Raft & River Education

Improve Your Skills!

Glacier River School provides training in-river and rope rescue skills as well as boat handling training in all crafts. We are based at the west entrance to Glacier National Park in Montana. We are part of the Great Northern Whitewater Raft and Resort, which has 40 years of experience in whitewater and fishing trips on the Flathead River in Montana. Our guides are the best in the industry, they excel in professionalism, expertise and unparalleled experience. Now you can learn from the best by attending Glacier River School at Great Northern Resort on the boundary waters of Glacier National Park. Our instructors are certified by the American Canoe Association and each instructor is specialized. Some focus on technical river rescue. Others specialize in kayaking and developing a boater from learning to roll to playboating techniques. Still others are devoted to helping rafters with boat handling skills on both oar-framed and paddle rafts.


The Introduction to River Skills course gives students an opportunity to build the fundamentals of boat handling. Starting with dynamics of moving water, students learn how to read the river, pick their line, and maneuver their boat. We use both oar frames and paddle rafts.

This is an excellent course for a beginner boater who wants to learn the basics of running whitewater. We cover fundamental river safety and boating skills, including maneuvering both paddle rafts and oar-rigged boats. After two days you will gain experience reading and running class II-III whitewater.

Course Length: 2 Days

Course Price: $275/person for the group class. *Private instruction is available. Call for details.

Course Dates:

  • Call for 2018 dates.

Skills covered in the Introduction to River Skills:

  • Hydrology and Reading Water
  • Safety Talks
  • Throwbag Training
  • Raft Flip Drills
  • Equipment
  • Rowing Techniques for an Oar-Rigged Boat
  • Commanding a Paddle Crew for Paddle Rafts
  • On Water Practice on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River
  • Discussion of River Rescue Techniques

What to Bring: 

Required Equipment:

  • Personal Flotation Device
  • Drysuit or Wetsuit
  • Helmet
  • Sturdy Footwear
  • Neoprene Gloves

Suggested Equipment:

  • Locking Carabiner
  • Throwbag (so you can practice with what you will use)
  • River Knife
  • Whistle

Great Northern has rental equipment available. Call to reserve.


The Rafting School is a comprehensive six day course that begins with basic boat handling skills and reading water, moves on to technical river rescue, and ends with an overnight trip to put all of your new skills to use.


This comprehensive course is designed for the boater who would like to guide professionally or gain extensive knowledge about rivers and river safety. Learn how to command a paddle crew, maneuver an oar rig and prepare for the unexpected. In addition, you'll complete an Swiftwater Rescue for River Rescue.  After six days you will be a confident boater, ready for commercial or private guiding. This course is comprised of a combination of the three courses below.

Course Outline:

Days 1 & 2:

Introduction to River Skills

Days 3 & 4:

Swiftwater and River Rescue Class

Days 5 & 6:

Advanced River Skills: Learn how to assess equipment needs for extended trips, rig a boat, plan meals, set up a campsite, and prepare meals on the river. Preparing for an overnight trip; Packing List, Rigging Boats, Choosing a Route & Campsite Selection
Heading Home; " Preparing meals on the River, " Break down camp

Equipment Needed

Drysuit or Wetsuit
USCG approved Type III or V PFD (life jacket)
Whitewater Helmet
Water booties or Tennis shoes

Suggested Equipment:

  • Locking Carabiner
  • Throwbag (so you can practice with what you will use)
  • River Knife
  • Whistle

Great Northern has rental equipment available. Call to reserve.


Purchase photos from your trip here.