Aspen Whitewater Rafting was founded in 2004 by a group of professional, experienced river guides whose life passion is whitewater. Likewise, you won’t find AWR owners sitting in a corporate office somewhere. AWR’s hands-on owners will be assisting you in every step of your adventure. From making your reservations to ensure you pick the best adventure for your needs, to guiding you down the rivers alongside their all-star staff of experienced 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. Therefore, our core group of guides take whitewater rafting seriously and strive to provide each guest with a fun, safe and exciting 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.
Born and raised on the east coast, Jim stumbled across Aspen, Colorado on a cross-country bike tour. Jim was the former head guide and manager for Colorado Riff Raft for 9 years. In 2004 he decided it was time to start his own company—AWR. While staying busy running his company, Jim is still enjoying guiding whitewater rafting in the summer and ski patrolling in Aspen in the winter.
A South Carolina native, Dan, began following his whitewater dreams with his older brothers at an early age. When he turned 18, he moved to Aspen. Simultaneously, he found everything he’d been looking for—big mountains, great rivers, diverse 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.
Kate McCollum, originally from West Virginia, has been an Aspen native for over ten years. As an incredibly talented Class V guide, she knows her way around our rivers. Serving as an inspiration to our staff; Kate’s an unstoppable female force in a male-dominated trade. But don’t for one second buy into the talk – Kate can guide better than most men, and will prove it to you. If you’re fortunate enough to be in her boat, you’ll find yourself guided by a calm and clear head, focused on finding the best line possible. Kate approaches guiding with the care and focus she applies to all other areas of her life. This demonstrates just how much thought and talent she carries to each of our guests on the river. In her time off, you can find Kate hiking the valley’s most gorgeous trails with her beloved dog, Bandit.
Chris Edmonds, originally from Swindon, has been in the United States for over twelve years. Although his accent has disappeared, his British heritage is hard to miss – he gets sun like no one else in the business. A dedicated Class IV guide, Chris is ardently pursuing his Class V check-out next season, completing the necessary laps this past August. He began as a guide in 2013 and has been a Class IV guide since 2015. Chris dedicates himself to everything he pursues and strives to be the best guide he can be. His boat took second place in the most recent Gore Fest, with the water running at an intimidating 1400CFS. He’s worked on multiple rivers, from Roaring Fork to the Gauley & New Rivers in West Virginia. Aspen Whitewater Rafting is lucky to have him, and he proves day-in and day-out to be an incredible asset to our team.
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 an adventurous 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. He moved to Michigan for college where he earned his B.A. in Outdoor Recreation Management. He 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. However, it was a summer internship in 2002 as a raft guide on Idaho’s iconic Salmon River that 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.