STAFF - “Our Guides Make the Difference”
We are proud to have the best staff in Northern Colorado!
Let’s get to know the folks at Mountain Whitewater Descents!
Ben Costello — Director of Fun
Ben is from the small mountain town of Gunnison, CO. He has been guiding on the Poudre River for the past 16 years, all with Mountain Whitewater. In 2003, he earned a degree in Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism from Colorado State University. Ben is the Director of Fun at Mountain Whitewater and has over 12,000 river miles. In his spare time Ben likes to hike, ski, mountain bike, enjoy live music and spend time with his dogs JoJo and Sonny. He is a Swiftwater Rescue Technician and a Wilderness First Responder. Ben was also named guide of the year in 2002.
“Ben is highly suggested…More fun than we could have imagined.” — Jim, TX
Melissa grew up in Loveland, CO. She earned a B.S. degree in Natural Resource Management from Colorado State University and a Law Degree from University of Colorado. During the off-season her passion for rivers leads her to travel to new and different rivers across the country. When not rafting, she can be found walking her dogs, skiing or playing golf. 2016 marks Melissa's 17th year as a professional raft guide on the Poudre River, making her the longest tenured, full-time guide on the river. She is a Swiftwater Rescue Technician and was named Guide of the Year in 2008.
“Our guide Melissa made the trip more than just a ride down the river! She made it extremely entertaining with her excellent sense of humor and her knowledge of the river.” — Chris, Denver
Matt comes from Duluth, MN. He now finds his home in Laramie, WY where he became addicted to rafting in 1995. His diverse passion for helping others to have fun in the outdoors includes training international mountaineering guides and mentoring youth in outdoor ministry. Matt’s safety training in Swiftwater Rescue and EMT-B, compliment his Business degree from the University of Wyoming. This is Matt's 17th year as whitewater guide on the Poudre and North Platte Rivers.
“Our guide, Matt, was fabulous. Everybody else treated us very professionally while still ensuring we had a great time!” — Alex, MN
A native of Washington State, Forest moved to Colorado in 1999 for graduate school. Forest’s “other job” is Professor of Double Bass and Music Theory at CSU in Fort Collins, where he has worked since 2005—not coincidentally, the same amount of time he has been a professional river guide and kayak instructor on both the Arkansas and Poudre rivers. When he isn’t guiding, kayaking, mountain biking, or enjoying the spectacular Colorado backcountry on his splitboard, Forest performs frequent classical and jazz shows around the state and country, and occasionally overseas.
“Our guide, Forest G. was awesome.” — The Beene Family, Texas
Josh is originally from Mobile, Alabama. In the off-season, he builds custom homes in the Red Feather Lakes area of Northern Colorado and enjoys spending time raising chickens. This will be Josh’s 9th year as a professional raft guide with Mountain Whitewater and his 6th year as a safety boater. In his spare time, he enjoys snowboarding, traveling, watching live music, hiking and camping in the backcountry with his dogs Barley and Rogue. Josh is also trained in Swiftwater rescue.
“Josh was informative and fun. It's an adventure I won't forget.” — Amy, Colorado
Andrew is a native of Fort Collins, Colorado. This is his 9th year as a professional raft guide for Mountain Whitewater on the Cache La Poudre River. Andrew is also one of the professional photographers working with Mountain Whitewater. In the off-season he works as an adventure photographer in the ski industry. In his spare time, Andrew enjoys playing videogames, watching movies, going rafting with friends and trying new outdoor sports. Andrew is a Wilderness First Responder and has been trained in Swiftwater Rescue.
“We have an awesome whitewater rafting experience! Andrew was our guide and he was great!” — Lori, IN
Tracey is from Littleton, Colorado. She went to school at Colorado State University where she received a Bachelor Degree in Sports Medicine and a Masters in Biomedical Sciences. She also recently earned a Master's in Public Health from the Colorado School of Public Health. In the off-season, Tracey works as a CPR instructor. This will be her 9th season guiding rafts on the Poudre River. When she is not rafting, Tracey enjoys running, backpacking, skiing, cycling, bird watching. Tracey is an Emergency Medical Technician and has been trained in Swiftwater Rescue.
“...really enjoyed Tracy. She did a good job getting to know everyone on the boat.” — Bill, Omaha
Originally from Texas, Casey has called Colorado home for most of his life. Casey graduated from the University of Missouri in 2013 with a degree in Photojournalism and is passionate about pursuing people and their stories. He is also on staff with a local church and loves spending time with close friends and adventuring outside. Casey worked as a firefighter in Missouri and is trained in Swiftwater Rescue, Rope Rescue, and as a W-EMT. This is his 7th year as a guide for Mountain Whitewater.
“Casey was very engaging throughout the trip and made the experience fun for all! — Josh, TX
Nate is originally from Annapolis, MD. This is his 7th season as a commercial guide for Mountain Whitewater. In the off-season, Nate works as a bar tender in Old Town Fort Collins. In his spare time, he enjoys woodworking, making furniture and making custom wooden paddles. He is also an avid rugby player. Nate’s future plans include rafting all of the major rivers in the Western United States. Nate is a Swiftwater Rescue Technician and a Wilderness First Responder.
“Nate was very informative throughout the rafting about the different places on the river...we had a blast.” — Mendez Family, MO
Drew grew up near Yellowstone National Park in Cody, Wyoming. He has a degree in Business Management from the University of Wyoming. When not rafting, Drew can be found fly fishing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, snowboarding or traveling. His favorite trip so far has been rafting in New Zealand. This is his 13th year as a commercial guide and 7th on the Cache La Poudre River. Drew is also trained in Swiftwater rescue and is one of the Standup Paddleboard instructors at Mountain Whitewater.
“Drew was very knowledgeable about the river and the area. We felt completely confident with him!” — Rochelle, IL
Cass is originally form Fort Collins, CO. She is currently working at a Kidney Center as a Dialysis Technician and is pursuing a career in nursing. This is her 7th year as a commercial river guide on the Poudre River. When not working, she can be found riding her bike, hiking, snowboarding and enjoying music. Her future plans include traveling and volunteering with non-profit organizations. Cass is a Wilderness First Responder and is Swiftwater rescue trained.
“My guide, Cass, was beyond compare. I will be planning all future trips around her availability.” — Darren, Colorado
Kemper is a native of Fort Collins, Colorado. This will be Kemper's 7th year with Mountain Whitewater, however, he has been guiding both commercially and privately for 16 years on the Cache La Poudre, North Platte and Colorado Rivers. In the off-season, Kemper can be found working in the packaging department at Odell Brewing Company. He is an artist who enjoys traveling, SCUBA diving and caving. Kemper is also Swiftwater rescue trained.
“Kemper was an encouraging and knowledgeable guide.” — Jennifer, IL
Jed is from Lincoln, Nebraska. He graduated in 2003 from Colorado State University with a degree in Natural Resources Recreation and Tourism. Jed has been guiding rafts for 15 years on the Poudre and Arkansas rivers. He enjoys playing guitar, rock climbing and snowboarding in the Colorado backcountry. When not rafting, Jed can be found working in the Solar Power industry or finding his next adventure traveling the globe.
"Jed was our experienced, confident and fun guide. He did a great job..." — Sarah, Colorado
Keir has been guiding professionally for 20 year on the Arkansas, Clear Creak, Salt, Gauley, Gila, South Platte and Poudre Rivers. He is from Hollywood, CA and has a Political Science degree from UC San Diego and an Associate Degree in nursing from Trinidad State. He is a swiftwater rescue technician and is trained as a wilderness EMT.
"Keir was our guide and was excellent. Calm and experienced." — M, South Carolina
Donny was born in Fort Collins, Colorado but grew up in Pocatello, ID. Donny is a graduate of Colorado State University, where he earned a degree in Natural Resource Recreation & Tourism. When not on the river you can find Donny hangin' with friends, fishing, and snowboarding. This is his 5th year guiding rafts for Mountain Whitewater. Donny is Swiftwater rescue trained and was voted Rookie of the Year in 2012.
"Donny was a great guide, your whole team was fun and made it safe, and made me relax and not stress out since it was my first time." — Anonymous, August 2012
Walter is originally from Spring Grove, Illinois. When not working on the river you can find Walter enjoying rock climbing, snowboarding or any other outdoor sport. He is currently teaching Algebra and Geometry at Northglenn High School. His future plans include continuing his career as a high school math teacher and to become a baseball or soccer coach. This is his 5th year with Mountain Whitewater. Walter is also Swiftwater Rescue trained.
"Our guide Wally was GREAT!" — Anonymous, July 2012
Mike is originally from Stratham, New Hampshire. He is currently attending Colorado State University where he studies construction management. This is his 4th season guiding the Cache la Poudre River with Mountain Whitewater Descents. When not on the river you can find Mike skiing, hiking or wake boarding. Mike is also preparing to take over the world, or at least travel it for now. He is also trained in Swiftwater Rescue.
"Our Guide, Mike, was great - it was my 50th Birthday experience from my family - and Mike helped a very scared of the water lady enjoy the trip!" — Anonymous, August 2012
Dan Fleishman grew up in the concrete jungle of New York City, but moved to Colorado in 2002. He's been guiding professionally ever since -- 14 summers on the Poudre and other rivers in the state. For the past decade, while slowly searching for a suitable career, Dan has traveled and rafted around the U.S. and world, including six raft trips through the Grand Canyon. He has a B.A. in English and an M.A. in journalism and welcomes any (non-rafting) job offers. He also enjoys reading, hiking, skiing, bar trivia and competitive Scrabble. He is trained in swiftwater rescue.
Dan was an awesome raft guide and had so much can fun!! — Ashley, Milwaukee
Kevin is from Denver, CO. He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University and worked a few years as an engineer before switching careers to emergency response services. Kevin now works full-time as a firefighter in Northern Colorado. When Kevin is not at work, he likes to travel, attend concerts and community events, and enjoys hiking, backpacking, rafting, fly fishing, and biking. Kevin is an emergency medical technician and is trained in Swiftwater rescue. This is his 8th season guiding for Mountain Whitewater.
Our guide, Kevin G. was awesome! We had so much fun, but felt safe and in good hands the whole time. — Anonymous, Fort Collins
Ryan is originally from Atlanta, GA. 2016 will be his third season as a full-time whitewater rafting guide at Mountain Whitewater. Ryan is currently attending Colorado State University, pursuing a degree in Natural Resource Management with the goal of doing conservation work for the US Forest Service. He is always excited to share is passion for nature and the outdoors. When not on the river, Ryan enjoys snowboarding, hiking, fishing, and live music. Ryan is trained in Swiftwater Rescue.
"Our guide Ryan was patient and informative. Everyone in the raft was wet. He was friendly and knowledgeable about the river."
— Jodie, Wisconsin
Justin is an avid outdoor recreationist originally from Colorado Springs, CO. He is a rock climbing and ropes course guide, is Avalanche I & II trained and is Leave No Trace instructor. This is Justin's third year as a whitewater guide on the Cache La Poudre River. In the off-season, Justin works as an assistant buyer of outdoor gear for Sierra Trading Post. His future plans include becoming a life-long wilderness recreation guide and outdoor leader. Justin is a Wilderness First Responder and is trained in Swiftwater Rescue.
"Our guide, Justin, was informative and guided us through a very exciting trip." — Beverly, Fort Worth, TX
Aaron is a self-proclaimed "river rat" from Jasper, Arkansas. He has worked for canoe and raft outfitters on the Buffalo River in Arkansas since 2008 and this is his second year working as a professional guide for Mountain Whitewater. Aaron has an unmatched fervor and enthusiasm for being on the water, whether in a raft, canoe or kayak. Aaron is also an avid rock climber, is trained in Swiftwater Rescue and was named Rookie of the Year in 2014.
"Our guide, Aaron, made the trip fun and navigated well for us. We enjoyed the thrill of the rapids and felt safe the entire ride." — Sonia, Iowa
Killian is a US Citizen born in Frankfurt, Germany. He is currently attending American University in Washington, DC where he studies political science and is a member of the swim team. Killian has worked as a swimming coach and camp counselor for summer camps at Colorado State University. One of his favorite outdoor experiences was a bicycle trip from Fort Collins, CO to Seattle, WA where he camped along the way. This will be his third full season as a professional whitewater rafting guide with Mountain Whitewater. Killian is trained in Swiftwater Rescue.
"Killian was our guide...He was fun, informative, but always a professional with our safety in mind." — Linda, South Lake Taho, CA
Robert hails from Atlanta, Georgia. Currently, he is a student at Colorado State University pursuing a degree in Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism. Robert's favorite outdoor experiences include going to kayak camps while growing-up and a 70 mile hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail. Robert has an affinity for outdoor activity and plans to experience all that Colorado has to offer. This will be his second season as a professional whitewater guide. Robert is also Swiftwater Rescue trained.
"Our guide was very professional and passionate about what he does, but the environment was very relaxed and casual." — Anonymous
Bobby is originally from Shreveport, LA and has a B.A. in Communication from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LA. His love for the outdoors comes from fishing, camping and hunting in the woods of Louisiana and from camping along the Front Range of Colorado. Bobby's other interests include cooking, cycling, live music and his dog Buddy. In the off-season, he works for a gas fireplace company as a technician. This is his third year as a professional whitewater guide. Bobby is trained in Swiftwater Rescue.
"...we had Bobby as a guide. He was awesome! Great leader, professional, and acted immediately if there was any problem." — Jordyn, Denver
Jordan Levine grew up in Fort Collins. She got her BA in Hospitality Business from Michigan State University. Her hobbies include hiking, camping, drinking beer, traveling and spending time with her dogs, Barley and Rogue. She recently rowed a raft 280 miles through the Grand Canyon for the first time and can't wait to do it again. She started rafting in 2010 and took a brief hiatus but is excited to be back on the Poudre this year! Jordan is also trained in swiftwater rescue.
The company is so knowledgable and well trained and helpful. The guide we had was excellent. It is very intense and such a blast! — Robert, Ann Arbor
Lindsey is from Fort Collins, CO. She received her bachelor's degree from Colorado State University in Anatomy and Physiology. Lindsey fell in love with running rivers in the Marble Mountains of California in 1996. Lindsey is an EMT and has worked on several ambulances around Northern Colorado including Weld & Larimer Counties, Denver and Boulder. When not working she enjoys telemark skiing, surfing, kayaking, guitar, and the pitter-patter of little feet. She is a Swiftewater Rescue Technician.
“Our guide was super...we would definitely recommend to others and be back ourselves.” — Amy, IA
Ella Modesitt — The Big Boss
Ella is from Fort Collins, Colorado. She is a member of the Tadfish Rafting Team. She is also a member of the rookie guiding class of 2024. She is an avid skier and recently did her first blue run, Vagabond - Hmmmm. This year, she will be in first grade. When not at Mountain Whitewater she enjoys dancing, Elmo, river time, teaching her brother various life skills, skiing, goldfish and going "big."
"The raft guides were very pleasant and experienced. I would do it again with this outfit. Thanks!"
Chase Modesitt — The Little Boss
Chase is from Fort Collins, Colorado. He is the youngest member of the Mountain Whitewater Family. Chase is a member of the Guppy Rafting Team. When not working Chase enjoys balloons, bread, walking straight, cheerios, and being "so big." If you come rafting in 2026, Chase could be your guide (or kayak instructor).
"Staff went above and beyond to make sure that we had a great time. Always felt safe and yet had quite the run."
Brad Modesitt — Chief Entertainment Officer
Brad Modesitt is from Michigan but has lived in Colorado most of his life. This is his 21st year as a professional guide. Privately he has boated on four continents while pursuing his passion of traveling. He has over 22,000 river miles. He has been trained as an Emergency Medical Technician, Outdoor Emergency Care and Canyons River rescue Course. His favorite trip so far has been canoeing to New Orleans and then bicycling to Chile.
“Brad made the trip educational and enjoyable.” — John, TX