Whitewater Rafting Trips in Oregon & Idaho


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Ouzel Outfitters
Box 817
Bend, Oregon 97709

 Take a moment and get to know our guide staff ...

Neely SouthNeely South

Famous? Many kayakers can "eskimo roll" without a paddle, but Neely is famous for blowing the top off of this challenging skill!

Neely grew up in Eugene Oregon and began guiding right out of high school.  Over the years, she has accumulated a wide range of guiding experiences, and developed a deep knowledge of the "philosophy" and "art" of guiding.   As a new guide instructor, Neely is known for her ability to communicate the nuances of getting a boat downriver, and offers a perspective that's unique in today's guiding world.  With a keen intuition and flair for delivering that "little something extra" on all of her trips, Neely is one of our most popular personalities.

 Guiding Since:  1993     Winter Gig:  Professional Bartender        Favorite River:  Lower Main Salmon   Why?  Warm & sunny                   



 Claire Seibold

Verstehen Sie?   Ursprünglich aus Deutschland, hat Claire vor kurzem die Umstellung auf true Oregonian abgeschlossen.

Originally from Germany, Claire has recently completed the conversion to true Oregonian.  She finds her purpose by keeping life in constant motion and in stoking her immense passion for adventure - qualities that reign supreme on any river trip.  Claire has a thirst for knowledge and the handsome by-product is the continual expansion of her repertoire of skills. Her confidence and calm "toughness" take on any challenge with style and grace.  And coupled with her gentle spirit, Claire has a knack for turning a river trip into an extraordinary journey.

 Guiding Since:  2011  Winter Gig:  Mathematics Student

 Fav River:  N. Umpqua Why? Technical rapids, gorgeous area!



AJ Untermeyer

Are you pulling my leg?    AJ's right leg is 1/4" longer than his left leg. To compensate, he purposely walks across slopes.

Coming from a family of boaters, AJ began rafting at age 4 and hasn't missed a summer of boating yet!  Another "Bendonian Oregonian," AJ is currently pursuing a business degree at the University of Oregon and while there, somehow finds time to manage the student radio station on campus.  But wait, is that him over at the campus TV studio too?  AJ is truely ambitious and, combined with his desire to run highly personable rafting trips, has found respected success among guides and guests alike at Ouzel.

  Guiding Since:  2012       Winter Gig: School & Internet Tech.   Favorite  River:  Rogue                                                             Why?  The history, solitude, and technical whitewater.



 John Halushka

A Bit Wordy ... Despite suffering from unending "writer's block," John has nonetheless completed the beginnings of many potential Pulitzer Prize award winning novels.

After college and full of psychology, Ouzel's Operations Manager left the northwoods of Wisconsin in 1993 to head west and establish himself as a climbing guide in Southern California.  He found his way to Oregon in 2000 when he changed his outdoor focus and began guiding whitewater river trips for Ouzel.  An avid musician, political commentator and steelhead fisherman, John enjoys all that is challenging.  When he's not in the office, his two children unwittingly remind him that all of life is an adventure.

 Guiding Since:   1993        Winter Gig:   Chasing Steelhead          Favorite River:   Just get me out of the office!  



 Anthony Sigg

He's What?    He's an artist, a naturalist, a musician, an adventurer, a mystic, and an all around really nice guy!

Anthony grew up a passionate river rat, floating the American in California and numerous rivers in Oregon with his family.  He finished his International Business degree (with a Spanish minor) in 2009 from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  Anthony's lived in Argentina and Spain and has travelled extensively in South America, Central America, and Europe.  He loves to surf, snowboard, mt. bike, slack-line, and sword fight!  Anthony's other passion is rock climbing, and he spends a large portion of his offseason taking climbing trips around the west - when he's not hanging off a wall at Smith Rock, that is.

 Guiding Since:  2010  Winter Gig:  Dreaming, climbing, REI,        Favorite River:  Rogue  Why?  OMG!  The wildlife! 



 Erika Litzer

Never date a river guide?   Erika met her husband, fellow Ouzel guide Justin Litzer, during an Ouzel Guide Training.

Erika and Justin recently welcomed a baby girl into their family; temporarily bumping Erika out of a boat and into the Ouzel reservations chair!  Raised in Eugene, OR, Erika grew up in a rafting family.  She's been on the river since she was 6 and adventuring in the Northwest her entire life.   A graduate from Oregon State University, Erika is humble about having been a nationally ranked NCAA swimmer. Erika's passion for river trips is unsurpassed, and her warm and charming personality will make you feel you've known her all your life.

 Guiding Since:  2006      Winter Gig: Professional Ski Patrol        Favorite River:  Lower Main Salmon                                                 Why?   Big white sandy beaches and roller coaster waves!



 Jason Kramer

Jason's Authentication Verification:    BOOM!

A native of Santa Rosa California, Jason came to Oregon for our mountains.  Very energetic and with a "can do" attitude, Jason is always moving.  In the summer, he'll go wherever his "29er" will take him, and in the winter he'll go wherever he needs to "skin up" when it gets too deep for his sled.  These days he's balancing river guiding with graduate school; and because we like smart guides, we wholeheartedly support his continuing eduation towards a masters degree.  Jason shows his commitment to conservation by riding his bike everywhere! 

 Guiding Since:   2004   Winter Gig:  Education & Snowboarding  Favorite River:  Rogue                                                                    Why?  Cascading creeks, big trees, and bears!                              


 Will Sharp

This Old House:   Will has bravely undertaken, and is constantly fully engaged in an endless remodel of his home! 

Along with Brian, Will is an owner of Ouzel.  A native of Tuscon Arizona, Will started rafting with Prescott College in 1990 - learning the ropes on the San Juan and Rio Grande Rivers. Will came north to work for Ouzel in 1992 and after nine years as a guide served as the operations manager from 2001-2008.  Will now works for G-5 Search Marketing in Bend, but is still very much a part of the big picture at Ouzel. 

 Favorite River:  Owyhee  

 Why?  Isolation & Hot Springs! 




 Tim Freeman

Pets:   Tim's dog gnaws on, and puts holes in his truck tires!

Another of Ouzel's native Oregonians, Tim was born and raised in Terrebonne - and still calls it home!  Tim is humble about his degree in Environmental Studies, but is quick to identify and offer you a thorough introduction to:  any and every plant, animal (including their tracks), and rock around him.  With almost 30 years of exploring the wild areas of this great state, it's no wonder that we all refer to him as "Captain Oregon."  Tim also operates a small hobby farm and sells his produce at local farmers' markets throughout the summer.  Yum!

 Guiding Since:   2000    Winter Gig:   Exploring, farming, art

 Favorite River:   Owyhee   Why?   I love the desert!                        



 Cameron Jordan

Cameron's Sun Sign: Pisces!   Cameron's Moon Sign: Pisces!

Cameron was born a Pisces and raised in the San Franciso Bay area, but we don't really hold that against him.  He has a business degree from CalState University and spent many years running a successful business while in Palm Desert, California. Cameron finally decided to leave the "rat race" behind to pursue the many outdoor adventures the Northwest has to offer, and it didn't take long to discover that he and Ouzel were a perfect match for each other. 

  Guiding Since:  2009     Winter Gig:  Ski Resort Operations

  Favorite River:  Lower Main Salmon                                         Why?  White sandy beaches & warm waters                                  



 Brian Sykes

It's A Fender!   Brian plays bass guitar in a rock-n-roll band!

Along with Will, Brian is an owner of Ouzel.  Brian is a native Oregonian, having grown up on a ranch in Yamhill and receiving his bachelor's degree from Portland State University. As a kid he inner-tubed on the McKenzie and Sandy Rivers, and did his first rafting trips on the Deschutes.  In 1993 he gave up a career in retail management to "experiment" with guiding. Apparently, the experiment is far from over.

 Guiding Since:  1993   Winter Gig:  Ouzel!

 Favorite River:  Rogue  Why?  It's got it all                                        




 Renee' Van Matre

Octopus' garden?  Re' was toxically bitten by an octopus while wrestling the ferocious sea beast.  Now she has the power to...

River guiding was part of a complete life change for Renee'.  In 2005 she set out to explore the outdoors and has been on the move ever since.  A self-proclaimed rogue, wanderer, and traveler, Renee' is creative, spiritual and inspired by life.  She has found that her most peaceful moments are on the river, and that sharing those experiences is what calls her back every summer.  Renee's vibrant personality and seemingly inexhaustible energy make her unforgettable to guests. 

 Guiding Since:  2006          Winter Gig:  Owns and operates    Skin Dew, 100% natural and organic skin products.

 Favorite River:  Rogue  Why?  You just gotta go! 




 Alek Louke

Was It A Wig?    Alek once sported really long dreadlocks!

Alek is a rare native "Bendonian Oregonian," - one of only three of our guides having been born and raised here in Bend.  He took his first river trip with Ouzel at the age of 11 on the Rogue, and from the moment the boats launched off the beach Alek knew he wanted to be a river guide.  Now, over a decade later, he returns to Bend every summer to do just that - guiding on the rivers that changed his life years ago.  When he's not floating a boat somewhere, you can probably find Alek enjoying a local concert or tossing the Disc during a game of Ultimate. 

Guiding Since:  2010                                                                             Winter Gig:  Handymanning your next home project !   

Favorite River:  Rogue  Why?  This is where it all began



 Bobby Kutsher

Wild & Scenic Romance?  Bobby married on the Rogue River! 

Bobby was born and raised in Virginia.  In 1995 he graduated from Old Dominion University and moved to Northern California. He worked as a group home counselor but also began raft guiding at the same time.  After a few years of living in Lake Tahoe, Bobby moved to Colorado to pursue guiding and found himself floating thru the Grand Canyon.  Then into Texas and onto the Rio Grande.  Then back to Coloma, CA where he found Jenny (his wife-to-be) before heading north and landing in Bend.  Their daugher Mikayla, also loves to float the river! Twenty seasons of guiding and Bobby still looks forward to every trip of every season! 

Favorite River: Owyhee!  Why? The views, canyon, rapids!           



 Donna Mckay

Nickname:    Strawberry Jones  (be sure to ask her why!)

Donna began her guiding career on the Stanislaus River in California back in 1973; a time when everyone hung a leg out of the raft and held on to their beer tighter than their paddle.  Yet, she is sweet and pure.  Her heart & soul yearns for the simple joys of life; the beauty of the morning, the sounds of birds, her cat purring, and the laughter of friends and strangers.  Donna believes that life is a constant piece of art and an adventure to keep seeking out and explore.  She loves to teach but feels she is constantly learning herself.  She enjoys sharing her life stories and also sharing her adventures and the new memories she creates with her new friends on the river. 

Favorite River:  McKenzie  Why?  The sparkle of the water           



 William Saunders

Will's spirit animal is GOAT.  But is it Swiss?  Eastern?  Nubian? or Angoran?  You'll have to ask Will for the details.

Will's life began in Colorado, transitioned to California, and ended up in Sisters, Oregon where he used to work in a bakery. He is currently studying Adventure Photo-Journalism  and documentary production at the University of Oregon, often driving 500 miles a week for photoshoots.  If he can find time when he's not rafting or taking photos, Will immensely enjoys rock climbing, mountaineering, fly-fishing, sailing, scuba diving - the list could go on forever...    

 Guiding Since:  2012                                                                    Favorite River:  North Umpqua                                                          Why?  Stunning scenery & Wild rapids     



Justin Litzer

Not Many People Know...  Justin met his wife on the river!

Justin has been playing and working in the outdoors for all of his adult life.  Justin's also pretty smart - having degrees in both chemistry and nursing.  Currently a full time nurse, Ouzel is lucky to have Justin guide for us when he can.  Organized, patient and always upbeat, Justin loves being out on the water almost as much as he loves meeting new people.  And just to be clear, he doesn't always have crazy eyes!

  Guiding Since:  2003  Winter Gig:  Nursing and Ski Patrolling

   Favorite River:  Lower Main Salmon                                                    Why?  The playful nature of the river 




Greg Chapman Ouzel Guide Greg ChapmanOuzel Guide Greg Chapman

Known Around Ouzel For:  Best safety talk in the business!

Greg entered the rafting industry in 2003 as a driver for an unmentionable rafting company.  Not long after that he moved to Ouzel, picked up a guide stick, and we haven't been able to get rid of him since!  With years of school teaching experience under his belt during the off season, Greg is very adept at guiding family trips and accutely accustomed to interacting with kids of all ages. Greg's dedication to professionalism is admired by every guide in the company. 

       Guiding Since:  2006           Winter Gig:   School Teacher               Favorite River:  So Many!   Depends on my mood...                   Deschutes - Best Party Scene     McKenzie - Best Scenery                       North Umpqua - Best Technical Challenge                                        Rogue - Best History (plus all of the above) 



Alison Theriault

Search & Rescue You?  It could very well be Alison who comes running if you're lost somewhere in Deschutes County!

Alison was born in a small New England town with a single traffic light.  Motivated by the spirit of adventure, Alison graduated from Greenfield Community College with national certifications in Outdoor Leadership and headed west in search of enterprise. Between rock climbing, mountaineering, cycling, hiking and paddling, she has her work cut out for her in Bend, Oregon. Alison's unbridled enthusiasm, affection for silly games and immmeasurable love for sharing new experiences certainly makes for an exciting day on the river with her. 

  Guiding Since:  2011               Winter Gig:  Bartender                 Favorite River:  Rogue    Why?  All passion, all the time!            



Jesse Zimmermann

Commute Options?   Just to get to work, Jesse has travelled by fishing vessel, jet ski, snowmobile and moped - to name a few.

Growing up in "da Nortwoods" of Wisconsin, Jesse was fortunate enough to have nature as his nurturing playground.  In 2010 he drove to Oregon to follow his drive for adventure and found himself in Bend.  A few short years later and armed with a degree in Tourism and Outdoor Leadership, Jesse found himself a fit with Ouzel.  Jesse's commitment to running high quality trips, along with his knack for creating amazing experiences, is a surefire recipe for lasting summer memories. And yes, he's still a Packer fan.  GO PACK!

Guiding Since:  2012     Favorite brown & white Dog:  Marty     Winter Gig:  Backcountry ski & snowboard guide                             Fav. River:  N.Umpqua  Why? Amazing whitewater action 


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