or wool gloves with waterproof outer gloves). After training, full-time guides are required to buy their own throw bag, river knife, straps, carabineers, and splash/rain gear. Weekend guides are required to buy their own throw bag, river knife, straps, and carabineers. We provide Type V life jackets for our first year guides. (These are the same life jackets our customers wear. Most guides choose to eventually buy their own Type III life jacket since Type III jackets are less bulky than Type V jackets.) Full-time and weekend guides may choose to buy their own guide paddle or use one of ours. We do not furnish wetsuits and booties after training. Most guides choose not to wear wetsuits and booties after training so they do not buy their own. It is best to wait and buy gear after training is completed and you have been hired. You can see the gear our returning guides use and decide what gear you like and what gear you don’t like. After training, you can buy gear at special guide prices.
You will also need camping gear. Most of our guides sleep in their vehicles or camp in tents for the summer. Eighty-two percent of the land in Chaffee County, where our rafting office is located, is public land. You can camp on public land for free but there are restrictions on how long you can camp at the same campsite so you will have to move your camp periodically.
In 2015 I purchased a 1.23 acres of land on the east side of the dome house propety. Guides and trainees may camp on this property for $30.00/month. A Port-A-John is provided for guides and trainees camping on our property.
Guides and trainees who pay this $30.00/month fee will also have access to the kitchen and living room of the dome house from 6:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m. from May 18th through August 17th. Guides and trainees who use the dome house are required to clean up after themselves.
Once training is completed, trainees we are interested in hiring are invited to do a final check-out trip in which they guide customers with their instructor in the boat. Trainees are not charged extra for the check-out trip. Trainees are not paid for guiding on their check-out day since we pay the instructor for the day. You must pass this check- out trip in order to be hired as a guide. WE WANT OUR TRAINEES TO PASS THEIR FINAL CHECK-OUT TRIP so we encourage trainees not to attempt a final check-out trip until they are ready. If we have a group of trainees who want a little additional practice time on the river before they try to check out, we will provide the boats and equipment to trainees we feel have the potential to make good guides. Trainees who are late for the training class, who are not working hard, or who have a poor attitude are not invited to attempt a check out run. Most people can learn to guide if they are willing to put out the effort required but occassionally we have a trainee in the class who just doesn't catch on. If the trainers feel trainees are not guiding well enough to check out, even with additional practice time, these trainees are not invited to attempt a check-out run.
You must be certified in both CPR and First Aid before you can guide customers. A Medic First Aid Instructor will offer a CPR/First Aid class at our dome house during the evening of one of our training days. Last year he charged $40.00 for a two-year card that included both CPR and First Aid certification.
Our customers frequently compliment us on how professional, skilled, and personable our guides are. We want to bring people into our training class who will share our commitment to providing the highest quality rafting trips in Colorado.
Application for Raft Guide Training
with Acquired Tastes Rafting
Training Dates: May 24th - June 1st, 2019 (Nine Training Days)
Please email application to
Date of Birth:
_____ Full-Time Guide Training
_____ Weekend Guide Training
_____ Fill-In Guide Training
Hourly Work: Hourly work is available to full-time guides. Hourly work does not reduce the amount that you guide since you still maintain your position in the guide rotation. Please do not commit to hourly work unless you are serious about doing the work. If you commit to hourly work, we will expect you to do the work and do it well.
Do you want to do hourly work in addition to working as a rafting guide?
_____ Yes, I want to make additional money by doing hourly work.
_____ No, I only want to work as a rafting guide.
If you wish to do hourly work, please indicate the hourly jobs you prefer to do:
Office Intern ____ First Choice ____ Second Choice
Camp Manager ____ First Choice ____ Second Choice
Bus or Van Driver* ____ First Choice ____ Second Choice
Equipment/Put-In Manager ____ First Choice ____ Second Choice
Vehicle Manager ____ First Choice ____ Second Choice
* Bus drivers are required to have a Commercial Driver's License (CDL). Van drivers are not required to have a CDL but must have a valid driver's license and a good driving record.
Do you have a valid driver's license?
____ No ____ Yes
If yes, what state issued your license? ______________
If yes, is this a standard driver's license or a CDL (Commercial Driver's License)?
____ Standard ____ CDL
Have you received any traffic tickets in the past three years?
____ No ____ Yes
If yes, please list the traffic tickets you have received and the approximate dates of the tickets.
Will you be bringing a car to Buena Vista? ____ No ____ Yes
Will you be bringing a dog to Buena Vista? ____ No ____ Yes
Work History: (Please attach resume and include work supervisors and their phone numbers.)