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"It was the highlight of our vacation!"... Year after year, wave after wave, this is our most frequent compliment

THE DH CREW: The Best Guides On The River

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

Alex Nelson

Alex Nelson

Alex returns to Dave Hansen for his fourth season and brings along 13 seasons of guiding experience, making him one of our most excellent guides!

In search of a year-round sandle burn, Alex often makes like a bird and migrates south for the winter; most recently venturing to Honduras to guide on the Cangrejal. Alex’s grand adventures in guiding have also led him down rivers in Maine, Costa Rica, and New Zealand.

Hailing from North Yarmouth, Maine, Alex first moved out west to Denver to study international studies at the University of Denver.
He enjoys kayaking, skiing, hanging out with friends, exploring new places, and eating at Yankee Doodle. If he’s not on the river, he is most likely on his way there.

Alex encourages his guests to dress warm, have fun, and not stress!

Hunter Verde

Hunter Verde

Hunter is one of our senior guides and joins Dave Hansen for his seventh season! From Beaumont, Texas, Hunter attended Ole Miss where he studied political science.

Hunter is a volunteer Firefighter and EMT with Jackson Hole Fire EMS and just completed his first season as a ski patroller at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

In his free time, Hunter likes to kayak, ski, have cheeseburger picnics, and listen to Widespread Panic or Grateful Dead. He’s kayaked down the Grand Canyon and even taken a 10 day trip down the Karnali River in Nepal.

If he’s not on the river, you can find him at the Stage Coach Bar and Grill, ‘kicking it with the sons’, or maintaining his handlebar mustache.

Hunter encourages his rafters to relax and enjoy the ride!

Billy Klabunde

Billy Klabunde

This is Billy’s second season with Dave Hansen. He has nine years of guiding experience and is trained in First Aid, CPR, Wilderness First Responder and Swiftwater Rescue. Billy’s from West Bend, WI and studied foresty at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point.

Billy enjoys fishing, snowboarding, disc golf, biking, camping, boating the 3 mile whitewater stretch of the Gros Ventre River and almost anything else that requires being in the great outdoors. If he’s not on the river, you can find him eating ‘buffalo tar- tar’ at The Local or trout hunting on Flat Creek

Billy loves telling jokes and making people laugh! He encourages his rafters to ‘slow it down’ and enjoy themselves!

Michele Phillips

Michele Phillips

This is Michele’s second summer with Dave Hansen! She decided to upgrade her shuttling skills to some mad paddling skills this summer, and we’re sure glad she did!

Michele is from Alexandria, VA and graduated from Notre Dame in 2016 with a degree in business/IT management. She played lacrosse in college, but when she was asked to turn pro, she politely told them that her true calling was to be a river guide. A lover of all things Notre Dame, the fighting Irish is in her blood! Her favorite holiday is St. Patrick’s Day (obviously), in which she gets to wear her favorite color (green) and say “Go Irish!” all day long.

When she’s not on the river, Michele enjoys playing and coaching lacrosse, sailing, hiking, skiing and spending time with her Portuguese Water Dog, Oreo.

Michele wants to remind her rafters to enjoy their time on the river and to not worry about getting wet! She also says that if you are a Notre Dame alum, she’ll give you free cookies and high-fives!

Jess Freeze

Jess Freeze

Jess is joining Dave Hansen for her fifth season! She has four years of guiding experience and a Wildlife First Aid certification under her belt.

Originally from Jackson, WY, Jess recently graduated from the University of Colorado where she studied nursing and played on the soccer team.

If Jess isn’t on the river, you can find her on top of a mountain or on the soccer field. She loves hiking, camping, skiing, and eating at Local Restaurant and Bar.

Jess’s number one rule for rafters: if everyone swims in the river, she will too. If you’re in her raft, get ready to swim!

Jess Thirloway

Jess Thirloway

Jessica is excited to be back with DH for her second year on the Snake!

Her sun-worshiping-lizard habits formed in early childhood as she grew up in the high desert of Santa Fe, NM.   Always drawn to the outdoors, and a little parched by that time in her life, she decided to study Environmental Education and Sociology at The Evergreen State College in rainy, wet, misty Olympia, WA.

A lifetime learner, Jessica is thrilled to nerd out with you about trees, birds, rivers, the human body and almost any kind of nonsense, so please do not hold your questions back!  She especially loves being around children and facilitating learning through fun interactions with the natural world.  When not in Jackson Hole, Jessica travels the states in her 16′  trailer in search of great adventure.

If she is not on the river you can probably find her sunning on a rock, taking a hammock nap, hiking up to a mountain top or hanging low in a sweet canyon.

Casey Thomas

Casey Thomas

A recent transplant from the Yampa River Valley of Northwest Colorado, Casey moved to the Jackson area for bigger mountains and a bigger river. Bringing experience from countless river trips with friends, Casey joins Dave Hansen for his first season a river guide on the Snake.

Casey went to college at Roger Williams University and graduated with his B.A. in Graphic Design. After years of working as a designer in the outdoor industry, Casey decided the 9-5 desk job wasn’t for him and made a change to pursue a more active outdoor life.

When he’s not working Casey spends his time camping, skiing, fishing, hiking and enjoying everything the mountains have to offer and, of course, rafting for fun.

Nolan Jaenicke

Nolan Jaenicke

Nolan is back for his second season. He is a true midwest transplant from Traverse City, MI and studied international affairs at the University of Colorado- Boulder. During school he had the opportunity to study abroad in Valparaiso, Chile.

Following graduation, Nolan spent a year guiding in Colorado on the Roaring Fork and the Arkansas River. In addition to his years of guiding experience, Nolan is certified in CPR, First Aid, and Advanced Wilderness First Aid.

When Nolan isn’t on the river, you can find him dreaming about ski lines, mountain biking, climbing, hiking, or completing a ski tour in the Tetons; even a compound tib/fib fracture couldn’t stop him!

Nolan encourages his rafters to enjoy the time they have on the water because you never know when you will be out there again.

Chris Wendel

Chris Wendel

Chris came to Jackson Hole 6 years ago, after he decided to explore the west and move out of Misouri. This is his first year with Dave Hansen and third year as a guide on the Snake!
When he’s not on the river, you’ll likely find him roaming around Grand Teton, Yellowstone or the Wind River Range. Chris is passionate about hiking, fishing and glamping. In the off seasons,  Chris usually tries to find a nice warm spot to relax in the Southern Hemisphere.

Chris wants his guests to enjoy the river and not be shy; ask away. Chris knows where to go for awesome hikes, wildlife, or just a good bite to eat.

Maxwell McDaniel

Maxwell McDaniel

Also known as “Gator,” Maxwell grew up on the ocean in Florida, but now calls Colorado home. He has guided on rivers throughout Colorado and Costa Rica and is excited to be on the Snake River for his eighth season as a whitewater guide!

Maxwell loves to spend time packing, climbing and fishing in the mountains. He also enjoys traveling to tropical areas to dive and surf. For him, the farther away from civilization the better.

Maxwell earned his bachelors in wildlife biology at Colorado State and when he’s not guiding whitewater or teaching snowboarding he works in wildlife research.

If you spot Maxwell around town after a day on the river, he’s probably on his way to boogie at the Pink Garter.

Maxwell wants to remind his guests, “Flipping boats is a team effort, but the water is actually kind of wet…”

Cassie Elliott

Cassie Elliott

This is Cassie’s fourth season with Dave Hansen!

When she’s not guiding, Cassie enjoys rafting, kayaking, skiing, hiking, climbing, and  biking. Her favorite activities in Jackson include buffalo tipping (we do not endorse this!) and eating at Local.

During the winter, Cassie works as a ski instructor, travels and completes multi-day raft trips. This spring she rafted the Grand Canyon!

Orignially from West Virginia, Cassie attended The Art Institute of Colorado where she studied fashion retail management.

Cassie is always on the river, so we always know where to find her!

Riley Gardner

Riley Gardner

Riley was born and raised in California and moved to the Northwest in 2008 to study history at Gonzaga University. While there he began guiding on the rivers of Washington and Oregon.

After graduation Riley made the move to Jackson where he has been living and working for the past five years.

When he’s not guiding, Riley enjoys whitewater kayaking, mountain biking, surfing and snowboarding. During the winter, you can find him in the classroom where he works as a substitute teacher.

Riley has explored rivers all over North America and is trained in Wilderness First Responder and Swift Water Rescue. He loves being on the water and is excited about his first year guiding for Dave Hansen!

Sandy Feuer

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 second 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!

Patrick "River Ranger Rick" Campbell

Patrick "River Ranger Rick" Campbell

Patrick joins Dave Hansen for his second year of guiding.

Originally from Dallas, Texas (where the Cowboys are life) Patrick left the lone star state to attend Dartmouth College where he studied…a lot… of girls.

He likes to spend his summers on the water and his winters at Teton Village, tech-ing your skis (putting his Ivy League degree to good use). He enjoys snowboarding, hunting, golfing, mountain biking, and playing or coaching lacrosse. He loves shredding the pow, whether its white pow in the winter or brown pow in the summer #pow #sendit #gnar. In general, anywhere Patrick doesn’t get cell reception is where he likes to be!

If Patrick’s not on the water and his cell phone works, you can find him at the Bird for half price wing night, at the Local eating a chef’s burger, or at his house trying to do as little as possible.

Patrick encourages his rafters to jump in the river and to try out rowing the boat!

Tyler Thirloway

Tyler Thirloway

This will be Tyler’s fourth season at Dave Hansen. Although he calls Seattle, Washington home, he knows his way around the Snake.

During college, Tyler studied religion at the University of Puget Sound.

When Tyler isn’t on the river, he can be found running, biking, fly fishing, climbing, or eating at The Brew Pub. He also enjoys building bamboo- frame bikes.

When Tyler wants to get away, he travels in his 16-foot Sunrise trailer and escapes into the mountains.

Tyler loves to answer rafters’ “dumb questions”, so be sure to think of some good ones to ask!

Max Ley

Max Ley

Max joins Dave Hansen for his first year of guiding on the Snake. After guiding for three seasons in Alaska and Texas, he decided he needed to see what all the fuss was about in Jackson. Max is a Wilderness First Responder and is certified in CPR.

After studying environmental science at Texas State University, Max decided to move out west. It then took three years of living in Northern Arizona and exploring the southwest for Max to realize the shortage of waterways and fishing opportunities was a real issue.

When he isn’t on the river, you can find Max hiking in Grand Teton National Park, fishing, playing music, on the disc golf course or enjoying the frothy beverages of local breweries.

He encourages his guests to have fun, remain calm and ask questions.

Kaitlyn Quenon

Kaitlyn Quenon

Kaitlyn, who we like to call “Lady Gator,” joins Dave Hansen for her fourth season of guiding!

Kaitlyn is from Buena Vista, CO and has previously guided on the Arkansas and Poudre Rivers. She is also a certified Wilderness First Responder.

Kaitlyn attended Colorado State University where she studied music and Spanish. When it’s not river season, she likes to travel, teach ESL, and volunteer. Her other hobbies include kayaking, climbing, skiing, playing music and reading.

Her advice for getting out on the water or wilderness is know your limits, push your limits, get scared, and leave the environment better than you found it [ pack out some trash, the river gods will thank you 🙂 ]

Trevor McLaughlin

Trevor McLaughlin

Trevor is joining Dave Hansen for his second season, and being behind the oars is not new to him. He has four years of guiding experience on the Animas River in Durango, CO and the Payette River in Banks, ID.

From Natick, Massachusetts, Trevor grew up on a dog boarding kennel where he groomed and trained hunting dogs. Here he found a love for dogs and now owns a poodle.

Trevor likes to ski, fish, mountain bike, and be outside. You can find him eating at Sweetwater Restaurant, making his own whitewater guide paddles, oars and drift boat, or on the skating rink throwing some axels and spins.

With his guests, Trevor likes to talk about the ecology of the natural world. He has warned us that he has some games and jokes up his sleeve, so get ready!

Lily Shipley

Lily Shipley

Lily joins Dave Hansen for her sixthseason! With 5 years of guiding experience and certification in First Aid, Wildlife First Aid, and CPR, Lily is a pro.

An east coast transplant, Lily grew up in Brunswick, Maine. In college she studied health science and public health at Northwestern University. She went on to get her masters of education in science from Western Governors.

When Lily isn’t on the river, you can find her mountain biking, gardening, cooking, running, enjoying local music in town, eating at King Sushi, or spending time with her german shepherd, Ranger. Additionally she loves hiking to Table Mountain and Delta Lake. During the school year she teaches at Jackson Hole Middle School.

If you want to see wildlife, you’re in luck. Lily is one of very few guides that have seen both mountain lions and bears on her tours. Lily encourages her rafters to ride the bull, trust their guides, and of course, WEAR SUNSCREEN!!

Bud Chatham

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 14 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.