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  • Our Guides

PATRICK DRAKE | Co-Owner and Operator

Born in Glenwood Springs, Patrick has called this mountain town home since 1982.  He has always loved the outdoor opportunities here and has been active in his pursuits.  Patrick first started guiding for Blue Sky in 2002 as a college sophomore and has grown with the company since.  As a recreation and tourism major at Colorado State University, Patrick transitioned from raft guide to an internship and then to manager after his graduation from CSU in 2004.  In 2007, Patrick became co-owner of Blue Sky.  Since this time he has worked hard to grow the company while maintaining the best staff and providing the safest, most enjoyable rafting adventure possible.   Patrick became a father in 2009 and he and his wife, Isabel, are now raising their family here too.  Patrick’s kindness, sincerity, and passion are enjoyed by all.

 

GEOFF OLSON | Co-Owner and Operator

Geoff Olson, aka Free, the Onion, or Art Garfunkel, hails from San Francisco, CA.  At the age of 4, Geoff's family moved to England in the search of oil and gas.  After being crammed into a MG hatchback until the age of 18, Geoff headed back stateside where he attended college in Flagstaff, AZ.  In Flagstaff, multiple outdoor activities drew his interest until eventually, in 1993, he ended up in Glenwood Springs, CO.  Guiding for Blue Sky during the day and waiting tables at night, Geoff settled in Glenwood because of the people and activities that the community and valley provided.  He continued to manage Blue Sky until 2007, at which point, he became co-owner.  For the past five years, Geoff has made a point of making sure every customer has the best experience possible.  His personality is addictive and you can't help but laugh when he is around. 


GARY HANSEN | Founder

Starting in 1974, Gary founded Blue Sky Adventures, making it the first company in the Glenwood Springs area to offer commercially guided raft trips.  Gary has always stressed the importance of safety, service, and professionalism. He makes the relationship between guide and client the primary focus of every trip.  He was instrumental in working closely with the US Forest Service, CDOT, and other rafting companies to develop an award winning model for river running in the Glenwood Canyon. Today, you can find him running our sister company, Glenwood Canyon Rafting, and managing the Glenwood Canyon River Park take-out with his wife, Pat.

 

ERIN GILMING | Office Manager

 

Erin "E." Gilming, the rock of Blue Sky and Canyon Bikes office staff - there's no question that E couldn't answer. Erin is native to Glenwood Springs and has dedicated a whopping twelve years to running the show on and off the water. She has great hair.

 

CASEY DEFRATES | Bike and Boat Operational Manager and Rescue Technician

 

Casey is our Canyon Bike  and Blue Sky boathouse manager from Chicagoland. Long time EMT certified, Casey is the bike path rescue go-to. When Casey isn't kayaking class 6 rapids in his spare time he is a working as ski patrol at Snowmass Mountain or hanging with his two darling children.

 

ZACH NEAL | Canyon Bikes Manager

 

Zach is without a doubt Blue Sky's friendliest face and most helpful employee. As the king of all bikes, Mr. Neal can change a flat tire in under 2 seconds. Lost in the canyon? Want a ride to Hanging Lake? Need a bike seat adjustment? Call Zach Neal - the only time his phone is turned off is Tuesday because he's at Family Movie night.

JAKE MARTENSON | Guide Manager

Although he grew up canoeing in the streams and rivers of Virginia, Jake has adapted extremely well to the oars on the mighty Colorado. With a stern but fair attitude, he manages the boathouse and the Blue Sky family, with leadership skills carefully honed as a collegiate soccer captain at Rutgers' University. When he's not on the water, he's blowing up frozen water as a longtime ski patroller on Snowmass Mountain. 

 

KARLEE MUNSON | Guide

Originally from Chicago, IL, Karlee "LeeLee" Munson escaped the city and studied in Hawaii before her love for the outdoors drew her to Colorado.  In a boathouse full of males and their egos, LeeLee shows the boys how its done out on the river.  You'll probably hear her before you see her, and if you're lucky enough to ride on her boat be prepared to have an epic time on the river.

TIMMY CASHEL | Guide

Our most senior guide, TC or Madmartigan, is a genius graduate of the University of Hawaii and Don Quijote in Granada, Spain. For the most part Timmy is an impressive paddle guitar player and a wizard raft guide but most of his spare time is spent intricately studying ornithology. Timmy is quadrillingual - fluent in English, Spanish, Bird Calls and the current.

JOE BEVINS | Guide

Straight out of Glenwood Springs, Joe Bevins could raft and kayak before he could walk. Joe Bevins spent six years teaching English in Japan and came back to Blue Sky happily married and fluent in Japanese. Joe Bevins can roll a kayak in class five rapids in .3 seconds flat.

SEAN ANNETT | Guide

A true born mountain man, Sean Annett moved to Glenwood Springs from Watertown, South Dakota. He studied Outdoor Education at Colorado Mountain College and will proudly proclaim that he could take down a mountain lion with his bare hands and one oar, if he had too. 

HALEY PETERSON | Guide

Haley Peterson was born on The Colorado River right here in The Glenwood Canyon. After graduating from Colorado State, Haley traveled to Pokhara, Nepal to work as a warrior raft guide on multi-day trips - but not even wild horses could drag Haley away from The Mighty Colorado River. As one of Blue Sky's veteran guides Haley can now read the current in six languages.

 

SAM VAN ZANDT | Head of Photography

 

Blue Sky's head of photography, Sam Van Zandt takes a mean photo - her best shots come from the running man setting. Growing up north of Pittsburgh in Erie, Pennsylvania, Sam Van Zandt is practically an eskimo and spends her Winters being the greatest Alpine skier known to man. Sam Van Zandt has a calico cat and is always down to clown.

 

CALVIN CONKLIN | Guide

 

Calvin Conklin is an aborigine of Glenwood Springs. Cal-Dogg is easily dubbed Blue Sky's most enthusiastic, fanatical, and rhapsodic white water raft guide. It's a known fact that he does not sleep, at any point in time, because Calvin Conklin never abandons his post on The Mighty Colorado River. 

 

WYATT SMITH | Guide

 

Otherwise known as Gilligan, Wyatt makes the trek from his hometown, Eagle, Colorado as often as he can to hobnob around The Shoshone Rapids. Gilligan studies Paddle Guitar at Colorado Mountain College and aspires to be Jon Snow when he grows up. Wyatt Gilligan doesn't read books or the paper but he sure does read the current.

MAC BENNING | Guide

Mac Benning is a true Southern Belle from Atlanta, Georgia and spent his youth rafting with Blue Sky every summer vacation. Following his passion, Mac brought his whimsical spirit to Glenwood Springs, Colorado to become a rugged, tenacious, and bearded white water raft guide. Compassionate Mac is so well known for taking the best care of our Rookie guides every season that we made him a first year guide trainer!

 

RALEIGH GAMBINO | Guide

 

Deep in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia Raleigh Gambino discovered a passion for white water rafting that brought him to the Mighty Colorado River. With his escape from the deep wood of West Virginia, Raleigh discovered the video camera and chose to study Film (and minor in Watermelon Agriculture) in Denver.

 

ANDREW PIERCE | Guide

 

Andrew, a true Wizard on the River, was born and raised in the heart of Glenwood Springs and on a 16 foot, oar frame raft. Since he began his career as a professional raft guide in 2015, lovely Drewphus has become one with the Shoshone section of the Colorado River. Andrew loves his hat, sleeping on the ground in the woods, and playing some fruity guitar.

 

EMILY LEA | Guide

 

Emily "Tallie" Lea ventured to Glenwood Springs from Signal Mountain, Tennessee and became one with The Colorado River and The Glenwood Canyon almost instantaneously. At 6 foot 11 inches, Tallie navigates her boats like a boss all the while educating her guests all there is to know about the surrounding Geologic phenomena The Glenwood Canyon has to offer. 

 

AMANDA WRIGHT | Guide

 

Our most dedicated raft guide hails from the mighty mountains of Virginia. Amanda loves rocks, minerals, rubble, and the Earth's crust - ask her all about it in between her steely paddle commands. 

 

MIKE NORRIS | Guide

 

Michael "McNoodles" Norris is Blue Sky's one and only professional White Water Tube Guide. Mike Norris can single handedly pull over 16 tubers into a take out with his two webbed feet. When Norris isn't tubing he is swiftly guiding rafts through The Shoshone Rapids or racing for NASCAR.

 

SHANE WRIGHT | Guide

 

Shane Wright started out as Blue Sky's hired Sun Screen Applicator and has recently become our youngest raft guide. A native to Glenwood Springs, Shane Wright has become a savvy river expert and volunteers as ski patrol for Sunlight Mountain in the Winter.

 

JENNA BROWN | Guide

 

Jenna Brown grew up on the oars, floating around Glenwood Springs. When she isn't on the water, Jenna is playing soccer and eating hash browns! She sends The Shoshone Rapids with grace and elegance. 

 

CASEY ANDERSON | Guide

 

This firey read head grew up in the heart of Glenwood Springs. When shes not slinging dough for the greatest doughnut shop in town, Coloradough, Casey is  swiftly guiding Blue Sky rafts all over the Colorado River. Her favorite movie is Jurassic Park and she loves the water more than dinosaurs.

 

BRAD SNYDER | Guide

 

After moving to Glenwood Springs from Chicago, Illinois, Brad transferred from a fire ranger for The White River National Forest to become an exceptional Blue Sky raft guide. World travel is Brad's offseason passion and finding peace musing about Zen Buddhism. 

 

WINSTON GARTH | Guide

 

Winston Garth Vader loves space and star wars. He's from Chattanooga, Tennessee and came to Glenwood Springs when he heard the river calling his , name. Winston loves music, he can play the xylophone, triangle, paddle guitar, washboard, and recorder.

SAGE SMITH | Guide

Sage Bush Smith is easy to pick out because he's white as snow. Sage is a full time teacher of wilderness at Walking Mountain Science Center in his hometown Eagle, Colorado and a fantastic weekend warrior on the river. Ask him as many questions as you can about rock formations because he obtained a degree in geology from Gunnison and Western State University. 

DAKOTA SKY BECKER | Guide

Everyone this is Dakota and he likes water. From day one on the oars Dakota has been an impressive raft guide. Broda is a down to earth and clever Colorado native that Blue Sky is lucky to entrust through the Shoshone Rapids.

MATT LETCHER | Guide

Matt Letcher escaped the cold of Pittsburgh, PA to Colorado five years ago. In those five years Matt has become a very talented and confident oarsman that Blue Sky is proud to employ. It's a known fact that before starting his raft guide career with Blue Sky Matt Letcher single handedly took out a river shark, it's why we hired him.

NICK ROBINSON | Guide

Mr. Robinson made his way to the Roaring Fork Valley from upstate New York at 20 years old. From Snowmass lift ops to Blue Sky rafting down the Colorado River, Nick is extreme all around. Although he cannot read...he sure can talk so make sure you chat with him about his crazy Colorado adventures if you have the pleasure of riding Nick's boat!

HANNAH BEAZLEY | Guide

California Girl Hannah Beazley slays the Shoshone Rapids as a strong independent woman. Miss Beazley strongly commands eight paddlers all summer and eight big sled pups all winter, she spends her winter season as a sled dog tour guide in Snowmass. She writes a mean thesis as well.

CHRIS JORDAN | Guide

Chris Jordan is Blue Sky's most talented musician on the water, so ask him to sing a pretty song on the boat ride down river! When Chris Jordan and his pigtails aren't rafting with Blue Sky he is being a wizard of a bartender or jamming out with his 80's cover band, The Davenports. Also, Chris Jordan recommends his hair stylist, Sam Van Zandt, to all those repping luscious, long man locks.

Annemarie Lewis | Guide

Good old Annemarie knows more about water and rocks than most. She posts informative Podcasts on water conservation and freelance studies geology - so if you have any interesting nature questions Annemarie is a productive go to! But - if a joke is what you're looking for, unfortunately she cannot provide much humor, Anne's brain stores strictly facts. A raft trip with this girl will be as interesting as can be, jet packed with river tidbits and salsa dancing!