Brian-Dunn

How does a towing and salvage guy from Maryland wind up friends with an entire rafting company?

Take the case of Brian Dunn. In ’98, as a break from his busy towing business on Easter Shore in Maryland, he rafted the Upper Gauley with ACE Whitewater.

“I didn’t want to go to a resort,” he says. At a resort, you’re told where to go and what to do and when to jump.
bridge-walk-on-new-river-gorge-bridge

Freedom

Brian loved the freedom at ACE. Rather than being a number or a head to count, he was a friend. The guides and staff were genuinely glad to see him come and sad to see him go.

“They all live together and play together and work together,” he says. And that gives ACE a feeling you can’t get anywhere else.

“It’s not corporate. It’s not about trying to see how much they can get from your pocket.”

And he’s a part of it. He attends the year-end parties for the staff. He sold ACE the short buses for their canopy tours. Once, he even hired Scotty O, one of the guides, to put in a new floor at his house.

And he’s become good friends with most of them.

Scott-Olive-fixing-floor

finished-floor

Maryland Crab

One year he brought a bunch of crab to one of ACE’s cabins, for the guides.

“Tug came, and you know Tug, he’s a big man. He’s got huge hands. Well he’d never eaten crab before. I tried to show him how to clean them, but his fingers were too big. Finally he just smashed them and ate them, shell and all. He said he liked them pretty well, other than they were crunchy.”

rafters-at-put-in

Brian Dunn and Team Extreme

Seeing Brian approach with his 64-oz Mountain Dew container (which the staff call “Big Sippy” because it looks like a giant sippy cup) is a welcome sight. And for the past 16 years he’s come 4 times a year with friends, his wife, and kids.

“They care what I think. A few years back, when all the companies stopped surfing Hungry Mother, and stopped running the Box Canyon and Fuzzy Box and Julie’s Juicer because of liability, I went to the owners and said, OK, most people don’t need that, but it’s why I come. The day the lawyers pay for my trip, I’ll do what they say. Isn’t there a way the people who want it can keep doing it? Well, Rick Miller called me two weeks later and said they were going to figure it out.” And they did, in a way that satisfied the lawyers. “Now you can do the Team Extreme trip, and ACE is the only place that does that. It’s a blast.”

Pillow-Rock-Gauley-River

A Place For Everyone

Brian fell in love so much with ACE and with the area, he bought 6 acres up in Fayetteville.

“It’s off High Street, a little grey house up on a hill. If I didn’t have so much invested in Maryland, I’d move there.”

And you never know. He still might. The electro-magnet river family at ACE that he’s become a part of might keep pulling until he settles here for good. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing. Until then, Big Sippy’s long-distance relationship with whitewater rolls on.

ACE-friends

By Tom Gerencer

 

 

Posted in ACE Adventure Resort | Leave a comment
Devo-White-Water-Raft-Guide

Who wouldn’t love a guide with chops like this?

If you’ve ever rafted the New or Gauley rivers with ACE Whitewater, you might’ve been lucky enough to a have guy named “Devo” at the helm.

Does that name sound familiar? Other than from the 80’s punk-pop band with black turtlenecks and flower-pot hats? Both the rock group and the raft guide gleaned their name from the same source: the idea of the “devolution of society.” (As one writer put it, when it takes more than two hands to list the number of celebrities who won their fame from leaked sex-tapes, our culture might have stopped evolving and started heading in the opposite direction.)

But enough of that. Devo (a.k.a. Brian Yates) is a veteran raft guide, tall and lanky, with a pair of little round glasses fit for a Russian revolutionary, and a set of sideburns you could use to insulate a standard wall space.

Like dice, diamonds, and crushed rock (take your pick) most West Virginians (and most raft guides) have a lot of facets. Husband, father of a cute, fun little girl named Abigail, Devo has a Groucho Marx-like sense of humor, and makes his home up on a ridge overlooking miles of view like something from a dairy advertisement. He spends most of his work time out in his self-built welding shop, making everything from fence caps to Mad Max style truck bumpers to a 10-foot replica of the New River Gorge Bridge for the local visitor center’s welcome sign.

Like all guides, he’s full of (among other fillers) stories. Our favorite so far?

Devo was hired to guide a group of 6th grade campers on a 4 day river trip. He and the other guides would only have to drive the boats and furnish their own sleeping gear, according to the camp counselors. Everything else would be provided.

“Well, it wasn’t. Not only did they not bring food, but I’d just quit smoking, and that morning my girlfriend dumped me.”

Sounds like a country song, which are usually kind of funny, as long as you’re not in one.

“The food they brought was for 6th graders. We call it the starvation trip now.”

Breakfast was a little coffee cup of granola, with maybe some powdered milk. Lunch, a bagel with a smear of peanut butter. Dinner, mac & cheese. The idea was, the kids would gain leadership experience by planning the meals themselves. Also, they were in a mindset of, “We’re camping, so we have to travel light,” not realizing that with rafts, the only thing you really have to skimp on is the kitchen sink, and honestly you could probably find a space for that if you really thought you’d need it.

To make it worse, the kids all had a mess kit to eat out of.

“We approached the counselors and said, you know, where’s our cup and silverware?” The answer? “Ohhhhh, I guess we should’ve told you.” So we had to wait for the sixth graders to get done eating, then sidle up and, you know: Hey Billy. Psst. Can I borrow your cup and plate?”

So, by the end of the fourth day, there is Devo. Grumpy, starving, chewing Copenhagen and wishing it was a cigarette, and his ex-girlfriend is on the river a couple beaches upstream, so he’s just feeling bad in many ways, sitting there on a corner of jump rock, saying, “All right kids, do your thing.”

Well, one little girl wouldn’t jump. She was terrified. Even the camp counselor couldn’t talk her off the rock. And there’s the takeout, a couple hundred yards away, with a bus to take him to salvation.

His initial impulse was to holler, “Okay, kids, fun’s over, everyone back to your duckies, let’s go, we’re going home!”

But he ignored that, and dug deep.

“I said to myself, son, you’ve got two choices. One of them, everyone hates you. The other, everyone loves you. Step up. Do the right thing.”

And he did. He sweet-talked her off the rock. Even when the twenty-something female role-model counselor couldn’t do it.

How?

He’s seen enough jump rock drama to know what works.

“Loud words of encouragement don’t help. So I chopped the problem in half. I went up there and stood next to her and looked down. I asked her, what are you afraid of? No answer. Are you afraid you’ll get hurt? No. Do you think you’ll drown? No. Hm.”
He looked down. “It’s pretty scary up here, isn’t it?”

She nodded.

Okay, lets go down where it’s not so scary.”

So they left the 15-foot ledge and climbed down to only four feet above the water.
“Can you jump from here?”

“I think so.”

“Want to hold hands and jump?”

“Can we count to 5?”

They did, and did.

And the little girl loved it. Enough that when he asked if she wanted to go again, she said she did. This time they only counted to three before they jumped. Then they climbed a little higher and tried again. And again. Pretty soon, they’d climbed back to the very highest part of jump rock, counted 3, held hands, and jumped.

But Devo wasn’t finished. He’d gone this far. He wanted the little girl to feel the pride of doing it herself. So he asked her if she’d like to climb back up alone and do it one last time.

She did. That little sixth grade girl, so terrified, had jumped off the very highest part of jump rock by herself.

It was an incredibly enriching life experience. Probably for the little girl, yes, but definitely for Devo.

Of course, it didn’t change that he was still starving, cranky, nicotene-deprived, and sad about his ex-relationship. So, he let the part of him he’d knuckled under out, and hollered, “Okay, let’s go, back to your duckies, now!”

After the trip all the raft guides went to Mabel’s (a local favorite) for “the greasiest, sausagey-ist, bacony-ist food we could find.”

But at the time, the camp counselor gave him a look of incredulous wonder, like, “How did you do that?”

And to Devo, it was all in a day’s work.

By Tom Gerencer

Posted in ACE Adventure Resort, Lifestyle, New River Gorge, New River Rafting, People, West Virginia Rafting | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Thanksgiving    There’s a moment when you look at yourself in the mirror and say, “Oh. I’m one of those pet owners.” For me, it came last weekend when our little beagle/shepherd mix, Penny, the sweetest dog I know (if not exactly the brightest) ran away.
My wife Kathy and I love that little dog more than is normal. The last I saw her, she ran up on the porch at our friend’s house, wagging her whole body and looking up at me with a big doggie smile. She was happy because she’d been playing for hours with seven other dogs on a great big 16 acre farm, and she was having the time of her life.

I should say that we moved here a few years ago from Maine, coming to work on the rivers at first, but then falling in love with the place. That’s saying a lot, because Maine is beautiful. But West Virginia’s beauty is more accessible. I drove all over the country and lived a lot of places trying to make up my mind where I wanted to be. No matter where I went, I just kept thinking about West Virginia. Never in all my travels have I seen so much of everything I love packed so close together. I could go into the low cost of living, too, but I won’t.

We made a great group of friends here, and one of them (a zip-line guide named Brent) had invited us down to his parents’ ranch on the Greenbrier River, an hour and a half from our house. The place is stunning. A huge farm with horses and a wraparound porch, on a sparkling bend in the river, with low hills climbing behind. We’d stayed there overnight, had some laughs, hot-tubbed, and our dogs had romped.

In the morning, as is the custom in West Virginia (I’m joking — sort of) we went out on the porch after eggs, bacon, and coffee and started blasting away at cans on the lawn. I’m making it sound a lot more redneck than it is. One gun was an air rifle (read: BB gun) and the other a .22 pistol (with enough stopping power to bring down a medium-sized squirrel if he was already drunk).

It was the pistol that scared off our Penny. She’s terrified of thunder, fireworks — any loud noise. Why didn’t I see it coming? Did I say she was sweet but not bright? Maybe the brainpower issue runs in the family. Anyway, an hour after we started blazing away, Kathy came out and asked if I’d seen her. I walked the property, calling, but no luck.

If this had been any other dog, I wouldn’t have worried, but she can hardly jump into a car by herself. If a door’s almost closed, with a 10-inch gap, she can’t get through it and will stand looking sad until we open it for her. If I hide a ball behind my back, she’s convinced it has vanished. She’ll fall for this over and over. But she’s so sweet. The sweetest dog ever.

Six friends who are former outdoor guides also joined in the search. They are climbing guides, zip-line guides, raft guides and videoboaters, most of whom moved here for the rivers like me and Kathy, then fell in love and made lives. One has a climbing business. Another’s a math teacher now. A CPA. A Marketing Director. And my wife Kathy, a banker. We all beat the bushes for hours. It was 37 degrees, and raining. We talked to neighbors, widening our search across rolling hills patchworked with farmland and forests.
One friend, who runs a thriving photography business and coincidentally has a deathly fear of spiders, even braved the giant crawlspace under the house to look for our dog, but no dice.

As the day got longer, I counted at least (no kidding) 75 deer, and became convinced that though Penny ran away at first because of the gunshots, she probably gave chase to a buck or a doe, then looked up and didn’t know where she was. And kept walking.
By dark, we stopped looking. Either someone would find her and call our phone numbers (on her tag) or she’d wander back on her own (though I didn’t think that was likely) or we’d never see her again.

We had to make a decision. Out here, with no phones, there wasn’t much more we could do. What if someone had already found her and was trying to reach us? We needed sleep to continue the search in the morning, and Kathy, who works at an understaffed bank branch, just couldn’t get the day off. We had to drive the hour-and-a-half home without Penny.

It wasn’t fun. All the way, in the dark and the rain, we kept thinking about her out there in the cold. She’d never spent the night by herself. I pictured her lost and confused, afraid, shivering, wanting her mom and her dad, and her bed. There are so many ways for a lost dog to die. Hit by a car. Hunters. Coyotes. She could get taken to an overfull animal shelter and put to sleep. (All the shelters around here are packed.) Then I checked the weather, and saw it would drop to 11 degrees the next couple of nights. I thought about Thanksgiving coming up, and how gloomy that would feel.

I’ve said we love that dog more than is normal. When we got home, the place felt wrong without her. Kathy and I posted on facebook and prayed.
Then something happened.

Friends started calling, texting, and emailing. A kayaker friend’s mom said her husband, an avid outdoorsman, was gearing up to drive down and search in the morning. A guy we know from the Army Corps of Engineers (he works on the massive dam that makes the Gauley flow) said he and his dog would be down to help look. Alan Jennings (ACE Whitewater’s master of logistics) offered help searching also. Other river friends said they were coming, too. Raft guides and river people of all shapes and descriptions. A friend of mine (my former boss in the video department at North American River Runners — now owned by ACE) put me in touch with another raft guide who drives school busses in the winter, in the area where our dog was last seen. That guy said he’d tap into all the other drivers down there, and they’d keep a look out on their morning rounds. Another friend who lives here, but commutes to DC for a marketing job, made a fantastic “Lost Dog” poster. So much help, so much sympathy and advice and so many prayers and good vibes.

Now, I love my dog, but we have to take a step back here: it’s a dog. And yet dozens of people were going well out of their way to help find her. I’d never experienced anything like it. If that kind of mobilization gets done for a beagle, can you imagine what a real emergency would produce?

It was nothing short of overwhelming. And though it was hard to sleep, at around 2:30 am we finally did. A couple hours later, we woke to a call from Brent. He’d been checking the porch every couple hours, and at 4:30 am, there she was. I couldn’t believe my ears, and he had to repeat it three times.

I drove down and got her. I bought great big fat cheeseburgers for her and our other dog, Murphy, and me and Kathy watched happily as they wolfed them down. Penny slept for 26 hours in her nice, warm, soft bed, getting up only to pee and to eat. I kept looking in on her, my heart overflowing with gratitude that she was back, for how comfortable she looked (I couldn’t get enough of that) and that I live in a place filled with so many good people who have loyalty woven into their warp and woof, and who will always find a way to make anything work.

This may not be where we’re from, but this little river community near the meeting of the New and Gauley Rivers is forever our home. We’re really, really looking forward to Thanksgiving.

Written by: Tom Gerencer

Posted in ACE Adventure Resort, Our Area | Tagged | Comments Off
ACE UK meets ACE Adventure Resort

Two sides of ACE! Photo credit = Allison Porco

On July 10th, I boarded a plane bound for Glasgow, Scotland.  Arriving early the next morning, I rented a car and drove up to visit my friends at Ace Adventures.  Huh?  There is another Ace Adventures you might ask…  There sure is, and I found them in 2011 while researching the Scottish Whitewater Rafting scene.  Since I work for ACE Adventures USA, I had to contact them. After some email introductions, I spent a week with Ace Adventures UK, paddling several rivers with their staff and having a great time.  Ace Adventures UK is owned and operated by Jim Davis.  Jim is from Tasmania, Australia, and has guided river expeditions around the world.  Love brought him to Scotland, and he splits his year between the UK and his native Tasmania, guiding expeditions on the Franklin River, a remote wilderness Class V river flowing through a UNSECO World Heritage area.

Upon arrival at Ace UK, Jim and I caught up on river chat.  He also informed me that he needed me to guide the next day.  At first I thought he was joking, but he was serious.  So on Saturday, July 12th I had a personal milestone in my river career, guiding my first whitewater rafting trip abroad.  In a strange coincidence, the International Rafting Federation (IRF) had declared that this date was “World Rafting Day”.  I had paddled the River Findhorn extensively on my previous trip, and felt confident that I could get a raft down it, but I have to admit I was a little nervous.

Our trip was a relatively small one, with four rafts and sixteen people.  The Ace UK guides Lewis, Chris, and Nick were extremely helpful and went out of their way to make sure I knew what was coming up next.  The River Findhorn was running a bit on the lower side, owing to a slight drought, unusual for the Scottish Highlands.  The Findhorn is like a miniature Gauley River, and is a Class IV-V river when it is in “spate” or running high. Ace Adventures UK is the only Scottish rafting outfitter who runs the Findhorn daily.  There is an upper section that is suitable for a milder ride, much like our Upper New River trips.

ACE adventures

After the trip, Jim asked me if I wanted to work the next day.  I readily agreed, and I ended up being the safety raft for a one boat trip.  Joining me for this trip was a friend from the US, Allison, and she was game to go rafting again.  With just the two of us in a small raft, some guide training was involved, and Allison took photographs of the guests while I provided safety for the other raft.  Both of the trips went smoothly, there were no major crashes, and I did not have to pay any “guide fines” (aka buy beers).

ACE adventuresLike the previous visit to Scotland, myself and the management of ACE WV provided gifts for the staff of Ace UK.  Each of their guides received an ACE WV t-shirt courtesy of ACE Mountain Sports.  I got each of their guides a cool and robust red “Solo” style cup with our logo on it.  Jim got a special gift from ACE WV, a limited-edition shirt that only ACE WV managers received.  For our last night with our Scottish friends, a barbeque was held at the Ace UK basecamp.  We ended up playing Rugby, American Football, and a cultural exchange of party games.  I’d like to thank Jim and the staff of Ace Adventures UK for being such good friends and hosts.  Although our two companies are not officially related, we share a bond defined by the love of outdoor adventures, and the comradery of like-minded peoples.  If any of our ACE WV guests are headed to Scotland, just remember the name Ace Adventures, and Jim & crew will show you a good time in the Scottish Highlands.

Written by: Kip Conklin

Posted in ACE Adventure Resort | 4 Comments

ACE Adventure Resort
Monotony kills. Don’t get me wrong, stability and consistency is what fuels the forward motion of life. We know here at ACE Adventure Resort that “all forward” is what keeps us going downstream. But monotony, means getting stuck in the same rut. To us, this means getting “eddied out”, in other words no real forward motion. Anytime we get caught up by life and become complacent this happens. It can happen to anyone, in large or small doses.

Variety: that is the spice of life. Many of our employees have families, and “desk jobs” they work throughout the winter. However, they understand the danger in monotony. Many of us are busy working on a college degree, or working overtime for a promotion that will mean more monotonous work. Once we accomplish these things, we look back on it and appreciate, truly appreciate, those moments of fun and adventure that made monotony bearable. Without that adventure, we would not be able to continue striving for our goals. Without spurts of adventure during monotony where would we really be? “Unhappy” may be one of the destinations on that unforgiving road.

What I’m trying to relate here, is that life is all about taking chances when you have the opportunity. Those are the moments you will look back on and continue to revel in the glory of it.  Don’t you want to think outside your box a little? Perhaps challenge yourself? We want you to. Because we have. There is beauty in the unknown. While consistency has its place in our lives, so should adventure. Maybe you don’t have the time to take a weeklong vacation with us (we wish you did) however we are still here whenever you are ready. Start small. Come see us for one weekend, and challenge our river to a dual. We are positive that you’ll be hooked. Maybe life has seemed slow moving lately. Take some time off and come fly through the trees with us on a zip line.

Escape to us. Escape WITH us. You owe it to yourself. Put monotony on the shelf for a while and live a little. This folks, are those memories you will look back on one day and thank yourself for being brave enough to make.

Posted in ACE Adventure Resort, Lifestyle | Tagged | Comments Off

Raft guide

This week’s employee of the week continues to prove that ACE is always adding great people to the family that share the same love of the outdoors. Kelly Buchanan is 23 years old and is back at ACE Adventure Resort for her 2nd year as a whitewater guide. Don’t let Kelly’s short time at ACE fool you, because this high adrenaline little lady is passionate about the river and what she does! While Kelly has lived in WV for some time, she is originally from Powder Springs, GA. She is the baby of her family, having two older brothers. She attributes this older brothers to making her the outdoorsy “tom boy” that she is today.

While Kelly’s childhood was readying her for a life in the outdoors, it was an act of fate that brought her to ACE. She was working as a promotional model for Shock Top, which came to ACE for an event. They took part in both Zip Line and ATV tours. She was interested in being an ATV guide, because she grew up riding motorcycles as a child. However, at ACE you usually become a raft guide first. When training, Kelly fell in love with the river and a part of herself she never knew existed.

Kelly is going to school to get her associate’s degree in Veterinary Technology with a bachelor’s degree in Allied Health so she can become a pharmaceutical rep for Vet Medicine. While that sounds like quite the endeavor, her goals don’t stop there! While she works toward this, she wants to continue guiding on the weekend, and become a member of the National Outdoor Leadership School as a whitewater and back country hiking guide in Patagonia. What great aspirations! Kelly is always smiling and laughing and working to give each guest a unique and memorable time at ACE. She loves the sense of community she gets with the other guides while at ACE and that it has given her another life passion. We are thankful to have great folks like Kelly passionate about whitewater just like we are!

Posted in ACE Adventure Resort, People | Tagged | Comments Off

New River Gorge

It’s one of the biggest days of your life. Why would you spend it being stressed out, jumping through hoops and participating in things that don’t even really appeal to you only for “tradition” sake? This is how Tammy and Keith Taylor feel about their wedding they had with ACE on July 12. Keith and Tammy spent the morning floating down the Upper New River in duckies. There was no crying over the hairdresser ruining her hair, no late florist, no lost rings and no lingering question of “what do we do with all of this cake?!” There was however, their closest family and friends, sharing in a fun filled day on the river in the sunshine.

There was no stress to dim the joy of their special day. As the river trip approached Jump Rock, the couple both prepared to take the plunge and marry their best friend. Their wedding ceremony was held on top of the jump rock, in which Minister Harry Fuler gave a beautiful analogy of love being much like the rivers. The New River is the only river to flow against nature’s will, against the vast mountains, and flow north. The Gauley river has been made an angry river and will put even the most skilled rafter in their place. The two rivers while untamable despite even the best of efforts, come together and find serenity. As we realize the surrounding beauty, the beauty of that comparison, and the love in front of us during this awesome ceremony, the two clasped hands and took a leap faith together into the river below.

Keith is a chef who does a lot of high end gourmet dinners and he has seen the stress of planning a traditional wedding. It just wasn’t something the two were interested in. They wanted adventure, much like what their prior 10 years together has already brought them. Relatives came in from Texas to share in the event, even jumping off the rock as well to show the faith they too share in the relationship (and to have some fun as well).
We are so thankful we got to be a part of this lovely couples day. Jumping into the river of love, adventure style. We couldn’t think of a more appropriate plunge.

Posted in ACE Adventure Resort | Comments Off

ACE Adventure Park & Lake

ACE Adventure Resort is one of a kind. It is full of magical, adventure-rich memories about to be made. It’s out of the norm because it certainly isn’t your run-of-the-mill vacation spot. We love it here. However, we know it’s “different”. We are constantly reminded that we aren’t the lavish spa-type of vacation that many socialites seek. Hipsters sipping cappuccinos while staring at their macs don’t surround our lake. Here, the real hipsters are IN the lake, playing and smiling as big as the 10 year old kid next to them.

You can’t get your nails done here, you won’t get a massage, and in fact, you might leave here sore and with funny tan lines. We aren’t the resort you come to if you want to go shopping at designer stores or eat exotic foods. We are a locally owned, quirky business and appreciate a “well-made burger and beer” kind of meal. That is who we are.

But really, if you do vacation at one of those lavish resorts, will you take photos of getting your nails done? Will you FB that image to your friends and tell them how exciting it was? No, because it was relaxing and that’s great. But was it really fun? At ACE we understand that we are a little rough around the edges. We are a bit out of the way (where the heck is Minden, WV anyway?).  We may be the “tom boy” of other resorts, but that’s how we like it!

We offer you so much more that other resorts would cringe at for fear of staining their khakis. We offer you trip stories that you’ll be reminiscing about for the rest of your life, and pictures everyone will WANT to look at. We don’t offer an atmosphere of standards and snoots, but of people that enjoy a “come as you are, be who you want to be” way of life.

We have bands that you won’t need a tux to see, but will need a little boogie in your step to enjoy. Our activities will push you, in the best possible way. You will remember what it’s like to visit real fun again. So here’s to knowing that we can be rough at times. Here’s to real adventurers. And here’s to being different WV resort in the best way possible: Real. Genuine. Fun.

Posted in ACE Adventure Resort | Tagged , | Comments Off

New River Gorge, West Virginia

The mountains of West Virginia have been my home for a little over 21 years now. I was born, raised, educated, employed and continue to live in this majestic state. Over the years, I have heard more than a fair amount of silly stigmas about my lady WV. Because I work in social media at ACE Adventure Resort, I talk to guests from all over the globe. This is a list of 5 things the world should know regarding our state.

5 Things People don’t understand about West Virginia:

1.    We are a tropical climate
I’m fully aware that we aren’t some remote island across the world. However, our weather is often unique to the rest of the United States. One week it will rain so much that we think we will become the sequel to Water World starring Kevin Costner. The next week it will snow and the following week it will be a high of 80 degrees and you’ll find us outdoors soaking up the sun. This has really happened guys. Keeps it interesting that’s for sure.

2.    We are not all cast members of “Deliverance”
This is one joke I have heard all too many times. Yes we have seen the movies. It’s never wise to trust Hollywood though. In actuality, our state is filled with a wide range of people, from all over the world. People escape their own state to come to ours. As a West Virginia native, I can say that working at ACE Adventure Resort, I am one of few that are originally FROM this state. Many of our employees came to us because their own state left them feeling without sense of adventure in their lives.

3.    There’s nothing to do here
We aren’t known for our malls that’s for sure. Although we do have movie theatres, clubs, live music and a multitude of outdoor activity. I spend my own summers rafting world class rapids, zip lining, by the lake with my friends by day and dancing to live music by night. I rarely find myself desiring the boredom of the mall thanks to this great state.

4.    We only listen to country music
No. Being interested in a wide variety of music, I can assure you I don’t have to look very far when wanting something sweet to listen to. Punk, rock, pop, oldies, funk, we love them all. Not to mention that ACE is contributing to West Virginia’s music scene greatly with its very own Mountain Music Festival; featuring bluegrass bands, rockabilly, funk, punk and folk bands.  We like to toe tap and booty bump just like the rest of ‘em.

5.    Coal is our only industry
The coal mining industry is an important guy in West Virginia, yes. However, recently this industry is dwindling down. What keeps us alive? We offer an outdoor tourism industry that showcases the beauty of our state in the best way possible. As mentioned before, you guys come to us for adventure, keep that in mind.

Don’t be narrow minded about this great state. We are made up of a wide variety of people and activities set out in beautiful, mountainous land. Don’t cheat yourself. Come explore and you’ll understand a whole lot more about West Virginia.

Posted in ACE Adventure Resort, Our Area | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Steve Arenaz

This week our employee of the week should be a contender for the world’s most fascinating man! Steve Arenaz, in his own words, “bleeds blue and yellow”, the colors of ACE and has fallen in love with the company. Luckily for him, the love is mutual. After being disappointed with past business endeavors, Steve took an adventurous shot in the dark in 2009 and decided to move to WV to train as a raft guide with ACE. He is a New and Gauley River guide, a zip line guide and mud obstacle guide. Steve loves to see and adventure the world and share that passion with others.

Steve has spent 6 wonderful seasons with ACE, only taking one season off for chemo treatments. Coming back from something like that, has left him with a deeper zeal and appreciation for life. He calls himself a ”child of the world” as he has moved around and traveled much of the world. Places that Steve has left his footprint include: Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Turkey, Italy, Austria, Croatia, the Netherlands, China, Mexico, Canada, Britain and of course all over the United States. His passion for the river and seeing those smiling faces in his raft is what keeps him coming back to West Virginia summer after summer. By day he is found guiding a raft, by evening cooking a meal of culinary-genius proportions for many of the other employees, and by night serenading ACE with his banjo melodies. It’s great employees like Steve that help make ACE as awesome as we are and we are glad to have him along for the adventure!

Steve Arenaz

Posted in ACE Adventure Resort, People | Tagged , | Comments Off