River Riders Employee Highlight The Guide Life: Behind the Thrills with Ian Snyers Recently we’ve been happily overwhelmed (and super stoked!) by all the positive reviews we have had online concerning our guests’ experience while here at River Riders. Thank you all for lovin’ on us a little online! Our goal is to provide you with a safe, fun and totally positive experience, so it makes us happy to know we’ve done just that. And that brings us to the point of this article…our employee highlight. Our employee for this month’s highlight won’t be found out on the river or up in the trees when you visit (at least not most of the time). But that’s because he’s the one behind the scenes making sure your experience is safe, fun and positive! And according to your feedback, Ian Snyers - our Sales and Service Shift Supervisor - is doing his job well! Ian has been with River Riders for 3 years now, and started his love with adventure years ago by kayaking the Shenandoah and racing motocross. Question: How did you get into the guiding/adventure related industry? Answer: “By having a drive and getting out and doing it! Nothing is more enjoyable than some time on the water. It’s always fun to have new adrenaline-based experiences!” We agree, Ian! Your drive and adventurous spirit bring a lot to our River Riders team. Question: What’s the first memory you have of an adrenaline rush when you were a child? Answer: “The first time I ever rode a dirt bike when I was just 8 years old, it was my birthday and that was my birthday present.” Awesome birthday present! Your parents sound great…and maybe just as crazy as you! Question: What’s the absolute craziest thing you’ve ever done? Answer: “When I first started racing motocross, I wasn't quite sure how fast I could go. So I would end up over-jumping many jumps on the track and breaking a lot of handlebars. I went through at least 10 different handlebars within the first couple of years.” Wow…that’s a minor expense - new handlebars every other month…Seriously, you have some pretty epic parents. Question: Most awkward moment on the river. Go… Answer: “First time I ever did the White Water Kayaking, I flipped on the very first rapid. For some reason, I always seem to flip on the first rapid.” If you’re going to flip, might as well get it over with! Then you can enjoy the rest of the trip regardless of whether you stay right-side-up. Question: What would you say to someone that wants adventure but doesn’t know how to make the time for it? Answer: “Think of an adventure like a great escape. You get to spend great moments with friends and family that will last a lifetime.” Love this! Work can wait. The ‘lifetime moments’ need to happen now. Question: What did you have for breakfast this morning? Answer: “Yogurt and a bagel - easy food to grab on the go!” We hear ya! When there’s so much adventure awaiting you every morning, who has time to sit down for breakfast? Question: How do you relax? Answer: “My relaxation time comes from spending time camping or spending time in a kayak. Nothing is more relaxing than spending some hours cruising down the Potomac/Shenandoah in a nice kayak, especially after the sun goes down!” We like your style. Sunset kayaking is the best. Question: What’s an adventure or destination on your bucket list? Answer: “I’ve wanted to go to the Grand Canyon for a while. My parents recently moved out to Arizona and when I go to visit in December, I’m very excited to see that with my own eyes!” Excited for you…Enjoy the view and tag us with your pics (and maybe snag a trip down the Colorado River while you’re there)! We’re grateful for all that Ian brings to our team. While he may not be the guide you have while on the river or up in the trees, he can be given much of the credit for an awesome adventure experience. Thank you, Ian, for sticking with us and giving your all to our company and our guests. For more River Riders info, check out a complete list of all of our Harpers Ferry adventure activities or explore some of the lodging in Harpers Ferry that you can utilize while at our resort!
Video of the Harpers Ferry Canopy Tour at River Riders through the eyes of staffer Marilyn Flemming. This two and a half to three-hour spectacular, professionally guided Harpers Ferry zipline tour answers your call for adventure.Zip through the treetops as you ride our network of eight ziplines, including the fan-favorite free fall rappel at the end, and navigate the adventure sky bridges towering above the forest floor. As you zip, take in the mesmerizing views of the Potomac River and the Harpers Ferry Water Gap, and be sure to ask your tour guide about the local wildlife, trees, plants, and rock cliffs that surround you on your West Virginia ziplining tour.
The River Riders rafting trip will guide you through the splashing white water of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and is located where Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia come together. This 7 mile river excursion provides a wonderful experience for beginner to intermediate paddlers looking to enjoy class I-III (I-II+ in lower water) white water rapids and breathtaking scenery. River Riders has the expertise, guides, and equipment to meet all your outdoor adventure needs. Come play, only an hour away from both Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD!
River Riders Aerial Adventure Park Guide The Guide Life: Behind the Thrills with Cody Rush Our employee highlight for August has been with us since April, but has been ‘around’ us his whole life. Cody Rush grew up in Harpers Ferry and says he loves the beauty and adventure of the area. Cody has started in our Aerial Adventure Park this year, and he was the employee of the month for June! He’s always safe, fun and positive. Here’s a little more about Cody: Question: How did you get into the guiding/adventure related industry? Answer: “I grew up in the beautiful Harpers Ferry area, so when Chris Goodell said River Riders was hiring, I went for it!” Awesome, we’re glad to have a fellow adventurer that loves this area as much as we do! Question: What’s the first memory you have of an adrenaline rush when you were a child? Answer: “Dropping into a half pipe on a skateboard” Ummm…where was your mother? No seriously, we love it. Question: What’s the absolute craziest thing you’ve ever done? Answer: “I had a glass of orange juice after I brushed my teeth.” Yea, that’s….epic. We’re sitting here wondering how in the world you got through that! Question: Most awkward moment on the river. Go… Answer: “My first couple of days training, I was at lunch break and OJ squirted in my eyes and everyone saw.” That orange juice is brutal stuff! Question: What would you say to someone that wants adventure but doesn’t know how to make the time for it? Answer: “Learn how to tell yourself you need a break after you’ve been working, that you’ve earned the free time.” Work hard. Play hard. We like it. Question: What did you have for breakfast this morning? Answer: “Sausage, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich…oh, and a glass of orange juice.” It’s kind of weird that you don’t really seem to like orange juice at all. Question: How do you relax? Answer: “Video games and peeling mandarin oranges” Aaah, yes…peeling oranges is on our list of most relaxing things to do as well. Question: What’s an adventure or destination on your bucket list? Answer: “I would love to visit King Ranch in Florida and walk through the endless fields of trees and shrubs.” Just had to Google this one. We should have figured…King Ranch is a citrus farm! No doubt you have the strongest immune system on staff, Cody. We’re excited to have Cody on board with us this season. Hoping he stays around for many more! If you see Cody around, make sure you give him something citrus flavored, and we’re pretty sure you’ll gain a friend for life. For more information about our staff, visit us here. Find more information and booking details on our Harpers Ferry Aerial Adventure Park so you can go visit Cody before the season ends!
Our employee highlight for June is a new-to-us river guide. Welcome, to Mark Ulbrich! Also proficient in rock climbing, Mark is an exciting addition to our river guide team here at River Riders. Through various ventures, he’s been a part of West Virginia’s outdoor adventure scene for years. This season has already started off with a bang for Mark, as he jumped right in to all the commotion during the flooding in Harpers Ferry this spring, helping all of us here navigate the challenges. Now he’s on to exciting adventures on the river instead of fighting back the river. Here’s a little about Mark! Question: How long have you been with River Riders? Answer: “Over a month” Welcome aboard, Mark! We’re all in for an exciting season. Question: How did you get into the guiding/adventure related industry? Answer: “It sounded fun.” Really, that’s what it boils down to for all of us…it’s just fun. Pure and simple. Question: What’s the first memory you have of an adrenaline rush when you were a child? Answer: “I was playing a game of ‘who could get closest to the horse’. I won…but also ended up getting kicked into a fence.” So I guess in the end, the horse won? Either way, we’re glad you got back up and kept finding more adventure! Question: What’s the absolute craziest thing you’ve ever done? Answer: “I was in Colorado and wanted to climb this glacier called St. Mary’s Glacier. I didn’t have any gear so I found two sharp rocks and started climbing. I ended up slipping and fell 80 feet before coming to a stop 20 feet from a cliff edge.” We suppose now would be an appropriate time to say “Children, do not try this at home.” But seriously, wow…impressive resilience. You keep coming back for more! Question: Most awkward moment on the river. Go… Answer: “I don’t know…probably one of the countless times I’ve flipped on accident!” Well now…we’ve certainly never done that…ahem Question: What would you say to someone that wants adventure but doesn’t know how to make the time for it? Answer: “Make time for it.” Period. Okay…point taken. Question: What did you have for breakfast this morning? Answer: “Microwave Chimichanga” All we can say is...good thing your ‘office space’ is in the good ole outdoors. Question: How do you relax? Answer: “Reggae music” Love it. No one said you couldn’t be a beach bum on the riverside. Question: What’s an adventure or destination on your bucket list? Answer: “I want to climb Fitz Roy in Patagonia” No, he’s not talking about the clothing brand. Patagonia is actually a region in the Andes mountains at the tip of South America. And the Mt. Fitz Roy climb boasts plenty of adrenaline, thrill and adventure. Mark, we hope you make it there and send us some pics! Everyone lives life from a paradigm of some sort. And when we find someone that lives it from a ‘thirst for adventure’, we know that’s the type of person we want on our team. Mark, thanks for bringing your expertise and love for adventure to the River Riders family! Make sure you say hello to Mark when you see him this season. Schedule your white water rafting adventure now! To see more of our river guides check out our staff page.
The Guide Life: Behind the Thrills with Michael Schwitek Remember we said we’d be giving you a sneak-peak into the lives of our employees? We weren’t kidding. Here’s another employee highlight for your enjoyment and we’re pretty sure you’re going to love this guy! After 16 years in the amusement park industry, Michael Schwitek has come on board our team as our new Director of Operations. He’ll be overseeing, well…basically all of our operations! From Zipline to Adventure Park, from Rafting to Bus Transports, from our Outdoor Adventure Camp to maintenance, this is the guy who will handle it all. After you read his story, you’ll understand why we are so excited that he’s joining us! Interview with Michael Schwitek Question: How long have you been with River Riders? Answer: “1 month” We’re excited to have you, Michael, and looking forward to some fresh perspective! Question: How did you get into the guiding/adventure related industry? Answer: “I began working at Cedar Point for a summer job during college because I had always had a strong love of amusement parks and Cedar Point was the biggest park around.” Question: What’s the first memory you have of an adrenaline rush when you were a child? Answer: “Riding my first upside down roller coaster at Opryland Theme Park when I was 7 years old” We’re catching a theme…this guy likes speed and adrenaline! Question: What’s the absolute craziest thing you’ve ever done? Answer: “Got rid of my house and car and hiked the Appalachian Trail solo while living out of my backpack.” Okay, respect, dude…nothing but respect. Question: What would you say to someone that wants adventure but doesn’t know how to make the time for it? Answer: “Don't talk about it, Be about it. There is always time if you make it a priority.” Wow, good stuff…can we quote you on that? Oh, wait, we already did. Question: What did you have for breakfast this morning? Answer: “Apples” Hmmm, filling Question: How do you relax? Answer: “I take a walk in the woods” You’ve come to the right place for that. Question: What’s an adventure or destination on your bucket list? Answer: “To visit Asia and ride some of the biggest roller coasters over there! Awesome! You’ll have to come back with some adventure tips for us! As you can see, Michael is going to be an inspiring addition to the River Riders team with his extensive background in the amusement park industry and his full-throttle love for adventure! We can’t wait to see what he brings to River Riders. When you see him around this season, make sure to say hello! Update on previous employee highlight: We now have a blog option built onto our website! This is coming along with some great new changes we’ve been making to our navigation. In case you missed last month’s Employee Highlight because of restricted Tumblr access, we’ve added that to our blog as well. Don’t miss it…it’s about our CEO, Matt Knott!
The Guide Life: Behind the Thrills with Matt Knott Do you ever just wonder what it’s like in someone else’s world? Each month, we’ll be giving you a mini peek into the quirky and intriguing side of our employees (or in the case of today’s highlight…our CEO!). River Riders' CEO Shares about Adventure We asked Matt Knott, president and CEO of River Riders, a few fun questions about his journey in the adventure industry. While Matt started his adventure journey as a river guide, since he’s been CEO and president of the growing company, his time is spent less ‘in the middle of adventure’ and more ‘in the middle of the business’. But he still loves the thrill of running such an exciting company and makes sure he finds time to foster his own love for adventure! Enjoy his answers below. Oh, and check out “How do you relax?” Pretty epic way to relax! Question: How long have you been with River Riders? Answer: “24 years” Question: How did you get into the guiding/adventure related industry? Answer: “My older brother and several friends were raft guides. A friend of mine suggested we respond to an ad in the paper, but it was for Blue Ridge Outfitters. We went to River Riders on accident and loved it. The first time I went rafting that day, I knew it was what I wanted to do.” We’d say that ended up being a pretty fortuitous accident! Question: What’s the first memory you have of an adrenaline rush when you were a child? Answer: “My dad’s cousin, who worked on our farm, told me that when I was 3 years old, they couldn’t find me one day. They finally found me standing in the middle of the barnyard with the cows in a major thunderstorm looking up at the sky!” Question: What’s the absolute craziest thing you’ve ever done? Answer: “Quitting my job at State Farm and buying River Riders” We’re glad you did! Question: What would you say to someone that wants adventure but doesn’t know how to make the time for it? Answer: “You can’t afford not to do it. The only way to really find yourself is to get out of your comfort zone and explore nature.” Question: Most awkward moment on the river…go… Answer: “As a guide, once, I fell out of the raft and landed on my head on a rock, then I had to swim back to the raft in excruciating neck pain and have my guests help me back in the raft because it hurt so much. I finished the run, though!” Yes, awkward. But rather ‘boss’ that you finished! Question: What did you have for breakfast this morning? Answer: “Cranberry oatmeal” So healthy! Nice. Question: How do you relax? Answer: “Fly airplanes” So…can we expect that as the next added adventure at River Riders?! Question: What’s an adventure or destination on your bucket list? Answer: “I love travelling with my family. I still have hundreds of places I want to go. The one I always talk about, though, is running the Grand Canyon.” Ooh, can we come?! Thanks, Matt, for sharing a little about yourself and for continuing to provide great experiences for all of us seeking adventure! To see more of our other employees, visit Riverriders.com. Look for more employee highlights in the months to come.
Nothing builds character, confidence and friendship like our action-packed, fun and unique summer camp program. River Riders Outdoor Adventure Camp located in Harpers Ferry, WV provides weekly sessions all summer long to give your kids the ultimate outdoor adventure experience. Register today at: www.outdooradventurecamp.com