Talking Alberta with…. River Valley Adventure
By Steve Hartridge – March 2020 – 3 minute read
Chris Szydlowski, founder of River Valley Adventure Co, has come a long way since he started selling Segways to the Edmonton Police (among others) in 2005 after becoming the distributor for the two-wheeled motorised vehicles in Western Canada.
From pioneer to player
The former business development manager for a large industrial supply company also ran a Segway track in West Edmonton Mall, until he managed to persuade the government to let him start his first Segway tour in the Edmonton River Valley in 2009.
Two years later, the River Valley Adventure Company was born, with the aim of “encouraging people to come out and play”, says Chris.
“Our job is to make sure people have fun and we are passionate about it.”
He added Segway tours in Calgary in 2014, but River Valley Adventure Company remains based in the Edmonton River Valley, right below the Edmonton Convention Centre, where it also runs a small ri
Open all year round, the company has significantly expanded its choice of experiences to include bike rentals and tours as well as river rafting excursions and rentals of the increasingly popular stand-up paddleboards (SUP).
River Valley Adventure Company also helps locals and visitors embrace Alberta’s snowy winters by offering snowshoe rentals.
However, its most popular experience remains those pioneering Segway tours, all year-round, with other activities in Calgary running only during the summer, from May to the end of September.
Alberta, says Chris, lends itself to outdoor experiences such as those offered by his company. “It’s the sunny days, blue skies and our spirit to get outside. There is something for everyone in every season, with a wide variety of terrain to explore.”
River Valley Adventure’s 60- to 90-minute ‘Segway Adventures’ and ‘Winter Segway Trek’ and its two-hour ‘Segway Summer Sunset Cruise’ take riders through one of North America’s largest urban parklands, the North Saskatchewan River Valley.
While some of the company’s activities are age specific, Chris said it offers adventures for everyone. For example, it has electric bikes for hire as well as mountain bikes, and it runs specific Segway lessons for children younger than 14. And a growing number of clients are from the UK, thanks to its ties with the travel trade and Travel Alberta.
River Valley Adventure Co. says its rafting tours, available in both Edmonton and Calgary, are also ideal for corporate events and team building for groups of 20 or more. Its walking tours and snowshoe excursions provide a more leisurely way to enjoy the scenery.
“I love the mountains and get out as often as I can to enjoy them,” says Chris of his own backyard.
“My two favourite things to do in Alberta are carving some fresh powder on my snowboard in Jasper in the winter and camping anywhere in Alberta in the summer, taking in the long summer nights.”
But which of Alberta’s stunning outdoor experiences are left on Chris’s own wish list?
“I have not made it to Dinosaur Provincial Park to see the dinosaur museum and hike through the park. It’s on my list - maybe this summer I will get it done.”