On the road with a ski, snowboard or mountain guide
Traveling with a ski guide, snowboard guide or teacher from Epique is a special experience. Our guides are certified, licensed and highly experienced. This means they are trained and licensed to train and guide skiers and snowboarders from beginner to expert. In addition, all guides and teachers are fanatic and experienced freeriders themselves and therefore know exactly what modern freeriding is all about. Our driven and motivated guides know the long road to optimal performance like no other. This is one of the reasons why they can respond adequately to the individual. Motivation, patience, respect and a healthy dose of humor are part of our approach. So good company.
During our training programs you will be supervised by a teacher with at least an Austrian State diploma (Staatlich Diplom Lehrer). During our freeride and tour programs you will be accompanied, depending on the country or region, by an Austrian Staatlich Ski or Snowboardführer or a UIAGM mountain guide. During our heli-skiing and mountaineering programs, depending on the country or region, you will be accompanied by a UIAGM mountain guide. Read on the FAQ page more about the differences and powers of teachers and guides.
Michael de Ruijter
Staatlich geprüfter SkifuhrerFounder & Owner
Michiel de Ruijter is the founder and owner of Epique – Mountain Adventures. As a young professional soldier, after four special years, he made the switch to outdoor sports and came into contact with skiing and snowboarding during the CIOS sports training. During his studies Physical Education and Sport Management he developed further as a trainer, teacher and sports professional. In the four winters ‘am Arlberg’ he successfully completed his training as Austrian Staatlich Diplom Skilehrer and Skiführer. In the same period, the first ideas for organizing adventure trips arose. In 2006 he started Ski-Madness which would become Epique in 2012.
“For Epique I travel all over the world, meet interesting and fun people, make new friends and learn every day. This way I can share my passion for adventure, sports and the mountains with as many people as possible. This is not a career, it’s my life.”
Michiel lives in Utrecht and can be found in his spare time on the Utrechtse Heuvelrug with his beloved titanium hardtail, in the bouldering hall or with his boat on the canals.
Travel specialist & Ski fanaticMarketing & Office Manager
Rik Deekens was born with sports and winter sports. After completing the CIOS sports training, he chose the mountains for the High North. He worked for more than ten years in France and Austria. In the summer as an outdoor instructor in the Pyrenees, where he rode up the Col de Pailhères on a blue Monday. On the skis, Rik worked at Snowlimits in Groningen, but as soon as it started to snow as a ski instructor and ski school manager in Flachau. In recent years he has developed more as a sports manager and with this interest he came to Epique. He may have exchanged the mountains for the Utrechtse Heuvelrug, but he can still regularly be found on his skis and bicycle. In recent years, for example, he has been in Norway, Scotland, Japan, Kazakhstan and Georgia.
Despite the passion for playing outside, I can manage surprisingly well in the office at Epique. An energetic company in which I get all the freedom, happy customers with a love for the mountains and pleasant conditions (read: I can come along now and then) keep me enthusiastic. Looking for an adventure? here to help.
Rik has been with the Epique team since 2017. His domain is our office in Utrecht. If you have been on an adventure with us or have yet to go, then you have probably received an email, phone call or text message from him. As Manager Operations & Marketing he is responsible for all the ins and outs of our program and he manages our marketing activities. Rik lives in Utrecht and can be found on a mountain bike or with his kite on the water in his spare time. In addition to his work and hobbies, he studies commercial economics with a specialization in sports management.
Aliocha KarpovichBusiness Director
Aliocha Karpovich is Epique’s business director. He has broad expertise in change management as a strategy consultant and in leading companies, among other things as a commercial director. He has a great passion for sustainability and has his own consultancy in that area. Halfway through 2020, he came into contact with Michiel, after which Epique’s joint adventure for sustainable growth has started.
“At Epique I found a new challenge. This is where my knowledge, experience and love for sports come together. The playing field, the opportunities and cooperation with this team make it top sport.“
Aliocha has been an active athlete all his life. During his studies he was active as a fitness instructor, and with a dance career in hip-hop and salsa he was a multiple Dutch champion. As a dyeing sport climber, he can often be found in the bouldering hall in Utrecht or on the rock in Berdorf, Freÿr or Fontainebleau. He also enjoys going out with friends and family, surfing in the summer and snowboarding in the winter.
Staatlich geprüfter SnowboardführerOperational & Development
Gijs-Jan Lavèn has been working for Epique since 2012 and is a welcome and familiar face to many. After completing his Sport, Management & Entrepreneurship training in Amsterdam, he taught as a snowboard and ski instructor in Austrian areas including Obertauern and Arlberg. In 2011, he successfully completed his training as Austrian Staatlich Diplom Snowboardlehrer and Snowboardführer. For more than ten years he has been in the mountains in winter and summer. In the winter as a ski or snowboard guide and in the summer as a guide on a mountain bike or racing bike. He rode more than 100 Trans Alps and therefore knows almost every pass, trail or stop for a double espresso.
“My passion for adventure, sportsmanship, mountains and nature are the driving force behind my work at Epique. For years I have been organizing, discovering and guiding, with great love and pleasure, trips to new and challenging destinations all over the world. Giving people an unforgettable experience gives me a lot of energy and satisfaction.”
Gijs-Jan lives with his girlfriend and daughter in the center of Amsterdam. The contrast between the busy city and quiet mountains provides a nice change. As a real endurance athlete, he likes mountain biking and cycling and likes to challenge himself conditionally and technically. Keeping his wheel on a technical climb or in one of the last laps on the Sloten velodrome, don’t just let your frame crack.
Staatlich geprüfter SnowboardführerGuide and heli specialist
Nico Piek went into the mountains for the first time at a relatively late age and came into contact with snowboarding there. He was immediately sold to the ultimate feeling of freedom and knew that he wanted to develop further in this sport. During his Sport, Management & Entrepreneurship training in Amsterdam he obtained his Anwärter. In the winter of 2008 he started working as a snowboard instructor in Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria and in 2013 he obtained his training as Staatlich Geprüfter Snowboardlehrer and Snowboardführer. He is now more than ten seasons further, a lot of experiences richer and he works as a guide and trainer for Snowboard teachers. In winter, Mayrhofen is Nico’s home base, where he explores the hinterland of the Zillertal on his days off.
‘Being on the road with people in the mountains, pushing the boundaries together, improving their skills and experiencing an unforgettable time gives a wonderful feeling’
Outside the winter, he likes to travel. For example, he and his girlfriend made a beautiful, long trip through South America and he makes summer trips in his self-built bus camper. It will come as no surprise that this snowboarder also likes surfing and skateboarding. However, the fact that Nico has been playing squash all his life and has won big prizes is a real thing you knew. The 2019 Dutch Champion Double Squash is happy to tell you more about it.
Staatlich geprüfter Diplom SkilehrerChef Training
As a child, Roderik Sillevis got on skis early on and skied slalom competitions on the brush tracks in the Netherlands in his younger years. In 2000 he moved to Austria and worked as a ski and snowboard instructor in Obertauern and Königsleiten. In 2009 he successfully completed his training to become an Austrian Staatlich Diplom Skilehrer. In 2010 he exchanged the Austrian for the Gooi Alps and became head teacher at Wolfskamer Wintersport in Huizen. Roderik is a real all-rounder. For example, he was active in competitive skiing, freestyle moguls and as a trainer for ski instructors. That he is also a strong freerider should come as no surprise. Perhaps for the participants of the Poederbaas Freeride Festival in 2017, where he took first place with a technical and fast line. In addition, he delivered a special performance during the legendary ski race ‘Der Weiße Rausch’. In April 2019, he finished third in his age category and tenth overall. Not bad for a single Dutchman.
“With my passion, enthusiasm and experience I like to take people on an adventure to push their limits. Technique is the basis but play is the form. Put on your skis and come play outside! Children of winter never grow old.”
Roderik lives in Huizen and spends his free time with his family or in the gym. He is still active as a trainer and teacher at the Wolfskamer, where his daughter is now also teaching. Besides two strong legs, Roderik also has two golden hands. With his construction company he makes houses and gardens more beautiful. As a self-employed person, he can flexibly plan his time in order to enjoy the winter mountains enough. Always energetic and enthusiastic, Roderik has been with Epique since 2014 and is mainly involved in all training and freeride programs.
Niek van der Horst
Staatlich geprüfter SnowboardführerTeacher & Guide
Niek van der Horst’s love for the mountains originated in the Zillertal Alps. Here he made his first meters on skis as a child. During winter sports in France he discovered snowboarding. After completing the Sport, Management & Entrepreneurship training, Niek could be found in the mountains in both winter and summer. He has taught as a snowboard and ski instructor in Austria including Arlberg, Grunau, Sölden, Nauders and Kaprun as well as Lesotho in Africa. In addition, he has been working since 2010 for a Dutch travel organization specialized in safaris and hut tours in Austria, Switzerland and Italy. Besides tour leader and guide, he is also involved in the development and organization. Partly because of this, his knowledge of areas in the Alps is unprecedented, with the Italian Dolomites having conquered a special place in his heart. In 2019 he successfully completed his training to become Austrian Staatlich Diplom Snowboardlehrer and Snowboardführer.
“Every year the mountains give meaning to my life. The overwhelming nature of mountain landscapes gives me peace and reflection. I prefer to visit new places every time, with new people and new challenges. One road, so many ways.”
At Epique you will meet Niek on skis or (split)board during various training, freeride or tour activities. In addition to his love for winter mountains, Niek also has a great passion for mountain biking and kite surfing. In the summer you can climb and descend by mountain bike on beautiful single tracks and in the winter split and tour in fresh snow in search of the most beautiful descents. After having ‘worked’ in Aruba for some time, as a kitesurf and windsurf instructor, he now lives with his girlfriend in Scheveningen. Here he is in the water within ten minutes to jump over meters high waves!
Are you going on an adventure with us? We are happy to let you experience the beauty of the mountains, the feeling of the perfect turn and the thrill of surfing weightless on the snow.Contact us