Our Team

Guest safety is our highest priority at GNPG. We are committed to ongoing training and certifications. We host a variety of Avalanche training courses onsite throughout the year.






Jay Sandelin


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

Guest Services

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

Tarn Sandelin

Head Operator / Mechanic

Pisten Bully operator extraordinaire as well as 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 .

Kasey Sandelin

Guest Services

Kasey, Tarn’s wife 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


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.

TJ Andrews

Guide / Operator / Mechanic

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!

Scott Lawhead


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!

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 among the few born and bred in Whitefish. He grew up competing in local Slopestyle and Boardercross contests that later sprouted into traveling for USASA competitions all over the northwest. Cole has 14 years of backcountry snowboarding experience to bring to the table and countless powder stashes. This will be his 3rd season at GNPG. During summer months Cole spends his time working as a professional rock climbing guide just outside of Whitefish.

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.

Kyle Leishman


Kyle comes to us from the mountains of Northern Utah. From the first time he saw a snowcat at the age of 8, he knew he wanted to operate one. Kyle brings snowcat experience from both resort and backcountry skiing. In the summers you’ll find him working as a Life Coach and adventuring in the backcountry.

Jake Nelson


Jake grew up snowboarding in Minnesota and moved to Big Sky immediately after high school.   When not guiding, helping maintain snowcats, riding Big Mountain or building booters in the backcountry via sled and skin, Jake can be found surfing the secret river waves of Montana.  The ultimate goal for Jake, as a guide, is to give guests the tools, techniques, knowledge, service and overall peace-of-mind to confidently find their own unique lines and life-changing experiences in the Montana backcountry with GNPG.

Jackson George


Jackson is entering his rookie season with the GNPG team, but he has been a proud resident of the Flathead since 2014. Originally from the Southern Rockies, he earned his chops skiing in the rugged San Juan Mountains while pursuing a Geology degree in Durango, Colorado.  He brings with him a Professional Level 1 from Silverton Avalanche School, Wilderness First Responder training, Outdoor Emergency Care from National Ski Patrol, and an unyielding appreciation for cold, deep, powder snow.

Briar Gillund


Briar learned to ski in Piancavavallo Italy. He moved to Sunburst, Montana in the early eighties, started snowboarding and has been here ever since. When the sweetgrass hills were low on snow for back country, he would hook a tow rope to his trucks and hit the ditches. Briar fell in love, had children, then moved to Olney Montana in 2003. He and his family have spent the last twenty years playing in these woods, teaching their kids how to ride and survive. Briar also plays in a hard rock band when the sun is warm.

Katie Frutiger


Katie started skiing at Nubs Nob, Michigan as soon as she could walk. She raced in highschool and for the University of Montana in Missoula and has 7 years of experience living, adventuring, and backcountry skiing in rural Alaska. She puts safety on the mountain first, but fun is a close second!


Official mascot

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