Seasoned Jackson Hole guides share their expertise.
How does a whitewater trip introduce visitors to Jackson Hole from a new angle?
“What better way to see any new area than from a river! Jackson can be crazy in the summertime, with traffic in the Town Square and lines of cars in Yellowstone. Getting out on the river is a great change of pace for any visitor. The cold water is refreshing for hikers, climbers, campers, bikers, etc. Also, spending two hours on the river with any guide is like having a sit-down with some of the best concierges in Jackson!” Nate Mintz, Whitewater Guide with Mad River
What is one of your favorite guiding memories?
“After over a decade of guiding natural history programs around the world, one of my most powerful memories was witnessing a courtship display of Calliope hummingbirds in Grand Teton National Park. Each family member found a different joy, but the highlight for me were the tears of joy from a visually ￼impaired child when she saw these beautiful birds perched on a branch just feet away. This was more humbling and inspiring than watching a moose or grizzly bear.” Jared Baecker, Wildlife Guide with Wildlife Expeditions
What’s unique about exploring waterways on a stand-up paddleboard vs. traditional watercraft?
“Standing on a board puts a whole new perspective on river running— the freedom of moving my feet, unattached; walking on the board while gliding on water; surfing waves; putting my toes on edge and carving through eddy lines—all while looking down into the clear, green depths of one of the cleanest rivers in the country. SUP on the Snake is an endlessly fun way for everyone to experience moving water.” Aaron Pruzan, Paddleboard & Kayak Instructor at Rendezvous River Sports
What is special about a day skiing the backcountry, and why is a guide necessary?
“My perfect day is a bluebird powder day skiing untracked snow. A guide can show you terrain that would take you years to learn on your own. Guides can teach good backcountry etiquette, as well as snow structure and how to move through high-alpine terrain smoothly. I think meeting interesting people from around the world, being at the top of the mountain every morning, and skiing ‘the goods’ make each day special.” Dave Miller, Backcountry Ski Guide with Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
What kind of wildlife can be spotted while rafting the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park?
“In the national park we frequently see moose, deer, eagles, osprey, and a variety of smaller birds. Less frequently we will spot a fox, coyote, a family of otter, or maybe even the occasional bear. Over the past eight or nine years I have been lucky enough to see five different grizzly bears! On evening trips we can count on seeing the ever-popular beaver dining on the riverbanks or swimming and diving near its lodges.” Reed Finlay, River Guide with Barker-Ewing Float Trips
￼￼What are the benefits of exploring the valley on foot? How do hiking tours open up different ways of experiencing the wilderness here?
“Hiking allows you to be within nature, making the most of your experience. Leaving your vehicle is a huge reward. As you learn about this amaz- ing ecosystem, you utilize your senses to align with the Earth. At the end of your journey, you have connected to a sense of the landscape, the animals, the richness of the natural world, and a sense of rejuvenation. All tours are customized to your interests and ability. Join us!” Cathy Shill, Owner & Hiking Guide with Hole Hiking Experience
What most “wows” your guests during their tours in Yellowstone National Park?
“There are so many things about the world’s first national park that amaze us all, but guests joining one of our Yellowstone safaris often most appreciate the fact that Yellowstone is still very much as it was hundreds of years ago. It remains the most active geothermal area on the planet and offers the same diversity of wildlife and spectacular scenery that early explorers would have experienced in the 1800s.” Kurt Johnson, Naturalist Guide with Wild Things of Wyoming
Beyond catching fish, how do you know that your guests have had a successful trip with you?
“A fishing guide’s barometer of client success is best measured by two things: how well that person was able to relax, therefore allowing the fishing to come more naturally (if you are relaxed, you are not too concerned about how tough the fishing might be) and, most importantly, how much he or she learns from you. Fly fishing is a sport of unlimited possibilities, hence continuous learning is what you should crave the most.” Scott Smith, Fishing Guide with Grand Teton Fly Fishing