- Vintage Equipment
ackson Hole Vintage Adventures had it’s beginings in the 60’s when AJ DeRosa, owner and operator, began his guiding career in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota and Ontario. It was a far cry from life in Suburban Chicago, but the love of the outdoors soon became a passion . After earning a Degree in Business Administration from the University of Detroit and also learning to ski on the small hills of the midwest, he decided to spend a winter ski bumming in Jackson Hole. In the spring of 1973 he met an outfitter looking for someone to guide canoe trips in Yellowstone and Teton National Parks and he landed the job. That summer he also learned to run river boats and the deal was done. He never turned back and a passionate outdoorsman was born. Guiding whitewater raft trips and then fishing trips became the summer job. Winters were devoted to skiing and working as a ski patrolman in Jackson Hole. In 1977 he traveled to South America with a friend and fell in love with the wild lands of Patagonia. The following year he returned to Argentina to begin the first ever float trip company in that country. He and his partner Patty Reilley spent several winters running rivers and guiding fishermen in the area around Bariloche. After 12 seasons and no skiing, the endless summer became too much. Ski in winter and float/fish in the summer seemed a much more balanced life. And, so it was.
1978 was the year he acquired his first wooden river boat. For the rest of the 70’s and 80’s AJ and that boat spent every summer guiding the great trout streams of Wyoming and Montana. By 1983 he had an Outfitters License in both states and Yellowstone National Park. This business was called FatBoy Fishing and became legend in that area. A short list of keen anglers called him their personal guide and came back year after year to fish new waters with this guide who never failed to bring something wonderful to their fishing vacations. Breakfasts on the river gave early access and riverside dinners assured anglers of great fishing at dusk when most guides were well done for the day.
In the early 90’s, after the movie A River Runs Through It created a boom in the fly fishing industry, the great rivers became crowded. It was time to move on. In 1995 he built a boat that would handle a 15 hp outboard motor and he took his act to the lakes of Yellowstone National Park where he found the solitude and quality fishing that his clients had become accustomed to. FatBoy Fishing was expanding and a few like minded guides joined the team. Wooden Boats were still important and when the rivers were un-fishable due to runoff they, too, were also uncrowded. This was the time to return to the rivers in their wooden boats but this time with bird watchers, photographers and nature lovers. Once again breakfast and dinners along the riverbank were offered and enjoyed by these non fishermen.
In the late 1990’s Wooden Boat River Tours was spawned. It was a kinder, gentler version of FatBoy Fishing and allowed AJ to return to his beloved Snake River and show his scenic guests the same special treatment that his fishermen of the past several decades had come to expect. He now had a private river camp where he could treat his guests to wonderful meals and use the outdoor cooking skills that he had learned in Argentina and that had been honed over the years. Years spent guiding in off the grid fishing camps in Alaska came into play as the Riverside Tipi Camp grew into the perfect location to entertain small groups of guests.
In 2005 AJ retired from a 30 year career as a ski patrolman. Now what would he do in the winter? The love of the outdoor lifestyle once again answered the question and the summer Riverside Tipi Camp began to host winter visitors. First came Wildlife Snowshoe Adventures and a little later, a cowboy and sleigh were added to create Snake River Sleigh Rides. Once again, good food and adventure teamed up to create a wonderful experience for visitors to Jackson Hole.
This lifetime of guiding and outfitting, in both summer and winter, is now called AJ DeRosa’s Jackson Hole Vintage Adventures. Summer visitors to camp now learn of the winter adventures and come back to see what happens in the other season. Same for our winter visitors. It is very rewarding to see our guests continue to return and bring friends along as well.
Jackson Hole Vintage Adventures, now you know the whole story.