Get to Know KODI's Raft Guides

We asked our raft guides a few fun questions so you would have a chance to know them a little better.

  1. Where was your first raft trip?
  2. What's your favorite river/rapid to paddle?
  3. What do you love most about being a raft guide?
  4. What do you do during the winter?
  5. Where's your favorite place to camp or play in Colorado?
  6. What was the biggest or most challenging river you've ever paddled?

Check out their answers below.

Mitch Hall

  1. My first-time rafting was day one of training with KODI two years ago.
  2. The numbers is still my favorite section of river. Every year I learn more about this technical section.
  3. The whitewater community is a tight-knit group that takes care of each other.
  4. In the winter I am a ski patroller at Eldora Mountain. I typically ski about seven days a week.
  5. Rocky Mountain National Park is my favorite place in Colorado. It's so big!
  6. The upper Gauley river is the hardest river I have ever been on. It's a tradition of mine every September.

Ben Darby

  1. Royal Gorge
  2. Tunnel Shoot on the middle fork of the American
  3. Being in Nature
  4. Plow Snow
  5. Buena Vista
  6. Yuba class 5 in California

Jay Chambers

  1. 1989 in Colorado on the way to Philmont Scout Ranch for a two-week backpacking trip, we stopped in Buena Vista and rafted Browns Canyon
  2. Being out on the water, enjoying the outdoors and introducing new people to the experience.
  3. Ski and snowboard instructor at Beaver Creek.
  4. Anywhere, really. We live in an amazingly beautiful part of the country.
  5. A tossup between the Grand Canyon and the Tully River in Queensland, Australia during flood season.

Dani Daugherty

  1. The Lehigh River in the Poconos in Pennsylvania (pretty mild comparing to what I do now lol)
  2.  The Colorado River in the Grand Canyon
  3. Sharing with other people my love for the place I live in and the things I love to do on a daily basis
  4. Coach /teach snowboarding around Summit County & run an online CBD Oil Business
  5. Buena Vista, Colorado :)
  6.  The Upper Gauley in West Virginia

Above Average Snowpack = Extreme Whitewater

The 2018/2019 ski season has been fantastic as snow has fallen continuously since November. Now, as spring approaches, it's time for us to celebrate because all this snow means monumental water on Colorado's rivers.

The state's snowpack currently measures 110% of normal. There's even more snowpack in the Arkansas River Basin where KODI runs a large portion of its trips, most notably our Brown Canyon rafting trips. In fact, the Arkansas River's flows are at 127% of normal!

This means it's going to be a big year for KODI. And if spring continues to deliver stellar snowfalls, we might go so far as to suggest the 2019 rafting season is going to be epic.

Don't miss out on this year's exciting water flows. Book at KODI Rafting trip today!

Five Reasons to Book an Overnight Rafting Trip

Multi-day raft trips that include camping alongside a river are awesome because they allow for time to unwind and savor life, friends, and mother nature.

But these benefits are simply the beginning. Overnight raft trips offer so much more.

There is no need for money—or decisions

When was the last time you went on a trip WITHOUT your wallet? Imagine how liberating it must feel to know you’ll be taken care of the whole time. It’s kind of like being a kid again.

Camp in extreme comfort

We get it. Camping’s not for everyone. But when you camp overnight with KODI, we put the glam in glamping. After a great day on the river, imagine enjoying a cold drink by the campfire while your guides prepare a delicious multi-course meal.

Really see the stars for the very first time

Unless you’ve camped in the backcountry before, we promise you’ve never seen the stars the way you’ll see them on an overnight raft trip. This delightful and inspiring experience only happens in true remote wilderness, like camping riverside.

Access the backcountry without breaking your back

You can strap a 50-pound pack on your back and hike for days to reach true wilderness, or you can strap on a lifejacket and hop on a raft. From you campsite, you’ll have plenty of time to hike and explore side canyons, waterfalls, historic sites, and scenic overlooks.

Ditch Technology

These days, this might be the most valuable aspect of an overnight raft trip. Finally, you can be completely unplugged. No cell phones, tablets, computers, or anything else that has a cord or requires a signal. This means exactly what you think it means… a true vacation.

The Ins and Outs of Becoming a Raft Guide

You’ve fallen in the love with the river. You've floated, you've jumped in, and you've swum. The river, you feel, is where you belong and where you find peace. So, maybe it's time to consider becoming a raft guide.

Before you commit, take a guided trip (or two) and get to know your guide. Ask him or her about the lifestyle and try to get a feel if this is something you really want to do. If you like the company you rafted with, ask the guide how you can work there next summer and take home an application.

The application process and the interview tend to be the easiest part. Show your enthusiasm and you might get hired. But, that’s just the beginning. Next comes training.

If you do get hired, it's always a good idea to be in your top shape before the training course and the season begins. The rowing machine at the gym is going to be your best bet because that's what you'll be doing... all summer long. Great raft guides have high energy and stamina and starting the season strong really helps with this.

Most tour companies run their own training programs. These can change season to season. But generally, you can expect several weeks of intense, physical activity, water safety instruction, and more. This can also be viewed as a try-out for newbies as it really gives a sense of a raft guide's expectations and what life on the river is all about.

While training for a whitewater rafting job is tough, it’s also rewarding. Train with KODI Rafting and meet new friends who also love living and working outside.

Our professional raft guide training program begins mid-May and lasts 10 days. It’s a great way to experience and learn more about the river in an individualized, student-teacher setting. You’ll get daily, intensive instruction in guiding oar and paddle rafts with hands-on practice in a supportive environment.

We’ll invest in you if you dedicate the time and energy to invest in developing your skills with us. Our whitewater jobs training program is not for everyone, but it may just be the most rewarding summer job you’ll ever have!

Apply to be a raft guide today!


KODI’s Rivers: An Overview

Arkansas River

The Arkansas River starts as a patch of melting snow in Leadville, Colorado, a city rich in mining history and famous for its 10,200-foot elevation. The Ark (as locals like to call it) gains momentum as it flows past some of the biggest mountains in Colorado, benefiting from their abundant snow melt in the spring and summer. From its headwaters, the Arkansas River deliver more than 100 miles of whitewater, making it the most popular river for rafting in the American West. The river’s appeal lies in its wide variety of trips and easy accessibility.

Arkansas River Raft Trips

Blue River

The Blue River is roughly 65 miles long and is a tributary of the mighty Colorado River. Flowing from the Dillon Reservoir Dam just above the town of Silverthorne to the confluence with the Colorado River at Kremmling, the Blue River is easily a candidate for Colorado's most scenic river. Lined by cottonwood trees and crowned by the rugged Gore Mountains, the Blue River winds a scenic course through ranch land, and its public access points are popular among anglers and kayakers alike.

Blue River Raft Trip

Clear Creek

Clear Creek is a tributary of the South Platte River that flows through Clear Creek Canyon in the Rocky Mountains directly west of Denver. It descends through a long gorge to emerge on the Colorado Eastern Plains where it joins the South Platte. Clear Creek is unusual in that it is a stream named "creek" fed by a stream named "river."

Clear Creek Raft Trips

The Upper Colorado River

The Upper Colorado River Basin, defined by the river network above northern Arizona, is comprised of four states—Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. These states contribute to the vast majority of the water coming into the Colorado River Basin, primarily through winter snowpack.

Colorado, specifically, is known as the Headwater State because it’s home to the headwaters of four major rivers: Platte, Arkansas, Rio Grande, and Colorado. The Colorado River flows west out of the slopes of Rocky Mountain National Park and connects to several tributaries, including the Animas, Eagle, Dolores, Yampa, Blue, and Roaring Fork Rivers.

Upper Colorado River Trips

Ten Mile Creek

Ten Mile Creek is a stream in Summit County. It rises above Copper Mountain Ski Resort and follows next to Interstate 70 for several miles before emptying into Dillon Reservoir. The creek and the paved trail that follows alongside it are easily visible from Interstate 70 between Frisco and Copper Mountain Ski Area.

Ten Mile Creek River Trip

Dolores River

A long and winding river in southwestern Colorado, the Dolores flows through canyons packed with enormous ponderosa pine and high sandstone cliffs in brilliant oranges and reds. The river continues its journey from the alpine scenery into the high desert and through canyons dotted with amazing white water, ancient ruins, and untamed wilderness.

Dolores River Raft Trip

The KODI Team Attends Gauley Fest

After a full and busy season, our staff kicked back and headed to West Virginia for Gauley Fest, a rowdy weekend of whitewater fun!

Gauley Fest began in 1983 as a celebration of the derailment of a hydro-electric project that would have stolen one of the whitewater community’s most precious resources. Today, it remains the American Whitewater Association’s largest fundraising effort.

Although its roots were planted in a noble cause, the internationally renowned Gauley Fest is now mostly regarded for its party-hard nature. But at its heart, it’s still a celebration of not just the Gauley River, but rivers everywhere. And it’s one hell of a good time.

Three Tips for Finding a Trusted Rafting Outfitter

If you’re planning your first river trip, you want to make sure you choose a rafting outfitter that’s going to make your experience on the river as incredible as it can be. Several factors comprise great river trips. From safety to fun and everything in between, each of those factors should be considered when choosing a rafting outfitter.

We know, considering all of these factors makes the choice sound intimidating. Top it off with the fact Colorado has dozens of raft companies to choose from, and the job borders on overwhelming. However, if you follow our advice, you’re sure to find the rafting company that’s right for you.

While planning, we think everybody should pay attention to these three major details about the river rafting company you intend to book your trip with.

A Spotless Safety Record

The dangers of whitewater are no joke, so you want a river outfitter that has an excellent safety record. It should have the right safety equipment and offer straightforward, easy to understand safety demonstrations that will keep you safe.

Personable Guides

Establishing rapport with people starts with good conversation. Your guide should have the patience to chat with his or her guests as well as be able to talk comfortably about the surrounding wildlife and river history. In return, Your guide will be able to evaluate the comfort level of everyone in the boat before "testing the waters" so to speak. Do you prefer to hit the fun splashy stuff or stay as dry as possible? Either way, a personable guide will make or break your river trip.

Variety of Trips

There is no universal trip right for everybody. Make sure you inform the rafting company about the age, physical condition and swimming ability of each member of your group.

A good river outfitter has a variety of trips to choose from and informed staff who help you find the perfect whitewater rafting trip for you!

Go online for a sense of these factors. When you've narrowed down your options, give them a call and get more details. Ask yourself, are they friendly, do they answer all your questions, are they pushy or don’t seem like they have the time to answer all your questions?  You can get a great feel for the company by their reservation staff, as it usually will translate into the guide staff on the river.

Colorado’s Upper Colorado River

The Colorado River provides water to nearly 40 million people, flows through nine National Parks, and drives a $1.4 trillion economy. If the Colorado River basin were a country, it would be the world’s 7th largest by economic output.

The Upper Colorado River Basin, defined by the river network above northern Arizona, is comprised of four states—Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. These states contribute the vast majority of the water coming into the Colorado River Basin, primarily through winter snowpack.

Colorado, specifically, is known as the Headwater State because it’s home to the headwaters of four major rivers—Platte, Arkansas, Rio Grande, and Colorado.

The Colorado River flows west out of the slopes of Rocky Mountain National Park and connects to several tributaries, including the Animas, Eagle, Dolores, Yampa, Blue, and Roaring Fork Rivers.

KODI Rafting runs raft trip on the Upper Colorado River out of Kremmling. The water we raft runs through a unique and beautiful landscape known for its diverse water features, abundant wildlife, and cultural landscape.

Notable sections of the Upper Colorado include Parshall to Blue River, Gore Canyon (where you’ll find extreme class IV and V whitewater), Pumphouse to State Bridge, and State Bridge to Dotsero.

Pumphouse to State Bridge is the most popular section because of its combination of placid waters through pastoral heritage ranchland and more challenging class II and class III rapids in the intervening canyons.

The Colorado River cuts a path through the Gore Mountain Range at the beginning of its long trip to the Pacific Ocean. There are natural hot springs, historic cabins, swimming, hiking, and beautiful scenery. The river is ideal for first time participants, families, and groups of all ages and abilities. The Upper Colorado River is easily accessible from many resorts, including Breckenridge, Vail, Steamboat Springs, and Winter Park.

What to Expect on Your KODI Whitewater Rafting Trip

So, you’ve decided to raft. Good for you! In our opinion, a day on the river is better than just about anything else! Whether you’re floating through Browns Canyon National Monument or taking a quick trip down Clear Creek, we want to make sure KODI Rafting is everything you expect us to be.

Once you find the perfect raft trip for your family or group, this is what you can expect during your day on the river.

You’ll arrive at your designated outpost 30 minutes before your trip’s departure. This gives us time to meet and outfit your group and have you fill out a waiver.Since we experience such a variety in weather patterns and water levels throughout the summer, we suggest making a “Game-Time Decision” as to what gear you’ll need for the day. Our expert staff will help with the decision making.

We won’t let you raft without a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) and a helmet on most rivers. If you choose to slip into a wetsuit, neoprene booties, or a splash top, you’ll have time to get these, too. You’ll store personal belongings in your car, and we’ll hold onto your keys at each outpost.

At the designated departure time, we’ll head to the put-in where your trip leader will give you a KODI pre-trip briefing. He or she will explain all of the “what-if” questions for the day, just like airline instructions do prior to takeoff.You’ll then be divided into rafts, which hold between six and 10 rafters. Your boat guide will give you a little more instruction as to how to sit in the boat, how to paddle, and how they will call out paddle commands.

If you are out with us for a full day adventure on the Upper Colorado or on the Arkansas River, your guides will prepare a hot riverside meal for you while you snack on an appetizer of veggies and dip. KODI lunches also include lemonade and cookies for dessert.

KODI Rafting works with expert photographers who capture the perfect picture of you working your way down an amazing Colorado river. Strategically positioned, these photographers snap a series of photos of your boat as it passes by. Depending on the river you choose, photos will either be displayed at our outpost for you to review or available online shortly after your trip.

Your time with us isn’t quite over once you reach the take-out. You’ll take a short shuttle back to the outpost, during which time, our guides have been known to pass along a few jokes and point out historic landmarks and points of interest. If you have a good joke, we’re sure your guides could us a little fresh material, so bring along your best stand-up.

Back at the outpost, you’ll be able to get into some dry clothes, enjoy a slide show of your adventure (on most rivers), and shop for souvenirs. We happen to have the largest selection of KODI Rafting apparel in the universe.

A Guide to Tipping Your Raft Guide

Great KODI raft guides turn an average rafting experience into an amazing rafting adventure you’ll remember always. If your KODI raft guide has given you an experience to last a lifetime, consider rewarding him or her with a tip at the end of your trip.

While all river guides can get you down the river, the great ones add excitement and fun while ensuring your safety is their number one concern.

A great whitewater river guide also treats each guest with respect and exhibits genuine enthusiasm toward introducing you to the wonders of the river.

A strong guide adds items such as local historical, area wildlife, or geological information to their conversations in the raft. Most importantly, an excellent guide is flexible and attentive to the needs and queries of rafting guests of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.

So, you want to tip your KODI raft guide. But, how much?

The amount you tip is really up to you. Raft guiding is considered a service industry and many people believe anyone in the service industry, like restaurants, hotel employees, and hairdressers, should get between 10 % to 20% of the total cost of the service. For example, if your trip was $200 and your guide made your experience a memorable one, a $20 – $40 tip would be generous and greatly appreciated!

Tips can be given directly to your guide at the end of your trip or handed off to office personnel at the appropriate KODI outpost. If you forget to tip or run out of money, ask management about using a credit card for tipping. But remember, guides prefer cash.

If you aren’t tipping at all or tipping less than the recommended amount, explain your reasoning. It may make for an awkward moment, but there’s one invaluable word any working stiff can relate to—feedback.