Many people aren’t aware of the vigorous training and the exams taken by both Snowsports Teachers and High Mountain Guides, even fewer recognize the difference between these two independent professions.
Read on to find out more…
The UIAGM/IFMGA High Mountain Guide.
UIAGM stands for Union International Association de Guide de haute Montagne or as IFMGA – International Federation Mountain Guides Association.
The UIAGM High Mountain Guides qualification is the only Worldwide recognized Mountain Guiding qualification and allows the holder
to guide in the High Mountains and lead Expeditions and trips amongst the Highest Peaks anywhere in the World both summer and winter.
The High Mountain Guides qualification follows a 5 year syllabus studying all Aspects of High Mountain Guiding including Freeride Skiing/Snowboarding, Ski mountaineering/Splitboarding, Ice climbing, Rock Climbing, Alpine Climbing, Mountaineering, Avalanche safety, Mountain Safety and Rescue and Canyoning.
Neil McNab became a fully qualified full time UIAGM Guide in 2003 and is one of the few foreign nationals to qualify as a UIAGM Guide through the highly esteemed French High Mountain Guides training Scheme based at ENSA in Chamonix.
(The UIAGM High Mountain Guides qualification is not a Snowsports teaching qualification and does not allow the holder to work as a Ski or Snowboard Teacher within the pisted Ski area, for this the ISTD qualification is necessary)
The International Snowsports Teaching Diploma or ISTD.
The ISTD (International Snowsports Teaching Diploma) is an ISIA (International Ski Instructors Association) Internationally recognized diploma.
The ISTD is the highest level International Snowsports Teaching qualification and allows the bearer to Teach Skiing and Snowboarding from beginner through to expert and to Coach the competitive disciplines of Skiing and Snowboarding to the highest levels.
The ISTD qualification follows a 4 level modular system that takes 4 years minimum to complete from beginning to end.
Neil McNab earned his full ISTD qualification in 1993.
(The ISTD Teaching qualification is not a Backcountry Guiding qualification and does not permit the bearer to work as a Guide in the Backcountry of the high mountains, for this the UIAGM High Mountain Guides qualification is necessary).
Neil McNab is a fully qualified UIAGM Backcountry Snowboard and Splitboard Guide, one of the only few Professional Snowboarders Worldwide to hold both this qualification and the ISTD Ski and Snowboard Teacher allowing him to both Teach and Guide in the High Mountain anywhere in the World.
To learn more on how to become a ISTD Snowsports Teacher click here
To learn more about how to become a UIAGM High Mountain Guide click here