Schools: Current Curriculum

Immersion course in kayaking, rafting, and canoeing

Otter Bar Lodge Forks of Salmon, California
Otter Bar's weeklong whitewater kayaking programs are held on California's remote Salmon River—but comfortable cabins and gourmet meals obliterate any sense of roughing it. All-inclusive courses start at $1,790 per person (April-September). Details: 530-462-4772; www.otterbar.com.
Nantahala Outdoor Center Bryson City, North Carolina
Like some addled university sponsored by Red Bull, this place has it all: courses in kayaking, canoeing, and raft guiding on rivers like the Nantahala and Ocoee—plus cozy cedar cabins for recovering from the day's lessons. All-inclusive two-day canoe or kayak classes cost $380 per person; four-day classes, $750 (March-October). Details: 800-232-7238; www.noc.com.
Madawaska Kanu Centre Barry's Bay, Ontario
Canadians know canoeing. Let hotshots from the international whitewater canoe circuit show you how it's done on the Class III-IV Madawaska River. Two-day canoe courses run $225-$245 per person, including shared accommodations and meals; gear rental starts at $13 per day (MayÐearly September). Details: 613-756-3620; www.owl-mkc.ca.
Zoar Outdoor Charlemont, Massachusetts
Zoar is based in the bucolic Berkshires, but their kayak and canoe courses on the Class I-IV Deerfield River are anything but laid-back. Two- to five-day programs run $255Ð$525, including lunch and equipment (April-October). Details: 800-532-7483; www.zoaroutdoor.com.
Canyon River Equipment Outfitters (REO) Flagstaff, Arizona
Some of the country's top rafting guides are graduates of Canyon REO's expedition-style courses on the Upper San Juan and Chama Rivers. Six-day courses run $550 per person (in May and, when demand is high enough, August). Details: 800-637-4604; www.canyonreo.com.

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