Guides

Our first priority is always your safety which is why all of our backcountry ski guides are all highly trained in avalanche risk management, backcountry travel, and first aid. All of our backcountry ski guides are involved in ongoing professional training and maintain certifications with their respective associations. Safety always comes first but, it is important to remember that there does exist inherent risks in backcountry travel meaning that anytime we leave the ski area boundary we require all of our clients to be equipped with a full kit of avalanche safety equipment (transceiver, shovel, & probe), and ask that any instructions given by our guides are explicitly followed to mitigate risk and ensure an epic powder day.

Each of our backcountry ski guides brings something a little different to the crew but one thing is for sure, they all share a passion for the mountains and have an intimate knowledge of Hokkaido’s best powder lines. We meet daily to discuss current conditions at each area, monitor the weather, and adjust the schedule to make sure you are headed to the best snow each and every day.

2018/19 Crew:

Chris Eckel

Chris Eckel

Head Guide - USA

Chris worked and skied the backcountry on 4 continents before finding Japow. Now that he‘s been here for 4 seasons, and become a Nikka Whiskey aficionado we are pretty sure he’s a lifer. Springtime will find him guiding heliskiing in Alaska but we can’t fault him for that. Having been paid to drop couloirs in Italy, swim with whale sharks in Australia, descend deep into glaciers, toss bombs and whisper to grizzly bears in Alaska, Chris has amassed many certifications and skills. This will be his 4th season with BDT.

Qualifications
AIARE Level 3
Level 3 Heli-Ski Guide
Emergency Medical Technichian

Peter Leh

Peter Leh

Senior Guide - USA

Peter’s enthusiastic passion for backcountry skiing is contagious. Through efficiency of motion and utilizing the right technique at the right time, he maximizes the skiing experience. His ski guiding career began over 35 years ago in the Sierra Nevada. He is a AMGA certified ski mountaineering guide and a member of the AMGA instructor team, AIARE Level 2 avalanche course leader, and PSIA Level 3 ski instructor. He can be found ski guiding powder in Japan mid winter, corn skiing in the Sierra in the spring or training ski guides and military personnel through out north America. Come Join him on a ski adventure.
This will be Peter’s fifth season working with BDT and we’re excited to have him back for round 5.

Qualifications
AMGA Certified Ski Mountaineering Guide
AIARE Level 3
Member of the AMGA Instructor Team
AIARE Level 2 Avalanche Course Leader
PSIA Level 3 Ski Instructor

Sandy Miller

Sandy Miller

Senior Guide - USA

As someone who was born and raised around the waters and mountains of Alaska, Sandy grew an appreciation and passion for adventure in the outdoors that has led him on world travels, countless days in the mountains, and eventually a career in heli skiing and avalanche forecasting. Sandy has worked at Alaska Powder Descents as a heli ski guide for the past 5 seasons and has been one of the lead instructors of the Mountain Savvy progam at Eaglecrest ski area. This will be his 4th winter with BDT.

Qualifications
Avalanche/Helicopter Ski Guide (Alaska) Level 2
American Avalanche Institute Level 3 Forecaster
Wilderness First Responder and OEC Technician

Dawn Riley

Dawn Riley

Senior Guide - USA

A native of Juneau, AK, Dawn‘s love for mountain sports has carried her across the U.S., through Canada, and finally to her favorite mountains here in Hokkaido. A professional snowboard guide for over a decade, she earned certifications in both the U.S. and Canada. On a winter day, you will find Dawn on the snow; touring for fresh tracks, riding secret stashes in the trees, ski patrolling at Eaglecrest, or leading a group of heli-skiers. She wouldn’t have it any other way.

Qualifications
AIARE Level 2
Level 3 Heli-ski Guide
Emergency Medical Technichian

Brian Muller

Brian Muller

Senior Guide - USA

Brian is originally from New Jersey and has been working in the ski industry for 8 years. Brian got his start guiding 24 day ski mountaineering courses in Alaska, before moving down to Utah to work as a full time Ski Patroller/Cat guide out of Snowbird. In the summers Brian works out of Alaska and Washington, guiding Denali as well as the volcanos of the Pacific Northwest. When Brian is not working, he is out looking for new ski lines or climbing.

Qualifications
AMGA Certified Ski Guide
AAI Level III Avalanche
Outdoor Emergency Care

Brian Campbell

Brian Campbell

Senior Guide - USA

Brian Campbell grew up in Park City, Utah skiing and recreating in the outdoors all over the Western United States. In 2006 he moved to Oregon where he attended school studying Literature, Philosophy and Outdoor Adventure Leadership. While living in Oregon he became passionate about climbing and backcountry skiing. In 2008 Brian began his guiding career as a whitewater guide. Now Brian guides climbing and skiing full time and year round. He has worked in many locations throughout the western United States, and recently started guiding skiing in Hokkaido, Japan. He has a personal resume including ski descents in many different ranges in the western United States, British Columbia, Alaska, and Europe; as well as rock and alpine climbing ascents in many locations around the Western United States. In his free time Brian can usually be found climbing and skiing, visiting friends and family, or traveling around the world.

Qualifications
IFMGA Mountain Guide
AMGA Certified Ski Guide
AIARE Level 3
Wilderness First Responder

Will Borg

Will Borg

Senior Guide - USA

Will grew up skiing with his four older brothers in Colorado and he was immediately mesmerized with the mountains. His passion for skiing has led him to an exciting career of ski patrolling, avalanche forecasting, and guiding. Will has spent the last 10 years of endless winters in New Zealand, Montana, Chile, and Svalbard. He continues his search for deep snow heli-guiding for Alaska Rendezvous Lodge and now in Japan. When Will is not skiing, you will find him hanging out with family and friends, rafting in the desert, mountain biking, or enjoying a strong IPA.

Qualifications
American Avalanche Institute Level 3.
Emergency Medical Technician.

Julian Hanna

Julian Hanna

Senior Guide - USA

If you are looking for a split boarding mountain guide, Jules is your man. He has been guiding for 10 years and spends his winters in Tahoe and summers in the Pacific North West and Alaska. He is one of only a few splitboarders who has become certified with the AMGA as a Ski guide. Whether it’s a ski day or time to board, Jules enjoys the rewards that the backcountry experience provides. He is an AIARE 1 course leader and has logged many adventures in mountains up and down the west coast learning about the avalanche phenomena.
In addition to guiding, Jules has worked as a climbing ranger at Mt Rainer and as a mountaineer for the US Antarctic Program and has many stories to tell from his time on Search and Rescue in those locales. This will be his second season in Japan.

Qualifications
AMGA Ski Guide
AIARE Level 3
AAA Level 3
EMT

Takehiro "Mattias" Hosogai

Takehiro "Mattias" Hosogai

Multi-day Tour Specialist - Japan

Mattias was born to Japanese and Swedish parents. Growing up in a few different countries and educated in English, he is as multicultural as one can be. Mattias‘ days outdoors began before he could even walk. He has been skiing, hiking and camping for as long as he can remember and this will be his 4th season working with us. Mattias considers Japan’s mountains to be its greatest treasure and he cannot wait to share good times with you in Hokkaido!

Qualifications
JAN Level 1
Wilderness First Aid (50hrs)

Junichi Saotome

Junichi Saotome

Junior Guide - Japan

Junichi moved to Hokkaido a few years ago from the main island. Working originally as a snowboard instructor at NOASC, he has made a shift to guiding last season with Black Diamond Tours. During the summer season, you can see Junichi helping out local farms in the town of Makkari.

Qualifications
JAN Level 1
Wilderness First Aid (50hrs)

Phil Welch

Phil Welch

Junior Guide - UK

Phil comes from the UK and has been living in Japan for five years. In the summers, Phil is guiding rafting and canyoning tours down in Honshu then flies back to Hokkaido for the powder in the winter. This will be his 3rd winter working with us.

Qualifications
JAN operations Level 1
Wilderness First Aid

Sam Roche

Sam Roche

Junior Guide - USA

Sam is another heli guide from Alaska that got hooked on winters in Japan. This will be Sam’s third year exploring the mountains of Japan, and he’s excited to ride more deep Hokkaido powder with clients. In the spring, Sam will be guiding for Alaska Powder Descents.

Qualifications
AMGA Apprentice Ski & Alpine Guide
AIARE Level 2
CAA Operations Level 1
Wilderness First Responder (80 hours)

Kyle Boys

Kyle Boys

Junior Guide - Australia

Kyle grew up in Australia and as a carpenter, but his real passion is the mountains and being in the outdoors. He chases the snow and has done his Avalanche level 1 in New Zealand and has lived in Austria for two years in the Alps where he worked as an instructor and practiced his skills in the backcountry splitboarding. This will be his second season in Hokkiado and he can’t wait to show you the real "Japow".

Qualifications
NZMGA Avalanche Stage 1
Wilderness First Aid (60 hours)

Erin Laine

Erin Laine

Junior Guide - USA

Born and raised in Southern Colorado potato country Erin has always had a love for high rocky places and deep cold snow. Chasing summits and patching blisters throughout the western United States, Denali, the Chilean Andes and now Japan. She‘s working towards AMGA ski guide certification and eventually IFMGA certification, which means most of her time off is spent climbing a new pitch on rock or ice. When she isn’t in the mountains she can usually be found perfecting her thai curry, visiting one of her four siblings, or napping in the shade with her sweet dog Willie.

Qualifications
AMGA Ski & Alpine apprentice guide
AIARE 1 & 2 instructor
ASHI Wilderness Medicine educator
Wilderness EMT

Yoshiko Miyazaki-Back

Yoshiko Miyazaki-Back

Junior Guide - Japan

Since first introduced to skiing in Nagano as a child growing up in Kyoto, Yoshiko has learned to appreciate couloirs, ski mountaineering and chasing powder with friends after three seasons living in Chamonix having graduated from college in the UK. She has been guiding since 2010 including 4 seasons in Hokkaido, under the the midnight sun in Antarctica, and in the Ruby Mountains in Nevada. Summers are spent mostly guiding Denali expeditions and volcanos & alpine rock in the North Cascades. When not guiding, Yoshiko loves climbing & skiing closer to home in Lake Tahoe and the Eastern Sierra or volunteering with an adaptive horse riding center. Yoshiko is working towards her full IFMGA certification.

Qualifications
AMGA Rock Guide
AMGA Apprentice Ski & Alpine Guide
American Avalanche Institute Level 3
Canadian Avalanche Association AST 1 Instructor
Wilderness First Responder

Marissa Capito

Marissa Capito

Reservations

Yet another Alaskan finds their way to Japan! Marissa was born and raised Juneau, Alaska, and grew up fishing and playing in the mountains. She managed to find herself a ski guide husband who introduced her to the wonders of Japan’s epic pow, its incredible food, and kind people. She loves sharing the stoke with clients!

Shin Doi

Shin Doi

Operations Manager

Shin is a Tokyo native, originally from Australia by way of Kelowna, BC, Canada. He‘s a fluent Japanese speaker with the best Canadian accent you’ve ever heard. When not splitboarding, you can find Shin taking reservations and working with guests at HBC. Shin is a recent grad from UBC Okanagan.

Qualifications
CAA Operations Level 1
OFA Level 3 (80hrs) certification.

Makoto Koizumi

Makoto Koizumi

Heli/Cat Manager

Makoto hails from the island of Honshu, where he previously worked as a CIC (Commission Internationale de Canyon) canyoneering guide and swiftwater rescue technician in the Hakuba area. Makoto has more than 18 years of experience in guiding, and recently started the not-for-profit Helicopter Air Rescue Unit (HARU).

Clayton Kernaghan

Clayton Kernaghan

Owner

Clayton grew up skiing and snowboarding on the river banks of Edmonton, Alberta and the Rocky Mountain resorts of Jasper and Banff. Working at the local ski hill from the age of 15, he knew he wanted to be part of the ski and snowboard industry for the rest of his life.

In 1996, Clayton had the opportunity to visit Japan for the summer. After seeing firsthand the incredible popularity of snowboarding, his original plan was to bring Japanese snowboarders to Canada for multiple resort tours and backcountry experiences. With very little Japanese ability, no money, and no connections, he failed big time!

After studying Japanese and graduating with a degree in international business from the Universty of Alberta, he headed back to Japan in 1998 to make those connections, and immediately fell in love with the food, culture, and ridiculously deep powder.

While teaching English and gaining a foothold in Japan, Clayton finally had an opportunity to put his 7 years of exploring the resorts and mountains of Hokkaido to use. The rest is history!

Qualifications
Wilderness First Aid (40 hour course)
Avalanche Operations Level 1 (Japan Avalanche Association)