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The best guides on the river.

Our dedicated river guides put in a wild amount of effort to ensure your river experience is safe and fun from put-in to pull-out. With enthusiasm and warm smiles, our energetic river guides will keep you entertained throughout every bend of the Snake River. Dave Hansen maintains strict standards for our river guides. Each guide undergoes training at the Dave Hansen Guide School, which offers thorough, practical instruction in river safety and local ecology.

Hall of Fame
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Bryce Thornberry

Portland, OR
Years Guiding: 5

Bryce Thornberry

After working a corporate job for 10 years, Bryce decided to forgo working in stuffy offices and exchange it for the fresh air of Jackson Hole, and since then, he hasn’t looked back. Earning Senior Guide status, Bryce loves to spend the off-season touring the country in his RV, fishing, and jumping on any multi-day river trip he can. Bryce is quickly turning into a legend on the Snake, in 2021 he guided a whopping 375 trips–an all-time record for all guides and all companies! If you get Bryce as a guide, get ready to get wet, because he is known for convincing his rafters to jump in and join the Snake River Swim Team!

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Delaney Harrop

Walpole, MA
Years Guiding: 7

Delaney Harrop

Delaney first started guiding when she moved to Jackson on a whim and fell in love with the Snake. 6 years later, she is still tearing it up on Lunch Counter with 6 seasons of guiding under her belt and 3 seasons with the DH crew! Not to be outdone by the Snake, Delaney has rowed trips down the Grand Canyon and the Main Fork of Idaho’s Salmon River. Not to mention, she has the best Chaco tan in the valley to show for it! Like the rest of our superwomen guides, Delaney has forged new territory: she was a part of the first all-female officiating crew to work the D1 women’s NCAA college hockey championships in 2019 between Minnesota and Wisconsin. A great leader and inspiring outdoorswoman, we are lucky to have Delaney as a Senior Guide, and proud to roster a 50% female guide staff.  Go, Delaney!

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Brian Becerra

Jackson Hole, WY
Years Guiding: 4

Brian Becerra

After working his way from a wetsuit washer in middle school to office-staff in high school to finally a bonafide raft guide, Brian is heading into his 8th year with DH and 3rd year as a guide! Brian grew up right here in Jackson Hole and has spent the majority of his life on the river. Ask his seventh grade English teacher (who just happens to be an owner), and she will tell you Brian is one of the kindest, coolest cats she’s ever had the good fortune to teach. No surprise then that Brian is also working towards a Nursing Degree through Central Wyoming College. You can always count on Brian to keep you laughing with his contagious smile and sense of humor. Get ready to get wet and have a good time!

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Lauren Carlson

Fairmont, MN
Years Guiding: 1

Lauren Carlson

Originally from Fairmont Minnesota, Lauren is an outdoors gal through and through. Lauren graduated from St. Olaf College with a bachelors in biology and psychology with a concentration in neuroscience and–as if that wasn’t cool enough–is currently in grad school working towards a dual masters’ in social work and outdoor education! Lauren has a passion for the outdoors that would put even the most accomplished __ to shame! From tide-pooling to mountain biking to surfing to trail running, she does it all. On the off chance you might still be skeptical, Lauren can ski in 5 different ways (water, alpine, backcountry, XC skate, and XC classic), can identify any wild flower, and will travel coast-to-coast picking up any possible outdoor hobby she can. We count ourselves lucky Lauren found her way to us and can now add river guiding to her accomplished list! If you get Lauren as your guide, be sure to ask her about her secret sunset spots. But be warned…she’ll only tell those willing to join the Snake River Swim Team!

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Zach Williams

Gresham, OR
Years Guiding: 5

Zach Williams

Originally from Gresham, OR, Zach is back at DH for his 3rd season with us and 4th year as a river guide. Zach is an open-minded thrill seeker (the best combination, of course) and will try anything twice. After numerous inquiries, he would like to make it known that, unfortunately, he is not Casey from Yellowstone…though he did once give sunscreen to Usher’s kids so if that doesn’t qualify him for celebrity status, we don’t know what will! Zach graduated from the University of Portland with a degree in accounting and got into river guiding after making the realization that living life on the river seems a lot more fun than crunching numbers. Zach’s big advice to his rafters is to “never trust a guide”… but hopefully that advice doesn’t apply to us!

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Jacob Meidl

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Years Guiding: 4

Jacob Meidl

Born and raised in Wisconsin, Jacob came to JH to actually work on a dude ranch as a wrangler! However, he ran into a slight snag when he realized he knew nothing about horses and as you can guess, the wrangler career path didn’t quite pan out. Selfishly, we are thrilled it didn’t, because instead, Jacob became a float guide! Jacob is back at DH for his 2nd season with 3 years of guiding under his belt. Jacob graduated from the University of Stevens Point with a degree in History…which is fitting as he loves to do anything antiquated. If you get Jacob as a guide, ask him about his archery and black smithing hobbies…you might even be able to get him to give you a fencing lesson!

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Miles Richmond

Years Guiding: 1

Miles Richmond

Introducing…Miles Richmond! Miles graduated from UCLA with a master of science in mechanical engineering and a bachelors of science in aerospace engineering…we think it’s pretty safe to say this is one smart, hard-working dude. But, if you weren’t already convinced, Miles is a coauthor of not one…not two… but THREE journal papers on high temperature thermochemistry (say that five times fast)! Miles is also the latest addition to our Dave Hansen band…if you’re lucky enough to get him as your guide, ask him about his stories from 4 years in a jazz band! After rafting season, Miles plans to return to his family farm in the Dominican Republic, just when we thought this multifaceted guy couldn’t possibly get any cooler. Funnily enough, Miles followed his best friend from college here to Jackson Hole, who is actually fellow DH river guide, Jake Lynch! DH owes a huge debt to whatever circumstance brought Miles and Jake together…or should we just call it fate that brings the best of the best here to us at DH!

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Melissa Kussy

Jackson, WY
Years Guiding: 1

Melissa Kussy

A homegrown valley girl, Melissa is a DH day one. Melissa started with DH when she was in middle school, washing wetsuits and cleaning bathrooms. But, we all knew her calling lay beyond just wetsuits (though everyone knows wetsuit washing is an integral part to every rafting company!). Melissa made her way up to the office, and eventually, onto the river! Melissa spends her winters at Boise State University, where she is working towards a masters in Kinesiology for an eventual career in Athletic Training. When she’s not guiding, Melissa loves seeking out any live music festival–especially country, exploring the scenic areas of Jackson Hole, and finding any sort of river, lake, or creek to jump into. It will come as no surprise to learn that Melissa’s top bucket list item is to swim with whales and sharks…this girl was born to be on the water!

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Callie Lajza

Gainesville, Florida
Years Guiding: 6

Callie Lajza

Callie returns to the DH crew, eager for another stellar rafting season. Growing up in Gainesville, Florida, Callie attended college at the University of Central Florida and the College of William & Mary where she worked for a degree in Communications and Nonprofit Management. After a season on the Yellowstone River, she headed south to Jackson, eager to share her love of rafting with others. Callie is always down for a dance party or a yoga sesh and she’s a professional hula hooper who can always be found with a trusty pair of roller blades, ready for an adventure. You’re guaranteed a blast with Callie, everyone who rafts with her always comes back laughing, and of course, a little wet.

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Eagen Keeley

Madison, Wisconsin
Years Guiding: 2

Eagen Keeley

Eagen was destined to be a part of our DH crew after randomly rooming with one of our guides his first year in JH. Eagen started out as a shuttle driver, but got hooked on the guide life after rafting 280 miles of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Now, Eagen is back at DH and ready to take on the rapids! Eagen is a proud dog-dad to two adorable pups, Bemo and Chia, and is currently working on converting his 27ft school bus into an RV. Like most of the population in the valley, Eagen is an avid outdoorsman. In the winters, you can find him ripping up the back country or finding an endurance challenge to conquer (if you want to be amazed, ask him about the “Picnic” or the biking “Around the Block” challenge!). We are psyched to have Eagen on the river with us for his second season and can’t wait for you to see what he has to offer!

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Katy Flanagan

Jackson, WY
Years Guiding: 4

Katy Flanagan

Born and raised right here in the valley, Katy is a Jackson girl through and through. After graduating from the University of Denver with a degree in Geography, Katy actually started her whitewater rafting career in the front office of a rafting company in Denver. After realizing she wanted out from behind the desk, she made her way back to Jackson. Fast-forward to 2022 and she is going into her 7th year as a guide! Katy is the queen of karaoke and an avid traveler. She’s been to every single continent except for Antarctica and has even ski-nannied for quadruplets in Chile. We are thrilled to welcome Katy back for her second season with our crew!

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Emmie Gocke

Jackson Hole, WY
Years Guiding: 2

Emmie Gocke

Born and raised right here in JH, Emmie is back home after graduating from UPenn before heading to medical school in the fall! Ready to log some outdoor time before being glued to her laptop, she is excited to be back in the adventurous, outdoorsy environment of JH. If Emmie isn’t on the river, you can pretty much find her anywhere outside, including skiing, trail running, or even bow hunting! In addition to being an awesome river guide, Emmie has also worked as an EMT, medical assistant, ski coach, ranch hand, and as a free lance writer…whew! Emmie has also traveled all around the world, so if you get Emmie as your guide, be sure to ask her about her escapades in Ecuador or her adventures in Ireland!

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Alex Nelson

North Yarmouth, ME
Years Guiding: 19

Alex Nelson

With 19 seasons of guiding, you can say Alex has found his calling!  Originally from North Yarmouth, Maine, Alex got his degree in international studies at the University of Denver before finding his way to Jackson Hole. Alex is returning to DH for his 8th season, and he is one of our most experienced river runners. If you’re lucky enough to get him as a guide, ask him about the 21 different rivers he has guided on all over the world! Alex is always in search of adventure and usually migrates south for the winter, so ask him about his most recent travel to New Zealand or his past adventures in Honduras, Costa Rica, and Chile! If you can’t find Alex on the river, don’t worry, ‘cause he’s most likely on his way there.

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Madden Hart

Jackson Hole, WY
Years Guiding: 3

Madden Hart

A JH native, Madden is well-versed in the ways of the valley…and not just because he’s unicycled down Snow King Mountain before! Coming from a family of mountain guides, Madden decided to break free of the Hart family traditions and choose the river as his terrain. Madden is currently attending the University of Wyoming where, along with majoring in education, he dominates the ice rink as part of the university’s hockey team! Madden is back at DH for his 2nd season after deciding to hang up the shuttle van keys for a PFD. An avid hiker, skier, and climber, be sure to ask Madden about the many outdoor experiences he’s had…including climbing El Capitan in Yosemite! If you get Madden as a guide, get ready for a wild time, ‘cause he’s always down for an adventure!

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Nick Bahamonde

Berryville, VA
Years Guiding: 2

Nick Bahamonde

From a young age, Nick was destined to be a river guide. Nick first went rafting when he was 10 years old, right here on the Snake! Though he found it absolutely terrifying the first time, we are relieved he decided to give it another chance…and it’s clear he changed his mind! Nick decided last summer he wanted to spend his summers doing something fun outdoors and–despite his first experience–river guiding seemed to be the obvious choice after growing up next to the Shenandoah River in Virginia. An avid traveler, Nick has been to 46 out of the 50 states…bonus points if you can guess the four he hasn’t been to! Nick is also an All-American college football player playing for Ithaca College and if you ever see Nick without a hat on, be sure to snap a pic as evidence because that would be a first for us! After guiding on both the Shenandoah and Lower Yough, Nick returned to JH to give the Snake another try. We are lucky to welcome Nick to our team here at DH!

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Parker Shimpa

Fort Collins, CO
Years Guiding: 2

Parker Shimpa

Ever since taking a life-changing trip down the Cataract Canyon in Utah, Parker had his heart set on river guiding. Though he moved here for the Tetons, Parker is able to fulfill his calling on the Snake. A devoted climber, Parker has scaled all of the tallest mountains in Colorado (known as 14ers to the locals) and–in addition to many of the other peaks in the Teton range–has conquered the Grand twice! When Parker isn’t on the river or up 14,000 feet (which is rare) you can most likely find him practicing his talent of unicycling and juggling at the same time down at the boat house. If you get Parker as your guide, ask him about the time he spent in New Zealand as a farmer…yep, you heard us right! Parker has also played the guitar for years and we have tasked him with the very important work of getting a collective DH band going over the summer, so be on the lookout for our first company album.

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Jake Lynch

Modesto, CA
Years Guiding: 2

Jake Lynch

Originally from Modesto, CA, Jake graduated from UCLA with a degree in mechanical engineering! But, burnt out from solving math problems and staring at a computer screen, Jake decided to move to Jackson after he graduated, with the hopes of spending his time outdoors and free of textbooks. He crafted a fool-proof plan of being a snowboard instructor in the winters and a river guide in the summers, and so far, it’s worked out! When he’s not on the river, you can find Jake utilizing his wicked cooking skills, playing video games, surfing, or chatting about anything even remotely related to the Lord of the Rings. Jake is a self-proclaimed, semi-professional ping pong player and his main goal of the summer is to grow the “meanest stache on the Snake,” so if anyone has any advice on how to up his stache game, it would be greatly appreciated!

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Kevin Flueger

Minnesota
Years Guiding: 3

Kevin Flueger

Born and raised in Minnesota, Kevin’s obsession with river guiding started at an early age. As a little kid, he was apart of an outdoor education program which covered everything from rock climbing to kayaking and everything in between. In high school, he was asked to be a junior instructor to help lead outdoor trips, which unlocked his love for guiding! Kevin has been all over the world, from canoeing in Boundary Water, to hiking in the Redwoods and Yosemite, to sea kayaking in Belize! After living the van life in New Zealand for 10 months, Kevin decided to come put his guide skills to work with us at DH and is now back for his second season!

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Vlad Dandu

Romania
Years Guiding: 4

Vlad Dandu

Vlad is the definition of free spirit. Vlad was born in Romania to a part gypsy family where his love for traveling the world was fostered! Growing up, he loved to hike and camp in the Carpathian mountains of Transylvania, which led to a severe addiction to the outdoors. After college, Vlad traveled to Mexico where he started his own climbing tour service in the Chiapas, then it was onto Moab, Utah, which began his river guiding days on the Colorado River. Eventually, Vlad made his way to Wyoming, where his fascination with birds, the nearby parks, and of course, the Snake River, has thankfully kept him rowing with DH for 3 awesome seasons now. Vlad always keeps the guides entertained with his accordion skills and his love for writing poetry. If you get Vlad as a guide, ask him to recite a poem! Be ready for some fun because with Vlad, there’s never a dull moment!

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Ben Obertacz

Toledo, Ohio
Years Guiding: 6

Ben Obertacz

Originally from Toledo, Ohio, Ben has been with the DH crew for 7 awesome seasons! An avid outdoorsman, Ben spends his winters working at the local ski resort and his summers on the river. In his spare time, he loves hike, climb, and anything else that gets him outdoors. You’ll only find Ben inside for Wing Night at the Bird or when he’s purchasing very unnecessary river gear. Ben joined us originally as a shuttle driver and soon decided to hang up the van keys for a paddle! We are thrilled he chose to do so, as all of his rafters get off the boat happy and wanting more. If you get Ben as your guide, you’re sure to see plenty of wildlife spotted by Ben’s eagle eye!

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Eli Oakes

Spartanburg, SC
Years Guiding: 2

Eli Oakes

Originally from Spartanburg, SC, Eli graduated from Sewanee: the University of the South with a major in Environmental Arts and Humanities and a minor in the Theatre Arts, which creates for a pretty awesome river guide if you ask us! Eli first developed a passion for the outdoors while working for a company called Moondance Adventures–a travel agency that aims to expose kids and teens to the wonders of nature. Eli is a “Top Gun” enthusiast, so extra credit points if you’ve seen the second Top Gun movie already! Pretty fitting too, because in another life, Eli would 100% be a movie star performing all of her own stunts, just like Tom Cruise. Eli is back at DH for her third year with us and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have such an energetic person in our midst…seriously, her infectious energy will get you pumped for every rapid and craving more at the end!

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Jacie Chatham

Jackson Hole, WY
Years Guiding: 2

Jacie Chatham

A homegrown Jackson Hole kid, Jacie got her first hit on the Snake River’s Grand Canyon at the ripe old age of… 2. One might question her parents’ sanity, but bouncing on her mom’s lap with her dad behind the oars, Jacie sailed through Lunch Counter Rapid, hardly uttering a peep when doused with a wall of shockingly cold water. Every summer since would find her rafting with her mom, dad, and sis, chomping on cherries, playing in the mud, and studying river currents. At 11 Jacie started at DH washing wetsuits and cleaning bathrooms, all the while dreaming of teva tans, calloused hands, and wave trains. All these years later Jacie is at the helm behind the oars and thrilled to take people to her favorite place in the world. One last fun fact: Don’t challenge her to a foot-race—she’s cheetah-fast and will be running track at Willamette University next fall!

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Bud Chatham

Bay Area, CA
Years Guiding: 25

Bud Chatham

A proud owner of Dave Hansen Whitewater, Bud is a river guide extraordinaire. Born and raised in the Bay Area of California, he owes his love for rivers to his father, cousin, and uncle. In high school, Bud was lucky enough to spend 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.

With an impressive 15 years of guiding under his belt, Bud and his incredible, superwoman wife Kelly were lucky enough to spend a year working with Dave before taking the plunge and buying the company in 2003. 20 years later, Bud still yells out river commands in his sleep. Bud and Kelly feel eternal gratitude towards Dave and their goal is to keep DHWW thriving for yet another four decades. Oh, and if it’s not too greedy, they’d love for their two girls to be on the oars by the age of 15. Yes…child labor is illegal…but we think there are ways around it if they are your children 😉

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Ian Lynch

Ian Lynch

In Memoriam: We at Dave Hansen would like to memorialize our beloved Ian Lynch, a 10 year guide on the Snake and the Deerfield Rivers. In 2016, Ian passed away from a rare heart condition. Ian’s smile was his superpower; he brought light and laughter to the grouchiest and grumpiest among us. Kindness incarnate, Ian only brought good vibes to all he encountered–no matter who you were. From the youngest wetsuit washer employee, to Dave Hansen himself, Ian showered all with generosity and love. When he wasn’t getting people soaked on the river, you could find him at the local watering hole, cheering for his favorite New England sports teams. Ian spent his winters snowboarding and working at JHMR, spreading his joy. Ian was eclectic–he loved cooking, Tae Kwon Do, football, music, reading, and even writing poetry. We are all trying to live up to Ian! Ian loved entertaining his guests with cheesy jokes and encouraging them to jump in and have fun! No joke–if a customer happened to leave the office impatient, hot, or frustrated, guaranteed after spending a couple hours with Ian, he would come back high-fiving and loving life. Everyone who was lucky enough to know Ian felt uplifted simply by being in his presence.

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Eliza Merritt

Madison, WI
Years Guiding: 1

Eliza Merritt

Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Eliza was born a free spirit. Graduating from DePaul University with a degree in Spanish and Peace and Conflict studies, Eliza immediately took off to travel and find the coolest outdoor jobs possible. No surprise she ended up with us, right? Though this is her first year with Dave Hansen, Eliza has been all over the world backpacking, canoeing, and boating. Not only has she led trips in Wyoming, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, and Canada, but she also lived on a farm in Ecuador for a year! So cool, right?! Lucky for us, Eliza decided to follow her passion for the river and made her way to Dave Hansen. To quote Eliza, “Boating on the Snake is my favorite thing to do in Jackson, so I decided to get paid for it!” If you get Eliza as your guide, get ready for some extremely cool stories and lots of laughter!

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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