When our river season ends in September and most of our guides leave Marble Canyon for other professional opportunities, a few of them stick around to do what we call "Winter Work." What does Winter work look like? We took past blog posts and updated them for you to get an understanding of what happens after the last boat comes off the water and we prep for next season.
When the Colorado River rafting season ends, we head back to the warehouse and tear things apart. The rafts are totally dismantled and the pontoons are sanded, patched, painted, and rolled for winter storage.
Trucks, semis, vans, and everything else that makes things run smoothly during the summer are detailed. After all the work is done, the warehouse is a mess so the whole thing gets deep cleaned. The recycling cage that is filled throughout the season gets driven to Flagstaff and returns full of firewood for the stove that heats the warehouse.
Among the cleaning and maintenance tasks, Hatch winter workers undertake stripping and repainting our boats so they look fresh and clean for the new season. Boats are painted in the trademark Hatch colors—black, white, and orange. "Hatch" is painted in bold letters on the front and sides, and each boat is given a number. The numbers help us tell the boats apart so that if one needs maintenance or a repair, we are sure to fix the right one. Each boat also comes with its own set of gear—storage boxes, cookware, etc. Trip leaders typically use the same numbered boat on every trip throughout the year and get used to how that particular boat operates.
This small but mighty winter crew finishes up before the holidays and then they’re off to do whatever it is that boatmen do in the winter. This break gives them an opportunity to return revived and ready for the next Grand Canyon whitewater rafting season in the spring!
Originally written in 2015 by the administration, updated in October 2022