Vlad and Zach met on a cold day on the Cal Salmon river in California 15 years ago and have worked together as river guides ever since. Then they have both guided and managed river operations throughout the Western United States. They bring together their respective skills in order to outfit river rafting trips in the former Soviet Union specializing in the rivers of Siberia.
While in the former Soviet Union, Vladimir Gavrilov earned two PhD’s in solid state physics and published over a hundred scientific articles and one book. Most of his vacation time (in the USSR you get extra when you work with radiation) was spent traveling through the former Soviet Union leading expeditions on all types of rivers in Russia and especially Siberia.
His love for rivers brought him to a rafting competition in Costa Rica where he was recruited to guide on the class IV Tuolumne River in California. In 1991 his guiding skills allowed him to move to California and bring his family there two years later. He now works as a river guide in the summer and as an AP Physics teacher during the off-season. On the river Vlad is known as a fun-loving sour cream aficionado while in the classroom he is known as the hardest teacher in school. He has recently published a book titled Rivers of an Unknown Land about the rivers of the former Soviet Union.
Zach Collier developed a passion for river kayaking while working in the California during college. While studying mechanical engineering in graduate school he took a river rafting class and found his career. This led him to drop out of Stanford to join a paddling trip to Costa Rica. After returning to finish graduate school he began working as a high school teacher (with Vlad) so that he could continue his career each summer. Since taking up kayaking and rafting he has paddled rivers throughout the United States as well as rivers in Honduras, Chile, Siberia, Costa Rica, Bhutan and Nepal.
He now runs his owns and operates Northwest Rafting Company in addition to planning trips to the former Soviet Union with Vlad.