River Guide Spotlight: Owen Popinchalk


L to R: Scotty, Owen, James, Willi & Kyle

Sure his name sounds a bit funny and even made up. Like the main character from some 80’s flick that is an Aspen Extreme rip off, but with mountain climbing instead of skiing. But whatever you do don’t try and pigeon hole this rafting guide. Owen is not the typical guide or typical anything for that matter. Owen seems to have it all figured out. Maybe he’s been listening to the wise master Bruce Lee, who once said, “Be like water.” Owen lives by this sage advice as he rips up the pow on skis in the winter and then chases the mountain run off all summer on a raft. He’s like water alright, and he’s dedicating his life to following the flow of the hydra cycle, which makes you in perfect hands with this guide.

Owen’s second home is the river. He’s only been kayaking since he was 13 and been guiding professionally for a decade, getting his start at 18. Owen’s one of the lucky ones, he was born in Jackson Hole and didn’t have to learn of its existence on some exotic map.

He left paradise to go to college, but was smart enough to return. He’s a select river guide who can break down the aesthetics of Organic architecture, probably citing Frank Lloyd Wright’s, Falling Water, (always water with this kid) as a prime example. He could also tell you the name of the fonts on your Jackson Hole t-shirt that you just bought on the square. He studied both architecture and graphic design at the University of Colorado and then Fort Lewis College. Yeah, this guy is on some other tip mentally, but he’s also equally impressive for his athletic feats. He’s a true mountaineer in the Tetons; those big things off in the distance that you came here to stare at it. He’s been up close and personal and bagged such famous winter ascents as the Grand and the Cathedral Traverse.

Owen hiking the Tetons Photo from Instagram

Owen hiking the Tetons
Photo from Instagram

When he’s not inspiring Super Man you can find Owen unwinding in Kelly, Wyoming with his girlfriend and their loyal Australian Shepard, Yuki. Good chance they’ll be plotting their next adventure and tending to their garden. Be water Owen, oh wait you already are.

Follow Owen’s Instagram at yurtian for more of his adventures!