ARTA River Trips
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Whitewater Schools - Guide Training - Rowing School

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who have gone to one of our whitewater schools and everyone else.

We run the most awesome guide training program in the world - intimate excursions led by extraordinary, passionate, and patient instructors and packed full of whitewater instruction, wilderness skills, and life lessons. As a student, you are in the thick of it: rowing rafts, carrying gear, swimming rapids, cooking meals, emptying groovers, making decisions. There are rarely more than 10 of you and there are always more than three of us, so you won't be able to hide. You'll be challenged every day, you'll be exhausted every night, you'll be more confident for the rest of your life.

Or, you'll be like everyone else.

We invite you to join us for an unforgettable adventure.

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About our schools:

While the emphasis of each workshop will be on developing safe and sound river skills, an equally important part of each school is the friendship and camaraderie that develops amongst the group. While our instructors are experts, they are not dominating. Throughout the course students will assume more and more responsibility and the instructors will become advisors and assistants, allowing individual students to gain leadership experience and allowing the workshop to develop its own personality.

Workshops usually consist of a variety of participants, all brought together by their enjoyment of the outdoors and their desire to learn a new, exciting, (and potentially marketable), skill. While most of our students are college-aged, we also have a large number of "grown-ups". We usually have equal numbers of men and women and we try to match our instructors accordingly.

Upon completion, qualified graduates will be given the opportunity to apply for "Assistant Guide" positions on ARTA's commercial trips. Assistant guides row baggage boats and gain experience and familiarity with a particular river prior to taking paying passengers in their raft. It is from our pool of assistant guides that we hire our crew of commercial guides each year.

Which school is right for you?

Rowing old schoolWeve tried to organize our workshops to offer a range of options and learning environments. The Professional Guide Training Courses are designed for students who are interested in becoming commercial guides. Both the California and Oregon workshops will expose you to challenging rapids, will move at a fast pace, and will have an added emhasis on responsibility, safety techniques, leadership, and commercial guiding situations.The Idaho Rowing School is slightly slower paced and provides all of the basic instruction and experience necessary for most non-commercial situations and provides a great, general education for those who want to become more comfortable on extended wilderness trips. The Junior Schools are wonderful weeks of playing, learning, and growing with a few subtle lessons in responsibility, initiative, and leadership thrown in. We have had students from all six courses work for us as guides.

Perhaps the greatest difference between the workshops is how wet you will get; on the Professional Courses, you can expect to be doing something in the river everyday, on the Rowing School, you'll probably be in the river just once or twice, and on the Youth School, you'll get in every chance you get.

Your role in the school:

Just like most things in life, the more you put in, the more you get out. Your whitewater school is no exception. Our schools are not for everyone and you should come prepared to get involved and participate, (some students even claim that they had to work!). You will be expected to participate in all aspects of the program - from the more glamorous rowing of the rafts to the more humble scrubbing of the dishes. You will get up early on some mornings, you will eat dinner late on some evenings, and you will probably get tired every day. At times you will fail. At times you will be frustrated. At times you will feel exhilaration beyond anything you have felt before. In the end, you will have learned something about rivers and about rafts and most importantly, about yourself. If you start with a spirit of enthusiasm and fun, you will have a great time. If you finish with an even higher spirit of enthusiasm and fun, you will make a great guide. We look forward to having you join us.


Raft guide training in UtahARTA's whitewater school instructors are very special people. They are the unique element that has made our program so successful and popular over the years. Not only are they experienced and competent guides, they also possess strong teaching and interpersonal skills, and an above average amount of patience. Many of them are graduates of our whitewater schools themselves and have stories, tips, advice, and wisdom that can only be gained through many seasons of commercial guiding.