Choosing a Rafting Company
How to Find a Whitewater Outfitter
When choosing a Colorado rafting company it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the options and decisions, including location, difficulty, duration, and additional activities. At Colorado Rafting it is important to us that you have the best time you can while enjoying a whitewater rafting adventure with us. In our 13 years of taking people down a variety of river trips we’ve come to believe there are important steps to choosing a whitewater river trip and the whitewater outfitter who will lead the way. When you are evaluating Colorado rafting companies for your river trip plans this summer, here are a few questions you should be sure are answered.
Dear AVA rafting,— , Denver, CO
I just wanted to tell you what a wonderful 6th Anniversary we had because of you. Yesterday we rafted the Gauntlet. Zach was our guide and was phenomenal. I have never felt more confident on the river. It was our first time rafting a class five and I was a little nervous. My husband and I agreed Zach gave great instructions. We agreed he was the best guide we have ever had. Your staff at the Granite outpost was on top of everything and incredibly cheerful and helpful. We will be rafting again with you and referring you to our friends.
- Does the rafting company stress safety?
- Does the rafting company ask questions about your abilities and desired adventure level?
- What type of equipment is provided? Will I have to pay to rent any gear?
- Do you provide or require helmets?
- Are the guides experienced?
- What other activities are offered?
- Does the outfitter offer multiple river trip choices?
- Is there a dedication to service apparent in the outfitter?
Does the rafting company stress safety?
Colorado Rafting knows fun on the river means a safe environment for all our paddlers and that’s why we place your safety and the safety of your trip mates above any other concern. A fun and adventurous day on the river does not compromise or risk your safety. If you’re working with a responsible whitewater outfitter, they’ll ask you questions about yourself to make sure you are booking the best trip for your abilities. They’ll also provide your rafting gear with your trip. At AVA, we provide and require helmets on our Class III, Class IV and Class V whitewater rafting trips. The state of Colorado does not require helmets on Class III sections (and most companies do not require you to wear them) but our philosophy is that a rock is just as hard in a Class III section than in an advanced whitewater rafting section of river! We also provide wetsuits and splash jackets for free on AVA’s trips. We don’t want you to have to pay extra to be warm and comfortable. We consider this a matter of safety too.
Does the rafting company ask questions about your abilities and desired adventure level?
It is important to us at AVA Colorado Rafting that we find out more about you in order to find you the perfect trip. Taking the time to ask you about your age, fitness, group members, adventure level and previous experience is just one of many ways we try and find the best whitewater rafting experience for you and your group.
What type of equipment is provided?
At AVA Colorado Rafting we provide everything you’ll need for your river adventure including paddles, life jackets and helmets. On AVA-run trips, we also provide wetsuits and splash jackets free of charge. It is our theory that you shouldn’t have to pay extra to be warm and comfortable. We recommend you bring a few essentials including sunscreen, a retainer for your sunglasses, a swimsuit or synthetic shorts, additional synthetic layers such as a base layer shirt or light fleece jacket, and shoes that will stay securely on your feet (no flip-flops or crocs please). For overnight trips please see the suggested packing list included in your confirmation letter.
Are the guides experienced?
Perhaps the most important variable for any rafting trip is the guide who leads your group. At AVA Colorado Rafting our guides are trained professionals who are fun, friendly and knowledgeable about the history, wildlife, and geology of each trip. Our reputation was built on the hard work and outstanding guest service of our guides and will make your experience on the river a life-long memory. Our guides average 8 years of experience, which is a very high number for the rafting industry. As a company, we run more Class IV and V advanced whitewater trips than any company in Colorado – another reason the experience of our guides is so extensive.
What other activities are there?
Though many people come to AVA Colorado Rafting for the thrill of a whitewater adventure, some are looking to participate in the many other wonderful summer activities there are to enjoy in Colorado. Join us for a zip line tour or rock climbing at our 44-acre Granite Outpost—easy to add on to any Arkansas River rafting trip. We can also arrange horseback riding, fishing trips, ATV tours, hot air ballooning, hiking and more.
Does your rafting outfitter offer multiple river trip choices?
The premier outfitters won’t limit you to a specific trip but instead will offer a wide selection of trips and adventures that cater to different levels of fitness and adventure. Make sure that they want to fit you into the right trip, not force the right trip on you! AVA offers whitewater rafting trips on 8 rivers across Colorado, and 2 rivers in Arizona.
Is there a dedication to service apparent in your rafting outfitter?
The most important variable in all these decisions is you – and if your rafting company isn’t making you feel like you’ve gotten all your questions answered and that your trip is “exactly” what you want – then you’re not working with the right rafting company. At AVA Colorado Rafting, we know that we’re the facilitators of your adventure, and we treat you with the dedication and service that comes with many years of experience.
Outstanding Guest Service is one of AVA’s core values, and we take our service seriously. Each individual that walks through our doors is important to us. We look forward to showing you this service first-hand.
Does the rafting outfitter belong to professional organizations?
Memberships in professional organizations demonstrate an involvement in the outfitter industry and a commitment to progress and safety within the industry.
AVA is a member of:
- America Outdoors (AO)
- Colorado River Outfitters Association (CROA) (AVA owner Duke Bradford was the 2009 – 2010 Chairman)
- Arkansas River Outfitters Association (AROA)
- Denver Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau (VISIT DENVER)
- Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce
- Vail Valley Partnership – The Chamber and Tourism Bureau
- Winter Park Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce
- Aspen Chamber Resort Association
- Kremmling Chamber of Commerce
- Breckenridge Resort Chamber
- Better Business Bureau : A+ rating
Is the outfitter up front about cancellation and rescheduling policies?
It is necessary to have a set cancellation policy; if we didn’t we would go out of business very quickly! However, we understand things change and unforeseen circumstances arise, so we do our best to accommodate your needs. AVA offers a more lenient policy than many other companies. We also offer trip cancellation insurance to give you even greater reassurance that you have options should your plans change. Please read our cancellation policy here.