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Our Ski Guides

Our team are all members of the British Mountain Guides Association and fully qualified IFMGA guides. They have chosen to specialise in ski touring in particular during the winter months and the depth of experience, leadership qualities and technical excellence they posess cannot be learned overnight. 
 
Ability alone however, won't guarantee to make a great guide. We always look for people with a patient and cheerful character and good track record before inviting a new member onto the team. From time to time we also bring in other trusted guides, all of whom we know personally and have observed to ensure our standards are maintained.
 
Al Powell - British Mountain Guide
Al Powell
Our head ski guide - who runs most of our off-the-beaten-track ski mountaineering trips.. [read more]
 
Dave Hollinger - British Mountain Guide
Dave Hollinger
As well as ski touring classics, Dave skis in Chamonix, La Grave, the Queyras and Silvretta.. [read more]
 
Neil Johnson - British Mountain Guide
Neil Johnson
Neil comes from a background of outdoor instruction and mountaineering... [read more]
 
Phil Dowthwaite - Britsh Mountain Guide
Phil Dowthwaite
Phil's interest in the outdoors started in the hills of Lancashire & Cumbria where he grew up... [read more]
 
James Thacker - British Mountain Guide
James Thacker
James has climbed and skied in the Arctic, the Himalayas and... [read more]
 
matt stygall british mountain guide
Matt Stygal
Matt grew up in an unlikely place for a guide - the flatlands of Norfolk.... [read more]
 
mark charlton british mountain guide
Mark Charlton
A full time resident of the Chamonix valley, Mark has been guiding for over 20 years... [read more]
   
 
What is an IFMGA Guide?  
To quote the British Mountain Guides Website: "Put simply, it means an internationally qualified guide with the knowledge and skills to lead parties in the world’s most challenging mountain environments. IFMGA Mountain Guides are the most qualified and experienced professionals to lead people in the mountains with a training and assessment that takes many years and exceptional skills to achieve. The International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations (IFMGA), is the body that coordinates the standards and mutual recognition of the twenty-six national mountain guide associations."
 
In the Alpine nations, IFMGA status it is a legal requirement in order to practice the profession of a mountain guide.
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Staff Profiles
 
british ski guides ifmga
  Al Powell - British Mountain Guide   Al Powell - British Mountain Guide skiing  
 

Al Powell

Alpine Guides director, Al is our head ski guide and runs most of our off-the-beaten-track ski touring trips. He has raced for the British Ski Mountaineering Team and also builds and maintains the company website.

Formerly a keen winter and expedition climber (several first ascents in the greater ranges) and dedicated mountain runner (elite wins in both LAMM and the OMM mountain marathons, 1st Briton to run the Tour du Mont Blanc - 102 miles, 9000m ascent - in under 24hrs) - he nowadays spends much of his time when back in Yorkshire, orienteering and cyclocross racing on weekends with his growing family. [see Al's Blog].

 
 
  Dave Hollinger - British Mountain Guide   Dave Hollinger - British Mountain Guide skiing  
 

Dave Hollinger

Originally from near Belfast, Dave spends the winter months skiing in the Alps, where in addition to the ski touring classics he has a particularly good knowledge of Chamonix and La Grave, the Queyras and Austria - including the Silvretta, Otztal and Stubai ranges etc.

He has a similar background to Al in both expedition climbing and orienteering (ie a former Irish orienteering champion) - but also has a very strong instruction and training background, having worked at Plas Y Brenin, the national outdoor centre for several years.

In the summer months, he guides in the Alps and runs his own mountain training company back in the UK, delivering mountain leader training and awards.

 
 
  neil johnson british mountain guide   Jonathan Baird - British Mountain Guide skiing  
 

Neil Johnson

Neil comes from a background of professional outdoor instruction and exploratory mountaineering. After studying a sports science degree in Leeds, he started off working with young people, then moved on to working with adults and more specifically future leaders and instructors - spending 10 years working at Plas Y Brenin as a Senior Instructor, where he qualified as an IFMGA Guide.

In the winter months he lives in Chamonix mixing ice climbing and off piste work, as well as ski touring - where he has a good knowledge of Chamonix and the Haute Route, the Queyras, the Silvretta, Otztal and Stubai regions.

In the summer months Neil guides in the Alps, but at other times of year he delivers Climbing Fundamentals coaching seminars for the BMC as well as running his own mountain training company, delivering UK mountain leader training and awards.

 
 
  Phil Dowthwaite - British Mountain Guide   Phil Dowthwaite - British Mountain Guide ski mountaineering  
 

Phil Dowthwaite

Phil's love of the outdoors started in the hills of Lancashire and Cumbria where he was brought up, before progressing on to Scottish hills, the Alps and on to the Arctic and Himalayas.

In the winter months he divides his time between running training courses in Scotland and ski touring - where he has a good knowledge of Chamonix and the Haute Route, the Silvretta and Ortler regions, La Grave, the Ecrins and Queyras in the Southern Alps, as well as having lead a number of ski guiding trips to Kashmir in Northern India.

In a previous life he used to work for Glenmore Lodge and Plas y Brenin national outdoor centres in the UK. His favourite pastimes include bouldering on the Peak grit and taking sport climbing holidays in the sun.

 
 
  matt sygall british mountain guide   Rob Jarvis - British Mountain Guide  
 

Matt Stygal

Matt grew up in an unlikely place for a future guide - the flatlands of Norfolk! His outdoor career started by working in centres in Wales and Scotland, mixing regular visits to the Alps with expeditions to Patagonia, Alaska and Kurdistan.

In the winter he mixes climbing guiding and instruction work, with ski touring work in the Alps - where he has a good knowledge of the Silvretta and Albula Alps, Chamonix, the Queyras, the Haute Route and La Grave.

In the summer months he lives in Chamonix, running training courses and guiding private clients on alpine climbing weeks.

 
 
  james thacker - british mountain guide   James Thacker - British Mountain Guide  
 

James Thacker

James enthusiasm for mountains has taken him to Arctic Greenland, the Himalayas and the "classic north faces" of the European Alps. In the winter months he lives in the Chamonix valley, off piste and ski touring - where he has a good knowledge of La Grave, the Ecrins and Queyras in the Southern Alps, Chamonix and the Haute Route, the Gran Paradiso and Silvretta, as well as having toured in remote regions such as East Greenland and Arctic Norway.

For several years he was actively involved with Mountain Rescue in the Peak District as a member of Derby and Edale MRT's. As such he has developed an interest in altitude medicine and the management of the trauma in the mountains.

In the summer months, he guides in the Alps and runs his own mountain training company back in the UK, delivering mountain leader training and awards.

 
 
  mark charlton british mountain guide   mark charlton british mountain guide  
 

Mark Charlton

A full time resident of the Chamonix Valley, Mark has been guiding for over 20 years - during which time he has been strongly involved in the training and assesment of guides for both the British and Swedish mountain guides associations (all of our other guides have been trained or assessed by Mark at some point in their careers!)

Highly experienced and fun to be with, Mark always enjoys telling a story over a beer or three at the end of a good days skiing. He has worked extensively throughout the Alps and numerous other parts of the world, both on skis and mountaineering.

 
 
     
 
 
 
         
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