The Connection Between Skiing and Rafting

Feb
09

The Connection Between Skiing and Rafting

The Connection Between Skiing and Rafting

I have coached and trained new river rafting guides for over 25 years at Crab Apple Whitewater. When a new applicant includes Skiing and/or Ski Racing on their application then I know we have a chance at a great new team member and whitewater rafting guide. The connection between skiing and whitewater rafting is natural. In both sports the athlete reads the terrain ahead – waves, holes, eddies, etc. on the river and moguls, drops and powder stashes on the mountain.

Better skiers and whitewater raft guides not only can read the terrain ahead but plan for it before it happens. A good skier is not looking down at the mogul underfoot, that move was anticipated and made seconds ago. The good skier is looking ahead at two or three pieces of terrain and is already anticipating how the bump ahead will lead them into the next drop or mogul and how they will exit that move into the one that follows. Similarly, a strong river rafting guide is splashing through a big wave and yelling “Yeehaw!”, but his eyes are focused on the next two drops and planning how they will turn the raft while forming a plan to offset those impacts and turn them into the best ride possible for his crew.

It is no surprise then, that I have hired many skiers to join the Crab Apple crew of river guides over the years. For our immediate family, my wife Jenn and I have followed our kids ski racing careers and work at many ski races around New England each season. Our older son, Ryan, is on the nationally ranked University of Vermont alpine ski team and younger son, Zachary, is multi-time champion of New England Prep School Alpine Ski racing. The big boss at Crab Apple, Chuck, learned to ski at age 60 so he could ski down to view his Grandsons’ races at the big mountains like Sugarloaf and Stowe – that is cool!

Our staff is full of great skiers and riders (didn’t mean to slight the snowboarders). Paula Moltzan was a member of the US Alpine Ski Team for three years and is now on the University of Vermont Ski Team. Dan Robichaud originally trained as a raft guide on the Deerfield River in 1998 and left to head west to be one of the first snowboard patroller at Vail Ski Resort. He has returned to the East and now patrols at Waterville Valley in NH. Pat Joyce and Sean Doyle are raft guides in the summer and Coach the University of Massachusetts Alpine Ski Team in the winter. Luke Ledwell is a part-time ski instructor (full time dreamer) at Jackson Hole Ski Resort along with Hannah Davis who is a well-known adaptive ski instructor working with blind skiers at Jackson Hole.

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