Expert Guides

You’ll be well taken care of. Our guides are the best in the business, all are trained in river and backcountry safety and first-aid. They’re all exciting individuals, experts in everything from rowing a rapid to sharing a good story. They take having fun seriously and will inform, entertain and engage you in a variety of ways. They’ll also show you their favorite places… a short walk up a side canyon to a private waterfall… a view from a cliff overlooking what seems to be the entire world… sleeping under the stars on a soft, sandy beach.

Our operations staff is seasoned and steadfast, a rarity among seasonal outfitting businesses. Our Director of operations manager Tim Gaylord has been with us for 36 years. Trip leader and Vernal operations manager Kerry Jones has been around Holiday for 32 years, and several of our trip leaders, like Tilts and Jessica, have been around for more than ten years!

Get to know our guides

Tim Gaylord

Director of Operations for Holiday River Expeditions since 1978

Tim is Holiday’s operations manager. He makes sure our trips run smooth, so your vacation is trouble-free.

Obviously, with 30 years of guiding and running our operations Tim knows what he’s doing and does it well.

When he’s not training guides, inspecting gear or chopping wood, Tim enjoys Utah’s great places on his mountain bike or skis with his wife, Vicky, and young adult children, Travis and Courtney. It’s hard to get Tim to sit in any one place for very long, so if you see him say “Hi” before he disappears into the warehouse and beyond!

Frogg Stewart

Owner, Holiday River of Idaho since 1972

I was born at the end of the war to end all wars, 1945, in Hermosa Beach, California. I spent my youth surfing, sailing, diving, and just playing around the beaches of California and Mexico. After graduating college with a degree in Zoology, I moved to Utah and found I could make the same money skiing as inspecting crops for insects and poisoning so the choice was basic — I became a professional ski patrolman and began river running in 1973. In 1979 I became a partner in Holiday and moved to Idaho and began running the Salmon river. I continue to manage Holiday’s Idaho operation. Winters I am back to my roots surfing and kayaking in Mexico.

Kerry Jones

Working for Holiday River Expeditions since 1982

My first rafting trip was with Holiday in 1979 through Westwater Canyon. In 1982, as soon as I was old enough, I began working for Holiday as a rookie. Along the way, I fell in love with free flowing rivers. Now I manage Holiday’s Vernal operations, so I can run the Yampa every spring. I also love to run the Main Salmon whenever I get a chance, but also enjoy getting out and guiding on any of our rafting or mountain biking trips. My wife, Tammy, and I also love being on the river with our kids, Topher and Baily, in our wooden dory the “Yampa.”

Kelly Dunham

Working for Holiday River Expeditions since 1984

Kelly Dunham Growing up in Green River was the ideal place to spend time outdoors. I had experienced much of the vast desert country from the ground and air so the water was an obvious choice for me. In 1984 I started guiding for Holiday. My plans were to work for one summer… (So much for that plan) Most recently you will find me at the Green River headquarters where I organize food, guides, and gear for trips. We are one big happy family at Holiday with a very diverse group of guides and guests. That, along with the challenges of organization, are what keep me returning for season after season.

Steve Wassmuth

Guiding for Holiday River of Idaho since 1983

When I hear someone mention that “Their life is going downhill” I think to myself “How lucky they must be! I wonder if they are talking about skiing or rafting?” Hi, I’m Steve Wassmuth from Grangeville, Idaho and I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world because I get to do what I enjoy pretty much 365 days out of the year. From September to June I spend the weekdays with twenty some nine and ten year old students in my classroom where I get to teach all subjects including Idaho State History. ON the weekends when there is snow I ski patrol at the local ski hill just out of town. When the snow begins to melt in the spring I get out of my kayak and play on the local rivers. I have really enjoyed having the opportunity of showing people the different rivers and all that goes with spending time in the outdoors. What could be better than spending my summers with people on vacation, who want to have a fun time, sleeping under the stars, swimming in the river, laying on the beach, eating wonderful meals, sitting around the camp fire, enjoying the wildlife, making new friends and reacquainting with old friends. Yes, I am a lucky man. Oh, did I mention dress up night and sand golf? I hope that Ill see you on the river someday and I’m sure that you will enjoy your life “as it goes downhill.”

Mike Wassmuth

Guiding for Holiday River of Idaho since 1983

Mike has been a licensed river guide since 1983. Spending as much time on the rivers as possible is a goal for each summer. Working full time for Agilent Technologies as a Thermographer and Failure Analysis Technician puts some restrictions on his river time, but he still gets out around forty days a year. Making new friends and sharing time on the water is what brings Mike back each year. When not guiding on the rivers, Mike spends much of his time fishing . His favorite trip is an October steelhead-fishing trip down the lower stretch of the Salmon River. In July you can find Mike fishing for small mouth bass on the Grande Ronde River in Washington. Growing up in Grangeville, Idaho exposed Mike to the wonderful outdoors, which he still enjoys very much. Some of Mike other hobbies include black powder hunting, basketball and GeoCaching and spending time with his family.

Peter Tilton, aka Tilts

Guiding for Holiday River Expeditions since 1987

Cataract Canyon is my favorite section of river. I love the power and complexity of the river, the beauty and grandeur of the canyon present a different experience each time through. I also love riding the White Rim and getting the “other perspective” of Canyonlands from high up.

Holiday’s “senior” guide my favorite part of the job is still providing and sharing a positive trip experience with new people. I’m originally from New Hampshire, but have been a rolling stone guiding rafting trips in West Virginia, Alaska and Zimbabwe on Holiday’s off-season.

In the winters I’m on the road with the US Ski Team coordinating race set-ups…the rest of my free time is spent on my recreational lifestyle — golfing, mountain biking, skiing, traveling and playing with good friends.

Kevin White, aka KW

Guiding for Holiday River Expeditions since 1981

I started guiding rivers for Holiday in 1981. Under the careful guidance and teachings from world class guides Dee and Sue Holladay, Mark O’Neil, Cliff Johnson, Winston Thomas, Toni Crumbo, Sherpa San Huie, Frogg Stewart, Bret Jameson, John Wood, and Tim Gaylord, I was shaped and molded from a rookie to a company leader. Working for Holiday isn’t just about running rivers from point A to B. There is a constant thread of compassion and respect for the river, the canyons, environment, history and humanity that is worked into a well oiled machine of a company that helped me go from an arrogant and cocky California surfer kid to a professional white water guide and Holiday company leader. Holiday River Expeditions is a family run business and when you become an employee for HRE, you become one of the family. My best friends and relations were made during my years working for HRE, and they are relationships I have had the privilege to share with my family as well. It’s difficult for me to choose my favorite river or canyon; it’s like asking to choose your favorite child, each one is beautiful and unique in their own way, but, I would have to say, that “front oar” on a triple-rig in Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River, in the 50′s or 60′s is one of the most thrilling experiences I have had…ever! After taking a 22 year hiatus to raise my two beautiful daughters and teach elementary school in Ojai, California, I am excited about working again this summer and many summers in the future. My wife Kathy, and my daughters Tristyne and Tuesde have had many river experiences in my wooden dory, the “Ojai”, I built in 2000, and we are always planning and looking forward to our next river trip, “…rivers running through our veins, rivers to us call…” I have been credited for being the first river guide to brave, Big Dog shorts in 82 or 83, thus ending the era of “short shorts” and Speedos; sorry JW, and I’ve been seen wearing all red, Big Dog shorts and Holiday Red,(my favorite color) T-Shirt, in fancy restaurants, in SLC, in August…visor and all. Come out and run a river with us. We’ll all have an experience of a life time. KW P’S…My photo is me on front oar, getting pounded by Pelican in #2 rapid, Cataract Canyon, Colorado River, circa 1984.

Tim Sattelmeier, aka TJ

Guiding for Holiday River Expeditions since 1994

My favorite part of each trip is sleeping by the side of the river in the canyons. This is the lure that draws me back to the river every spring. I grew up in a sleepy little resort town in Northern Michigan called Petoskey, went to university in Ann Arbor then wandered around before settling down in Utah. In the winters, I’m a writer and ski instructor at Park City Mountain Resort.

Dave Vernon, aka Vern

Guiding for Holiday River Expeditions since 1996

Coming from scenic Utah, it was easy to follow my family’s love of the wilderness. After spending six summers on the Snake River in Wyoming, I joined the Holiday crew in 1996. Every year I come back for the adventurous rapids, the quiet solitude of a desert sunrise, floating through the majestic cliff walls and the great people. When I am not on the river or trail, I teach at an alternative education school. If you ride on my raft, you might hear a joke or a story or two (maybe even a true one!).

Jessica Gardner

Guiding for Holiday River Expeditions since 2000

I grew up in the great state of Idaho where we are not known for our famous potatoes but for our Famous Whitewater, so when my friends heard I was going to boat in Utah they thought I was crazy, after my first San Juan trip I thought they were crazy. Having a little bit of experience and the desire to sleep under the stars as much as possible, Holiday River has helped me become the person I am today. Boating as much as possible (commercially and privately), starting my own urban gardening business (with a boating friend) and trying to make a difference in this world one cause at a time. I am here to congratulate you on discovering the desert, it will change your life forever. Hope to see you on the water!

Ben Levine, aka LB

Guiding for Holiday River Expeditions since 2003

Hailing from the wild west, I grew up in Wyoming and have always had a passion for the outdoors. In 2003 during my junior summer of high school I began my Holiday legacy and spent a spectacular summer in the warehouse where I became know as LB “Little Ben”. Now several years later I am known as BB “Big Ben” and have moved from my native Wyoming to Park City, Utah. I attended Dixie State College in St. George, Utah, and while I was there I was able to mountain bike, explore Zion National Park and wake board for the majority of the year. Every summer though I return to my second home, Holiday, were I am able to work with the finest most exciting group of individuals that I have ever had the privilege of meeting. I especially enjoy going on trips with my big brother Jason. Who as his picture very accurately portrays is the best looking and most serious trip leader in the history of river rafting, it must run in the family. My favorite river trip is the Yampa River, which is referred to as the last wild river because it is the last undammed river on the Colorado Plateau. The scenery that it provides is absolutely breathtaking, every camp sight is perfect for camping and a great game of river horseshoes, the hiking is amazing and the rapids are as the nickname suggests, wild. I have found my one true love in the canyons and rivers of the west and feel honored to share their exotic beauty with everyone who I have the privilege of journeying through them with.