Grand Canyon raft adventures begin in April and run through October. Have you ever wondered what goes on in the winter season? An Arizona Raft Adventures winter season is surprisingly busy. The office and warehouse are stationed in Flagstaff, Arizona. The climate can be snowy and cold.
It takes years of planning to produce a smooth operating Grand Canyon raft adventure. The office and warehouse staff are hustling and bustling to ensure that equipment, trip logistics, guide training and scheduling, and future guests are lined up and ready to go for the following season. River guides are often working their other job whether it be their primary career or their winter job. And adventurists are gathering gear and exercise training in preparation for their adventure.
In the Office
From the end of October through March, the office team is hard at work. There is lots to do to finish up the season and to get ready for the next two seasons. They begin with combing through all of the paperwork from the guests that are attending a trip in the next season. Then, believe it or not, they take reservations for the following year. Yes, you heard correctly. It is often necessary to reserve two years in advance!
The Red River Sports retail staff take inventory, review products and purchase retail items for the next season. Most importantly, all of the team eagerly replies to countless emails and phone calls from customers, vendors, guides and other industry partners. In addition to attending to customers, the winter season is also the perfect time to offer training to the guides and prepare the schedule for the next season.
The Arizona Raft Adventures Winter Is Quieter
It is a little quieter in the office because the expeditions are not coming and going like during the regular season. Therefore, the Arizona Raft Adventures winter season is a perfect time for staff to take time off to spend with family or to take that extended vacation they dream of!
In fact, current Owner and General Manager of Arizona Raft Adventures, Alexandra Thevenin shares, “Years ago, when my father was the owner at AzRA, he set in place a mandatory office closure before Christmas and through the New Year. He felt it was important to give his year-round staff time off. He wanted to ensure everyone had a little downtime during the winter.”
She continues, “My husband Fred and I have carried on this AzRA tradition. Our year-round staff work very hard and we appreciate their dedication during the busy season. In fact, for the last several years, we’ve extended the closure to encompass about three weeks.” She mentions that it’s a little tricky for their customers. If customers try to contact the office by email or phone around Christmas there is not anyone available to reply or answer questions. However, she continues, “We hit the ground running after New Year’s Day. We answer all emails and return every phone message. Our customers are very understanding.”
In the Warehouse
The Arizona Raft Adventures winter season is also the perfect time for the warehouse staff to get to the “to do” list. Their to do list might look something like this:
- Winterize equipment for storage
- Apply a fresh coat of paint to rafts
- Repair damaged equipment such as camp stoves and tents
- Service all outboard motors, vehicles and trailers
- Re-order first aid supplies
- Varnish oars
- Take inventory of life jackets, dry bags, sleeping bags, kitchen supplies and ammo cans
- Re-order supplies such as toilet paper and charcoal and
- Clean everything
This is only a small sample of what goes on in the warehouse during an Arizona Raft Adventures winter season. The warehouse staff are dedicated to ensure all equipment is in working order and ready for the upcoming season.
Grand Canyon river guides are multi-talented. In addition to their career as a Grand Canyon raft guide, their occupations vary. Guides are everything from professors, teachers, students, yoga and scuba instructors, and massage therapists. They are entrepreneurs, writers, carpenters, contractors and handymen. Some of the guides also continue to guide raft adventures. They might work a winter science trip for the Grand Canyon National Park or guide on another river that has a raft season during the Arizona winter like the Futaleufú in Chile.
The months in between rafting seasons are also a busy time for guests. A rafting adventure takes a certain level of physical fitness. This may require fitness training. Especially if they are on a partial canyon adventure that requires the Bright Angel Trail hike. Guests also peruse their detailed information and packing list. It’s a great time to make any necessary purchases. Guests arrange transportation and lodging. Any existing questions are answered by the Arizona Raft Adventures winter staff.
The River Season Is Back Before You Know It!
While the trips only run April through October, it takes a year-round effort from all involved to pull off an amazing and successful Grand Canyon raft expedition. There is a lot to do to keep everyone busy during the Arizona Raft Adventures winter. As Mark Twain once said, “The secret to getting started is staying ahead.”