Be trained by industry specialists! Our Instructors bring with them a wealth of knowledge, experience, enthusiasm and a fun-loving attitude.
Richard van der Ploeg is Chinook Rafting’s Operations Manager. He is originally from the Netherlands and during his time studying mechanical engineering, Richard took every opportunity to sneak off and play in the water. Summers were spent guiding in beautiful Slovenia with rafting on the Soca river and canyoning and caving. Expeditions and work brought him to Canada, La Reunion, Italy, Sri Lanka, Azores, New Zealand, Honduras and other gems. With over 15 years of experience in outdoor tourism, he’s now a full-time raft guide. International certifications include Rescue 3 International Swiftwater Advanced, Alberta PROAOA rafting examiner, and he has been trained in Wilderness Advanced First Aid. Richard has been involved with the Raft Guide Course for over 5 years.
Gabriel Arias is Chinook Rafting’s Lead Guide. Being born and raised in Ecuador, Gabriel’s passion for the great outdoors and adventure started early in life. Having worked as a guide for youth camps and a national tour guide in Ecuador, he has led multi-sport expeditions to the Galápagos Islands, the Andes mountains and the Amazon. As a trip leader, rafting guide and avid kayaker, he has explored class III and IV rivers in Ecuador, Argentina, Canada and the United States. He now calls Canada home and has proudly been working for Chinook Rafting since 2017.
Adam Howie is Chinook Rafting’s Senior Trip Leader. Adam has been Outdoor Adventure guiding in Canada and around the world now for over 15 years. Having a passionate affinity for water since a young age, as well as a desire to travel and see the world, it was an easy landing into his career as a international raft guide. His passion for the outdoors is second only to his passion for the river which he loves to share with the people around him.
Chris Burnham will be the SRT instructor for the course. He has been involved in the rafting and kayaking industry for over 25 years both locally and around the world, including working on rivers in the UK, France, Norway, USA, Canada, Argentina, Chile, India, Nepal, & Africa amongst others. For many years he was the Operations Manager at Chinook Rafting. He is an examiner for the BC and AB River Outfitters Association, a certified kayaking instructor, a Swiftwater & Ice Rescue Technical Instructor for Rescue 3 International, and an Emergency Medical and Advanced Wilderness First Responder, and still finds time to go on the river often (as that’s where he still love to be). In his spare time, he is also a Volunteer Fire Fighter with the Banff Fire Department.
All of our guest instructors also have many years of rafting experience under their belts and are holders of valid First-aid or Wilderness First-aid certificates and are qualified Swift Water Rescue Technicians as a minimum standard.
We ensure a guide-to-client ratio that guarantees you will be able to maximize your learning experience.