Our Staff

"The staff at Churchill River Canoe Outfitters are not just my employees, they are also my family," says Ric Driediger, owner and operator.

"Canoe outfitting is a people business, and good service begins by surrounding yourself with people who love what they do."

"I take great pride in the professionalism, dedication, and skills of all my staff members, and I admire their love of the north and the canoeing lifestyle."

 

 

Heidi Seida

Eating well and traveling light are two key elements for an enjoyable paddle in the wilderness. Heidi, our Food Manager has spent a large part of her life studying food preparation and dehydration. Born and raised in British Columbia, Canada, Heidi has always been an avid canoeist, four-season camper, and cross-country skier.

Heidi met Ric Driediger in her former capacity as Recreation Director for theSaskatchewan Canoe Association, (now Canoe Kayak Saskatchewan). Upon learning of her wilderness cuisine culinary skills, Ric recruited Heidi to CRCO. Our guests have been enjoying her savory delights under the Northern Lights for the past twelve years.

Heidi's knowledge of dehydration techniques and canoe-tripping recipes comes from her experience on the water. She is an accomplished canoeist and guide, holding Canoe Tripping II, Lake Water I, and Flat Water Instructor certificates. She has spent a great deal of time on the North and South Saskatchewan Rivers, and travelled the waters in the Prince Albert National Park, the Gieke River, the Thlewiaza River and the Thelon River. When time allows, she explores Otter Lake, parts of the Churchill and north of the Churchill.

"Anybody can go out in the wilderness and be uncomfortable. It takes a little thought and finess to be comfortable. I like to try out new ideas and recipes by field-testing them on a trip before I offer them to our clients."

CRCO Staff - Heidi SeidaAs well as preparing tasty fare, Heidi carefully considers the nutritional needs of each party she supplies. She is always looking for new ways to provide clients with the extra calories they need on the water and to replace the fats lost in the dehydration process.

There's nothing like enjoying one of Heidi's gourmet wilderness creations beside pristine waters, with a loon calling in the background, after a long day's paddle. There isn't a Five-Starrestaurant in the world that can offer that!

 

 


Sarah Driediger

CRCO Staff - Sarah DriedigerSarah was born and grew up at Churchill River Canoe Outfitters. She loves going out canoeing in the evenings to practice her solo flatwater strokes. Sarah enjoys working in the CRCO office. Her inherited knowledge of the area has helped many guests plan their canoe trips.

Sarah is a Registered Massage Therapist and is in Winnipeg in the winters attending Canadian Mennonite University and working at a physiotherapy clinic. She is planning on continuing her Massage Therapy practice into the summer in Missinipe. She is easily recognized by her big smile and if you go down to the CRCO dock in the evening, she may be paddling her little red canoe.

 

 

 

 

Dan Driediger

Dan, being the son of Ric and Theresa, grew up a part of Churchill River Canoe Outfitters and has been paddling his whole life. He has local knowledge of the area that goes far beyond his years.

Since the summer of 2010 Dan has been guiding canoe trips, often for school groups. Some people might mistake him for a quiet person, but get him talking and he can tell you more about northern Saskatchewan than you might first anticipate.

Dan is certified by Paddle Canada in the areas of Canoe Tripping and Lakewater Paddling and has passed private courses in white-water canoe tripping. He holds certification fromthe Canadian Red Cross in Wilderness and Remote Areas First Aid, and from Rescue 3 International and Raven Rescue as a Swiftwater Rescue Technician.

As a full time staff, Dan is also involved in many other activities around the outfitter. This includes motorboat tours of the lake, driving shuttles, and maintenance to name a few.

 

 


Nick Bergen

CRCO Staff - Nick BergenNick’s first canoe trip on the Churchill River was in 2005, and that was all it took to get hooked! He has worked at CRCO since 2008 in an increasing variety of roles. Nick was privileged to learn his canoeing skills from a number of CRCO legends in his first few years with the company. They inspired in him a passion for the North and it’s rivers that has increased it’s hold on him ever since.

Nick is a certified tandem moving water canoe instructor and also holds certification in Wilderness First Aid and Swift Water Rescue as well as a variety of other canoeing disciplines. Nick enjoys taking families out on canoe trips more than anything. Nothing beats building forts way back in the trees with a boatload of kids!

Rock climbing is one of Nick’s other passions, and together with Tim Dueck and Dan Driediger, they have been exploring the ‘off the beaten path’ areas near Missinipe to find more crags and cliffs to climb. This has led them to all sorts of wonderful spots that have no business being walked to. But the tough slogs are usually worth it! Nick is currently completing his Masters program in Grenada

 

 


 

Andrea Nelson

 

Andrea started working for us in the summer of 2015. She came to us after working for several summers at Clearwater Canoeing for Vinessa Curry. Andrea is an experienced guide with a love of the wilderness and canoeing that allows her to pass her passion on to her guests. She has extensive knowledge of boreal plants and many of their uses.

During the winter Andrea runs sled dogs for Sun Dogs Excersions out of Anglen Lake. So you can spend part of your summer with Andrea in a canoe and part of your winter with her on a dog sled.

 

 

 
 
 

 

Jimmy MacDonald

CRCO Staff - Jimmy MacDonaldJimmy can’t get enough of paddling; plain and simple he has been described as a rapid junky.  At an early age he was challenged to paddle a new river each year and has been holding up his end of the bargain so far.  His first love is canoe tripping but if it floats he will paddle it…jimmy profile 2

Jimmy spent 2004 living and working at Churchill River Canoe Outfitterswhich started his guiding and instructing career.  He is now around on a part-time basis whenever we can fit him into the schedule.  In order to fully indulge his appetite for a paddling fix, Jimmy works during the winter months in Central America teaching whitewater canoeing and guiding kayak trips.  If you don’t find him in up at Missinipe then he is likely teaching the British Army to paddle around the world.

Jimmy’s paddling experience in Saskatchewan includes the Fond-du-Lac, Porcupine,Clearwater, Paull, Weaver, Tazin, and Abitau Rivers just to name a few.  Outside ofSaskatchewan he has a list of rivers as long as his arm covering most of Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Ecuador, and Belize. 

jimmy profile“I don’t care how nice it is anywhere else, the Churchill River is the best paddling  ever. Period!  The rapids are warm, fun, not crowded and challenging enough for any level of paddler.”

Jimmy’s life is focused on the water and he holds a Master’s degree in Hydrology along with being a Paddle Canada Instructor in Moving Water and Lakewater Canoeing, Level 2 Sea Kayaking, and River Kayaking.  Further to this Jimmy is trained as a Wilderness First Responder, and a Swiftwater Rescue Instructor. 

 

 


 

Chris Wall

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Chris started his canoeing career by paddling from here to the coast of Hudson Bay. That was back in the mid 90s. Even though the trip was tough, it inspired him to keep paddling. He is an awesome guide and an exceptional white water instructor. He is also a white water instructor for the Madawaska Kanu Camp in Ontario.

When Chris isn't paddling he works as a doctor in Saskatoon. He lives in Saskatoon with his wife, Sue and two daughters Anna and Heidi.

 

 

 

 


 

Derek Birkham

derek profile 2Derek’s passion for northern Saskatchewan must have developed from birth. For as long as he can remember the boreal forest has felt like home. The Churchill River has fascinated him since childhood. Countless childhood hours were invested exploring on the huge slabs of rock on the river right shore of Otter Rapids. The sights, sounds, and smells of the Churchill River were permanently imprinted in his being. Derek currently lives with his wonderful wife in a cabin overlooking the headwaters of the Churchill River system.

Derek’s 15 plus years as a high school teacher in Saskatchewan have been filled with planning and leading students on a multitude of canoeing, hiking, and backcountry skiing expeditions in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. Derek loves to share ideas with fellow teachers and outdoor leaders. These conversations often come around the campfire in the evenings, but can also take the form of professional consulting services on leadership, expedition planning, gear management, and safety protocol.

Derek’s personal canoeing resume includes dozens of routes throughout Saskatchewan. Favorite paddling experiences include tripping on the Clearwater and MacFarlane, racing from La Loche to Cumberland House in the 2010 Canoe Quest, play-boating upstream from Otter, paddling Canadian style in any quiet bay, and experiencing the grandeur of the Churchill system. Derek’s paddling experience also includes tripping the “swift glacier blue” of the North Saskatchewan (in Alberta) and the Hood River (in Nunavut). Derek’s top two favorite portages are the Methye (“I loved the climb out of the Clearwater valley.”) and the Wilberforce canyon on the Hood (“ferrying the wind was great fun”).    

derek profileDerek’s guiding and instructing background is strongly influenced by his 20 years as a coach in various sports and extensive mountaineering experience. Derek has always enjoyed a “frozen river”. As such, he has invested many seasons climbing classic alpine routes and traversing networks of glaciers in the Canadian Rockies. His mountaineering pursuits include an arctic glacier traverse on Baffin Island and a first ascent attempt in the remote Centennial Range in the Yukon.

Derek is a Paddle Canada Moving Water, Canoe Tripping, and Lake Canoe instructor. He is also certified by Raven Rescue and Rescue 3 International as a Swiftwater Rescue Technician. A keen eye for safety and balancing between fun, relaxation, and challenge are a foundation of his guiding style. Derek is passionate about helping people attain their paddling goals. “Come and join CRCO on the water for an unforgettable summer adventure!”                        

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 
 


Churchill River Canoe Outfitters - Box 1110 - La Ronge - SK - Canada - S0J 1L0

Toll Free: 1-877-511-2726

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