How did you find yourself at Holiday?

After I graduated from undergrad I spent a summer as a volunteer river ranger in Dinosaur National Monument. I met several Holiday guides and decided to apply for a job with Holiday the next summer.

Swiss on the oars

Swiss on the oars

What years did you spend guiding?

I have spent 15 years guiding. 5 of them with Holiday. Tim and Dee gave me my start working commercially.

What is something you learned while at Holiday that has stuck with you and has been valuable to life
beyond the river?

I learned at Holiday to always be looking for what needs to be done. One of my early trip leaders told me that if the TL was working, then I also needed to be working. My goal was to get it done before the TL. It almost became a game with me that I have carried throughout my entire career.

What is your favorite stretch of river that you have been on?

I really mastered how to row a raft on the Green River through Lodore and have always thought of it as “home.” However it would not be fair to all of the other stretches of river that I’ve been lucky enough to be on to really pick a favorite. They are all so unique and amazing on their own.

Do you still do river trips?

I do! I married a fellow river guide and together we have two boys that we love to take on river trips. Our most recent trip was last summer on Cataract Canyon.

Group of female guides sitting on a raft

Swiss and fellow female guides pose on a raft

What do you miss most from guiding?

I miss all the different people that you get to meet. Everyone from US Senators and leaders of huge tech companies to stay at home parents and their families. Doing a river trip is so often a bucket list item for people and the fortune I had to be the one to take them on a trip of a lifetime is really a special privilege that few get to experience.

What was it that pulled you away from guiding?

My husband and I started a family. At the time, I was guiding two weeklong river trips. My last trip I was 6 months pregnant with our first child. Once he was born, it was time for me to find work that kept me closer to home.

What advice or sentiment would you share with young guides working today?

One piece of advice that I was given once that has really stayed with me, and that I find translates across many aspects of work and life, was to learn a skill from as many people as possible. Everyone has a slightly different way of doing the same thing and by learning from many people, I could then fine tune their methods to work for me. For example, one river guide I knew was a very tall lanky man and used a very specific technic to row his raft down river. His wife, on the other hand, was about 18 inches shorter than him and managed her boat and rowing skills in a way that suited her and her size. I was able to watch and learn from them both and find things that worked for me from each of them.

Rowing through a big wave

Swiss on the sticks!

Do you have a favorite memory of Dee? Sue? Tim?

I couldn’t possibly pick one favorite memory for these incredible humans. However, I can share a moment when I was really proud of my time at Holiday with Dee and Sue. After 5 years at Holiday, I decided to move on to explore new rivers and work for a different company. Dee looked up the company and family that owned it. He came to me and said do you know that the owner is the great-great grandson of Norm Nevills? It meant so much to me to know that he approved of my next move and that he did research on the company to know one of his boatmen was going somewhere that respected and appreciated rivers and history as much as he did. When I got to the new company, everyone asked me what it was like to work for a legend like Dee Holladay. The appreciation and respect went both ways.

What’s your most memorable story from a river trip?

My most memorable story from a river trip is when my husband proposed to me at a place call Whispering Springs.

Do you have a story to share about a positive experience with a guest?

I have so many positive experiences to share but one of my favorites is the moment when a guest really let’s go of life outside of the river. It’s a physical change they go through. Sometimes it’s very subtle and sometimes not. You see the weight of the world is no longer on their shoulders and they find the rhythm of flow of life on the river.

Are you in touch with any guides you met during your time with Holiday?

Yes, I am! I live in Park City and see other PC dwelling Holiday alumni from time to time. TJ and Vern and I try to carpool to Green River, each spring for our WFR recert and we have started doing private trips together. We also see other boatmen from other companies from time to time as well.

What are you up to these days? (career, passions, hobbies, artistic endeavors, etc…) Where do you call home? 
These days I call home Park City, UT and since starting a family, I have transitioned from the seasonal life of summer guiding and working in the ski industry in the winter to working for brands that support our passions as outdoor people. I am currently the North American Sales Director at Carve Designs and love that I get to work for companies that make incredible products that support my passion for being outside.