These guys started commercial rafting on Alaska's rivers in 1975, but as the industry developed, they expanded only slowly, keeping their base in a tiny village on the Matanuska River, northeast of Anchorage, and primarily employing Alaskan guides. We like the fact that they don't minimize the hazards: They make it clear that these fast, cold waters aren't Disneyland rides. Their catalog covers longer expeditions on some of the state's wildest rivers, but also includes more affordable itineraries of 2 or 3 days. Two days on the Matanuska costs $349; 3 days on the Talkeetna, including 14-mile-long, class IV rapids of the Talkeetna Canyon, costs $1,350. Nova offers trips from Copper Center and Hope as well.