Our Team

Guest safety is our highest priority at GNPG. We are committed to ongoing training and certifications. Every guide, operator, and photographer has a minimum of Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification as well as AIARE Avalanche Level 1 certification. We host a variety of Avalanche training courses onsite throughout the year.

 

EXPERT GUIDES

Lead Guides

Lead guides for Great Northern Powder Guides have five years of extreme backcountry experience. All of our guides are Wilderness First Responder trained and certified.

Tail Guides

Tail guides for Great Northern Powder Guides are up and coming lead guides and have a good knowledge of the area we are skiing.

Snowcat Operators

The snowcat operators for Great Northern Powder Guides have tremendous experience and extensive road building knowledge. All of our operators are outdoor emergency care technicians or wilderness care responders.The Operators stay busy running and working on heavy equipment in the summer months, and have knowledge with the workings of Pisten Bully’s. The operators also attend Alpine Service Schools, and they have grown up skiing and snowmobiling in the same area as we are currently skiing in now.

 

THE GNPG CREW

Jay Sandelin

Owner

Owner of Great Northern Powder Guides, as well as operator, guide, cook, and janitor. Started skiing at the age of 3 in Steamboat Springs Colorado. Ski raced, ski jumped, and Speed Skied in the U.S. and in Europe.

Kylanne Sandelin

Owner

Jay’s wife, Tarn and Dayne’s mama…Ky handles bookings, guest services, and manages the office (oh, and babysits Sway).

Tarn Sandelin

Cat Operator

Pisten Bully operator extraordinaire as well as part owner, mechanic, and fabricator. Tarn brings years of running and maintaining heavy equipment to our team as well as snow road building. He is safe, brave, and competent in the backcountry. Tarn has grown up skiing and snowmobiling in the very terrain we can now share with the public .

Dayne Sandelin

Guide

Part owner and guide is greatly missed around these parts lately. He’s living his dream as a helicopter mechanic for Temsco. Splitting his time between Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway he is training and preparing for our next big adventure!

Kasey Allegro

Kasey, Tarn’s prettier half, and our office manager, was born and raised in Olney, Montana. She is a mama of four; two boys and two girls. Kasey loves the outdoors – from fishing, hunting, boating, dirt bike riding, camping, horseback riding, to cross – country skiing. She assists with all aspects of guest services and keeps our office running like a well oiled machine!

Ken Manuel

Guide

Ken started skiing in Lake Tahoe at the age of four and spent his early years ski bumming there as a lift-op at Squaw Valley. Ken started Ski Patrolling and continued his way in the ski industry in Tahoe. Ken guided for Pacific Crest Snowcats for ten years, he also worked Heli-guiding in Valdez at Alaska Backcountry Adventures.

Scott Lawhead

Guide

Clinical Laboratory Scientist (lab tech) for Kalispell Regional HealthCare since 1996. Scott has a great wife and daughter. Enjoys snowboarding, Telemark skiing, rafting, rock climbing, winter touring, mountain biking, riding my dual-sport motorcycle, and climbing peaks in Glacier. I’ve travelled a bit of the world (Thailand, Costa Rica, Chile, Argentina and India, I love long walks in the snow and fine dining (PBJ’s in-between laps on tours in Canada). I am very excited to be the first splitboard guide with GNPG and look forward to a fantastic season!

Carl Hubbell

Guide

 

Carl grew up in the Pacific Northwest, were he began snowboarding at the age of six and instructing at 15. He has lived in Montana for over a decade and spent much of that time guiding and exploring the state’s vast mountain ranges and quiet streams. He spends his summers as a fishing guide and jet boat operator in the wilds of the Alaskan bush.

Taylor Westhusin

Guide

Taylor found his way to Montana in search of a college education and large mountains to shred which landed him in Bozeman, Mt where he got a degree at MSU and honed his backcountry skills!  Growing up in Colorado, Taylor skied his entire youth all over Summit County and has always been an avid out-doorsy guy enjoying mountain biking and trail running in the off season.  Soon after graduating college, he was hired here at GNPG, so he packed his bags, drove north, and the rest is history!

Kira Frye

Kira is a fourth generation Montanan who developed her love for the outdoors at a young age, hiking the trails near her family’s cabin high in the Beartooth mountains. Family outings each summer provided the opportunity to explore other areas of Montana, including Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, while snowboarding at Big Sky and Bridger Bowl kept her active during Montana’s cold winters. Kira attended college at Montana State University, Bozeman, where she earned a degree in cell biology and neuroscience. She continues to pursue her passion for outdoor adventure expanding her backpacking and snowboarding adventures across the globe. She also enjoys whitewater rafting, mountain biking, climbing, yoga and cooking. Kira believes travel is an important part of her continuing education and strives to learn more about other cultures and new environments. Guiding has allowed her to experience the best of both worlds by sharing stories, experiences and laughs with people from all different walks of life.

Jen Brand

Jen was born and raised up North in Alaska, where naturally, you grow up skiing and of course fall in Love with it. She eventually spread her wings though and attended college in Northern California where she got a college degree in Outdoor Recreation. She then came back to Alaska and guided sea kayak tours for 4 Summer’s back in Seward and in between spent her winters working at Alyeska Ski Resort in Girdwood, Alaska. After spending several winters in Girdwood she decided it was time to scope out the lower 48 again and that’s when she decided to move to Whitefish. Jen not only lives skiing and snowboarding but also Mountain biking, paddle boarding, Hiking and swimming.

Tom Baffa

Guide

Tom grew up skiing in New Hampshire ski racing and ski jumping where he learned all about “variable snow conditions”.  After moving to Vermont he was a ski instructor and an adaptive ski guide before he began ski patrolling in 1999.  Tom enjoyed backcountry skiing in New Hampshire, Vermont and Northern Quebec often traveling to the western US and Canada for more diverse skiing and biking opportunities.    Eventually he moved to Utah full time to pursue work in Ski Operations risk management before he and his wife Molly settled in Montana in 2016 for the long haul.  Tom continues to expand his backcountry experience on skis and all things with 2 wheels.

Sue Purvis

Susan Purvis loves snow and has spent the past 25 years honing her skills as a ski guide, professional ski patroller, search and rescue K-9 handler, and wilderness medicine and avalanche educator. She got her start in Crested Butte, Colorado and now calls Whitefish, Montana home. She is the author of the best-selling and award winning memoir, Go Find: My Journey to Find the Lost—and Myself.

John Van

Operator/ Mechanic

John hails from West Monroe Lousiana and has dreamed of living in Montana since he was a young man when he traveled to the Big Sky state for work.  He has been operating heavy equipment, farm machinery or in his words, “anything with a motor” for 55 years.  In addition to operating equipment, he is a jack of all trades when it comes to mechanical work, fabrication, etc.  Upon retiring, John and his wife bought a cabin in Rexford, Mt, and he is finally living his Montana dream as an operator for GNPG!

Cole Maxwell

Cole is no stranger to the outdoors, nor is he bothered by bad weather, in his eyes there is only bad gear and bad attitudes. If you can’t find him bumming and cooking delicious food in his conversion van at varying trailheads and public land pullouts in NorthWest Montana, just walk a little further down the trail and you can find him climbing at the best crag, or snowboarding steep backcountry slopes (or maybe you won’t find him). Cole was born and raised in Whitefish, and with Glacier National Park as his playground, he holds much respect for big mountains and always looks to them for inspiration. Cole is a knowledgeable and gracious snowboarder who has 12 years of backcountry experience paired with an Avalanche level 1 and Wilderness First Responder certification. Cole also used to compete in slope style and boarder cross at a national level.

TJ Andrews

T.J. has been with Great Northern Powder Guides from the beginning. From fabricating the cat cabins and building yurts to finding the best runs for our clients… he is always passionate about all aspects of the business. In his off time he travels the world competing and performing flyboard shows. He is an auto and marine mechanic by trade so if you need that boat to float or those brakes to stop…hes your man. But in winter you need that steep and deep to put a smile on your face…he’s your guide!

Grant Hughes

Abandoning an urban based career in medical research, Grant, his wife and two young daughters moved to search for the ultimate thrills in Montana. Interests and activities off the snow include rally car driver, rock climbing, canoeing, golfing, biathlon, hiking and bowling. After a cat ski trip with Great Northern Powder Guides a few years back, he knew he had to become a guide to help others experience the greatest ski day imaginable.

Conner Hagel

Conner was born and raised in Kalispell, Montana, the youngest of three kids. He grew up with a love for Montana and as an avid outdoorsman; camping, boating, hunting, fishing and skiing throughout western Montana with friends and family. He graduated with a BA in Business from U of M Western in Dillon in 2019. He has worked as a wilderness hunting and fishing guide in the Bob Marshall and Selway-Bitterroot Wildernesses from 2010-2020. He looks forward to expanding his skills, meeting new people, and continuing his Montana outdoor adventures with this new endeavor.

Colton Crowley

Colton grew up skiing in the Mad River Valley of Vermont but when his older brother moved to Montana, he felt the pull of bigger mountains too and sent it to Bozeman 3 days after my graduation. He cut my backcountry teeth skiing the ranges of southwest Montana until the time came to head north and work for GNPG.

Tyler Holstrom

Tyler, someone who loves mountains more than one could ever imagine, and coming from the Pacific Northwest traveling from the Himalayas to Japan just in search of the greatest terrain known to man he calls Whitefish, Montana home. Somewhere he loves to share with everyone.

Growing up in the Mt.Hood wilderness there were many days of boarder cross & slopestyle competitions along with many backcountry adventures. With over 20 years of experience, Avalanche level 1 and wilderness first responder certification he is the ultimate guide!

Tomas Alarcon

Tomas has a unique personality and is always looking for a way to make everyone laugh. He grew up in the Grand Canyon, but the mountains always called out to him. As an adult he was an employee at Purgatory Resort in Durango, CO. He worked in Alaska off and on for a few years before making his way to the Flathead Valley, where he met his wife and her dog. They now have two boys, and decided to call the Flathead Valley their home.

Tomas loves the outdoors, if you are looking for him, chances are he is in the woods, camping or hunting. Tomas takes pride in everything he does and is a great addition to our Great Northern Team!

SWAY THE BOBCAT

Official mascot

SWAY had a cameo in the Warren Miller’s “Ticket to Ride” AND was Ski Magazines “Mascot of the Year”