We wanted to start off our blog posts with an in-depth introduction to who we are. So here it is, a detailed history of Blazing Adventures. It’s been quite a ride!
In 1973, Snowmass Whitewater was started by Hunt Walker, who was the Recreation Director for the Snowmass Resort Association. Snowmass Whitewater was initially started to provide a whitewater rafting experience for homeowners and guests of the resort. Before the Town of Snowmass Village was even a town, Snowmass Whitewater was busy taking guests down the river!
In 1974, Bob Harris and Hunt’s brother Rich “The King of Kayaking” Walker were hired as guides. Hunt Walker went on to manage Snowmass Whitewater for the Snowmass Resort Association for four summers. In 1977, he left and started Blazing Paddles with his brother and wife Nancie Walker. They hired a guide by the name of LJ in 1977. In 1979, LJ would break off and form a local outfit called Riff Raft.
Meanwhile, Bob and Laurie Harris were employed as managers of Snowmass Whitewater and guided the company through its many growth phases. In 1979, they acquired the business from the Resort Association. The subsequent growth of Snowmass Whitewater paralleled the growth of Aspen and Snowmass Village as international destination resort communities.
In 1981, with their first-born son on the way (Talbott Walker – a current Blazing Adventures guide), Hunt & Nancy, along with brother Rich sold Blazing Paddles to Bob and Laurie Harris. The name was retained to give the business a separate identity in Aspen. The trips and services offered by each company were identical. In 1989, River Rats was also acquired by Snowmass Whitewater, which added the overnight Gunnison permits to their offerings.
Responding to the request for more guest related activities, Bob and Laurie created the Bike, Hike, and Jeep divisions in 1986. With the addition of a variety of activities offered, the current name and identity of Blazing Adventures was born.
A concierge service, The Village Concierge, was created in 1979. The current Blazing Adventures Group Services Department grew out of The Village Concierge and assumed their new name in 1994.
In February 2004, Bob & Laurie acquired Riff Raft; a reputable company best described as providing extreme rafting adventures. This acquisition provided some exciting opportunities for Blazing Adventures to further expand operations.
In 2010, Blazing Adventures changed ownership. The company was sold in April of 2010 to Johnny Henschel, Tim McMahon, Dan McMahon, and Dave Fond – The owners of Incline Ski and Board Shop.
Over the years, Blazing Adventures has gained an excellent reputation for quality, service, and safety in conducting organized recreational activities. The growth of the company was achieved by management’s ability to meet the market demands for guest related activities and through the hard work of outstanding employees who enjoy their jobs.
In November of 2016, Blazing Adventures was sold to Vince and Jen Nichols. Vince began working for Blazing Adventures in 2005. He has worked as both a guide and as office manager. Jen brings with her a background in marketing. They have three crazy kids that you may see around the lot or in the offices! Stop on by and say hi and let the Blazing family take care of you and yours!