OUR GUIDES
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BEN SIMMS

Adventure Center Manager
Wilderness First Responder, First Aid, CPR
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
School: University of Georgia

Ben was born and raised in Atlanta, GA and attended the University of Georgia. After graduation, he moved to Estes Park, Co and became a mountain biking, hiking, and backpacking guide in Rocky Mountain National Park and the surrounding wilderness areas. There, he developed a deep desire to be in the mountains and nature and to share that appreciation with others. Later, he worked as a Landscape Architect in Boulder, where he designed parks, school grounds, and state parks. Ben's desire to live a simple, authentic life in the mountains with good people kept pulling at him, so he and his wife, Addie, decided to pack up and move to Clark. In their free time, they love to do anything to get them outside along with their dog, Chief.

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SHANNAN BALZER

Head Hiking & Biking Guide
Wilderness First Responder
Hometown: Placerville, CA
School: California Polytechnic State University

Shannon is constantly trying to get her hands on a new adventure. She is outside from sun up to sun down, rarely seen without her Jammy Pack (music playing fanny pack). She loves to travel! Shannon has been to over ten countries and visited every continent except Antarctica. She most recently came back from a six week trip backpacking through Ecuador where she hiked Cotopaxi- one of the world's largest volcanoes at almost 20,000 ft! Fun Fact: Shannon loves Thai food!

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NATE MARGASON

Safety Manager/Guide
CMC EMT Program
Hometown: Elgin, TX

Nate is officially our Safety Manager, but that is just the start of what he does at the ranch! When not fixing things or overseeing our fleet of 14 hot tubs, or guiding, or wrangling, he finds time to pursue his hobbies that include hiking, playing softball, dancing, and horseback riding. Nate really enjoys playing on Vista Verde’s intramural softball team during the summer and volleyball during the winter. For his first job, Nate was involved in restoring a 1939 Cadillac LaSalle. He is a volunteer with North Routt Fire Department as an EMT and Firefighter type 2. Finally, Nate married our own lovely Melissa in October 2016 in VVR's Great Room!

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Mary-Preston Austin

Hiking & Biking Guide
First Aid, CPR, AED
Hometown: Cary, NC
School: Wheaton College

Mary-Preston Austin is joining us for her first season here at VVR! Currently studying at Wheaton College, she plans to eventually continue her education by attending law school. Fun Fact: Mary-Preston once managed to walk all the way from the bottom to the top of Scotland! She's excited to have some awesome adventures out on the trails this summer!

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Isaac Ness

Head Fly Fishing Guide
First Aid,CPR,AED
Hometown: Plymouth, MN
Isaac is an outdoors-man in every sense of the word. Growing up he spent every second he could chasing fish around Minnesota's many lakes. As an adult, not much has changed; Isaac still spends much of his time fishing the waters close to the ranch. However he has also now added ice fishing, snowmobiling, hiking, hunting, and camping to his list of hobbies. During the off season Isaac travels through the U.S. fishing for whatever will eat a well presented fly. He is looking forward to his position as head fly fishing guide!

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Miller Anderson

Fly Fishing Guide
Wilderness First Responder, CPR, AED
Hometown: Charleston SC
School: The Citadel Military College

Miller loves anything outdoors but is especially passionate for fly fishing. During the summer months, you'll find him either guiding at work or still fishing while off of work! Miller has even traveled to Patagonia, Chile in pursuit of trout. One of his favorite trips was to Wisconsin with fellow VVR staff, Isaac and Zach, to check musky off his list of fish to catch on the fly- he was indeed successful in this pursuit. We are glad to have him back for yet another season at the ranch!

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Harry Stanius

Fly Fishing Guide
First Aid, CPR, AED
Hometown: Bemidji, MN
School: Bemidji State

Joining us for his second summer at VVR, Harry just graduated in May and is excited to be back at VVR! Harry recently competed in national ballroom dancing competition, and loves dancing in his free time. The only thing he might love more than dancing is getting on the river, and his favorite fish is a Grayling. You can identify him on ranch by his incredibly thick Minnesota accent. We're stoked to have Harry back!

luxury ranch resort staff