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 Gunnison, CO. He received a degree in Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism from Colorado State University in 2003. This is his 15th year guiding on the Poudre River for MWD. Ben is MWD’s Director of Fun and has over 10,000 river miles. In his spare time Ben likes to hike, ski, mountain bike, see live music and hang out 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 has earned a degree in Natural Resource Management from Colorado State University and a Law Degree from University of Colorado. When she’s not working, she can be found outdoors hiking, walking her dog, skiing, golfing, or mountain biking. This will be her 16th year guiding rafts on the Poudre River. She is a Swiftwater Rescue Technician. She 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 16th 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 8th year as a professional raft guide with Mountain Whitewater Descents and his 5th year as a safety boater. In his spare time, he enjoys snowboarding, traveling, watching live music, hiking and camping in the backcountry with his dog Casey. 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 8th year as a professional raft guide for for Mountain Whitewater Descents on the Cache la Poudre River. Andrew is also one of the professional photographers working with MWD. 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 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. Tracey went to school at Colorado State University where she received a Bachelor Degree in Sports Medicine and a Masters in Biomedical Sciences. In the off-season, she works as a Cardiovascular/Telemety Technician for Poudre Valley Health System. This will be her 8th season guiding rafts on the Poudre River. When she is not rafting, Tracey enjoys 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 6th year as a guide for MWD.
“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 6th season as a commercial guide for Mountain Whitewater Descents. 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 12th year as a commercial guide and 6th on the Cache la Poudre River. Drew is also trained in Swiftwater rescue and is one of the SUP instructors at MWD.
“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 6th 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 sixth year with Mountain Whitewater Descents, however, he has been guiding both commercially and privately for 15 years on the Cache la Poudre, North Platte and Colorado Rivers. In the off-season, Kemper can be found running the bottling line at Fort Collins Brewery. 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
Jeremy is from Atlanta, GA. He has a nursing degree from University of South Carolina and is currently working on a degree from Colorado State in Hydrogeology. This is his fourth season with Mountain Whitewater Descents and is 9th season as a commercial raft guide. When not rafting, Jeremy can be found playing guitar or snowboarding or learning to do both at once. Jeremy is also Swiftwater Rescue trained.
“Our guide, Jeremy, was funny and full of information about the area and he made it a total blast.” — Angela, Tulsa
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 14 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 is one of the newest members to the Mountain Whitewater Descents team, although he 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 4th year guiding rafts for Mountain Whitewater Descents. 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 4th year with Mountain Whitewater Descents. 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
Joe is originally from Iowa. He has been a raft guide for 9 seasons, working on the Arkansas, Eagle, Colorado, South Fork Payette, Gauley and New rivers. He has also worked as an outdoor recreation coordinator and graduate teaching assistant. Joe has both a B.S. in Environmental Science and a B.A. in Management and is currently working on his Masters Degree in Geography and Water Resources at the University of Wyoming. This is his second season working for Mountain Whitewater Descents. Joe is a Swiftwater Rescue Technician and an Emergency Medical Technician.
"I am not sure if you can ask for a guide when you sign up for a trip, but if you can, definitely ask for Joe. He is such a great guy and is so much fun on the river." — Mike, Kansas
Dan Fleishman grew up in New York City, but has now called Colorado home for 13 years. He earned a Master's degree in journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder and has worked for the past seven years as a substitute teacher in the local high schools, which has enabled him to raft and travel extensively. Dan is very excited to become a full-time high school English teacher this fall. When he's not rafting or teaching, he enjoys reading, hiking, skiing, bar trivia and competitive Scrabble. This is his 13th year as a guide on the Poudre. He is trained in swiftwater rescue.
“Totally worth it! These guys truly enjoy rafting and make it fun for you!” — Jimmy, Houston
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 7th season guiding for Mountain Whitewater Descents.
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. 2015 will be his second season as a full-time whitewater rafting guide at Mountain Whitewater Descents. 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 a is Leave No Trace instructor. This is Justin's second year as a whitewater guide on the Cache la Poudre River. Justin is a student at Colorado State University and is working on a degree in Natural Resource, Recreation and Tourism. 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 Descents. 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
Laura is originally from Lancaster, PA. This is her 8th year in the office at Mountain Whitewater Descents, her fourth season as a Standup Paddleboard guide, and second season as a raft guide. Laura has a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and a Masters in Education form University of Northern Colorado. In the off-season, she works as a PE teacher. When not in the office, you can find her riding her bike, running, and taking road trips. Check out our blog to read about Laura's bike trip from Wyoming up to the Pacific North West. Laura is also trained in Swiftwater Rescue.
“Stand up paddleboarding is new to me and Laura made me feel very comfortable. She was friendly, knowledgable, and her spirit brought a sense of fun and adventure to this day.” — Galynn, Fort Collins
Jonas is from Steamboat Springs, Colorado. He earned a B.S. in Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism from Colorado State University. Jonas enjoys following the season by rafting, kayaking, and fishing during the summer and skiing during the winter, while listening to Blue Grass year round. Jonas also teaches free-style skiing at Steamboat in the off-season. Jonas is a dual citizen holding citizenship in the U.S. and Denmark, where his mother lives. Jonas is Swiftwater Rescue trained and is a Wilderness First Responder.
"Our river experience was absolutely the best, thanks especially to our guide, Jonas... Jonas did a wonderful job of keeping us safe, with all of us yahooing and laughing all the way!" — Salena, Colorado
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 second full season as a professional whitewater rafting guide with Mountain Whitewater Descents. 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
Erin is a Colorado native from the City of Gunnison. She is a current student at Colorado State University studying Food Science and Human Nutrition with future plans to pursue a Masters Degree in sports physiology. Erin works in the Campus Recreation Department as a climbing wall and outdoor trip assistant. In her spare time, Erin enjoys running, skiing, rock climbing and watching live theater (Shakespeare is her favorite). Erin is a Wilderness First Responder and is trained in Swiftwater Rescue.
"We loved our guide, Erin (our rafting minja). At a commanding 4'9", she is/was a total BOSS! Super knowledgeable, strong, funny, encouraging. She is great." — Cindy, Fort Collins
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. Bobby's current off-season job is working as a taxidermist. This is his second 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
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 20th 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 his canoeing to New Orleans and then bicycling to Chile.
“Brad made the trip educational and enjoyable.” — John, TX