Meet the islands most experienced mountain professionals.
Jan's guiding and teaching career has spanned more than 30 years and about as many mountain ranges. Much of this time he has spent working and living in the Himalaya guiding climbing and trekking in Nepal (he speaks fluent Nepali) and running a helicopter skiing operation in India. Jan has climbed and skied in BC's Coast Range, the Rockies, the interior ranges, all over the mountainous west of the USA, Europe, Alaska, the Canadian Arctic, the Himalayas and of course, in Vancouver Island's mountains. For a number of years now, Jan has called the Island home. Jan says the unique beauty of these mountains has captured his heart and he looks forward to sharing these most special places with you. Jan brings his vast experience and dedicated professionalism plus a sense of fun to his work as a guide and managing director of Island Alpine Guides as well as manager of operations for Pantheon Helicopter Skiing and as a founder and forecaster with the Vancouver Island Avalanche Bulletin.
A native of France, Christophe qualified as a Mountain Guide in that country in 1996. He has guided all over the European Alps as well as in Japan, Antarctica, Greenland, Alaska and Canada. Since moving to British Columbia Christophe has guided in the Coast Range and more recently moved here to Vancouver Island where he is discovering the unique beauty of our island mountains. Christophe brings an easy, confidence inspiring manner to his guiding. Christophe's connection to a long European guiding tradition is evident in his professionalism and his concern for the quality of his guests' experience. This plus his extensive background make him a great asset on our team.
Mike grew up with posters of hockey stars on his bedroom walls. There were also ski posters on those walls though he had never skied at that point. Sarnia Ontario is flatter than the prairies after all. Then he went skiing in his last year of high school and was hooked. Mike moved west and hooked up with some of back country skiing's legends of the time who became his mentors as he proceeded to spend more time in the mountains than he did at home. He toured extensively in the Rockies and Interior ranges covering all the classics and then some. Eventually Mike moved to Whistler where he mounted a number of long ski expeditions from the ocean to the interior. He’s done the spearhead traverse about a dozen times including doing it at night and in a few hours. After qualifying with the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides Mike started his heli-ski guiding career. All the while Mike also had a distinguished career as a professional ski patroller on Blackcomb Mountain where he handled record numbers of wrecks and became a patrol director. Mike’s guiding and teaching draw on a great depth of hard earned experience which he shares enthusiastically with his students and guests.
Ken has 30 years of experience as a mountain guide and experiential educator for organizations including Yamnuska Mountain School, Outward Bound Canada, and Outward Bound USA. He has also instructed at the University of Calgary and as a faculty member at Mount Royal College (University) and Thompson Rivers University in Outdoor Education and Adventure Tourism. Ken has a particular interest in how adventure activities can connect us to ourselves, others and nature. He shares this passion by offering "adventure life coaching" through his Vancouver Island based company Mountains For Growth. When not working outdoors Ken also inspires as a writer and speaker who shares lessons from his life which connect deeply with his readers and audiences. He recently published his first book "Buried".
Karin in an avid rock climber and mountaineer who has been instructing and guiding rock and mountain programs for the last ten years. She has worked extensively throughout North America with the majority of her work concentrated in Strathcona Park, California, and Colorado's Rocky Mountains. Her love of rock has taken her repeatedly to the Yosemite Valley, Joshua Tree National Park, Squamish, the Bugaboos, Devil's Tower, and The WInd River Range as well as on Vancouver Island. Karin, besides being certified with the Association of Canadian Mountain guides, is also certified through the Provincial Emergency Program as a High Angle Rope Rescue Team leader, a Canadian Avalanche Association Level 2 technician and a Primary Care Paramedic. When she is not guiding or teaching for IAG she is working on ski patrol and avalanche control at Castle Mountain or working as a staff trainer and course director for both the Canadian and U.S. outward bound schools.
Niko has been an avalanche professional registered with the Canadian Avalanche Association since 1991. He was the president of that organisation in the late nineties. During his career he has been a senior avalanche officer with the BC Ministry of Transportation and Highways, the avalanche forecaster and mountain safety supervisor at Mt Washington Resort and spent fifteen summer seasons as the senior ranger for BC Parks in Strathcona Provincial Park. Niko has been a dedicated avalanche educator for almost 25 years working with Canada West Mountain School and the Canadian Avalanche Association Professional Training School amongst others. He is a senior instructor for the Justice Institute Of BC Provincial Emergency Program avalanche and search and rescue trainings. Niko has dedicated himself to improving avalanche eduction and public safety messaging for decades now and has been responsible for some cutting edge developments in these areas. Niko’s professionalism and intense interest and energy for his subjects are evident in his work as an avalanche educator and innovator.
Graeme’s love of the mountains and wilderness began at an early age camping with his family and exploring Western Canada and the Yukon. His own explorations continued across Western North America, South America, the UK and Africa. For sixteen years, Graeme worked with Outward Bound Canada, starting as an instructor and later as manager of their Western Canada operations. He also works with a Victoria area private school Outdoor Ed program, and fills the time between teaching and guiding with work as a carpenter. Graeme enjoys the combination of working and teaching in the mountains, coaching individuals towards the self reliance to do their own trips, or just making sure they have a great day out.
Mattias has a passion for facilitating outside adventures for individuals and groups. He is a certified ACMG Hiking Guide, a Course Trainer with the Outdoor Council of Canada, and Outward Bound Instructor. In 2009 he moved to Campbell River with his wife and three kids, where they operate a small urban farm and a new wilderness program for youth. Mattias has worked as a guide and outdoor educator throughout the Yukon, Alberta, and BC. Most of all, though, he loves working on the Island, which has a perfect blend of options for multi-day alpine ridges and coastal backpacking routes. Mattias guides our alpine and coastal day and multi day hikes as well as doing a tremendous job with our navigation courses, an area of teaching that he is very keen on.
Lisa has enjoyed an unplanned but fortunate 17 year career in the ski patrol and avalanche forecasting business which has included working in BC from top to bottom, the Alberta Rockies, New Zealand and of course on Vancouver Island. Aside from avalanche control for ski area operations Lisa has also worked as an avalanche technician for mining and railway operations. In a previous life she taught winter survival skills to the British Army. As an avid ski tourer, Lisa’s backcountry experience has included trips through out the Coastal Ranges, the B.C. interior, the Rockies and the U.S. Lisa is a Professional Member of the Canadian Avalanche Association. As an avalanche skills instructor Lisa combines a lot of hard earned experience with an infectious enthusiasm to educate others (especially youth) to deliver really engaging and practical courses.
Nigel has taught skiing for over 20 seasons in Europe, New Zealand and Australia, and more recently in Canada. He is a Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance Level Three instructor and holds the British Mountain Leaders qualification. When he is not teaching skiing Nigel loves to pursue his passions which are backcountry skiing, mountaineering and rock and ice climbing. He has pursued these the world over from South America to Greenland and Morocco to the European Alps, New Zealand, Nepal and Scandinavia. Nigel has sailed the Atlantic a few times, always with a pile of skis and climbing gear on board. Nigel typically holds the title of most requested instructor at the various mountains he has taught at simply because he is a great instructor who succeeds in teaching people effectively while making sure that they have fun. That is why Nigel was our choice to teach the new Backcountry Performance programs here at Island Alpine Guides.