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Whitewater rafting and rescue clinics offered this spring

| March 9, 2023 12:00 AM

Montana River Guides based in Alberton is offering a variety of two-day rafting clinics, three-day swiftwater rescue classes and five-day Whitewater Raft Guide Schools in April, May and June on the Blackfoot and Clark Fork rivers.

The two-day workshops are an introduction to rafting skills that teach students proper equipment, boat rigging, river safety, reading water, and rowing skills in Class II and III whitewater.

“We focus on how to read the river and guide rafts in whitewater," said Sam Johnston, lead instructor at Montana River Guides. “We give students as much information as we can in the classroom session and then two long long days on the river, giving them hands-on experience.“

Johnston said the Blackfoot River is ideal for introducing people to guiding because there are so many features in the river and plenty of places to practice simple maneuvers such as eddy turns, peel outs, and ferrying.

The three-day swiftwater rescue classes are designed for recreational boaters and rescue professionals who want to learn how to self rescue and help others in a river emergency. These classes include self-rescue practice and rescue scenarios where students will practice skills such as throw bags, rescue swimming, entrapment situations and boat flips.

The five-day raft guide schools combine the swiftwater rescue and raft guide training and are designed for novice river guides or people who want to lead family and friends on raft trips. After working on the Blackfoot the class will move on to the bigger whitewater of Alberton Gorge where they will get the opportunity to practice in-flow rescues, boat flipping, and running more challenging rapids.

“The students love the last two days because they’re challenged by the Gorge’s bigger rapids and features,” said Johnston. “They’ll have to apply everything that they’ve learned to scout rapids, select their route, and then run the rapid safely with their teams.”

No experience is necessary.

Montana River Guides has been teaching river classes since 1995. Swiftwater Rescue certification is provided from the Whitewater Rescue Institute. For more information or to register go to or call Montana River Guides at 406-214-0245.

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