The best guides on the river.

Our river guides work their Chacos off to make sure you have a fantastic adventure. With big hearts and big smiles, our lively river guides will keep you laughing through every twist and turn on the Snake River. Dave Hansen ensures the highest standards for our river guides. Every river guide completes a Dave Hansen Guide School which provides rigorous, hands-on river safety and river ecology training. Additionally, all our river guides continue their education through periodic classes with local environmental groups and naturalists throughout the year.

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Bud Chatham

Bay Area of California
Years Guiding: 15

Bud Chatham

Bud is the owner of Dave Hansen Whitewater. Born and raised in the Bay Area of California, he owes his love for rivers to his father, cousin, and uncle. A spoiled child, Bud was lucky enough to spend his high school summers guiding fishing trips on the Truckee River, and his college summers out here guiding in Jackson Hole for Snake River Park. Let us just say, Bud has never strayed far from rivers.

After 15 years on the Snake River, he still yells out river commands in his sleep. Bud and his amazingly fabulous wife Kelly, were lucky to spend a year working with Dave before taking the plunge and buying the company in 2003. Bud and Kelly feel eternal gratitude for Dave, and their goal is to keep Dave Hansen Whitewater thriving for yet another four decades. Oh, and if it’s not too greedy, they’d love for their two girls be on the oars by the age of 15. Yes, child labor is illegal, but I think there are ways around it when they’re your child.

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Ben Obertacz

Toledo, OH
Years Guiding: 2

Ben Obertacz

Ben returns to Dave Hansen for his second year. After driving shuttle for Dave Hansen last year, he decided it was time to hang up the keys and find out what guide life was all about.

Ben is from Toledo, Ohio and studied business management at the University of Cincinnati.

In Ben’s spare time he likes to climb and hike in GTNP, float Deadman’s to Moose, camp, and drink John Daly’s. In the off season he likes to visit home, go to wing night at the Bird, and purchase un-necessary gear for the upcoming season.

Ben has his Swiftwater, CPR, and FIrst Aid certifications, and if you’re on his raft he’ll have you count bald eagles, get the kiddos on the oars, and encourage you not to be afraid to get wet!

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Roger Conant

Greenfield, MA
Years Guiding: 9

Roger Conant

Roger is from Greenfield, MA, and has been a raft guide for 9 years, even though this is his first summer with Dave Hansen. He studied outdoor education at Green Mountain College/UMass. Roger has his Swiftwater, CPR, and First Aid certifications.

Roger started rafting on the Deerfield River in MA, and was the “best of the best” raft guide on the river. He also is also an olympic level sleeper. Roger likes ice hockey, whitewater kayaking, skiing, photography, and eating anything wicked spicy. His favorite things to do in Jackson are boating and camping with friends, and his favorite place to grab food is Hoback Market.

When Roger isn’t working he’s getting super pitted at Lunch Counter, Teton Country Library, or Jackson Whole Grocer.

Roger’s Tips or advice for his rafters is keep your toes tucked in and paddle wicked haaaaad (that means
really hard).

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Gail

Gail

Gail is a strong, skilled, intuitive, and brave river guide. She is not a woman who backs down easily.

When she senses danger, she will do whatever it takes to keep her rafters safe. No matter the cost!

She has been guiding on the Snake River for many years now, and nothing can stop her when she has a goal in mind.

Having been one of the only three people to successfully raft the Gauntlet, she is one of our most experienced guides at Dave Hansen!

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Travis Heyer

Amherst, MA
Years Guiding: 1

Travis Heyer

Travis is from Amherst, MA “where only the H is silent. He studied hospitality and tourism management at the University of Massachusetts. This is his 1st year at Dave Hansen, but his 9th year guiding rivers.

Travis has his Swiftwater 1 Certificate and Wilderness First Aid. He claims that he is bad to the bone and that “god put me on this earth to guide rafts.”

During the off-season Travis likes to take long moonlit walks on the beach and surf righteous waves. His favorite place to eat in Jackson is the Lift restaurant and his favorite thing to do is go whitewater rafting, obviously.

When Travis isn’t working on the river you can generally find him on the river going boating. His tips for new customers are to have fun and help me help you.

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Karen Baptiste

Eastchester, NY
Years Guiding: 1

Karen Baptiste

This is Karen’s first year with Dave Hansen! Although it’s her first year raft guiding with DH, she has guided overnight kayak camping trips in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park for 3 summers. She is certified in first aid, CPR, WFR and swiftwater.

Karen is originally from Eastchester, NY and studied chemistry at UVM. She moved to Jackson 5 years ago. She visited Jackson for the first time when she was 5 years old, loved it so much and promised herself she’d live here one day. When she’s not on the river you can find her skiing, hiking, swimming, kayaking and snuggling her cat, Mr. Meowgi. Her favorite dish is a spicy curry from Thai Plate!

Karen wants to encourage her rafters to ask all about Jackson Hole, from geology to human history!

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Jordan Dew

Years Guiding: 1

Jordan Dew

This is Jordan’s first summer with Dave Hansen. He is a Whitewater Nomad and has been guiding for 20+ years on rivers all over the world. He is currently attending Missoula College studying pre-nursing.

Jordan has guided in West Virginia on the New and Gauley River, which is a Class V river. He has guided in Idaho on the Payette Rivers. He also has experience guiding in several other countries such as in Peru on the Rio Apurimac (class V, headwaters of Amazon) and Rio Chili, Argentina on the Rio Mendoza, in Chile on the Rio Trancura, where he guided in Spanish (class V) and Rio Maipo, and in Zambia on the Zambezi River (class V and considered one of world’s most difficult rivers).

Aside from Jordan’s incredible track record, he is just a college student. In his free time he plays with his dog Coco, letting him run and chase geese. His life’s philosophy is that he retired early hence all the river time, and now he’s just “trying to find a job I can work til I’m old.” Jordan says to his rafters, “It’s just water! Have fun.”

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Erick Nelson

Boston, MA
Years Guiding: 2

Erick Nelson

Erick hails from outside of Boston, MA, but hightailed it out west as soon as he could. This is his second year guiding on the Snake and first with Dave Hansen, and with certifications in Swiftwater Rescue and CPR/First Aid, he’s ready for action.

Erick studied art at Colorado College, and in addition to pushing rubber down the river is also a practicing printmaker. When he’s not on the river you can find him mountain biking, playing disc golf, snowboarding, or enjoying a killer meal at the Rendezvous Bistro.

All you need on the river is an open mind and a good attitude! Let’s go boating!

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Sandy Feuer

Hanover, NH
Years Guiding: 3

Sandy Feuer

Sandy is from Hanover, NH and first became passionate about rafting after two trips down the Grand Canyon and a trip down the Zambezi in Zambia. He now joins Dave Hansen for his third season of guiding!

Sandy studied environmental policy at Colorado College in Colorado Springs and, before moving to Jackson, lived in Africa where he played soccer and worked for Grassroot Soccer.

When he’s not on the river, you can find Sandy playing soccer, hiking, snowboarding, and eating at Calico Restaurant.

Sandy encourages his guests to study up on their sports because he’ll have some sports trivia coming their way!

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Lewis Medlock

Lewis Medlock

Lewis is a city guy who has a liking for the great outdoors and other activities that he associates with true manhood.

Although he is a city guy, we let him guide for us at Dave Hansen, and turns out, he does a great job!

He can be a bit cocky, but don’t worry he is a great raft guide, especially with all of his outdoor experience and knowledge.

If Lewis is your guide, he will protect you and guide you down the river safely! Have no fear!

Questions? Just Ask.

Whether you're confident in a raft or a little nervous, we have rafting trips for all ages and experience levels on the Snake River in Jackson Hole. With over 27 trips daily, 7 time options, and 5 types of trips, you are sure to find the perfect adventure!

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