Women’s empowerment has seized the rafting industry. A leading river company is seeing a sizable uptick in the number of women now part of its crew of raft guides and staff. And they are recording an increasing number of female guests on rafting and mountain biking trips, scheduled and chartered.
Holiday River Expeditions (http://www.bikeraft.com/) reports that through the 2018 season, 40 percent of their guide staff were women. That’s the highest representation ever in its 50+ year history. It is looking like this coming year will be no different.
“Most of these women are returning for 2019. And we now have more applications for guide and crew positions coming in from women than from men these days,” said Karen Johnson, Holiday’s long-time office manager and spokeswoman. A growing number of women also serve in the office and warehouse as drivers and company managers. Susan Munroe, a long-time Holiday employee, leads an in-house guide/crew training program. Natalie Osborn has recently come onboard as the Social Media Director. Lauren Wood, a third-generation guide and founder Dee Holladay’s grandchild, is the company’s Trip Director and identifies as non-binary, adding further gender diversity to Holiday’s eclectic staff.
Female guides aren’t new to Holiday River Expeditions but they are becoming more of a force and influence. “Early on the rafting industry, much like every other outdoor industry in the 60’s and 70’s, was male dominated. Our founder Dee Holladay, always recognized the arbitrary nature of gender divisions and truly appreciated the added and necessary perspectives of women on the river,” added Johnson. “He used to say that women made better guides because they knew how to read the water better and not simply muscle their way through obstacles and rapids.”
Creative marketing at a time when the market is also expanding has led to an increase in the number of female guests. For example, a series of Balance & Flow Yoga and Wellness Trips draws increasingly more solo female travelers. Reunions of friends and just-for-the-fun-of-it groups of colleagues sign up for these itineraries, as do mothers and daughters.
“It's not unusual to have an entire female staff on any of our trips these days. I hear it all the time that Mom was so glad for her daughter to witness a strong and capable female rowing their boat or leading their trip. It’s the perfect role model,” said Johnson.
New this year from April/May through September/October are custom, small group women-only rafting and biking itineraries in Utah and Colorado. These trips can be tailored to group desires, from the area, length, menu options and guides; all female or a mix. Here is a list of the most popular chartered trips. For details see: https://www.bikeraft.com/womens-river-rafting-trips/.
- Gates of Lodore Canyon Rafting Trip: With 10 or more women (ages 18 and up), the per person rate is $885 for four days on the Green River in the heart of Dinosaur National Monument in Utah.
- 3 Day Westwater Canyon: This program is offered three times weekly and can be chartered for groups of 15 to 20. Thrilling Class IV whitewater on the Colorado River through Westwater Canyon (a miniature Grand Canyon) in eastern Utah provides excitement and beauty to spare. The per person rate is $610 for groups of 10 or more.
- 3-4 Day White Rim Trail is a multi-day, technically challenging mountain biking and star gazing exploration of the wilderness around and sky overhead Moab, UT. The per person rate is from $745 to $830 for groups of eight or more. This program is offered in April and May and again in September and October.
- 4-5 Day Yampa River through Dinosaur National Monument is offered in May and June when the river runs full and the wildflowers bloom. The per person rate is $885 to $965 with a group of 10 or more.
- 5-6 Day Cataract Canyon in the heart of Canyonlands National Park is the company’s signature adventure that can be chartered for a minimum of 15 (24 maximum). The per person rate is $1,040 to $1,105 for 10 or more. Nowhere on its entire course does the Colorado River descend more precipitously than through Cataract Canyon, offering white water rafting at its best.
Following are Holiday River Expeditions’ signature Balance and Flow Yoga Wellness Trips that speak to a female audience. Trips center around immersion in nature and the guidance of specialists versed in healing practices. The adventure and relaxation intrinsic to river trips are augmented by honing in on spiritual and physical healing through natural energy, movement and nutrition. For details see https://www.bikeraft.com/balance-flow-trips/
- White Rim Mt. Bike & Yoga: Katie Woods, a yoga specialist, guides this May 11-14, 2019, four-day mountain bike tour in Canyonlands National Park.
- Wild Yoga on the Green River: This six-day Green River rafting adventure through Desolation Canyon is June 3-8, 2019. With the group will be Rebecca Wildbear, a river and soul guide.
- Women’s River & Yoga Trip: A four-day rafting trip on the Green River through Lodore Canyon July 11-14, 2019 comes with twice-daily yoga sessions.
- Women’s Multi-Sport Adventure: Women raft, kayak, hike and practice yoga for four days this Aug. 24-27, 2019 in and around the Colorado River on Ruby and Westwater Canyons.
- Stand-up Paddleboarding & Yoga: For four days this Sept. 5-8, 2019, yoga, fitness and stand-up paddleboarding join forces while rafting the Colorado River through Ruby and Westwater canyons. Led by Katie Woods and the guides at Holiday River Expeditions.
About Holiday River Expeditions
Holiday River Expeditions began in 1966, when Dee Holladay and his wife Sue took the plunge to become river outfitters. Due to its respect for the lands, rivers, guests and employees, the family-owned-and-operated company has grown exponentially. Each of its guides is professionally trained in first aid and river safety, and with 50+ years of experience, the company provides guests the opportunity to explore the nation’s wild lands safely and securely. Holiday River Expeditions has a commitment to protect the environment through education and conservation, and as such, uses oar-powered and paddle rafts exclusively.