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“Poor communication from owner!”

Alaska Backcountry Access LLC
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$125.00*
and up
Whitewater Rafting Glacier Creek
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Alaska Backcountry Access is a multi-sport adventure company dedicated to providing unique adventure activities in the Chugach National Forest and around Alaska. Access to the remote lakes, glaciers, waterfalls, rivers and trails is key to exploring the mountains surrounding this remarkable glaciated area. Finding the real Alaska is difficult so let the guides at Alaska Backcountry Access share their backyard with you. Get away from the crowds, off the beaten path and into world class backcountry adventure! Specializing in jetboating, canyoneering, rafting, gold panning, hiking, kayaking, ski trekking, snowshoeing, sled dog mushing, Iditarod and snowmobiling.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Reviewed September 4, 2012

I echo the experience of ThomasS763...... I called the owner, Andy, on Jan 20, 2012 wanting to make a reservation for the Twentymile River jetboat tour on August 11, 2012. He mentioned that I was the first person to want to make a reservation for the upcoming summer tourist season. I mentioned that my wife and I wished to use the TourSaver two-for-the-price-of-one coupon and he said that he would pencil us in, but that he needed at least two paying customers in order to make the run, and that his accessibility was determined by US Forest Service regulations. I stated that we were flexible on the dates and the following day would also be O.K. with us. He asked me to contact him later in the year to firm up the reservation. I called again on May 16 and left a message and described our earlier conversation. He was reluctant to make a reservation for us and asked me to call again later in the year – close to the time of our desired tour. On August 3, I talked with Linda at Alta House Vacation Rentals (where we are staying) since they provide concierge services for their guests. I hoped that she could secure the desired reservation for me. I gave her my TourSaver booklet number which she could then transmit to Andy. She called me the next day and told me she gave Andy my phone number and information. She expected that he had called me about the reservation, but he had not. I called Andy’s number on August 7 and since he was unavailable when I called., I sent a text message to his number, as his answering message directed, asking about the status of my “penciled in” reservation of August 11. He texted back saying he would take a look to see if he had indeed “penciled me in” and to give him my name (I had forgotten to give him my name when I initially texted him). I did so, and he replied back “It looks like we should be able to get you in on the 7:30 or maybe 9:30 tour. There is a note on our calendar.” I texted him back saying that the 7:30 was OK, but I’d prefer the 9:30. I also included our TourSaver coupon booklet number. I waited for a reply. And waited. And waited. Finally I called his number, but he did not answer – voicemail message only. I left a voicemail message saying that I would like to do the 9:30 tour as we might be a bit tired (leaving from Charlotte at 6:30 a.m. the day before).

Now....some additional information. August 11, 2012 is the date of our 50th wedding anniversary. In addition, my wife is losing the sight in one of her eyes. So we wanted to do something memorable, something we’d never done before, and have a new experience on this special day (the YouTube videos of this trip are just stunning), especially since we don’t know how much more time my wife will be “whole” as far as her vision is concerned. But we didn’t mention this to Andy as we don’t want to play on anyone’s sympathy. We would like to be treated like everyone else.

Lastly....the proceeds of the sale of the TourSaver books goes to support Alaska Special Olympics. The vendors who participate in this get to support Special Olympics without having any out-of-pocket expense themselves. The vendors benefit by having the patronage of some people who might not otherwise avail themselves of the vendor’s service. The purchasers of the TourSaver booklet support Special Olympics through their booklet purchase and they benefit through the 2-for-1 price break. We ran into a problem with an Alaska TourSaver vendor in a 2008 trip to Alaska – Alaska Waters, based in Wrangell said they “didn’t have a permit” for the day we wanted to visit the Anan Creek bear observatory. So we couldn’t use our TourSaver coupon with them. So we went to Anan Creek with Alaska Vistas....and when we got there...lo and behold, there was the boat from Alaska Waters, the outfit that didn’t have a permit to be there! Could it be that they want to be thought of as a Special Olympics supporter but don’t want to honor their end of the bargain? Could this also be the case with Andy Morrison’s Alaska Backcountry Access? I don’t know. But I *do* know that I was not dealt with professionally. Hence the “one bullet” rating. YMMV.

Update: Andy sent me a text message (finally) on August 10, 2012 while we were in the air flying to Alaska saying that he had room on a 7:30 a.m. tour on August 11. Needless to say, I didn’t get this message until I had landed. Since I hadn’t heard from him by August 9, the day before we were to leave home, I made arrangements to do this same tour, in the afternoon, with Hope Fishing Charters. Andy’s last text message to me, on Friday, August 10, at 8:51 p.m. Alaska time was “You said “either one was good” so all we needed was ti (sic) set the time, I’ve had you penciled into the schedule since January, plus us talking plus the Alta house calling. Like I said it is OK, but just takes a lot of my time and makes me not want to offer toursavers any more.”

2  Thank Weeble24740
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AKBackcountryAccess, Owner at Alaska Backcountry Access LLC, responded to this reviewResponded May 4, 2013

Hello--

Ever get the feeling someone is taking advantage of you? I apologize for being so blunt but no one likes getting taken advantage of. Yes, this gentlemen called us many times, we explained the Forest Service limits on Saturday departures many times and yes we needed to have him call back because in order to use a 2 for 1 coupon we need to add them to an existing reservation with space available.

Our Agents like Linda at Alta House the concierge at Hotel Alyeska, All Alaska Tours, Explore Tours, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Regent, Celebrity Cruises... all work on commission so cannot set up 2 for 1's. Great thing is they are around their desks all day long with fancy reservation systems giving excellent customer service. We on the other hand are hanging from ropes, driving boats, guiding clients, rafting, kayaking and snowmobiling all day long. Occasionally we even get to hang out with our girlfriends/boyfriends who this gentlemen felt compelled to insult.

We love supporting Special Olympics, Challenge Alaska, Visitor Industry Charity Walk and Public Radio/TV among others. Does not allowing someone to take advantage of you make you unprofessional?

We worked very hard to find clients that could only go at 7:30 AM to make this tour happen for this gentleman. As per usual the reservation came in the day before so the reason for the last minute arrangements for him. The tour went out at 7:30 without them in our powerful jetboat built for our exciting tours up the Twentymile. Hope Fishing Charters is awesome and I am glad these folks went with them, I am sure they had fun.

To clarify, we finished the 2012 season with Toursaver and when quoted "makes me not want to offer toursavers any more" it means we are not contracting with Toursaver in 2013 and beyond anymore.

Please read our positive comments from people who actually went on our trips. We look forward to seeing you in Alaska and showing you the time of your life!

Andy Morrison
907 783-3600
call or text
AlaskaBackcountryAccess.com
AlaskaSnowmobileTours.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"jet boating"
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Reviewed August 18, 2012

We just got back from Alaska, and our very last adventure was one of our favorite ones! My husband booked a jet boat trip down the 20 mile river to Carmen lake for kayaking with Andy the day before we wanted to go. He picked us up right on time and had a big selection of rain gear for us to stay warm and dry for the outing. We all really appreciated Andy's enthusiasm for showing us all of the beauty and making sure we all had a good time, you could tell he loves doing what he does. The jet boat ride was smooth and fun, we saw 3 bald eagles along the way. Carmen lake is a beautiful location to kayak in the back country only accessible through the 20 mile river. We wanted to feel like we were really getting away from it all in Alaska, and this excursion provided just what we were looking for! I highly recommend you book with Andy, who is genuine, knowledgable and prepared! Thanks so much Andy, I wish I was there right now!!! :)

Thank Caryn S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2012

We tried to go on this trip, but the guy would never answer his phone or return a call. I think the fact the we said we had a 2 for 1 coupon from both Northern Lights and TourSaver may have affected his response. We found a friend of his who called for us and he answered his phone right away....something funny here. I don't know if his tour is any good or not, but don't try to use a coupon or he will ditch your call.

1  Thank ThomasS763
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AKBackcountryAccess, Owner at Alaska Backcountry Access LLC, responded to this reviewResponded May 4, 2013

Hello--

Glad to take the opportunity to respond, again we were surprised to hear this. Our business phone is an iPhone 4s that travels with us EVERYWHERE at all hours. It can be difficult to answer if we are on the other line, driving, sleeping or in the backcountry outside of cell coverage. In those situations please feel free to text us, leave a voice mail or email. We usually reply to text messages fastest, voice mails next and emails when we have some down time.

I do remember this situation, the client called and wanted to book 4 people using multiple half off coupon books. We allow one 2 for 1 coupon per jetboat departure if we have an existing reservation and space available at the time you book. We did not have any departures for this gentlemen because it was a slow time of year.

We spoke several times with him to explain the situation, then he called while i was driving, then while we were on the other line... He also had his buddy call and try the same trick using multiple coupons. We did text message them and again explained that we were trying to find other clients to book so they could go. All this happened in several hours time.

When my buddy called and I was free to answer I again patiently explained on my buddies phone that no one else had booked for them to use the coupons. We did offer, as we always do, to have two of them book to make a departure happen then we would accept one 2 for 1 coupon. This would be a significant savings but was unacceptable for them, instead they wanted to take advantage of us.

Unfortunately for all the 100's of great folks we have served with Toursaver coupons from 2010-2012 this individual left a bad feeling with how pushy he was. Rather then spend our valuable time and energy dealing guys like this we decided not renew our contract with Toursaver for 2013.

Coupons are great for marketing and filling up empty seats, that's usually why companies like ours utilize them. In 2011 we used Groupon to launch snowmobile day tours and took 200 people with great success on a challenging snow year, no complaints. Lots of really great folks bought them, appreciated the deal and hooked our hardworking guides up with gratuities.

In 2013 we have a page of coupons in the Northern Lights Coupon book. These include 2 for 1 Canyoneering, Backcountry Jetboat Ride and Glacier Valley Trekker. Also, a buy 2 get 1 free for our gear and gasoline intensive Glacier Snowmobile Tour. Please check the NLCB out and contact us. Just understand that the guy answering the phone might be the same one guiding the tour, maintaining the equipment at all hours and making the marketing decisions so be nice :) We will take good care of you.

Thanks for reading,

Andy Morrison

907 783-3600
call or text
AlaskaBackcountryAccess.com
AlaskaSnowmobileTours.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2012

While staying at the Alyeska Resort, my family booked Andy to take us on a jet boat trip up the Twenty Mile River and kayaking on Lake Carmen. I loved the pictures on his website and just knew it would be a great addition to our Alaskan vacation. I was right!

My dad (65), sister-in-law (34 and pregnant), husband and I (we're 38) went on the trip and Andy brought along a friend/assistant. He picked us up at Alyeksa and it was a short trip to launch the jet boat on the river. From there, we took a thrilling ride up the river. Having never been in a jet boat before, we were amazed how fast we could go (up to 35 mph) in water only a few feet deep. Along the way, we saw beaver lodges, eagles and moose. Andy did a few spins for us, too - which was SO much fun.

Once we reached Lake Carmen, the pace slowed down and we were in awe of the majestic beauty of the clear lake and surrounding mountains. As my picture shows, the lake mirrors the gorgeous mountains above and creates a beautiful view! There was lots of pure white snow to play in while Andy pulled out the individual kayaks he had stowed there. We had some snacks and water he brought, then headed off to kayak around the lake at our leisure. We all had a great time, paddling along the shore seeing nesting ducks and the checking out the convergence of the river and ice melt near the mountains. We had the lake all to ourselves and it was one of our favorite experiences of the trip!

I highly recommend the experience for anyone looking to get off the beaten path and see more of AK's wild beauty. The jet boat/kayak trip is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. We loved it and you will too!

Thank FloridaErin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 28, 2012

My 18 year old son and I spent and entire afternoon with Andy. Andy was wonderful. Not your typical "tour." My son was so reluctant when he heard the word "tour." At the age of 18 they want to make their own way, so to speak. Andy accommodated that and then some. Our son had a trip of a lifetime and Andy wore him out! That's a good thing! When all was said and done our son admitted that he was glad Andy was along. We were taken to two ice caves and the face of two glaciers. If I ever have the opportunity to visit Alaska again I will be sure to look Andy up for another of his excursions. He is willing to cater to whatever your ability is.

Thank Annie2007_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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