Kurt Sprenger works as a rafting and fishing guide for Great Northern over the summer. During the other months of the year, he sheds his life jacket and dons the title of Dr. Sprenger to go to work as the Musical Director of the Fort Worth Civic Orchestra and as first violinist of the Dallas Chamber Orchestra in Texas. While in Montana, Dr. Sprenger trades his concert violin for a fiddle and plays in Great Northern’s famous company band, Sloppy Sue and the Satisfiers.
Heather Bellings has been guiding rafts on the Middle Fork for many, many years. Currently, this tough lady works for the Whitefish Fire Department as a paramedic, so she can only guide part-time, which makes us sad because she’s awesome.
Katie Borgen has also been guiding for Great Northern for years, but took a hiatus to get a Master’s degree in nutrition and worked for several years in that field. She missed guiding so much she came back to work part time on the river and part time as a waitress at the Belton Chalet, so if you enjoyed your ride with Katie, swing by the Belton for dinner to see her again!
Ted Petersen may or may not have been guiding for ten years, nobody really keeps track anymore. He’s also one of the River School instructors, and he knows the water so well that there are rumors that he may be a reincarnated mermaid (mer-man). Ted has been called the Martha Stewart of the outdoor living world, and his dutch-oven cooking and fly-fishing skills are unrivaled.
Brett Korpela has been guiding on and off for thirteen seasons, although it is his first at Great Northern. Also a River School instructor, Korps spends his winters ski patrolling at Alta with his wife Marly, whom you may see working in Great Northern’s office. Korps’ dream is to one day be the first person to raft down the ski slopes of Alta, but until then he drives his personalized mobile home, the SportsmoKorps, searching for the perfect wave.
Ryan Crowe is from Tennessee and is an eighth-year raft guide. Before working for Great Northern, he guided trips for Outward Bound in Costa Rica. An avid rock climber and musician, Ryan’s favorite film is Vertical Limit and he’s quite fond of string instruments but could probably make music out of anything from his banjo to the screams of the people in his boat. Ryan sings and plays various instruments in Great Northern’s company band, Sloppy Sue and the Satisfiers.
Kevin McConnell, or “Kevón,” is a sixth-year rafting and fishing guide formerly of Maine and now a year-round resident of Whitefish or wherever his trailer is. A graduate of West Virginia University with a degree in Outdoor Education, Kevin is a ski instructor at Big Mountain in the wintertime. A sensitive soul, Kevin enjoys soft jazz and washing his ponytail.
Brad White is a part time guide back for this third year. When he’s not taking trips for Great Northern, he’s working at the Kettle House brewery in Missoula aiding in the creation of great beer. A former military man, Brad is still pressuring Kokatat to send him a full camouflage drysuit for maximum river secrecy.
Anna Carroll has been guiding on the Middle Fork for three years, and this is her first at Great Northern. This erudite guide is studying English literature and pre-veterinary sciences at Middlebury College in Vermont and enjoys quinoa, gender equality, and sleeping in her truck. A master horseback rider, she came in third place in this year’s bareback horse race at the Northwest Montana Fair & Rodeo.
Wilson Dippo is in his second year guiding for Great Northern, but has been guiding on the Middle Fork for three years. A resident of Utah and an almost-graduate (you can do it, Wilson!) of Bowdoin College in Maine, Wilson is also an ACA certified Level 4 kayak instructor and a dutch-oven cooking devil.
Greg Miller is a second year guide and ACA- certified Level 4 kayak instructor who attends St Lawrence University in New York. Although he’s from New Jersey, his broken down bus in West Glacier is his true home. Don’t let his seemingly passive demeanor fool you, Greg is a no-nonsense river-running machine who swims Class IV rapids for fun.
Heath Chisholm is a first year guide from Missoula who is currently a student at Boise State. Heath’s passions include Caboose breakfast burritos, Glacier Grill, and rafting, especially on dinner trips. If you’re lucky enough to be in Heath’s boat, don’t forget to ask to see his hat tan line.
Evan Combs is a first year guide from Colorado who now lives and attends college in Missoula. Evan’s favorite activity is rafting all day long and is actually in the process of composing a musical detailing his various experiences and insights on the river. Look out for “Rafting All Day Long” on Broadway soon, and ask Evan for a sneak peek if you’re lucky enough to be on his boat. He’s been called the Sondheim of the whitewater industry.
Brandon Crawford is a man of few words. Also in his first year at Great Northern, this Billings-born guide now lives and studies in Missoula and likes romantic comedies and long walks on the beach. Ladies, listen up.
Brett Cunningham, also a new guide, hails from the great state of Washington but now calls Arizona home. A connoisseur of wool hats and camp stove cooking, Brett can be seen guiding on the river or hitchhiking up and down Highway 2. Please pick him up if you see him, we’re worried about him.
Kurt Erbach is a new guide at Great Northern. A perpetual student, Kurt earned two bachelors’ degrees from Illinois State and University of Illinois and is now earning his Masters from University of Montana. Fondly known by his coworkers as the “Nutty Professor,” Kurt will enforce strict grammar rules on his boat at all times.
J Hamilton, a former Marine, is also at Great Northern for his first year. Despite his impressive military credentials, J is generally well-mannered – but if you call him Jesse, you may be taking an unexpected swim out of his boat!
Sarah Kaelin is a first year guide at Great Northern, and can also be found making reservations in the office. She attends Middlebury College in Vermont with her pal Anna. A true Midd kid, Sarah can be recognized by her outrageous Teva tan and her propensity for big fancy words. Her likes include gear boating, her backpack, and Grinnell Argilite; her dislikes include broken fingers and imprecise language.
Jenette Kloss, also a new guide, is going to be a senior at St Lawrence University in New York but lives in Minnesota, as is evidenced by her accent. Jenette is a master of outdoor living, having spent an entire semester living in a yurt in the Adirondack Mountains, which prepared her well for a summer of living on a broken down school bus, as many of the guides do. Don’t ask her how many times she showered over that semester.
Noah Williams is a new guide from Iowa who is studying Parks, Recreation, and Tourism at University of Montana. Noah can be recognized by his stylish sun hat and subsists entirely on rice and beans. And a daily Wandering Gringo burrito.
Will Varn is a first year guide. “Scarlett O’Hara,” as some call him, hails from Georgia; his sweet southern accent and dreamy smile are enough to woo any of the ladies on his boat. In his free time Will doubles as a caddy at the West Glacier Golf course, so if you like how he handles a boat, have him carry your clubs and he won’t steer you wrong on the river or on the green.
Josh Berreth, “Shwa,” is a rafting and fishing guide as well as one of Great Northern’s coordinators. Shwa grew up in North Dakota but now lives in a yurt in Columbia Falls where he, his wife (whom he met and married at Great Northern!), and his puppy make fancy pottery together. A trained firefighter and EMT who understands the importance of proper gear, Shwa wears his black stallion shirt whenever he coordinates so everyone knows he means business! Shwa’s strengths include flyfishing and the ancient Japanese art of Kandama.
Joe Gallagher has been guiding the Middle Fork for six years and is also a rafting coordinator. Joe’s main activity consists of running after or frantically looking for his rebellious new puppy and taking her rafting. When he’s not doing that, you can find him reading texts of Eastern philosophy. Joe is also a certified ESL instructor and plans to spend some time in the near future teaching English in Vietnam! If you’re in Joe’s boat, make sure to hold on to him tight going through the Bonecrusher rapids to make sure he doesn’t fall out.
Jordan Rork, Great Northern’s office manager, is back for her second season at the company. A native of southern California, she decided the beach was overrated and made her way up to the mountains of Glacier (fortunately for us!). You will most often see her going out of her way to assist someone, whether it be a coworker, customer, or even a plant.
Marly Korpela is working in Great Northern’s office for the first time this year but by the way she runs the place, you’d guess she’s been here for years. A graduate of Williams College, Marly also assists Kelsey in putting on Great Northern’s weddings. She lives in Alta in the winter with her husband Brett, who is one of our guides, and teaches music lessons in Salt Lake. Marly might have the largest collection of athletic dresses in the upper northwest, but we’ve never counted.
Maria Urann is back at Great Northern for her second season. A year-round resident of Whitefish, you can see her making reservations in the office or awesome sandwiches in the Caboose. Maria believes that twenty minutes of walking barefoot a day is good for the spirit!
Rylee Gallagher, also a second-season employee, is from Spokane and can be found assisting customers in the office, pressing panini in the Caboose, or playing fetch with a fluffy white dog. If you’re looking for the season’s latest fashions, look no further than Rylee. She’ll be attending University of Washington in the fall.
Mariah Alne is working in Great Northern’s office and caboose for her first season. A native of Butte, Montana, she now attends school in Missoula. She likes paddleboarding and dislikes biology.
Gillian Bovard is also first-year office staff, and is from Missoula but attends school in Boise. You can find her answering phones and emails in the office or making complicated coffee drinks in the Caboose. An accomplished former gymnast, Gillian loads all of our rafts single-handedly.
Cara McKee is also a first year at Great Northern who helps keep the office and Caboose running. A Salt Lake native, Cara goes to school in Missoula and loves outdoor recreation - hiking, kayaking, climbing, and more. She holds the illustrious title of Utah Seventh Grade Chess Champion, and remains one of the only office employees to have successfully made it down the whitewater in an inflatable kayak without flipping.
Sophie O’Brien towers in spirit if not in height. She is also a first year Caboose/office staff member going to school in Missoula, and she loves rock climbing and reading so much sometimes she reads while she climbs, elevating her knowledge and her altitude simultaneously.
Meg Lindberg is Great Northern’s chef and is the wizard behind the amazing food on all of our meal trips. Meg sources local organic food, much of it from her own garden, to create the impressive three-course meals your guides will cook up for you right on the side of the river if you’re on a full-day, overnight, or dinner trip. Meg credits the Universe for sending her inspiration for her recipes, and who has better taste than the Universe?
Gary Gladieux drives buses and shuttles for Great Northern, and nobody knows how long he’s been doing it for. We’re not even sure if we pay Gary; we think he runs shuttles and backs up trailers because he likes it so much. Some speculate that Gary secretly runs all of Great Northern.
Amy Ingraham is one of Great Northern’s bus/shuttle drivers, and she likes cats. I mean she really, really likes cats. Some other things go on in Amy’s life but mainly she likes cats.
Tiffany Shelton, formerly of Ohio and currently of Missoula, is another of our drivers. Even though this is her first year driving for a raft company, she can back up a trailer like nobody’s business.
Bernie Hindberg is the head housekeeper at the resort. A tough lady with a sweet spot for all the raft guides, Bernie has assumed the role of company mom. She keeps everybody in line and makes sure we feed and bathe ourselves. You can find Bernie running around the grounds keeping the cabins ship-shape and reminding the guides to wash behind their ears.
Theresa Light is a housekeeper at the resort, and also moonlights as a bouncer at a local bar – so she gets to spend her days and nights with the raft company! Theresa helps keep everything running smoothly with the cabins at Great Northern.
Mary Kentros, one of the Great Northern’s housekeepers, works hard keeping the cabins spotlessly clean for all of our guests. If you see Mary or any of the other housekeepers around the resort, give them a big thank you!
Qynn Ingraham is also a Great Northern groundskeeper and is the son of Amy the bus driver, but doesn’t share her affinity for all things feline. Qynn’s goal is to collect enough bottle caps to refloor his room and has about three, so toss him a few if you see him.
Bryce Callender is a groundskeeper at Great Northern Resort. Hailing from Columbia Falls, this is one fierce fifteen-year-old – his full beard attests to that. His hobbies include riding bulls on Thursday nights at the Blue Moon Rodeo and growing facial hair at two to three times the rate of every other man who works at the raft company.
Kelly Crowe guided on the Middle Fork for 15 years and is now a consultant and trainer for Great Northern. She has also been a guide on the famous Lochsa River in Idaho, and has even rafted the White Nile in Uganda. Running her ship with an iron fist, Kelly trains all of Great Northern’s guides, coordinates, is an EMT, and even manages to run two other jobs in the marketing world and with First Descents whitewater kayaking camps for cancer survivors. Kelly loves zombie movies and training new guides on oar frames.