Your Splitboard Guides

Your splitboard guides here at The Rider Social are qualified to the highest levels and have many years experience of leading worldwide mountaineering and splitboard touring trips behind them.

What’s the difference between a UIAGM guide and an instructor? A BASI level 4 ski / snowboard instructor (ISTD) can teach from beginner to pro-level and can guide you off piste through a resort and its side country . However, only a high mountain guide (UIAGM / IFMGA) is qualified to take you into the real backcountry to snowboard at the highest altitudes.

Rider Social high mountain guides are also instructors. The Rider Social currently has 3 UIAGM guides on its roster. The added value is that they also all hold the ISTD qualification too. This is quite rare as it means that they are also qualified to teach ski & snowboard techniques on high altitude backcountry expeditions.

Splitboard Savvy: All of our guides can not only splitboard but they can teach snowboarding too. This means that the routes they choose for ascents and the skin tracks they make will always be suitable for splitboarders. Their insight, tips and tricks on skinning and other techniques are invaluable.

Safety: Backcountry snowboarding is by its nature prone to danger. Every day on every trip we constantly assess the snow pack, terrain, group ability and weather conditions. We aren’t afraid to shut down on a route if its not the safest it can be. Aside from your lead UIAGM guide you will also have a back marker trained in mountain specific first aid accompanying the group who can lend advice, binding spares and a general helping hand if needed. We only take small groups on most trips (4 max) meaning we can move quickly and safely in the mountains.

David Gladwin

David is a fully qualified ISTD/UIAGM/IFMGA High Mountain guide and is originally from Newcastle. David started snowboarding in Chatel nearly 30 years ago and his passion is for splitboarding, riding big, technical freeride lines and snow science.

David has opened up first ascent routes in Patagonia and recently guided climbing parties in the high peaks of Kyrgyzstan. We are super thrilled to have David on the roster for 2017 – his commitment to the sport and passion for the mountains is infectious.

A Rider Social trip with David can involve learning in-depth about snowpack and avalanche risk whilst also getting tips on perfecting your frontside 360’s in the backcountry!

Jean-Yves Fredriksen

Jean-Yves is a fully qualified ISTD/UIAGM/IFMGA High Mountain guide and lives in the Abondance Valley in which Chatel is situated. His knowledge and experience of both European and International high mountain destinations is almost unmatched.

Known by the nickname of ‘Blutch’ to his friends Jean-Yves is the Rider Socials’ most experienced guide. In May 2016 Jean-Yves and friends skied the mythical line of Le Linceul (The Shroud) in the Grandes Jurasses situated in the Mont Blanc Massif. The route was first opened in 1968 and had only been skied (and snowboarded) once before in 1995. The line is a super exposed 55 degree ride down – you can watch it here.

Jean-Yves is currently in the process of becoming the first paraglider to traverse the Himalayas. We look forward to seeing him back here triumphant in November 2016. Follow his progress here.

Paul Verdier

Paulo is a fully qualified ISTD/UIAGM/IFMGA High Mountain guide and is originally from the spa town of Evian (just 17km away from us). Paulo learnt to ski in and around Chatel and Les Portes Du Soleil before enrolling in the French High Mountain Guides training Scheme at ENSA in Chamonix.

In his youth Paulo competed in FIS Nordic skiing events at the highest level. A true mountain goat he can seemingly randonee for ever without breaking a sweat!

Paulo has a superb knowledge of the French Alps and always has a hidden powder line for you to ride up his sleeve. His big passion is for climbing and he can usually be found in the autumn months free climbing rock formations such as El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.

Rory Burton

Rory is a fully qualified level 4 ISTD snowboard instructor and has lived in Chatel for nearly 20 years.  Having worked as an private instructor for a lot of those years he recently opened a fresh new snowsports school here in Chatel called Blue Chilli.

Rory’s first season teaching was in Austria on a pair of Atomic arcs 198, he won’t tell you how long ago that was, but those of you who remember straight skis will know. In 2013 Rory ski toured to the 5642m summit of Mount Elbrus – Europe’s highest mountain and one of the 7 summits.

Rory was one of the first British instructors here in Chatel to embrace splitboarding and he has been the head guide on our Split and Mix weeks for the last 5 seasons. He will always find you great snow. When all the snow melts you can often find him exploring new trails on his mountain bike, which he says is more fun than splitboarding. But we’re not too sure about that!