It’s never going to be smooth sailing. It’s always going to be a struggle, and I kind of want it to always be a struggle.
Todd Goss is an adventurer to the soul. After training as a survival instructor in the military, he moved to St. George, Utah and split his time between waiting tables and rock climbing. Surrounded by Zion National Park, 65 miles of urban trail, and some of the best canyoneering in the country, Goss found the St. George community full of passion for adventuring, but lacking in any formal instruction. In 1994, he founded Paragon Adventures to fill the void.
Twenty years later, Goss employs four other guides and leads more than 1,000 customers per year on what he calls “journeys of a lifetime.” For most, the experiences themselves would be the most fulfilling part of the job, but for Todd, Paragon Adventures is more than zip-lining through beautiful parks. The real magic lies in pushing guests beyond what they ever thought possible.
“My personal dream is really seeing what the guests get out of the experience,” says Todd. “I get to see [guests] see every single day doing way more than they think they can.”
Rated the No. 1 activity in St. George by Trip Advisor, the Paragon Adventures team have established a strong reputation by personalizing each trip specifically to match guests’ skills and goals.
While the Paragon Adventures team may have mastered challenging physical skills, Goss still struggles to maintain his small business due to lack of consistency. From seasonal changes to shifts in government policy, he must be able transfer his focus constantly and adapt quickly.
Despite these entrepreneurial challenges, Todd still lives his dream every single day.
“I just want to do this as long as I can,” he admits. “I’m one of the few people who literally wake up in the morning and Monday morning is the best day of the week because I get to come back to work.”
Photos by Nadav Neuhaus
A Paragon Adventures expedition outside St. George, UT, on Tuesday, March 3, 2015.
Todd Goss was first introduced to adventuring through survival training in the military. When Todd noticed a lack of formal instruction among the St. George community, he founded Paragon Adventures to fill the void.
Although Paragon Adventures only employs 4 guides, they lead over 1,000 guests last year.
While Paragon Adventures owner Todd Goss spends some time on entrepreneurial duties, he still manages to fit in adventure guiding and still spent 322 days in a harness last year.
In addition to their guided packages in nature surrounding St. George, Paragon Adventures offers a space for their guests to brush up on their climbing skills.
Paragon Adventures offers a long list of different adventures to choose from, but owner Todd Goss tries to incorporate climbing into most activities. "It's not something intellectual, or it's not a learning thing or it's not a diploma. Rock climbing, especially, is very concrete. When [guests] have climbed a rock, they can step away from it and see right in front of them what they have accomplished. You can't do that with a game of tennis. You can't do that with hiking."
Although Paragon Adventures offers general packages to their guests, all adventures are extremely personal. Most guides don't fully decide on the finalized agenda until they've interviewed their guest to discover their skill set and goals.
Despite the intense physical nature of working with Paragon Adventures, owner Todd Goss insists that understanding people is the most important skill for a guide. "It's about working with and finding what motivates and inspires people. And finding ways to leverage that.