Aspen Whitewater Rafting was founded in 2004 by a professional group of river guides whose life passion is whitewater. You won’t find AWR owners sitting in a corporate office somewhere; they will be helping you make your reservation to ensure you pick the best adventure for your needs, and they will be guiding you down the rivers alongside their all-star staff of river guides. We are extremely proud of our staff of outdoor professionals–for many of them, whitewater is a career, not just a summer job. Our core groups of guides take whitewater rafting seriously and strive to provide each guest with a fun, safe and exiting day on the river. Below you can meet a few of the people that make AWR an easy choice when looking for a great river experience.
Jim was born and raised on the east coast, and stumbled across Aspen, Colorado on a cross-country bike tour. Jim was the head guide and manager for Colorado Riff Raft for 9 years. In 2004, he decided it was time for him to start his own company—AWR. Jim, while staying busy running his company, is still enjoying guiding whitewater rafting in the summer and ski patrolling in the winter.
Dan, a South Carolina native, began following his whitewater dreams with his older brothers at an early age. When he turned 18, he moved to Aspen, and found everything he’d been looking for—big mountains, great rivers, great trails, and lots of other people looking for adventure. Dan is now the head boatman for AWR and heads up the class IV/V operation. He enjoys seeing the world from the deck of a kayak and has done so most recently in New Zealand, Chile and Ecuador.
Darcy grew up in Aspen, and started rafting after her first year of college on the recommendation of her high school track coach. Eighteen years later she has racked up an impressive whitewater resume including a 2nd place finish in the women’s National Rafting Championships and a 1st place finish in the Women’s Gore Canyon downriver kayak race. In 2013, she became the first woman to kayak the Amazon River from source to sea. Whitewater became her career at an early age and she hasn’t looked back since.
Don has been guiding whitewater rafting and kayak trips for more than half his life now. He started guiding on the Royal Gorge of the Arkansas River when he moved to Colorado after graduating from St. Lawrence University. He has worked as a guide in Norway, Honduras, Costa Rica and Ecuador. In addition, his personal kayaking pursuits have taken him all over North and South America. Don was part of the first team to kayak the Amazon River from source to sea. When he is not on the river, Don tries to ski as much as possible to make up for all those wintry months he misses while in South America.
Hank was amongst the first generation of commercial raft guides in the Aspen area and helped pioneer runs such as Slaughterhouse on the Roaring Fork River and Pine Creek on the Arkansas River. These are classic whitewater runs today, but 20 years ago they were just obscure stretches of river. You can ask Hank about the “good old days” while he is guiding you down the river. You know you are in good hands with this guy.
Scott moved to Colorado in 1989 searching for deep powder and an outdoor lifestyle. He found what he was looking for in Aspen and has made a great life for himself here. He is a ski patroller on Snowmass Mountain during the winters and guides rafting trips during the summers. In the off season, you can find Scott surfing in the ocean off the coast of North Carolina or hiking with his dog Ellie in the back country of Colorado.
Shannan grew up in California and moved to Michigan for college where he earned his B.A. in Outdoor Recreation Management. Shannan dabbled in all sorts of outdoor activities from road biking, to rock climbing (including a year-long stint in Newcastle, UK exploring the rock crags along the North Sea); but a summer internship in 2002 as a raft guide on Idaho’s iconic Salmon River hooked Shannan on whitewater for life. Now Shannan spends as much time as possible kayaking and rafting rivers around the world. If he’s your guide, ask him about his upcoming kayaking expedition through Canada.
Neal was born and raised in Kentucky but always dreamed of living in the Rocky Mountains. In 2006, Neal made that dream a reality when he moved to Aspen, CO. Neal is an avid whitewater rafting enthusiast and even he his spare time he loves to raft and kayak the rivers of the world including the Upper Colorado through Gore Canyon, the Gauley River in West Virginia, the Salmon River in Idaho, and the many rivers of Ecuador. In the winter, you’ll find Neal shredding Highlands bowl on his snowboard.