Here’s a summary of the main changes you’ll see during your rafting trip:

  • Every group gets their own private raft and guide! We require social distancing between groups, and with our staff too. This means every booking group gets their own private raft and guide, and there will always be extra space in the raft! Please be sure to book with people who are in your household or ‘Cohort Family’ as you will be sitting close to the people you book with.
  • All gear will be disinfected and dried. We are cleaning and drying ALL gear even more scrupulously than normal. This means you can be confident that the gear you are using is fresh as a daisy, and we’ll always give you clean, dry gear to put on.
  • You’ll need to use your own car to travel from our base to the river, and every driver needs a non-surgical face mask. We’re not running buses at this time – you’ll drive from our base to the river in your own car.  We’ll lead the way, and then we’ll give the driver from each group a ride to the start of the rafting. This means the driver in your party will need to bring a non-surgical face mask to wear on this shuttle.  It also means that your personal items will be ready and waiting for you as soon as we get off the river. No need to travel back to the base before getting changed! Don’t worry, you’ll only take gear in your own car before the trip, so your car will stay nice and dry.

We’ve been working night and day to be sure that our practices will keep you safe and socially distant while rafting with us. Keep reading for a detailed run through of what our booking procedure and trips will look like.

Guide wearing a mask

Hello Rafters! We are stoked to open and can’t wait to take you rafting on the Kananaskis River this summer!

The team here at Chinook Rafting would like you to know that safety is our priority.  We want to assure you that we are taking the pandemic very seriously and have implemented a number of new protocols in order to comply with every government regulation regarding COVID-19. As the situation continues to evolve, we are ready to adapt with it and change our practices accordingly.

We truly believe that rafting is one of the best things to be doing right now, and in order to give you peace of mind too, we’d like to share some of the changes we’ve made to our operation with your safety in mind.  We have worked hard to ensure that we are facilitating and enabling social distancing during every part of your Chinook Rafting experience.

Important Updates:

Here’s How Things Have Changed In Different Stages Of Your Trip:

During Booking:

  • We’ll be asking you to book for your household or ‘cohort family’ together.  This lets us know who you are comfortable being close to.  You will ride in the same raft as your booking group, and nobody else.  A ‘cohort family’ is a grouping approved by the Government of Alberta and is a group with whom you have agreed not to maintain social distancing.  Click here for more information on the definition of a ‘cohort family’.
  • Our minimum booking number per raft has changed to 4. This is because we will never put you in a raft with guests from another group, so you won’t have to share space with anyone except the people in your group. This means that on the river you’re basically receiving a private raft trip!
  • The maximum number of guests allowed in one raft is 7, including children.  This allows us to keep space between you and your raft guide.  We are very happy to split groups between two or more rafts if you have a household/cohort of more than 7.  You still won’t need to share with any other groups.

The Day Before Your Trip:

  • We will send you an email reminding you of the questions we will ask you for your Declaration of Health.  These are:
    • Have you, or anyone in your party, been outside of the country at any point in the past 14 days?
    • Are you, or anyone in your party, displaying any symptoms of COVID-19?
    • Have you, or anyone in your party, been in close, unprotected, company with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 14 days?

When You Arrive At Our Base:

  • We will greet you, and ask you to make a Declaration of Health.  This means we will ask:
    • Have you, or anyone in your party, been outside of the country at any point in the past 14 days?
    • Are you, or anyone in your party, displaying any symptoms of COVID-19?
    • Have you, or anyone in your party, been in close, unprotected, company with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 14 days?

If you, or anyone in your party, answers yes to any of the above questions, we will not be able to take you rafting.

  • Once everyone has made a declaration of health, we’ll get you kitted out with all the gear you need to stay safe and warm on the river. ALL OF OUR GEAR IS SCRUPULOUSLY DISINFECTED IMMEDIATELY AFTER EVERY TRIP, THEN DRIED FOR AT LEAST 24 HOURS.
  • You’ll get changed next to or in your car, as we do not have a changing room this year.  We do find that most guests prefer changing next to their cars in other seasons too.

Getting To The River:

The driver of your group will need to wear a non-surgical mask for about 10 minutes in this stage.

  • For now, we are not running any large shuttle buses. This means you won’t have to be sharing a crowded vehicle with 50 other people as part of your rafting!  Instead, we’ll be asking you to follow us to the river in your own car.  Then we’ll organize a small shuttle for drivers, so that when we get off the river your car and personal items are ready and waiting for you, no need to travel all the way back to our base before being able to get dry!
  • Here are the shuttle details:
    • You’ll drive yourself and your party, with your rafting gear, from our base to the river. This takes about 15 minutes, and we’ll show you the way. You’ll be wearing a dry wetsuit for this leg.
    • You’ll drop off your party and gear at the put in of the river. We’ll show you where!  There will be light entertainment for your party while they wait for the shuttle to be complete.
    • You’ll drive, following our vehicle, to the takeout where vehicles can be parked for the duration of the trip. This drive takes just 10 minutes.
    • You’ll hop in the small shuttle bus with our friendly driver.  We will require everyone to wear a non-surgical mask at this point, and there will be space to distance from the other people in the vehicle. You can relax for 10 minutes while we drive you back to rejoin the group, then we’ll all go rafting together.

We’ve introduced this method so we can be sure to maintain physical distancing during transportation. There are a few steps, but you can be sure that our friendly staff will be on hand every step of the way to ensure things go smoothly. All you need is a car that can carry you and your party.

 On The River:

  • Nobody in your cohort needs to wear a facemask on the river, because you will only be in a boat with the people you booked with, plus a guide! The guide will have a mask on, and there will be a safe distance between you and the guide while you travel down the river.
    • In the unlikely event of someone falling in the water, the guide will perform a rescue to get you back in the boat.  They will be close to you for a very short window of time in this case, but will prioritise getting you safely back into the boat.
  • We do ask you not to wear a mask on the river, as they can become a hazard for breathing in a watery environment!

After The Trip:

  • When we reach the takeout, there will be places to leave all of your used gear. It’s likely that you’ll see our dedicated guides begin the disinfecting process right away!
  • Your car will be close by, so you can immediately change back into warm, dry clothes. What a luxury!
  • We’ll have photos of your trip on display on our tablet. They’ll be available at low resolution for free on the internet, or you can buy them on a USB.
  • We’ll go our separate ways directly from the river. We’re always sad to say goodbye, but we trust that you will have had a great time and maybe we’ll see you again soon!

Other Things That Have Changed:

  • We can’t run the Horseshoe Canyon at the moment.
  • We’re sad about this too. It’s mainly because there are increased risks with running lighter rafts on the class 4 river, and we deemed it not safe to run without adequate weight in the boat. Maybe we’ll be able to change this later in the season, we sure hope so, but we can’t count on it just yet.
  • We’re offering our fantastic Kananaskis Surf Trip as a great alternative to the Horseshoe Canyon. Specially tailored to those who want a bit more of an adrenaline kick from their rafting, this is a unique trip that’s bound to please!  You can check it out here.
  • We are asking you to please be sure to stay at home if you feel COVID-19 related symptoms. This is a government regulation, for everyone’s safety. For an overview of the symptoms of concern, click here.
  • While we’re taking every reasonable precaution to limit the spread of COVID-19, If you are in a high-risk group for COVID-19, we recommend that you do not come rafting with us this summer
  • There will be no snack or refreshment at the end of the trip this year
    You’re more than welcome to bring your own snack for after the trip, and leave it in your car.

We have worked hard to implement these changes. We closely monitored recommendations for precautionary measures from the World Health Organization, Health Canada, Alberta Health and the Chief Medical Officer of Health. These recommendations are summarized for commercial rafting by PROAOA (Professional River Outfitters Association of Alberta) in the “Best Practises for Alberta Commercial River Operations”, and we follow these best practices at Chinook Rafting.

The only thing we care more about than rafting at Chinook Rafting is making sure we are doing so safely for all of those involved.

Frequently Asked Questions

CAN I COME RAFTING WITH MY FRIENDS?

Rafting is a great activity to do with friends!  However, you do need to keep in mind that there is not enough space in a raft to be socially distant from everyone else in that same raft.

We will be maintaining empty seats around our guides, so you won’t need to be close to them.  We will also only be filling rafts with people from the same booking, so you won’t ever be asked to share space with people you didn’t book with.

However, once aboard the raft you will be near everyone that you booked with. For this reason, we are asking that each booking be comprised only of people who are in the same household or ‘cohort’.  Your cohort is the small group of people with whom you routinely do not practice social distancing. You can find the Alberta Government definition of a cohort here.

 

Our minimum booking size this year is 4 people, and the maximum number of guests in one raft is 7, including children.  If you have further questions about how to structure your group, please contact us and our staff would be glad to assist.

WILL I BE ABLE TO MAINTAIN PHYSICAL DISTANCING?

Physical distancing has been promoted by the Government of Canada as the most effective action we can all take against the spread of COVID-19.  Therefore, we have adjusted our rafting operation to enable physical distancing as much as possible.

  • At the base – you’ll see signs and other measures around the base showing you how to move safely through the area without having to be close proximity to other groups.
  • During safety and gear talks – our guides and staff will communicate clearly to ensure that everyone can hear, without needing to be close to other groups.
  • On the river – you will be in a boat that contains only the party you booked with, and your guide. The seats around the guide remain empty, so you’ll maintain physical distance from your guide.

Notes on physical distancing:  You will be expected to be close, sometimes touching, with the people in your booking party, since you’ll be sitting near each other in the boat.

If you refuse to observe our social distancing measures, we will be obligated to ask you to leave the trip.  Physical distancing is now a government-enforced regulation, so we do need to take it seriously on our raft trips.

WHAT OTHER MEASURES ARE YOU TAKING AGAINST COVID-19?

At Chinook Rafting, we are taking the issue of COVID-19 very seriously. We have implemented many new protocols this year to keep us in line with the most up to date government guidelines.  These include:

  • Stringent equipment hygiene – we’ll be disinfecting every single piece of gear you see and use after every single usage. Paddles, rafts, lifejackets, shuttle vehicles, wetsuits, booties, rainjackets, you name it.
  • Changes in our shuttle procedure – In 2020, you will be required to drive yourself and your party from our river base to the river. This takes approximately 15 minutes. We’ll drop off your party at the start of the river, then you’ll drive 10 more minutes to the place where we finish our rafting. We’ll provide a shuttle for you to get back to the start of the river, then we’ll go enjoy the rapids all together.

This measure allows us to observe all physical-distancing requirements and helps us keep everyone safe and comfortable.  It also means that your car and all your personal items are waiting for you at the end of the rafting trip, with no need to travel back to our base!

  • Mask requirements – We have a strict policy for using masks when travelling in our vehicles. This means that if you are the driver for your party, you will be REQUIRED to wear a mask when in our vehicle, as will everyone else. Our staff will be wearing masks when handing our gear, or driving a vehicle, and they’ll have their mask available and ready to put on at all times.
  • Hand sanitizing stations – we’ll have hand sanitizer available at every turn. It will be available at the base, the put-in, the take out, and even on the river.  We encourage everyone to use it and help us keep everyone safe. You are more than welcome to bring your own hand sanitizer
  • Physical distancing – see previous question.

WILL RAFTING STILL BE FUN, WITH ALL THESE NEW REGULATIONS?

One clear answer here:  YES! We’ve had to wait longer than normal to get on the river this year, but it is just as beautiful and sparkly as ever.  Our enthusiastic, professional guides are ready to whisk you through the rapids and entertain you with stories of this pristine environment.

We can’t think of any better way to blow away the blues of quarantine than with this outdoor adventure.  Plus, we have literally spent months working out the fine details of how to adjust to the pandemic when rafting with us, so you can just sit back and enjoy our fun-fuelled experience with peace of mind.