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Meet Our Guides & Staff

Gary Staab President & Operations Manager

a group of people riding on a raft in the water

One of the founding fathers of A.R.O. Gary is as enthusiastic about rafting today as when he made his first practice runs on the Moose River in 1979. Gary is ARO’s president and operations manager and the heart and soul of our team. ARO’s five star TripAdvisor rating is largely a product of the fact that Gary puts our customers safety and the quality of their experience above all else.

Alex Atchie Whitewater Guide

a person that is standing in the grass

It is hard to believe but Alex Atchie has been a whitewater guide with ARO for thirty years. When ARO established the first rafting trips on the Black River in 1983, Alex, an enthusiastic young fishing guide, stopped in and said he would like to train. He fell in love with rafting and has been guiding and entertaining our customers ever since. Alex has been training our guides for decades and has undoubtedly logged more miles on the whitewater of the Black River than anyone else on the planet. Alex spend a number of years with wolves and caribou when he worked as a whitewater fishing guide in the Whale River, which empties into the Arctic Ocean. Alex is a manager in the ski industry in the winter.

Erika BonDurant Whitewater Guide

a man riding a wave on a surfboard in the water

While Erika is not even as old as Adirondack River Outfitters, her river skills and work ethic helped her float to the top of the whitewater world. Erika is one of our top guides on the Spring and Summer Black River and Spring Hudson River.

 

Kevin "Critter" Dixon Whitewater Guide

a man holding a baseball bat

Thirteen years ago Kevin decided to train as a raft guide and has been part of the ARO family ever since. On and off the river Kevin’s alter ego “Critter” is highly entertaining. His “Critterisms” frequently appear on our Facebook site. Kevin is a ski instructor in the winter at Gore Mountain.

 

 

Mary Chiappone Whitewater Guide

When Mary was 16 she started working at ARO selling tee-shirts and went down the river as often as she could. She got her whitewater guide’s license at 18 and has been on the river ever since. Mary often guides four trips on the Hudson River and three trips on the Black River during the same week! Mary clearly LOVES being a guide and her energy and enthusiasm are infectious.

 

 

Chris "The General" Koll Whitewater Guide

The General is a kayaking icon on the Black River (and many other rivers in the east) and has been a safety boater for ARO for most of his adult life. Your weekend rafting trips on the Black begin with Chris’s combination safety talk and stand-up comedy routine. Chris is a director for the American Whitewater Affiliation (AWA), and past editor of the AWA Journal. In both capacities he was instrumental in protecting many rivers from development.

Carly Koll Whitewater Guide

Carly was born to whitewater, her mother Caron frequently accompanies our trips in a kayak and Carly has the great fortune, or many would say misfortune, of being the General’s daughter. Carly is both a licensed and experienced guide and a safety kayaker. It is rumored that she is still a college student but as much time as she spends on rivers and ski slopes, it is hard to imagine.

Matt Eggleston Whitewater Guide

a man holding a baseball bat

When Matt isn’t guiding he is working on developing his growing business making goose decoys. His company is growing but Matt says it will never draw him away from guiding. “I can hire people to work at my company but I can’t replace the excitement and rewards I get from guiding.” Check out his decoys at www.fieldkingdecoys.com.

Larry La Faver Jr. (Scary Larry) Whitewater Guide

a person riding a snow board in the water

Larry started as a rafting customer 12 years ago and has never gone home. “What other job is different every day; different water levels, different people, and lots of adrenaline?” His enthusiasm and obvious love of what he does makes him one of our most requested guides.

Dylan Smith Whitewater Guide

a person in a raft on the water

While many of our guides have college degrees in biology, history, education or even business, Dylan is the first to have actually studied paddling and guiding in college. He has a Bachelor’s degree from SUNY Plattsburgh in Expeditionary studies which focused on planning and executing wilderness expeditions. Dylan has planned and led expeditions in the crocodile filled waters off the Pacific coast of Panama and in the Florida Keys and Everglades. Dylan has been a raft guide for ARO for three years and is a ski instructor at Whiteface Mountain in the winter. He is another second generation ARO guide and actually made a prenatal run on the Black River while his mother guided.

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