Glacier Outdoor Center Blog

Posted: January 21st, 2013 by kali

With the New Year, brings a few changes around here! Check out our official press release for details:

Montana’s most experienced raft company announces historic ownership change

After decades of partnership, two of the three Glacier Raft Company owners sell their shares

As Glacier Raft Company enters its 37 years of operation, long-time managing partners and industry pillars Sally Thompson, Onno Wieringa and Darwon Stoneman are announcing a change in the company’s ownership and leadership.  Thompson and Wieringa have sold their shares of the company to Darwon and Terri Stoneman along with Cassie Baldelli and Jeff Baldelli.

Onno and Darwon founded the company in 1976 and Sally has been a managing co-owner since 1983.  Together the team worked to build Glacier Raft Company into the state’s most experienced and reputable river operation.  Over the last several decades, they expanded the company’s core rafting operation to include log cabin lodging, a vibrant fly-fishing guide service, full-service fly shop, an outdoor gear store and group event location.

“I have really been honored to work with so many talented young people over the years while providing a quality experience from the first phone call to the departure from the raft,” says Sally.

“Not many partnerships last for 30 years, but working with Onno and Sally has been a great part of my life. We have been fortunate to be supported by an outstanding community,” says Darwon.  “We’ve raised our families up here together, and I am very proud of all we have accomplished.  Although it is the end of an era, we still have our core management team, our reputation we built on customer service, well trained employees and a sense of family with in our company.  I am looking forward to working with my family, great staff and our long term management team.”

Onno says, “Having a work life in West Glacier and Glacier National Park and the Flathead Valley has been as good as it gets.  Glacier Raft and Outdoor Center visitors will be well taken care of by our experienced staff bolstered by young energy from Cassie and Jeff.”

Cassie and Jeff Baldelli are no strangers to the Glacier Raft Company brand. Cassie is Darwon Stoneman’s daughter and has been close to the company all her life.  Her husband, Jeff, has been a whitewater guide at Glacier Raft Company for four years. Jeff plans to apply skills gained through his marketing finance education and experience in the Air Force to his new role at the company. While Cassie will continue to work at her job as a medical equipment sales associate for Intuitive Surgical, she will also apply her marketing skills and knowledge of the local area as a new Glacier Raft Company partner.

“Cassie and I are grateful for the foundation of excellence Onno, Sally, and Darwon have built,” says Jeff Baldelli. “We are excited to get started and committed to carrying on the core values of Glacier Raft Company.”

The owners say there will not be any significant change to operations at Glacier Raft Company, Glacier Anglers and Glacier Outdoor Center.

“We will continue to offer guests the very best experience possible,” says Darwon.  “Visitors can expect to receive the highest quality service from the industry’s best guides and staff.”

To learn more about the activities and services offered at Glacier Raft and Outdoor Center, visit


We got some great local press about this change in ownership–check out the Flathead Beacons article and the Hungry Horse news and about the change of ownership.


Tonight we are  in the Columbia Falls Chamber of Commerce Annual Night of Lights Parade. We have a Glacier Outdoor Center float!  This parade brings the local community out to see floats, lights and, of course, Santa Claus.  This year we are going to be handing out candy with coupons attached for local residents to get 50% off a half-day whitewater trip. The kicker is, they have one day (December 12, 2012) to call and schedule a trip for 50% off.

Remember if you get one of our coupons–book your summer adventure on 12/12/12! You can book by calling 1-800-235-6781 –see you there!

Posted: September 3rd, 2012 by kali

We can’t state it enough – fall in Glacier National Park is one of our favorite times of the year.  Not only do the crowds dissipate, but the colors are always spectacular.  The changing of the leaves and the cooler temperatures always make our hearts skip.  It’s a time of year like none other.  Fly fishing is also at an all time high during the fall and our log cabins are so peaceful and quite.  So get yourself out for a great fall experience in Glacier National Park!

Rainy June has come and gone and that means that Summer is in full swing up here at Glacier Raft Company.

You may think that we spend our time up here at the raft company just rafting, fishing and playing in the Montana sunshine. And you may be right. However what you may not know is that some of the playing we do up at the raft center goes to a great cause!

This could be you!

On July 17th  the Glacier Raft Center will be teaming up with the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation to help volunteer in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. We will be weeding and clearing trails to ensure fun and safe hiking in the wilderness. BMWF still has trips available for participation this summer. Check them out here!

Posted: July 3rd, 2012 by OM

Glacier Anglers hosted the Fun on the Fly event last weekend and everything went off without a hitch! Those who attended enjoyed a great time and caught tons of fish. This was our first year of Fun on the Fly and we are certain to do it again in the future.  So stay tuned for dates!

fun on the fly

fly fishing glacier

youth fly fishing






Posted: May 10th, 2012 by OM

At the recent 2012 Simms Ice Out Guide Event, Simms hosted a Shoot Out contest in which filmmakers were challenged to make the best six-minute film in fewer than three days. Our own, Ryan Thompson was selected to participate in the Shoot Out challenge, one of four production companies chosen.

His production company is called Swift Current productions and he and pal George White took second in the opening night ceremonies, with the film, “Lights Out.” But, the crew was able to WIN the  People’s Choice Award.  The People’s Choice awards were decided via online voting the week following the Ice Out event.Thompson won handily and we couldn’t be more proud!

Check out his video above and also cruise on by the his Swift Current Productions Facebook page and give ‘em a quick like. You’ll be glad you did.

Spring is rearing its beautiful head and Glacier Outdoor Center is celebrating! Coming up in June, Glacier Anglers is hosting Festival of the Fly, a series of fishing events including the Fun on the Fly! Youth Fly Fishing Day Camp, the Cast Off 2012 casting competition, and Glacier Anglers Demo Days.

Fun on the Fly! Youth Fishing Day Camp will be on June 9th and June 30th, 2012. From 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. kids are encouraged to come and learn the basics of casting, knots, fly selection and entomology. Equipment will be provided for attendees to use in our private ponds.  Discounted rafting will be available for adults for $32 while kids are at the camp. Lunch will be provided and all youth ages 6-16 are welcome!

Cast Off 2012 will be Saturday June 16th, 2012 featuring clinics by certified casting instructors and Glacier Anglers pro staff. Industry experts and product reps will provide product demos and presentations throughout the day. GOC will host casting competitions for all ages and ability levels with great prizes and raffles. Films from the Fly Fishing Film Tour will be showing throughout the day at the Bear’s Den on Glacier Outdoor Center campus.

During Demo Days on June 30 and July 1, attendees can check out the latest boats from Aire and Outcast. Fly fishing rod, reel and line demos will be provided by R.L. Winston, Sage, Redington and Rio & Simms. Oh, and there’s a free BBQ–we’ll be grilling up burgers and dogs!

For more info please contact The Glacier Outdoor Center at (406) 888 5454.

Word on the street is that population growth around national parks across America is skyrocketing. According to a study conducted by Montana State University published in National Parks Traveler, ”Development and population density around units of the National Park System greatly outpaces that occurring around other parts of the country.”
However, as per usual, Montana is refusing to follow suit. Despite being home to some of the country’s most beautiful scenery, Glacier National Park remains “one of the most pristine and untouched parks in the nation,” says Kalispell news source KAJ18.
Our very own Sally Thompson, co-owner of the Glacier Outdoor Center and Glacier Raft Company was quoted confirming the residents of Glacier National Park are set on protecting the park and keeping it as untamed as it always has been.
Check out Sally, along with some great footage of a little place we like to call home.

Posted: March 21st, 2012 by OM

UPDATE:  Spring started off with a heavy snow this week that later turned into rain, which is typical spring weather around here.  With that in mind, our snowpack level has finally surpassed the last 40-year average. It looks like river levels should be great for some Fly Fishing and Rafting this Spring!  Don’t miss out on the fun.

Here is a graph of the past snowpack data.  Pretty interesting! Click on the photo for the link to get more info from USGS on SNOTEL.

Another link to some stats about snowpack:

Here is a more in-depth look at what each basin’s snotel percentage is at:

Posted: March 6th, 2012 by OM

We get a lot of questions about stream flows on our river – The Flathead. The Middle Fork of the Flathead originates in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex and is a wild and scenic river that is one of the best whitewater rivers in Montana. We also float and fish the North Fork of the Flathead.

The weather has warmed outside again, and we are thinking a lot about when the snowpack breaks and the runoff starts.

There are many aspects of snowfall, snowpack, rainfall, and temperatures that determine river levels at different times during the season.  Our rivers are not dam-controlled, so it’s all up to Mother Nature!  For specific data, check out these sites that tell you more than you could ever want to know about the history of flows, current conditions on the rivers, and forecasts of what will be happening in the upcoming week:

The quick predictions we’ve heard so far call for a reasonable spring, and water flow numbers currently predicting to be good news for summer for whitewater! Let’s hope the trend continues. Here’s a graph which shows the past trends and where we are so far:

Chart of precipitation levels for the season – This year is that big red line.

(click on image for a bigger version)