J.R. is one of our head guides and the lead instructor for our kayak schools. He took his first Rogue River trip at age 11 with his dad as a student of Sundance Kayak School. They returned to Sundance for many family adventures, and when he turned 16, J.R. started working for us! Altogether, he’s spent 14 years guiding, teaching kayaking, and sharing his passion for the Rogue with others.
His outrageous story-telling ability is a welcome-addition to any campfire and if you’re lucky he may even treat you to sushi rolled riverside! Fellow guides and guests alike love J.R.’s enthusiasm for life and his infectious appreciation for the natural world.
J.R. grew up in Crescent City, California with the Smith River as his original playground. He now spends his winters in Hood River, Oregon kayaking throughout the Columbia River Gorge and perfecting his rock spins. He keeps busy studying chiropractic and working on Mount Hood, but come summer, he’ll be back on the Rogue!
Lexey is our city girl turned river goddess that manages to keep the Rogue crew in line throughout the summer. This native New Yorker traded in her cocktail dress and pearls long ago to tackle the rivers and mountains of the West. She winters in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where she has been a ski instructor for over 25 years. She worked as a veterinarian for a number of years and also ran a river conservation organization that succeeded in winning “Wild and Scenic” designation for the headwaters of the Snake River. She’s kayaked her way across California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.
Lexey guided on the Rogue River for 3 years and began managing the operation in 2011. Her wealth of life experience wins the respect of her fellow guides, and guests love her ability to ease them from city-life into the wilderness by the time they reach the first night’s camp. She’s wonderful with children, handy in the camp kitchen, and an inspirational leader…what more could we ask for in a guide?
After graduating from Washington University in 2008 with a degree in environmental sciences and architecture, Ryan spent three years in the corporate world before realizing his life-long dream to live and work in the most beautiful places on Earth. He headed out West from Boston in the spring of 2011 to train with the NWRC team, and was soon loving life more than he previously thought possible.
Ryan enjoys the serenity of being on the river contrast with the thrill of rafting the Rogue’s mighty rapids. The abundance of great food (much of which he prepares!), the tight bonding that happens seamlessly among strangers, and the evenings spent in a camp filled with people and music (his river djembe is never far from hand) are other highlights of a trip with Ryan.
His passion for outdoor adventure continues to grow through nature-inspired photography, artwork, graphic design, and music. Spending winters as a snowboard instructor in Colorado continues to inspire him and others to get outside and experience the life-affirming joys that only the natural world can provide.
Chrissy was born in Oak Harbor, Washington, and developed an affinity for the great outdoors while in college at the University of Idaho. She studied Sociology and Spanish, spent 6 months living in Ecuador, and had a 2-year stint at AmeriCorps working with the Coeur d’Alene tribe. She was eventually introduced to river guiding via a Main Salmon River trip with friends.
Chrissy joined the NWRC team in 2011 and slid helplessly in love with the Rogue River after trying out the rock-slide at Tate Creek Falls. We hope it will be a long-term relationship. She livens up camp with her mastery of the tambourine and might challenge you to a game of pinochle (but watch out, her grandparents taught her well!). After spending her winter teaching snowboarding and learning to ski, Chrissy will be back on the Rogue in 2012!
Meet Zach, the proud papa of Northwest Rafting Co. He was born in Reno, and grew up loving the outdoors first as an Eagle Scout and later as a kayaker. Zach began his illustrious career as a river guide during graduate school at Stanford University way back in the ’90s.
After teaching high school math for a few years, which conveniently left his summers free for river guiding, he decided to wade into the outfitting business as the general manager of ECHO River Trips. Learning from 2 of the best in the business, Dick Linford and Joe Daly, Zach launched NWRC in 2009 and continues to manage ECHO.
Traveling the world via rivers, Zach has explored the far reaches of the globe in search of stunning wilderness locations. He’s led groups to Siberia, Bhutan, and Chile with ease and greatly appreciates learning about the new cultures of the places he travels. He’s as confident on the oars as he is on the chess board, and inspires everyone on a trip to appreciate each moment.
A Few Tesitmonials
“All the guides were amazing both on the river and in camp. All were cheerful, helpful, and interesting. Loved their attitudes…each was unique AND great!”
“This was my first overnight rafting trip, and everyone made it so easy and enjoyable. After the river was rafted, the meals prepared, and the information divulged, the guides were still great at making me and others feel comfortable! I would definitely raft with NWRC again!”
“JR: Has incredible commitment and passion that is evident for his work — both instruction and customer service. An incredibly positive teacher, hard worker, calm and thoughtful trip leader and most of all REALLY FUN! ”
“This was my third trip with NWRC / Sundance. Each time I’ve come with someone in my family (child or sibling) and every time we’ve had a wonderful trip — adventure, great instruction, good food, beautiful surroundings, smooth logistics and amiable companions. Lot’s of fun!”
“They went out of their way to make sure we were all happy with whatever was going on. I was blown away by how good the food was, absolutely the best in the baackcountry ever. I was surprised and delighted to have so many delicious gluten free meals/portions of meals made just for me. I highly recommend this great rafting company. The crew who took great care of us were all knowledgeable, energetic, and lots of fun.”