The Blue Ridge is made up of so many incredible people, small businesses, destinations, and more. During the next few weeks, we would like to highlight some of them to allow you to get to know them better, a series we like to call Blue Ridge together. Today we are giving a shoutout to the people at Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC). #BlueRidgeTogether
Nantahala Outdoor Center is one of the nation’s largest outdoor recreation companies. Over a million guests visit NOC annually to embark on a diverse collection of more than 120 different whitewater rafting and land-based itineraries, learn to kayak at NOC’s world-renowned Paddling School, travel to foreign countries with NOC’s Adventure Travel program, test the latest outdoor gear and shop at their three LEED-certified flagship retail stores, or enjoy NOC’s resort amenities such as their three restaurants and multi-tiered lodging.
We chatted with Anne Sontheimer, one of NOC’s long time river guides about their experience with NOC.
What do you do at NOC and what is your favorite outdoor activity?
Sontheimer: I work at the NOC Paddling School and teach whitewater kayaking a majority of the time. Occasionally I’ll also teach canoeing, rafting, and Swiftwater rescue skills as well. My favorite outdoor hobbies are kayaking, riding mountain bikes and hiking with my team of adventurers.
2. What makes you proud to be at NOC?
Sontheimer: I’ve been part of the NOC community for 27years, and I’m proud to be part of a company that promotes an environment of learning with a team of people that encourage, support and empathize through navigating the dynamic environment of whitewater. There are many life skills to learn and practice through the many opportunities in that environment.
3. How has NOC adapted to these times / what do you want people to know about how/what you are doing?
Sontheimer: NOC is adapting day to day by communicating, evaluating and balancing the risk involved with all the programs and adventures we offer. We already navigate dynamic programs and strive to inform, support and teach our guests to make informed decision that involve risk with the skills necessary to navigate them.
4. Any positive messages you’d like to include?
Sontheimer: In this moment practice being present, compassionate and adventuring in your world.