Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys

Whitewater Rafting

White Salmon and Klickitat Rivers

Zooraft.com  (509)493-2641

A Zoller Family Operation Since 1973!

Meet the Guides page / Hall of Fame

Mark Zoller
Mark Zoller's professional rafting career started in 1985 as a guide on the White Salmon and Klickitat River. While he is the president of Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys and has to be a desk jockey at times, Mark still personally guides almost 100 trips per year. "I'm so proud of our team of river guides both as professional guides and members of our community. Daily I am thankful to God for whom He has surrounded me with in this fun little business on the river.
Mark Zoller
Richard Schneider aka "Rooster" spends half of the year in Mexico enjoying the sunshine and then it's back to his home in Washington between the White Salmon and Klickitat Rivers for a summer of delighting guests with his river wisdom. Rooster has been guiding Zoller rafts since 1985 and is an absolute master at his craft. One of my favorite things about Rooster is that he has adopted all of my kids as his own and watched them grow from babies to adults. That is what happens when two guys guide side by side for over three decades.
Taylor
Taylor aka "Tay" started his professional experience in 1993 with Zoller's on the White Salmon and Klickitat Rivers. Taylor started his guiding career like several of the Zoller rafting team, as a 15 year old needling founder Phil Zoller for a shot at guiding rafts down the White Salmon River. Tay grew up right here in downtown BZ Corner and now is raising a beautiful family just blocks from his childhood home.
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Shawn has first professional experience was back east in the early 90s. He found his way out west and landed a position with Zoller's in 2001. Shawn is also a top notch chef who can make your mouth water… and as a top notch whitewater professional, he can water the rest of your body. This southern boy will charm you with his quick wit and "good ol boy" southern manners. Shawn had 15 minutes of fame when he was hired to "protect and rescue" Bear Griylls should anything go wrong during a whitewater episode of "Man VS Wild". Shawn spent the day hiding behind large boulders in his kayak ready to rescue as needed but never was he called to duty. He is still a hero to all of us on the White Salmon River.
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Ben's professional guiding started in Idaho in the early 90s and showed up on the doorstep of Zoller's in 1998. The way I hear the story, he knocked on my dad's door, shook his hand, introduced himself and said, "My name is Ben, I'm going to work for you this summer". It would be safe to say that Ben also ranks in the top 5 guides in White Salmon Rafting history for the number of guests entertained and trips run. Ben does not believe in taking a day off. He says, "that is what January is for". Ben wins the annual "most requested guide competition" more often than any other guide and for very good reason. He truly cares about every guest that rides down the river with him.
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Morgan showed up in the valley the summer of 1998 as the new youth pastor of Mt. Adams Baptist Church, which means he had to find extra income to feed his family. So, he became a member of the Zoller's river team guiding both the White Salmon and Klickitat River.  Youth pastor for Mt. Adams Baptist church, local basketball and track coach, and not too shabby with a fly rod. Morgan hates it when we tell people that he was the NCCAA National championship team MVP power forward in 1989. He hates it even worse when we point out that his alma mater keeps photos of notable students and famous people in their hallowed halls. Morgan's photo hangs next to Billy Graham's. Morgan always says "if you can't be famous, just hang next to a famous person".
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Rachel; In 2004, Rachel became the youngest licensed guide in the State of Washington on her 18th birthday and celebrated by guiding on the White Salmon River side by side with her father Mark, and grandfather (company founder) Phil. She is a hippie if I ever knew one, but a well-groomed, nice smelling hippie. She is an expert of all things mushrooms and has almost 50,000 followers on Instagram, whatever that is. Check out her website www.YellowElanor.com.
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Zach: Congratulations! August 2nd 2006, Zach became the youngest licensed guide in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Zach splits his time working in the film industry (up and coming director) and helping mom and dad out with the family rafting biz. Zach and his wife, Lacie, provided Sherri and myself with our first grandchild, so he inherits all of our earthly possessions… both possessions!
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Sean: Every now and then a youngster comes along who has been running rivers with their parents and gaining professional skills without knowing it. Woody is just that kind of guy. After many family whitewater vacations on great rivers such as the Middle Fork of the Salmon and the Rogue, Woody came looking for some summer work in 2006. Like clockwork, Woody returns summer after summer to the White Salmon River to infuse his boyish charm and whitewater skills into every run down the river. Woody also holds a special record here on the White Salmon River for running Husum Falls twice in less than five seconds. You're going to have to ask him about that one. It is true... I've got pictures.
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Silas: Guide of the STARS? Silas must be well connected because this professional White Salmon River guide has been specifically requested by cast members of both Seinfeld and Saturday Night Live. You too can request Silas and don't forget to ask him for an autographed picture! Silas started is guiding career in 2005 and quickly became a fixture and leader at Zoller's.
Derek Roy
Derek is well into veteran status of guiding after an amazing 2009 rookie year. Derek's enthusiasm is contagious and if you get lucky enough to have him as your guide, you will see that he treats life like a kids in a candy shop with dad's Visa card. Derek has been a key player in the leadership and innovation of our Hell's Canyon five day rafting vacations.
Shane Wood
Shane Wood: After giving Zoller's a helping hand here and there over the years, in 2012 we finally got this 17 year pro of the White Salmon River to move to BZ Corner and become a permanent team member. Shane managed the White Salmon River operations of another quality river company that we have worked with for years and we are excited to have Shane living in our community. Shane is known for his ability to get ejected at Husum Falls, which makes us all thankful that "Wood" floats.
Ryan Web

Ryan Web: After 11 years of professional guiding and managing a neighboring rafting company, Ryan joined the Zoller's rafting team in the summer of 2008. Ryan has a very short commute being our next-door neighbor with his wife Charlotta and their extra smiling son Lucien. In Ryan's first full season with Zoller's he became the 3rd most requested guide on staff. In the off season, Ryan is a stay at home dad, basketball coach for the mighty Trout Lake / Glenwood Mustangs-Eagles and volunteers on local environmental boards. Ryan has consistently been one of the most requested guides on the river and arguably has the wildest hair.

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Keenan has been a professional guide since '99 several of those years managing another White Salmon River company. His favorite task is to take a scared group of newbies and turn them into hardened group of rafters in just one half day trip. Keenan still likes to spend his free time on the water whether he is kiteboarding or standup paddling. He is just full of energy on and off the water, which makes us wonder what he was like as a 3rd grader.

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Bryce showed up at Zoller's river school in 2009 as an energetic fun loving college grad (political science). Breaking into the team of Zoller river guides is near impossible but because of personality, hard work, and many years of running whitewater rafts with his grandpa, Bryce fit right in with the team. It was not until mid season that we found out his grandpa is Vladimer Kovalik the co-creator of the self bailing raft and a legendary rafter from Russia. If Bryce keeps up the great work, he will become a legend as well.

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McKenzie Zoller AKA "The Boss" first showed her authority at Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys at about age 10. This is when she started to levy fines in the form of tickets to guides for infractions such as leaving their gear out or parking under her rope swing. From that moment on she was known as "The Boss". The guides put her to early training and started teaching her how to guide at a very young age, but McKenzie says they really just wanted her to do their work for them on the river. Her favorite guide has always been Shawn & "Frenchie" (not Mark, her dad?!). August 9th 2010 McKenzie became the youngest licensed class IV whitewater river guide in the state of Washington and the 11th multi-generational river guide of the Zoller team.

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Micah has been hanging out with the Zoller river crew for years and is the brother-in-law to Russ Jr. and Angie. Micah has guided rafts for fun over the years and after four days in our river school with expert trainer Ryan Webb he was ready to go and started his professional career in 2011. Mid-way through his rookie year he was dropping rafts over Husum Falls and coming up with a huge smile. We are not sure there has ever been a more energetic river guide on the White Salmon River.

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Dave's professional career started in "98" and he arrived at Zoller's on the White Salmon River in the spring of 2003 and is an avid kayaker and river guide. Dave and his wife Talia own over 30 kayaks. Dave says, "many are just dropped off like kittens to a cat lady". Dave is our favorite hoarder. Interesting note about Dave's Ford pick-up. He converted it to run on straight vegetable oil in 2005 and was WAY ahead of the curve with bio-diesel. For years he got really funny looks from restaurant managers when he pulled in asking for their old fryer oil on his multiple trips to southern Mexico. Can you imagine driving down the highway and rather than looking for Chevron to fill up, you are looking for McDonalds? Keep eating deep fried foods to help keep Dave's truck on the road!!

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Kyle started his guiding career in 2011 but he applied for the job in 2003. It all started when I promised to make him a river guide if he came to work for me when he turned 17 years old. I was just a little bit surprised when after all those years he called. How could I say no??? In the off season Kyle attends classes at AZUSA studying neurosciences, whatever the heck that it. We just know he'll be in college another 12 years and that equals a lot of years guiding the White Salmon River

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Rick has been a friend of the Zoller team since he first started guiding on the White Salmon River in 2006. He was always willing to help us out on the river, but his plate was pretty full managing the White Salmon operations of another great river company from northern Washington. In 2013 we "made him an offer he could not refuse" and now he is in the regular line-up of the guide team. Request Rick as your guide and you will be treated to the best "Husum Falls Speech" ever!

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Todd: After hearing how great it was to raft in the Northwest, Todd headed on out from PA to check out what our area had to offer and immediately landed a position with Zollers in 2013. Previously Todd was a staff manager for one of the world's largest rafting companies and came with the credentials as a whitewater safety instructor and paramedic. He got hooked on the area and now makes it home. Todd is our key rescue trainer for the annual river guide school we put on each spring.

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Max: In some ways, Max is a "late comer". He showed up well after our normal hiring season in 2014. After spending half a day with Max on and off the water I knew that we'd better suit him up in a ZooRaft uniform before anyone else got ahold of him. He is that good. His previous experience as a river guide gave him the skills, but it is his charm that makes him a favorite.

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Seth showed up on a Monday as a customer and new resident of the Gorge. By Tuesday he had signed up for our guide school that started in 4 days. While we do not utilize our guide school to enhance our river staff, by the end of the 2015 course, I put my arm around his shoulder and asked what he was doing the remainder of the summer. The rest is history. Scroll up and see how Seth looks like Ben Koefed. Maybe long lost brothers?

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Nick joined the team in 2015… by surprise. He had signed up for river guide school to enhance his already full resume of outdoor skills. We liked him and wanted him on staff, but thought he was heading straight back up to Alaska to continue his outdoor pursuits. The second we found out he was not going to Alaska, and that he actually had moved to the area we gave him a W-4 and told him work starts now.

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In 2015 Malorie got an email from her mom "Get your stuff together, you're going to river guide school". For years Malorie had been a faithful customer of Zoller's, she just loved being part of the river community. River Guide School 2015 impacted her life enough that she talked her company into relocating her to Hood River in 2016 and she then became one of the Zoller team. If you like to talk about birds or share "bad dad jokes", go rafting with Mal!

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Make sure to ask Grant about his "Adopt a Salmon" foundation. You will get a 10 minute comedy routine on how you can give him lots of money while never harming a fish. We really don't know if Grant has ever finished a sentence, let alone a conversation without breaking out in a comedy routine. Grant showed up in our 2014 Guide School and we did not offer him a job. Well, he did not ask for one because he wanted to finish college. He did start a guiding career in 2015 back east and then somehow kept a straight face long enough to make it through a job interview for a real job (jobs that are not guiding rafts down the river) which brought him to live here next to the White Salmon River. Whenever I text Grant to let him know we need his help on the river, he replies… "DREAMS DO COME TRUE"!

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Jevon: It all started with a fishing kayak in the North Carolina farm lands, that lead to some questionable choices and a few close calls which landed me in white water kayaking lessons, jump forward a few years and I discovered if I wanted to live by the river I'd better learn to guide rafts because nobody wanted to pay me to go kayaking all day, my first time in a raft was my first day of training. Since then (2013) I have traveled in my bus and boated hundreds of rivers all over the country. I have been a river guide, a safety kayaker,a kayaking photographer, a kayak instructor, a gear boater, a bus driver, master chef (in my mind) and a camp builder. I have been a cliff jump tester, bee and snake chaser, bus boy and a booty washer. Every moment better than the last. The first time I pulled into White Salmon and camped on Northwestern lake road I knew I had found a special place, a place that keeps me coming back

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David cut his teeth as a rookie whitewater guide on the New River in 2007. He fell in love with the work and the lifestyle of river guiding and committed his life to this important endeavor. Not being one to stay settled in one place for very long (we have a hunch that he is in the witness relocation program), David jump started his 1972 Ford Pinto, the orange one with one brown door, and set his compass for Columbia. He was headed for warmer climates. This is where things got a little sideways for David. It seems that SIRI thought he said "The Columbia" and he followed SIRI's driving directions all the way to where the White Salmon River pours into the Columbia River. It was two weeks until David figured out he was still in the United States. Being out of gas money and in need of his next meal he showed up at Zoller's to apply for the job of CEO. Quickly recognizing that David was a man looking for a title, Mark Zoller offered him the position of "Chief Executive of Aquatic Happiness" (raft guide). The rest is history.

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Alex comes to us from the land of fast horses and blue grass. His first job out of high school was a season of guiding rafts on the Yough in Southwestern PA, 2007. After spending his next five years attending engineering school in the winter and guiding in the summer, he finally grew up and got a real job, for a while anyhow. By the summer of 2017, Alex found himself packing up his life with wife in tow, and relocating to the Columbia River Gorge area. Now Alex hopes he'll never have to grow up again. When not on the water you can find him disgustingly sweaty on a mat helping others learn about the sweet science of combat cuddles.

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Boating runs deep in Casey's family with his father taking him on countless canoe expeditions in northern Canada from the time he was just a wee lad. As Casey says "I became a better paddler at about age sixteen, but until then our river trips were mostly filled with my complaints, eating and fishing". Casey did not realize it, but he was becoming a "canoe purest" or as you and I might call it, "a paddle snob". His view of guiding rafts was not high until by pure chance in 2011 he landed in a river guide school up north where he fell in love with it from the first stroke of the paddle. Soon he was leading trips, then training guides and shortly after he was promoted to going to southern Washington to take a coveted position on the White Salmon River. He was pretty sure he had died and gone to heaven. That's when one of his good friends, a very long time guide for Zoller's put his arm around Casey's shoulder and said "let's go talk to Mark, you need to be a ZooRaft river guide. Casey brings his guitar to work and serenades guests as they prep for their river fun and then if you are lucky enough to get him as your guide, he'll sing to you all the way down the river.

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Tina came from the land o lakes and landed in the NW with a smile on her face and a kayak on her shoulder. It did not take too much arm twisting to get her to join the Zoller team in 2018. A fun little fact about Tina is that she always wears "onesies", her favorite being the $5 pair from Walmart that have llamas on them. Tina + llama = "Tina come get your dinner!". Can you name the movie reference?

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BB: Inspiration often comes from a High School teacher, but how many teachers actually tells a kid "you should be become a whitewater guide"? This is what happened to BB and in 2014 he started his guiding career back east on the Ocoee River in Tennessee and then went to the Upper Gauley in West Virginia. "God brought me to the White Salmon River like a horse to still waters and green pastures. The Gorge is where I'm meant to be. Whitewater is my skill. Its what God has given me in this life and I want to do it to the best of my ability for Him, whether that be in a kayak or a raft." Very few people know what the initials BB stand for as his true name is Zach. Maybe you should ask him!

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"Zoller's River Guide School is NOT a path to employment at Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys" I told Graham the day I met him when he signed up for the school in 2018. He just smiled and said, "I know, I know". He had a plan and a vision for how the remainder of his summer was going to go. After river school he asked if he could "show up and help around the shop" and maybe get a little more training in". Well, he only lives 3 minutes up the road. Show up he did and he brought work ethic and enthusiasm with him every day. What could we do, but give him a job? We were not surprised at his quick adaptation to becoming a river guide since he had vast wilderness experience in both fire and ice conditions.

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Nora decided in her early teens that she wanted to work as a river guide for Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys after a multiday raft trip on the snake river with Zoller's. So she went and asked Mark for a job, which was not that tough as she lives across the street from ZooRaft. She pulled weeds and worked in the office for 4 years, training on the river every chance she had, and finally made her rookie debut in 2018 at the age of 18. Nora is a local to BZ Corners and has the vast majority of her rafting experience on the White Salmon River with a few trips down the Klickitat and Snake Rivers. When not on the river Nora is studying at the University of Washington as a Biochemistry major or flying around the gorge with the private pilots license she earned at age 17. Every guide on staff knows one thing for sure… She just might be their next boss.

Guide Hall of Fame

Phil Zoller

Phil Zoller: What can we say about the man who was the first river guide and started it all on the White Salmon River? Growing up I thought all kids were off on great adventure every weekend and all summer long. It was not until Jr. High that I realized other kids had fathers who did "real work". I'm glad I was not one of them. Dad's exploits and adventures  into the outdoors are too numerous to count and we've embellished them often enough that fact and fiction get a little blurry at times. Now in his mid 70s, dad still hits the rivers, last year along spending five days on the Snake in Hell's Canyon along with another run down the White Salmon. He and I are currently planning an epic wilderness trek into Grizzly Bear country later this year. My father was and is, a modern day explorer.

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Russ Sr. Now in his 27th season of professional whitewater guiding with Zoller's on the Klickitat, White Salmon, and Snake Rivers. Russ guides side by side with his wife Joetta, son Russ Jr. and Daughter in-law Angie. In his spare time, Russ is the owner of Allied Sign co. Russ can tell you every bit of river history, identify plant and wildlife all while getting you soaking wet. Without a doubt, Russ Sr. ranks easily as one of the top five guides in the history of White Salmon River running in terms of number of clients served, number of runs down the river and number of years of professional service, and number of smiles he has put on the faces of our guests. While the Zoller name is kind of known as a rafting dynasty, The Russ Cole Sr. clan is every bit as strong and will very soon go into a third generation of river guides.

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Marq has 27 years of professional experience all with Zoller's on the Klickitat and White Salmon and Snake Rivers. Marq is the former director of our Snake River operation and has hiked and climbed every peak in Hell's Canyon. On the side Marq acts as the CEO of Wilson Enterprises. Back in the mid 80's I met Marq (he was my boss) and very quickly started training him as a guide on the White Salmon River so we could work two jobs together. Fast forward a couple of decades and we have become family since the marriage of our kids, a whitewater wedding to remember for sure.

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Joetta has 22 years of professional experience all with Zoller's on the Klickitat and White Salmon and Snake Rivers. Co-founder and owner of Allied sign. The only grandmother river guide on the White Salmon River. Joetta has her grand daughter in "pre-guide" training and looks forward raising up yet another great river guide. While her husband, Russ Cole Sr. may have been given credit for leading the Cole Family rafting dynasty, everyone knows that it is Joetta that holds the dynasty together.

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Andy was born and raised right here in beautiful downtown BZ Corner Washington Andy is a 26 year veteran of professional guiding on the White Salmon River, six with Zoller's on the Klickitat, White Salmon, and Snake River in Hell's Canyon. Without a doubt Andy is one of the most entertaining individuals you could ever hang out with on the river, and he's fun to hang out with off the river too!

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Ben has 16 years of professional experience all with Zoller's on the Klickitat and White Salmon Rivers. Ben started his river running career a little young (as did many of us) at the prime age of 15 (we didn't have laws back then). The problem with Ben starting to guide at such a young age was that he looked 12… at best. At least now he has a limited amount of facial hair. Ben's river time might be limited starting in 2012 as he has just accepted an assignment with the Navy as a Chaplin.

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Mark "Frenchie" has 11 years of professional experience all with Zoller's on the White Salmon, Klickitat & Snake Rivers. For Frenchie there are three loves in life: 1)His family, 2)His sailboat and 3)The White Salmon River. Mark holds a record for running 148 professional trips down the White Salmon River in one season. Mark is one of the friendliest people I've ever known, yet he has the terrible habit of bragging about his grandson. If you get Mark as your guide, get ready for an hour of baby photos on his smart phone.

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Russ Jr. is the son of Russ and Joetta Cole (see above) and a 12 year professional of the White Salmon, Klickitat and Snake Rivers. In 2007 Zoller's acquired a new rookie river guide, Angela Duke. Five months later Jr. acquired Angie as his bride. In 2010 Jr. and Angie brought into this world future third generation river guide, Ryker Cole. Congrats!

Zooraft Be The Team
Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys

White water Rafting 

near

Portland Oregon 

across the

Columbia River Gorge 

in

Washington State


1248 Hwy 141

White Salmon, WA 

98672 (509) 493-2641
Copyright © 2018

Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys 

, inc.
Zoller's operates with the 1st ever White Salmon Wild & Scenic River special use permit issued by the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area / USDA and is an equal opportunity employer. .