Jimmy & Val are the fun, laid back folks that are the driving force behind the Alpine Rafting brand. Its clear that they really love what they do & Alpine is their happy place. If you’d like to learn more about them, & Alpine Rafting’s story, here it is!
Jimmy & Val met two decades ago when Val began training as a guide on the Kicking Horse River. In 2009, after almost a decade of adventures together, they were married while travelling in Central America. After a day on the river, they got married that night on the banks of the Rio Congrejal river. In their first year of marriage they built a tiny home out of an old school bus. 15 years later, these two passionate entrepreneurs are still as fun, exciting and full of energy as ever! They made the decision from day one to put all the profits back into the company and make sure the gear, the rafts and all the rest were the best they could get. They also built everything the company has today from the ground up. Alpine Rafting’s first office was a 400 square foot cabin that Jimmy built. Year over year, Alpine grew steadily. As the fleet expands every year, something never changes with Jimmy & Val. It never gets “old” for them. When they cook dinner for the team or throw a staff party on the river, Jimmy & Val put as much effort into it as those early days. They are just as excited as the day they started – and it shows!
With 25 years and counting on the Kicking Horse River, Jimmy for real knows the Kicking Horse River like the back of his hand! He grew up in Golden, BC and has had Kicking Horse River in his backyard for over 4 decades. Those early trips down the river as a boy shaped his future forever. As kids, Jimmy & his brother got their hands on some old wetsuits and pool flutterboards and would ‘run’ the easier sections of the river. At 15 years old while working at the local grocery store, Jimmy saved up for his first whitewater kayak. 30 years and many kayaks later (ask Jimmy how many kayaks he has, lol) , Jimmy’s passion for rivers is alive & well. These days, he can usually be found at the Alpine base, welding and customizing raft frames, sewing raft floors, renos and more renos! He’s the one making everything ‘just so’. At the moment he’s building a timber pavilion for Alpine Rafting’s Riverside BBQ Lunch area. His signature is definitely the Alpine Rafting timber arches that he constructed around the property. Many of our tours that are unique start with the spark of a ‘Jimmy idea’, and have grown to nationally acclaimed adventures, like our Wapta Falls Wild & Scenic Tour. Several of the tours he developed are what we like to call, Authentically Alpine He is creative, has an eye for detail, and is meticulous. From the moment you step onto the Alpine Rafting property, until you say goodbye – you can be sure Jimmy has been the visionary & executor behind it all.
Val grew up in Ontario until the age of 17, and after her first year of university, she headed west in her red chevy pickup. Val’s plan was to train to be a raft guide on the Kicking Horse River. In the late spring of ’98, her training was going okay, but there was one thing! Most every day it seemed she would fall out of the raft, into a different rapid each time. This wasn’t really something that happened anyone but her. By the end of her training, Val had swam most of the river! Lucky for her, she was a lifeguard and a great swimmer. But probably even luckier still, she realized her strengths were not in the guiding world. Val has found her passion living and breathing the Alpine brand. Having completed an Honours Bachelor of Outdoor Recreation and BA Geography, sales, marketing and brand management all come very naturally to her. While her adventures these days mostly come from the tales that return from the river every day, she’s committed to making the Alpine experience the best it can possibly be for our guests. You’ll notice their family values trickle down into their trip offerings; from the fairest pricing and lots of Family Friendly Adventures. Her fave things to do are spending time on the Columbia River with her family, and Stand Up Paddleboarding the easier sections of the Kicking Horse River