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What White Water Rafting Guides Do In The Winter

Winter is Coming: What White Water Rafting Guides Do in the Winter

Winter is coming. For river guides, this means winter season work can be hard to come by. Many river guides are forced to take seasonal jobs such as ski instructors or travel, or relocate to warmer weather locations in order to make ends meet during the winter months.

The river guide salary varies depending on location but the average annual salary for a river guide ranges from $27k-$47k per year. Some may do better than others due to experience level or location of employment – these are just averages. To learn more about where the guides adventure off to in the colder months.

What to Rafting Guides do in the Winter?

What White Water Rafting Guides Do In The WinterRiver guiding is a fun and adventurous job during the spring and summer months. It’s a great way to spend time outside, meet lots of people, and have fun each day at work.

However, most rafting jobs stop in the winter when river levels are low and water temperatures drop. When rafting slows down the guides often head out to other jobs and other adventures. We are here to share what other guides do in the colder months.

Seasonal Jobs

Many river guides take seasonal jobs during the winter in order to make ends meet between river guiding seasons. Ski instructors, ski resort staff, and snowboarding instructors are all popular choices for rafting guides. These jobs are still outside and provide the thrill of adventure that attracts many guides to river rafting.

If ski resorts and tourists are a turn-off, many otherwise will take seasonal jobs in hospitality or construction. These typically include bartending or restaurant work or building houses and working trade jobs. These typically make enough to cover the bills and still have some left over to travel for a few weeks before starting the rafting season again.

Travel

Other river guides take the winter to travel and explore new places. Whether it’s visiting friends down south, finding a location for an extended staycation, or taking off with some buddies on a road trip there are hundreds of adventures to be had during this time.

The recent boom in vanlife has made it easy for rafting guides to travel the country on a budget. Some guides even live in a van year round as they spend most of their time on the water.

Go to Warmer Climates

For some river guides, the cold winter months are enough to make them pack their bags and head south where the weather is warmer and there’s more opportunity for work. It can be hard leaving behind friends and family back home but many river guides end up returning to their river guiding jobs each spring.

Places such as Texas, Florida, and the southern states have warmer climates that still run float trips through the winter. These trips are usually tamer and lower stress the than the harder class river trips most guides typically run in the summer.

Some guides even go International to South America or Central America and take river trips through the winter there. That way they can guide year round and travel and visit exotic places.

Traveling to warm climates in winter is a refreshing change from river guiding but the river season always returns for many river guides and they can’t wait to get back on the river with their friends and clients!

Raft in the Winter for Private Parties

Some river guides take it to another level and do private guiding in the winter on class 1-3 rivers. Some of the most majestic views and scenery on the river can be had on the river in winter. This greatly depends on the location and the amount of water flow, but winter rafting on mellow water is quite special.

It’s important to take safety into consideration when you’re rafting in the winter but it can be one of the most joyful times to be on the river. This is especially true after a light snowfall when there is still snow on the trees and covering the riverbanks.

Raft in the Winter for Private Parties

Some river guides take it to another level and do private guiding in the winter on class 1-3 rivers. Some of the most majestic views and scenery on the river can be had on the river in winter. This greatly depends on the location and the amount of water flow, but winter rafting on mellow water is quite special.

rafting in winter

It’s important to take safety into consideration when you’re rafting in the winter but it can be one of the most joyful times to be on the river. This is especially true after a light snowfall when there is still snow on the trees and covering the riverbanks.

How Much Do Rafting Guides Make?

The river guiding industry is in demand and river guides make decent money for their work. The average river guide makes anywhere from $15-25/hour when working during the summer months, but this number can vary greatly depending on location, years of experience, etc.

Most river trips are offered at either half or full day rates which river guides typically work four-five days a week. This makes river guiding quite lucrative and many river guides can make enough to live on during the summer months if they choose not to do other seasonal jobs.

The winter season is usually slower as some rivers close down for water releases, but those that love their job will find ways to keep busy with teaching, river trips for church groups or schools, guiding private parties on the weekends, and other part-time seasonal jobs.

What are the Best States for Rafting Guides?

In the river guiding industry, California is considered to be a top destination as it holds some of the biggest and best rivers in North America. There are river companies throughout California that offer guided river trips on class I-V rapids year-round so there’s always work for those willing to relocate. The vast size of California makes it a great option for anyone looking to be a rafting guide.

Another popular place for rafting guides is Colorado as it has large rivers running throughout the state which makes for a great place to work and live. The rivers is Colorado are known for their quick descents and exciting rapids. This is rafters paradise for anyone that also likes to fly fish while floating.

Utah is another top destination for river guides because it’s home to one of the longest rivers in North America, The Green River! With so much water flowing throughout this river system there are rafting jobs available most months of the year.

There are river guides working throughout North America but some locations such as Oregon and Washington have hotter jobs markets than others with more river companies to choose from.

If you’re a river guide or just love getting out on the river in any season, these winter options can be quite rewarding and give your summer guiding job a healthy break.

Conclusion

The river guiding industry is a popular choice for many people and it’s often a way to get outdoors and see the country while you work. There are plenty of river guides working in winter but keeping busy with other seasonal jobs or traveling somewhere warm that still runs float trips through the winter months.

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