The Fairbanks Paddlers club does not offer formal safety or skills courses. Our collaborative trips are coordinated by volunteers from the club, and are not guided trips. There may be some opportunities on club outings for some informal mentoring; however, participants joining these trips should have the proper paddling and safety skills and appropriate apparel and equipment to safely conduct themselves.
There are a number of businesses around the state offering professional instruction in a variety of paddling and river safety skills. Here are several course providers of whom we are aware.
Fairbanks Paddlers wants to share these resources with the boating community, but does not specifically endorse any specific programs or businesses. If you have additional information or know of other courses or programs, or you are an instructor or business, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Fairbanks-based Alaska Canoe School offers a variety of skills and safety courses ranging from Introduction to Canoeing on lakes, to Canoe Instructor Certification courses. This spring, Fairbanks Paddlers is coordinating with them to offer a Paddleports Leadership Course designed to prepare participants to help coordinate group paddle outings. They are also offering a Rescue Practice Class. Neither of these classes is canoe specific.
Alaska Dream Adventures is based in North Pole. They offer introductory kayak and canoe classes from their boat rental concession at Tanana Lakes. They also offer guided trips, kayak and canoe sales, and shuttle services.
Jule Harle, author or the Alaska Packraft Guidebook, offers a number of courses that “focus on paddling skills and boat control needed to push deeper into the wild rivers of Alaska, as well as self and group rescue techniques, risk management, trip planning and good on-the-water decision making”. In addition to scheduled courses, she offers custom and small group instruction and guided packraft trips.
Luc Mehl is an outdoor educator with certifications in swiftwater and ice rescue instruction, located in Anchorage, Alaska. Luc offers in-person instruction in swiftwater rescue, ice rescue, river safety, and packrafting skills. He also offers several very unique online courses in paddling and river safety skills, trip and emergency planning, and remote travel on wild ice.
Luc’s “Paddle Up a Level” online course is a perfect companion to his comprehensive, award-winning book, The Packraft Handbook. This online course isn’t intended as a substitute for on-the-water experience. Rather, it is structured to accelerate progress in developing safety and paddling skills. You can practice the skills that are presented with friends on local waterways. It is a great resource for those considering other on-the-water courses.
Traverse Alaska is based in Denali Park. In addition to hiking and river trips, they offer packrafting and swiftwater rescue courses.
New Wave Adventures
New Wave Adventures offers rafting and packraft trips in the Denali Park area. They provide introductory packrafting instruction on Otto Lake. They also partner with the Rescue Company to offer swiftwater rescue courses.
Turnagain Kayak is based in Hope, Alaska. They offer a variety of whitewater kayak, packraft, SUP, and sea kayak instruction.
McCarthy-based Kennicott Wilderness Guides offers a number of guided packrafting trips in the Wrangells. They also offer two packraft courses, and plan to offer a packraft specific Swiftwater Rescue Course.