River Training

River Training 1

Increase your confidence and skills with our river training tailored to your goals and interest.

Guide School

Learn from experienced and competent river guides!

River Training 2

River training courses are led by passionate, patient, and professional river guides who have an in depth knowledge of river safety and rivers, both locally and worldwide. Our courses are taught on some of the best whitewater rivers Montana and Idaho have to offer, all within a close distance to our hometown of Missoula, MT. As an active participant, you will experience hands on learning in both our guide school and private instruction courses.

Rowing rafts swimming rapids, rigging boats, and making decisions in a dynamic environment are just some of the skills you will learn. The river is an exciting class room and our courses will help you build confidence on and off the river, regardless of your ability level. If you love spending time on the river, and want to take that excitement to the next level, then you’ve come to the right place.

We also recommend combining a River Rescue Course after having completed Guide School or a Private Lesson. 

Each Missoula river training course provides a fun, safe, and comfortable learning environment for all participants where challenge by choice is encouraged. Our instructors want to ensure each participant has a fun and positive experience and comes away with a greater appreciation for the river environment. Get connected to your local river!


Our instructors want to ensure that you’re not just receiving quality training, but helping you grow as a whitewater boater.

River Guide School

During this 5 day course, participants will gain the skills needed to work as a professional river guide.

River School FAQ

River Training 2
Cancellation Policy

Payment is required in full. Cancellations made 48 hours or more before the date of your trip, will receive a full refund. Refunds will not be issued for cancellations made within 48 hours of a trip’s departure time. ZTS reserves the right to cancel a trip at any time if faced with unsuitable or unsafe weather or river conditions. If ZTS is forced to cancel a trip, you will be notified immediately and a full refund or alternative booking will be arranged.

Do I need any river experience prior to taking a ZTS class or lesson?

The answer is NO! We teach all ability levels from beginner to advanced. We love beginners!

Do I need my own boat?

No, but if you have one, bring it! Rentals are available from ZTS for instruction.

Are full day lessons structured to individual skill level?

Our full day lessons are structured based on your skill level.

What type of gear should I bring for a river course?

Personal gear bag to keep your gear organized


PFD (one you use regularly is preferred)

Whistle – no metal or whistles with a wooden ball

River Knife

Drysuit OR Wetsuit/drytop combo (we will be swimming)

Thermal layers for under Drysuit or Wetsuit (NO COTTON)

Good river shoes (old tennis shoes w/neoprene socks are great!)

Flip line – 15′ of tubular webbing and a locking carabiner (we will help you set this up)

Waterproof notebook and pen for notes


Reusable water bottle w/attachment point

On-River lunch and personal snacks

Bathing suit

Dry clothes for after