"The four of us want to thank NOVA for its professional management of our Talkeetna trip. Your guides are a credit to your organization. I will continue to recommend NOVA. It is refreshing to see such professionalism and enthusiasm from these people who do the job every day. "
Bill Bankston, Alaska
So you can better understand the classification of rivers and decide whether it will be suitable for you, we have listed the six classes as provided by the American Whitewater Affiliation, along with our professional opinion and policy for suitability. (Please note: these descriptions and ratings listed for individual rivers, can vary considerably with differing water levels. Please use the ratings as a general guideline only).
Download our waiver here.
Easy. Fast-moving water with riffles and small waves. Suitable for anyone age 5 and older, including the physically challenged.
Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels. Occasional maneuvering may be required, but rocks and medium sized waves are easily avoided. Suitable for same as class I.
Rapids with moderate, irregular waves which may be difficult to avoid. Large waves and strainers may be present but are easily avoided. Injuries while swimming are rare. Suitable for those who don't mind getting a little wet, otherwise same as class I and II.
Intense, powerful but predictable rapids requiring precise boat handling in turbulent water. Depending on the character of the river, it may feature large, unavoidable waves and holes or constricted passagesdemanding fast maneuvers under pressure. risk of injury to swimmers is moderate to high, and water conditions may make self rescue difficult. Suitable for those 12 and older, in good physical condition, and comfortable with the remote prospect of swimming for self rescue. With NOVA's experienced guides, this level is recommended for first-timers as well as those with prior experience.
Obstructed or very violent rapids which expose a participant to above average endangerment. Drops may contain large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, conjested chutes with complex, demanding routes. Rapids may continue for long distances between pools, demanding a high level of fitness. Suitable for those who are comfortable with water, able to swim and in good physical condition. NOVA requires all participants to engage in a supervised practice self rescue river swim ( with lifejacket and dry suit, of course) before the trip to help demistyfy the experience. Minimum age 16 years.
These runs often exemplify the extremes of difficulty. Experts only! Rescues may be impossible. This class does not represent drops thought to be unrunnable, but may include rapids which are only occasionally run.