It’s mid-may all over the world, I have been out of TRU for exactly one month. I’m sitting in Panguipulli, Chile, on the ADVG 4100 Adventure Tourism Field Trip, the group includes myself and four other students, a translator/Spanish Instructor and the course co-ordinator. We’re on a short four day break from our adventure tourism community development projects, one with the municipality and one with the high school; while sitting and talking over some of Chile’s finest grapes last night I was overcome with gratitude for the opportunities that have matured over the last four years, provoking me to write what will be my first blog post. I’ve been trying to write a blog post for a long time now, however, it needed to be something worthwhile and hopefully this will be the keystone.
A year is a long length of time, when I was a kid I measured time in minutes and hours, “Mom, just a few more minutes!” sometimes days; as I become a teenager, it grew to weeks and months “Two months for summer, YES PLEASE!”, as a young adult, I began thinking in years “Next year I’ll go to school..Next year”. Now in my mid-twenties I feel as though time has dissolved into whatever the passion or the activity that I let my energy live within. For the last four years my energy has embarked on a journey through academic pursuits, to gain knowledge and build technical skill. While at times I was unfocused and hesitated as to whether or not I had the right map for the journey, my energy lived within it. I’ve finished all my courses and in October I will receive a degree that has truly been about the process and connections rather than outcome.
I started my journey at Algonquin College, a college in Pembroke, Ontario, where many Thompson Rivers University students begin their Outdoor Adventure Careers; I took the two-year Outdoor Adventure Program, where I graduated at the top of the class receiving the Program Award for Excellence. The faculty at Algonquin (including the instructors from Wilderness tours and CWMT) was where I first experienced the outdoor community’s strength, a strength that is bound through serious recreation and leisure and coupled with passion, knowledge and excitement. I wouldn’t consider myself an academic and I have often expressed my struggle to stay engaged in the scholastic system, however, I truly feel as though Algonquin College and their faculty displayed to me the value and the enjoyment that comes with facing that struggle to better yourself, and the outdoor community.
Needless to say, after Algonquin College, I transferred directly to Thompson Rivers University, enrolling in the Bachelor of Tourism Management Program, majoring in Adventure Studies. Thompson Rivers University is in Kamloops, British Columbia across the country from where I grew up and smack dab in the middle of BC. This dessert playground has captured my heart and the secret lays within it’s inhabitants. The Bachelor of Tourism Management Degree has three streams, the one I chose (Adventure Studies), is through an articulation agreement TRU and Algonquin have, while others including the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies are available.
The Adventure Studies stream utilizes TRU’s Adventure Department faculty and like Algonquin, it is the faculty who are the catalytic ingredient that allow students to ferment into deeper, compassionate, active members of the community.
This post has been building and if your still reading you’re likely wondering what the point is, and why all the background information. Keep reading, I promise this will not be drawn out, because for those of you that know me, I am a RIDER not a WRITER.
I find the background information given above is vital, it could possibly be the determining factor for anyone considering whether or not Adventure, Tourism or the Outdoors needs to be studied in academic environment, my answer is clearly yes.
As for what the purpose of this post is. Here it is…. it is a Thank-You, a letter of gratitude and appreaction to the Faculty members at both of Canada’s finest Adventure-Tourism programs. The faculties of these programs are not your average professors, they are the first generation of Canada’s Adventure Academics, they have been to Everest, explored ‘white-wilderness’, pioneered leardership and education, built community mountain bike trails, advocated for watershed protection, shaped adventure insurance and law, grown a systems based approach to risk management and after it all, selflessly want to give all of their experience and knowledge to you.
While I’m sure that they have gotten thank you’s before, I genuinely cannot extend my appreciation far enough, to thank these people for the opportunity they have given to everyone, allowing them to be the sponge that soaks up few drops of their immense and seemingly endless knowledge. Canada’s first generation Adventure Academics have not measured their accomplishments in time, days, years, decades or centuries, they have not measured their time at all; they have simply put all of their energy into the creation of what I think is the only timeless matter in the world: Knowledge.
Thompson Rivers University and Algonquin College have a classroom culture that is the place of belonging and opportunity. Students are inexplicably tied to their professors through their passion for a myriad of adventure activities, students can be found playing alongside professors on weekends and in courses; something that no other program can replicate. This truly allows for an open relationship which I believe is the fundamental difference and a huge decision factor to enroll into an adventure program. Your not a student number at these institutions, you are a professional and your career starts the first day of class. The adventure/tourism industry is still small enough that being in these programs inexplicably bonds you to the community and to a lifestyle in the out-of-doors.
I hope to contribute to the growth of knowledge and I will forever be grateful for being a participant in Canada’s first generation Adventure Academics. I’m excited to continue this path and look forwarding to all the following generations! This university/college experience I feel cannot be replicated in any other program than Adventure/Tourism, the connection is deper than school, it extends into your lifestyle and I hope that it is as timeless as the knowledge that has been bestowed upon me!
To the Adventure Department and Tourism Faculty at Thompson Rivers University
To the Outdoor Adventure Program (ODA and ODAN) at Algonquin College
TRU Adventure Alumni BRETT EASTON, just won $25,000 in the ADVIL/TSN HIGHLIGHT OF THE MONTH CONTEST, so like any long lost cousin, I had to get in touch with him to see if I could get a cut of the money. He declined, but did answer a few questions about what exactly a $25,000 waterfall looks like. I think this maybe the most expensive waterfall ever! - Ted
Callaghan-entrance drop above the waterfall section-2012
Last song you listened to?
The Beat by C2C
Favorite Disney Character?
Aint nobody got time for that!
Tell us a bit about how you won 25,000!
Advil and TSN put together a contest, Highlight of the Month, for amateurs to show off their talents for the chance to win $25,000. Advil and TSN choose 10 finalists but it came down to a month long voting period to choose the grand prize winning.
I found the contest because one of my friends “liked” a status on Facebook of a finalist in the competition. Big thanks for Colin Cox liking that post and huge thanks to Sean Collins for updating his status!
Why did you upload that particular video?
I uploaded my video because I knew my video was unique compared to the finalists that have already been chosen. People see hockey goals and touchdown all the time. Not a lot of people who watch TSN have seen a person kayaking of a 70ft waterfall.
Did you ever think that you would win?
I was pretty confident during most of the voting period. But the last day when the clock was ticking I was a nervous wreck!
Do you feel as though TRU played a role in giving you the ability to run a 25,000$ stout?
Yes! I started kayaking in the Adventure Program, so without TRU I would be broke and I wouldn’t have found the amazing lifestyle of kayaking.
Talk about the line into the waterfall, the safety set up and the river?
You start off on shore with a 10ft seal launch into a little eddy about 50ft upstream of the waterfall. Sitting in the eddy was the most intense part of my experience because once you were there the only way out was the waterfall. There was a Class III rapid lead in which isn’t that hard, however, it is a little intense because its right on top of a 70ft waterfall. For safety we had one person at the bottom with rescue gear and one person at the top of the gorge filming/ready to contact help if needed
Who was with you on that day?
My brother Sean Easton who did the Waterfall right after me
Heather Herbeck – Pro boater we met in Mexico
Nathan Herbeck – Owner of Sheer Madness Productions
How do you prepare for a river feature like that?
Sean and I just spend the last 4 months kayaking waterfalls in Mexico and knew we were at the ability to set it up. We wanted to kayak something big on my birthday so we started planning Outlet Falls. For me running a drop like this took a lot of time on the water before hand, envisioning the drop in my head over and over, and mediation.
How important is the right team?
It’s always important to have the right team. You want to know who you are boating with and the skills they have because they might be saving your life one day.
Who was the videographer?
I think it’s pretty cool you won 25,000$! But a tweet from Cabbie on the Street!? Now you’re Hollywood!
Shout out to Brett Easton for winning the $25000 Grand Prize of the Advil Highlight of the Month. Insane stunt! advil.tsn.ca/en/winner.aspx
GUIDING, SEAKAYAKING, SPANISH AND REMOTE WILDERNESS ENVIRONMENTS By: Abbey Bronson
Over four months have passed since I committed to writing a blog post. A
simple task, and time I’ve had, but still the days go by without writing. I
wanted to write something great, something with a wow factor!
Alas, I’ve decided to write about my everyday life with the hopes that
someone finds it an entertaining read.
First things first, for those who don’t know me, I’m Abbey. I finished the
Guide Diploma in 2010, and in spring 2012 I finished the BTM. Upon
completion of the BTM, I decided to pursue my love for guiding, sea
kayaking, Spanish and remote wilderness environments. My pursuits have led
me to a small refugio (hut) beside the Grey Glacier in Southern Chilean
Enjoying a peacefull sunny afternoon with my book at our Refugio “Big Foot”
I arrived in Patagonia in mid October, about a month before the peak season
started. It was a slow month, but proved beneficial as it allowed time to
learn the ropes before the busy season.
Two TRU ADVG Guide grads, in Patagonia, in the same season!
Fast forward three months and Patagonian guiding life is in full swing.
I’ve spent the majority of my time at our refugio ‘Bigfoot’ , which now
feels more like home than my house in Puerto Natales. Life here is
blissful, we are surrounded by beautiful scenery, situated beside the
largest glacier in Torres del Paine National Park and incredible mountains
as well as alongside the Grey Lake. We have a simple hut, with basic
amenities including generator power and water which we hull from the lake.
Kayak guiding here can mean three or four 3 hour trips a day, which can be
exhausting, but nature rewards us with fascinating changes in the dynamic
environment of the icebergs we paddle around. Watching huge 500 kilo +
pieces of ice fail off icebergs, or noticing a slight tilt in the main berg
revealing an intense sky blue are some of the benefits of such intimate
knowledge of an area. Nature also rewards us kayak guides with
opportunities to rest when we are hit with days of true Patagonian winds,
easily exceeding 40+ knots, forcing us to stay on the beach. These days are
full of various projects, relaxing, playing music, hiking, bouldering, as
well as eating tasty food and drinking tea. Sometimes these days come too
often and one wonders how the time will pass or where the strength is
going, but by embracing what each day has brought, I’ve come to a peace and
love with this place.
The view of the entire Paine Massif, while paddling down the Grey River
My TRU training has not only prepared me for kayak guiding, but with the
training from the mountain courses I’ve been able to also work as an
assistant glacier guide. Spending days exploring rivers, caves and
crevasses while guiding on ice is a bonus to life in Patagonia.
Another bonus was being able to complete one of the most world renown
hiking circuits. I recently completed the circuit of Torres del Paine
National Park while on a two week break from work when my boyfriend came to
visit. It was fantastic to combine the popular circuit with additional side
trips from local knowledge gained throughout the past months. This truly is
an incredible place!
Todd and I finishing the circuit trail with an incredible sunrise!
Breathtaking natural surroundings, strong winds, fantastic friends and
coworkers, building strength and experience, and bilingualism combine
together to create my Patagonian guiding experience.
It’s 1pm on New Year’s Day, and I’m still in bed. I get a call from my friend, and thinking he was wishing me a happy new year, I answer. Instead I hear “Let’s drive to Mexico in two days from now. Come on, it’ll be fun. It will only take 60 hours straight!” At first, I thought he was crazy. Then I remembered the very popular, yet very laughed at term YOLO, or “You only live once.” So I YOLO-ed and said yes.
We decided to do a minimum amount of planning for this trip. We had a route through the states, a name of the town to go to in Mexico, and a plan to kayak, and that was about it. So, we packed up the car, and were ready to go on our awesome adventure by 7pm on January 3rd.
So we drove, and drove, and drove. Believe it or not, Mexico is far! Our route through the states took us through Washington, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas. Almost the entire drive looked like the prairies. A tip for anyone who would consider doing this drive: go to the coast, it’s much more interesting! We had a 20-year-old car, so it took a bit longer than expected. After about 60 hours of driving, with little to no breaks, we were close to the boarder.
Throughout the states, we heard rumor upon rumor about Mexico, and how dangerous and bad it was. Some people went to such extremes to say that there was a good chance we were going to be killed by members of the drug cartel. It’s definitely a scary thing to hear when you’ve already driven 2000km! I took those comments with a grain of salt, and figured I would be all right. I’m still here, aren’t I? But, as a precaution, we hid the majority of our valuables before the boarder.
The boarder we chose was one of the less dangerous ones. A city called Juarez kept coming up over and over as one of the most dangerous places, and should be avoided at all costs. So, of course we avoided Juarez at all costs. Instead, we went very east to Reynosa. To get into Mexico, all you have to do is pay $3 US dollars. No joke. They don’t even look at your passport.
Now the adventure really begins! The second we entered Mexico, we got lost. It was a common theme for our driving in Mexico. Driving in Mexico is in general a mission. Here’s a list of things to keep in mind if you ever want to take a drive there:
Carry a small amount of pesos for the tolls. There are no ATMs, they rarely take cards, and they won’t hesitate to make you drive 50km to get $3.
Bring a map. It is surprisingly difficult to find a map of Mexico when you’re in Mexico
There are MILLIONS of topes aka speed bumps. Sometimes they are labeled, other times, they are not. They are not just in cities, but on almost every single road. To avoid killing your car, find a tour bus or truck and stay close behind it. They have some magical sixth sense that us foreigners do not, and know where every single topes is.
There are often military checkpoints. They look scary since there are machine guns everywhere. The military is not really interested in you so don’t panic.
Police are not always the “good guys.” Typically, the federal police are reliable, but the local police may ask for bribes
A final point I want to touch on for driving is that there is a chance you will be robbed, either by the police or the “banditos.” Unfortunately, it happened to us, but on our very last day in Mexico. It was in the morning, and a pickup truck with 3 Mexican men came speeding past us, trying to force us off the road. They did not have any weapons that we could see, but we weren’t able to escape until we gave them some money, a broken (unknown to the Mexicans) cell phone, and an old iPod. It was a scary experience, but we escaped unharmed, and a little shaken. If you are driving in Mexico, just be aware that being robbed is a very real possibility.
Now, to get to the fun stuff! We arrived in Tlapacoyan, Veracruz, Mexico at around 4am, on January 7th. We stayed at a raft base called Aventurec. Pretty much everyone that goes to Mexico to kayak has stayed at this place, and for a good reason. They have everything you need there, and the vibe is great too. It is just a group of people who are there for the same reason, to kayak some awesome rivers and enjoy Mexico life.
The beauty of the Rio Alsaseca is breathtaking. This is the Big Banana Section, just below Silencio.
I am by no means a good kayaker. I have become quite comfortable swimming in white water, if you know what I mean. But, it is an amazing to experience a place via a river. You see places that are breathtakingly beautiful, and the river connects you to that place. A lot of excellent boaters were in Tlapacoyan at the same time as I was. I was lucky enough to watch the Roadside section of the Rio Alseseca Race. I believe that watching people who are highly skilled in a sport is a great learning experience, and I definitely learned a lot. Just being immersed in a kayaking world taught me a lot about the sport.
Me on a nice mossy slide on the Micos.
We also went to the Micos, which turned out to be one the best days of my life. The water is a beautiful blue, and it is a pool and drop type of river. I ran my first ever waterfalls and slides. I previously had a lot of reservations about kayaking. Whitewater is new to me, and I definitely don’t feel completely comfortable in the setting yet. But, this day gave me a lot of confidence, and made me fall a little bit more in love with kayaking. I am starting to understand why people make this sport a lifestyle.
The Micos has beautiful blue, warm water. I was deemed the Goldfish because of my many swims. I still love kayaking.
Mexico is a beautiful country, and the locals really make the experience amazing. Everyone is so friendly, going out of their way to help someone in need. More than once, a local would drive in their car, while we followed, when we were lost in a city. A driver at the raft base took us out for an entire afternoon and introduced us to the town. People are so happy, even when they have next to nothing. The vibes rubbed off on me, and made me feel relaxed and genuinely happy.
This local boy was beautiful, although a bit shy. Check out that sweater!
Before I knew it, it was time to come back to Kamloops to start class. I will forever cherish the trip, both the good and the bad that came with it. I have never driven so far, and that was a serious challenge. I got the “fuego blanco” or the white plague, and was robbed by banditos. But, I got closer to a friend and made an unforgettable bond, improved my kayaking, and immersed myself in the culture of a new country. It was an adventure of a lifetime, which I will never forget. If you ever have the opportunity to go on an adventure, take the opportunity. Be spontaneous. It will create memories that will last forever, even if things sometimes go wrong.
So stoked and relieved to have survived the drive in Mexico!
Feel free to contact Kait at the email address below!
Feldenkrais is a body method that aims to reduce pain or limitations in movement, to improve physical function, and to promote general wellbeing by increasing students’ awareness of themselves and by expanding students’ movement repertoire. The movements in feldenkrais have enabled me to paddle harder water and longer hours with less effort, no pain and no stiffness. The movements you will see in the following video will help paddlers in a number of areas. The first segment will help to get rid of any lower back pain caused from being in a sitting position in a kayak. The second segment will help improve torso rotation, enabling the power to come from your back and torso and not just your arms, this will improve your forward stroke and boof stroke to name a few.
Over the past few weeks I’ve had the extreme pleasure of interacting with two TRU Adventure Alumni, Tyler Williamson and Jimmy Gillese. They’re pretty excited about their new business which has been in the TRU Alumni family for three generations! Check out the following interview and get inspired by two guides turned business men. – Ted Morton
“The first time I ever went to the Stellar Descents base was in the fall of 2006. I was attending the Swift-water Specialist course being hosted by the company. It looked like a sweet little rafting company. Now, years later, with the 2013 season approaching we are excited to open the door to our own sweet little rafting company.
The move to buy Stellar Descents and get into the business world was surprisingly easy. I had come out to visit Tyler in Tete Jaune and have some fun on the Fraser, the river was still chugging pretty good at 24 on the gauge. At the end of the day Tyler asked me if I wanted in, I immediately said yes, and 2 weeks later we had a deposit paid. It really was that simple, we couldn’t pass it up.
Tyler and I are going to be living the dream with our own company for the foreseeable future, and let me tell you: It feels great!” - Jimmy Gillese
“Setting them up”…Dire Straights style!
TY: Tyler Williamson
JIM: Jimmy Gillese
Hometown/Place of association:
TY: Calgary, Alberta
JIM: Edmonton, Alberta
“The Stellar Descents venture came about while having a conversation with my employer, Danny Cooke. Meanwhile Jim was working in the industry just down the road in Jasper. One thing led to another and here we are.” – Tyler
Years at TRU/UCC:
TY: 2005 – 2012
TY: Snowboarding, rafting, scuba diving and dinner parties
JIM: Climbing, snowboarding, canoeing, and of course rafting
Last time you pulled skirt and swam (what river/rapid):
TY: I don’t remember the name of the rapid but I told Sharman it would be faster to swim it than to walk it. Two strokes in and I was no longer in my boat… Kayaking is not my forte.
JIM: Mamquam race course class III, Squamish, BC
“For our whitewater products, we offer a class 3 trip on the popular whitewater section of the Fraser and a heart pumping class 4 trip on the Beaver.” – Tyler
Last song you listened to:
TY: Setting Me Up by the Dire Straits (on vinyl)
JIM: Global Concepts by Robert Delong
Give me the vitals on the business:
TY: Stellar Descents is located in Tete Jaune Cache, 3 ½ hours north of Kamloops, BC at the junction of HWY 16 and Hwy 5. Stellar offers three different rafting products, a float trip as well as two whitewater trips. The float trip welcomes any age of adventurer who is looking for a quiet and relaxing trip. For our whitewater products, we offer a class 3 trip on the popular whitewater section of the Fraser and a heart pumping class 4 trip on the Beaver.
JIM: We are the only small, independent rafting company in the region. We do a salmon float, a class 3 run down the Fraser and a class 4 run down the Beaver.
What year did you acquire Stellar Descents White Water Rafting:
TY: This 2013 season will be our first operating season as owners of the company.
JIM: This year…just got it!
“TRU played a huge roll in this business opportunity. Jim and I attended the Adventure Guiding Diploma in 2005-2007 then continued our education through TRU’s Bachelor of Tourism Management Degree.” – Tyler
I heard it is in its third generation of TRU Alumni ownership, what is the story behind that:
TY: Ya, this is pretty cool… The company was pioneered by Sharman and two other classmates of his (Adam DeVita and one other I don’t have a name for). You may have to ask Sharman what year that was… Anyway, another alumni’s named Danny Cooke took over in 2006 and has operated Stellar till the season of 2012. Jay Martin also partnered with him for a few of those seasons as well.
How did you guys become friends and decided to purchase this business:
TY: Jim and I met in 1996 where we found ourselves as classmates at a boarding school for the following five years. We’ve spent countless days on several month long canoe trips in Alberta and Northern Saskatchewan that more or less brought us together as good friends. The Stellar Descents venture came about while having a conversation with my employer, Danny Cooke. Meanwhile Jim was working in the industry just down the road in Jasper. One thing led to another and here we are.
JIM: Ty and I have known each other since ’95, and we attended the TRU Guide Program together. When I moved to Jasper in 2008, Tyler had already been working in the area for a couple years. When the opportunity came for the company to be purchased we jumped on it. There wasn’t much to think about.
Was it an easy decision to take-over the business:
TY: The decision to purchase the company was so far the easiest. So far the decision making process for the company has proven to get harder as we attempt to grow and develop Stellar. We have some big shoes to fill…
JIM: It was a really easy decision. I’ve wanted to be a business owner of some sort for a long time. When this came up I couldn’t say no.
“The network that was developed through TRU definitely allowed us this opportunity. Danny was my rafting instructor, and he bought the company off Sharman. I feel like Stellar Descents might end up having a longstanding legacy with the TRU Guide Program.” – Jimmy
It seems that every-other adventure student has dreams of starting their guiding business, how did you make this dream a reality:
TY: I don’t know if the reality has really hit us yet. We’ll let you know after our first season!
JIM: We both have gotten a tremendous amount of support in order to make this happen. Stellar Descents is still dormant until spring, while it is Tyler and I will be working hard to get everything in order.
What separates Stellar Descents White Water Rafting from others in the Jasper National Park region:
TY: Wow, where to begin?! Stellar is a small company that has the ability to make its clients feel like they are on their own personal adventure. This is achieved by the guides greeting and introducing themselves upon each guests arrival and inquiring about any special needs they may require. We also are the only company in the area that offers class 4 whitewater, Canada’s legal commercial limit. Hence Stellar Descent’s tag line: Small Company – Big Rapids – Size Matters.
JIM: Stellar Descents is the only company offering class 4 rafting, and we are a very small company compared to the giants in the area. That means we get to have way more interaction with our customers. Everyone gets to meet the owners at Stellar.
Do you feel as though TRU played a role in allowing you the opportunity to offer such a unique guiding service?
TY: TRU played a huge roll in this business opportunity. Jim and I attended the Adventure Guiding Diploma in 2005-2007 then continued our education through TRU’s Bachelor of Tourism Management Degree.
JIM: The network that was developed through TRU definitely allowed us this opportunity. Danny was my rafting instructor, and he bought the company off Sharman. I feel like Stellar Descents might end up having a longstanding legacy with the TRU Guide Program.
Stellar Descents is the only company in the Jasper National Park Area that is running a Class IV rapid. Can you talk about the skills required to do this (both hard and soft skills)?
TY: Things happen a little faster out there when you step up to class 4. Excellent hard and soft guiding skills are required for our guides working on The Beaver. The hard skills boil down to time on the stick as well as the run. These skills sets are integral to operating a safe and enjoyable trip for everyone participating. The soft skills the guides must obtain would be confidence as well as a respect for this non stop section of whitewater.
JIM: Guiding on class 4 takes a little more out of the guides, not only do things happen faster, but features get bigger as well. The guiding skills need to be sharp for sure. Understanding the limitations of the boats is huge, that comes with time and practice. The guide needs to be confident but at the same time sympathetic. Clients can have a huge range of emotional responses to big whitewater. The guide needs to be prepared to deal with it appropriately.
“…for us it’s works out perfect, our new guides are trained to a really high standard and end up getting cleared to guide quicker.” – Jimmy
Can you speak to the value of having specified training on-top of extensive experience?
TY: Having specified training in this industry is paramount. This is something Stellar Descents takes very seriously by ensuring we only hire guides with the minimum of a current 80hr first aid, Swift Water Rescue Technician (SRT 3) and a British Columbia River Outfitters Association guiding license. All of our guides are trained in safety and river rescue that exceeds Canada’s federal standards.
JIM: We like having our guides do very specific training so we know they have the same base knowledge as well as hard skill, but it doesn’t matter what company you go to you will have to train on any section of river you plan on guiding commercially. For us it’s works out perfect, our new guides are trained to a really high standard and end up getting cleared to guide quicker. The way that TRU has laid out their paddling program produces quality guides that are essentially ready to work very quickly.
What does it take to run a successful White Water Business?
TY: We will have to wait to find out!
JIM: We are still figuring that out…ask again in August
How do you keep on top of industry trends and new developments?
TY: Well we are going to play that one by ear. We’ve got a few bubbling ideas, we’ll let you know what comes of them…
JIM: Read the mags, watch the movies, and scan the marketing of companies both in our region and in others.
Did you guys ever imagine that you would be living the dream? Has it changed your perception of adventure?
TY: It’s an amazing opportunity that’s for sure! We are excited to see where it takes us. As for if it has changed our perception of adventure, I’d so no for myself. Out there every day, in every boat is definitely an adventure.
JIM: I’ve been living the dream for a while; the only difference is now I have more debt!
Do you still travel/paddle much in your free time?
TY: When ever the opportunity arises! Jim and I are trying to plan a trip here to kick off the season.
JIM: I like to start the season off with a short multi-day trip and then do some day trips through the season. It’s sometimes hard to find the motivation to go boating on your one day off but we do our best. There has been some talk of an R2 descent of Hargreaves Canyon this year.
Many of us are trying to blur the lines between work and play; can you talk about how you’ve made this a reality? What personality traits does it take? How do you when the time is right!?
TY: Do what you love, love what you do…
JIM: When your job is rafting you get paid to play all day. I like to think that as long as I’m still smilling through the day this is the job I want to do. I had to step back a few years ago, instead of 100 days on the river I did 10. I moved to Squamish and rock climbed 120 days that season. It was nice to do something completely different but I really missed the river. Now, 2 river seasons later Tyler and I are getting ready to open our own operation.
All it takes to make this happen is the desire for this lifestyle and the understanding that you will never be a millionaire. You’ll make some money and have great times doing it.
The time is right when you say it’s right!
What does the future of Stellar Descents look like?
TY: Only time can tell us the answer to that one. Jim and I have some plans and goals in mind, we just need to figure out which way to go with them.
JIM: The future of Stellar Descents looks bright. We have two owners who are really motivated to grow the business and run a tight ship. One of the huge changes you see in the near future is another class 4 run that we intend on having available for the 2014 season. Stay tuned
As a guide turned business owner, where do you have more fun; out on the water running the show, or in the office running the logistics!?
TY: I love being on the water! There’s never a dull moment. However, I am excited for the new challenge that the office will bring.
JIM: I have way more fun on the water! The great thing about Stellar is that Tyler and I will do both. At this point I couldn’t imagine being off the water for the season.
What makes a Stellar Descents White Water trip different from the rest?
TY: The personal touch that is imprinted on each trip. Stellar strives for our guests’ river adventure to be the highlight of their vacation.
JIM: Compared to the other huge companies in the region we are pretty small. With a smaller company comes more client interaction. You will get talked “to” and not “at”, plus then you get to hang out with the owners and they are rad dudes!
What is the most important piece of advice you can give to clients?
TY: Know your limit, play within it.
JIM: Hold your T-Grip and paddle hard
What is the most important piece of advice you can give to guides/future guides?
TY: “Be good or be good at it.” Danny Cooke always said that. I think he got it from some rap song. It makes perfect sense.
JIM: Show up, be keen and work hard and you will get respect from your boss. Clean up your messes and you will get respect from the other guides.
Also…pay your beer fines!
“show up, be keen and work hard and you will get respect from your boss. Clean up your messes and you will get respect from the other guides.” – Jimmy
What is the most important piece of advice you can give to adventure operators?
TY: I’m in no position to be giving advice regarding this topic…maybe ask me next year.
Tell us about your time spent at TRU, what was it like and what was the funniest thing you saw!?
TY: I put in a long but worth while shift at TRU. Some of the best times are associated with the Adventure Program and one in particular was the Tibet expedition in 2007. I’m sure some of the locals over there are still talking about us!
JIM: TRU was great, I went through the guide diploma and then finish my Bachelor of Tourism Management, major in Adventure and a minor in Marketing. We had a great group, I’ve made a bunch of lifelong friends as well as a huge network of contacts. The funniest thing I ever saw was Alejandro going full out for his victim swim on SRT. Face down over a ledge, got some down time, surfaced and held character right to shore.
Who would you like to thank?
TY: My parents are a huge support network for me. I’d like to thank all my parents for providing me with my opportunities. I am very fortunate to have them in my life. As well as a big thanks to my mentors over the years. With out your direction and advice I would not be doing what I love as a profession.
JIM: I want to thank my parents for all their support. I’d also like to thank the river gods for providing this opportunity and getting Tyler and I in the right place at the right time. A big thanks to TRU, not only do they provide us with guides but they are a great support network for us.
”Do what you love, love what you do…” – Tyler
There you have it, two amazing Alumni, doing what they love. I’m about to graduate and it is very inspiring to see that the path is however you want to build it! Thanks guys!
In December 2012, Raphaël Boudreault-Simard and Gabriel Côté-Valiquette went kayaking on mysterious Vancouver Island. Rumours of its incredible rivers have been circulating for years but very few images that relate its true potential have been published. Rapha and Gabe documented what they found during their 3 week trip: very little sunshine, lots of rain/snow, some of the best winter kayaking in North America, and a ton of good people. Paddling on Vancouver Island in the winter is not for everyone… but the beauty of the area will make you forget the cold nights.
Special thanks to Shayne, Jenn, Mike and Clay for sheltering us… we would not have made it 4 days without you guys!
Music: Postcards from Italy – Beirut, I Believe – Simian Mobile Disco
Paddlers: Raphaël Boudreault-Simard, Gabriel Côté-Valiquette, Kiah Schaepe, Michael Reeder
For media inquiry, contact Gabriel at firstname.lastname@example.org
En Décembre 2012 Raphaël Boudreault-Simard et Gabriel Côté-Valiquette ont passé 3 semaines à faire du kayak sur l’Île de Vancouver. Depuis longtemps des rumeurs circulent sur les incroyables rivières de l’Île mais très peut d’images qui montre le plein potentiel de la région ont étés publiées. Raph et Gab ont donc documenté ce qu’ils ont trouvé : très peut de soleil, beaucoup de pluie et de neige, des rivières et des chutes spectaculaires et tout plein de bon monde.
Merci à Shayne, Jenn, Mike et Clay pour nous avoir hébergé… nous n’aurions pas survécu 4 jours sans vous !
Musique : Postcards from Italy – Beirut, I Believe – Simian Mobile Disco
Kayakistes: Raphaël Boudreault-Simard, Gabriel Côté-Valiquette, Kiah Schaepe, Michael Reeder
Vous pouvez joindre Gabriel par son adresse électronique email@example.com