Our Guides

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!

Director of Fun Ben Costello

Ben is from Gunnison, CO. He received a degree in Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism from Colorado State University in 2003. This is his 14th 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

Ben Costello – Director of Fun

Raft Guide Melissa Matsunaka

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 15th 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

Melissa Matsunaka

Raft Guide Matt Troyanek

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 15th 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

Matt Troyanek

Raft Guide Bryan Holman

Bryan was born in Texas and raised in Georgia & Missouri by his parents Bob & Linda. After his service in the US Army, Bryan moved to Crested Butte, CO where he first became a whitewater rafting guide. Bryan has been a professional guide on the Taylor and Cache la Poudre Rivers for 12 years. When not rafting, Bryan enjoys skiing, snowmobiling and cooking up great ribs and fish tacos. Bryan is swiftwater rescue trained and was named Guide of the Year in 2010.

“Our guide Bryan is a very experienced rafter and great fun.” -Tom, Fort Collins

Bryan Holman

Raft Guide Craig Blackard

A native of Denver, Craig recently earned his Masters Degree in music from Colorado State University. In 2008 Craig graduated from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado with a Bachelor of Arts degree. During his time in Durango, Craig worked as an EMT for the Purgatory Ski Patrol. This is Craig’s 13th season as a professional guide. During the winter, he enjoys backcountry Snowboarding and park riding. Craig is also trained in Swiftwater Rescue.

“Craig made us feel completely confident – we felt he really knew what he was doing and trusted his directions.” – Marcia, Omaha

Craig Blackard

Raft Guide Forest Greenough

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

Forest Greenough

Raft Guide Joshe Randall

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 7th year as a professional raft guide with Mountain Whitewater Descents and his 4th 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

Josh Randall

Raft Guide Andrew Deming

Andrew is a native of Fort Collins, Colorado. This is his 7th 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

Andrew Deming


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 7th 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

Tracey Lipfert

Raft Guide Kevin Gosselin

Kevin has lived most of his life in Denver and Grand Junction, Colorado. Kevin recently earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a certificate in Biomedical Engineering from Colorado State University. When not rafting, Kevin can be seen racing his bikes, backpacking, camping, and climbing 14ers. This is Kevin’s 7th season as a guide for Mountain Whitewater Descents. Kevin is an EMT and is also trained in Swiftwater Rescue.

Kevin was a great guide. He let us do some surfing & did a great job getting us through the rapids. – Ted, Indiana

Kevin Gosselin

Raft Guide Casey Batezel

Casey is originally from San Antonio, TX but has lived in Colorado for most of his life. Casey is currently a Photo Journalism student at the University of Missouri. This is his 5th year as a river guide for Mountain Whitewater Descents. In his spare time, Casey also enjoys backpacking, climbing and distance cycling. His future plans include pursing a career in action photography. Casey is trained in Swiftwater rescue, Wilderness First Aid.

“Casey was very engaging throughout the trip and made the experience fun for all! – Josh, TX

Casey Batezel

Mountain Whitewater Descents raft guide Nate Bell.

Nate is originally from Annapolis, MD. This is his 5th 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

Nate Bell

Raft Guide Jordan Levine

Jordan is another Fort Collins native working here at Mountain Whitewater Descents. Growing up in the area allowed Jordan to gain a great love for the Poudre River. Jordan has a degree from Michigan State University a in Business Hospitality with a minor in Spanish. This is Jordan’s 5th year as a commercial river guide for MWD. In her spare time, Jordan enjoys hiking, boating with friends and spending time in the outdoors. Jordan is Swiftwater rescue trained.

“Jordan did an excellent job of keeping us comfortable and safe!” – Mike, WY

Jordan Levine

Raft Guide Drew Mangus

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 11th year as a commercial guide and 5th on the Cach 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

Drew Mangus


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 5th 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

Cass Eriksen

Raft Guide Kemper Stevens

Kemper is a native of Fort Collins, Colorado. This will be Kemper’s fifth year with Mountain Whitewater Descents, however, he has been guiding both commercially and privately for 14 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

Kemper Stephens

Raft Guide Forrest Carr.

Forrest is a native of beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado. This is his sixth season as a raft guide for Mountain Whitewater Descents on the Cache la Poudre River. When not on the river, Forrest can be found spending time with his wife and two beautiful daughters. He also enjoys the Colorado Rocky Mountains through snowboarding, camping and hiking. He is also trained as a Swiftwater Rescue Technician and Emergency Medical Technician.

“Forrest was a great guide” -Anonymous, August 2012

Forrest Carr

Raft Guide Jeremy Patterson.

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 third season with Mountain Whitewater Descents and is eighth 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

Jeremy Patterson

Mountian Whitewater Descents raft guide Jed Policky.

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 13 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

Jed Policky

Mountaain Whitewater Descents raft guide Keir Scott.

Keir is one of the newest members to the Mountain Whitewater Descents team, although he has been guiding professionally for 19 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

Keir Scott

Mountian Whitewater Descents raft guide Amanda White.

Amanda is originally from Michigan. This is her third year as a professional raft guide on the Arkansas and Poudre Rivers and her second year working as an office technician for Mountain Whitewater Descents. Amanda is currently a student at Colorado State University where she majors in Geology. When not rafting, Amanda can be found hiking in the Rocky Mountains. Amanda is also trained in swiftwater rescue.

“Very exciting. The raft guide was very experienced and you could tell she knew the river very well.” -Sherry, Denver

Amanda White

Raft Guide Donny MacLaughlin.

Donny was born in Fort Collins, Colorado but grew up in Pocatello, ID. Donny is a current student at Colorado State University, where he is studying Natural Resources Recreation and Tourism and plays on the Inline Hockey team. When not on the river you can find Donny cliff-jumping, snowboarding, fishing and enjoying live music. This is his third year with Mountain Whitewater Descents. Donny is Swiftwater 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

Donny MacLaughlin

Raft Guide Walter Polinski.

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 a local 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 third year with Mountain Whitewater Descents. Walter is also Swiftwater Rescue trained.

“Our guide Wally was GREAT!.” -Anonymous, July 2012

Walter Polinski

Raft Guide Kevin Cope.

Kevin is originally from Fort Collins, Colorado. Other than being a raft guide for Mountain Whitewater Descents, Kevin is also an avid skateboarder and enjoys riding bikes. He is fluent in Spanish and was able to use those skills while trekking 500+ miles across Spain. This is his third season as a guide on the Poudre River with Mountain Whitewater Descents. Kevin is trained as an Emergency Medical Tecnician and as a Wilderness First Responder.

“Kevin and staff were friendly and professional.” -Anonymous, July 2012

Kevin Cope

Raft Guide Mike Garneau.

Mike is originally from Stratham, New Hampshire. He is currently attending Colorado State University where he studies construction management. This is his third 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

Mike Garneau

Office Staff Laura Loretz

Laura is originally from Lancaster, PA. This is her 7th year as an office technician at Mountain Whitewater Descents and her third season as a Standup Paddleboard guide. Laura has a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and a Masters in Education form University of Northern Colorado. 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.

“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

Laura Loretz

Owner & Raft Guide Lindsey Modesitt

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 definately recommend to others and be back ourselves.” – Amy, IA

Lindsey Modesitt

Staff Ella Modesitt

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.”

Ella Modesitt – The Big Boss

The "little boss" dreaming of the river.

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).

Chase Modesitt – The little Boss

Owner & Raft Guide Brad Modesitt

Brad Modesitt is from Michigan but has lived in Colorado most of his life. This is his 19th 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

Brad Modesitt – Chief Entertainment Officer