Ski and Snowboard Guides

Our first priority is always your safety which is why all of our backcountry ski guides in are all highly trained in avalanche risk management, backcountry travel, and first aid. All of our backcountry ski guides based out of Niseko 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. Our Niseko ski guides 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. If you have a preference on your guide, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

2022-23 Guide Crew:

Peter Leh

Peter Leh

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 8th season working with BDT and we’re excited to have him back for round 8.

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

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 7th winter with BDT.

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

Sam Roche

Sam Roche

Guide - USA

Sam has been guiding for HBC since 2016, and he’s excited to ride more deep Hokkaido powder with clients. Sam calls Juneau, Alaska home where he guides heli skiing in the spring and fly fishing trips in the summer. Sam is also a Guide Ambassador for Weston Backcountry.

Qualifications
AMGA Splitboard Guide
American Avalanche Association Professional Level 2
Canadian Avalanche Association Operations Level 1
Wilderness First Responder

Brian Muller

Brian Muller

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. This will be Brians’s 5th season guiding at BDT.

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

Will Borg

Will Borg

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. This will be Will’s 3rd season guiding with BDT.

Qualifications
American Avalanche Institute Level 3.
Emergency Medical Technician.

Steve Banks

Steve Banks

Guide - USA

Steve is AMGA certified and IFMGA licensed Mountain Guide. Steve hails form Crested Butte, CO but is a frequent traveller climbing, skiing and guiding all over the world. Steve is also an EMT, AIARE Level 1 & 2 avalanche course leader, PSIA Level 1 Ski Instructor, has been an avalanche forecaster and the Executive Director of the Crested Butte Avalanche Center, worked for the Crested Butte Professional Ski Patrol and is currently helping to train the next generation of Mountain Guides on the AMGA National Instructor Team. This will be Steve’s second season with BDT.

Qualifications
IFMGA Mountain Guide
AMGA Ski Guide
AIARE Level 1 & 2 Avalanche Course Leader
Emergency Medical Technician.

Yoshiko Miyazaki-Back

Yoshiko Miyazaki-Back

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. This will be her 3rd season working at BDT.

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

Norie Kizaki

Norie Kizaki

Guide - Japan

Born in rural, western Japan, Norie Kizaki was raised in the Buddhist monastery her family has administered for generations. Norie moved to Colorado in 1996 and earned a masters degree in International Intercultural Communications from Denver University. Leaving behind a successful consulting career, Norie turned her passion for skiing into her profession. She has been ski guiding in Hokkaido for the last decade and she now returns to Japan each winter with her young son.

Norie is the first mother to complete the Mountain Guide Program, the first Japanese woman to achieve IFMGA status through an examination process, and the first woman of color to become AMGA/IFMGA guide. She is an AIARE Instructor and Certified Wilderness First Responder.

Qualifications
IFMGA Mountain Guide
AMGA Ski Guide
AIARE Course Leader
Wilderness First Responder

Peter Biskind

Peter Biskind

Guide- USA

Peter loves snow and loves to ski- it’s a palpable passion. He’s been fortunate enough to guide, forecast, or patrol on 6 continents. He started his snow-safety career in Tahoe in 2007 as a ski patroller at Alpine Meadows which has led him to teach avalanche education courses and write public and private avalanche forecasts internationally. Peter began ski guiding in Japan in 2015 and continues to balance international ski trips with heli ski guiding in Valdez, Alaska. When not on snow Peter seeks out family time, kitesurfing beaches, or is building his remote Alaskan hangar-home. “Guiding skiing in JaPOW is a dream; the snow does the work and we enjoy the faceshots together.”

Qualifications
AMGA Ski Guide
Avalanche Level 3 (US Pro Level 2)
Emergency Medical Technician (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 10th 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 Responder (80 hour course)

Junichi Saotome

Junichi Saotome

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. This will be Junichi’s 6th season guiding at BDT.

Qualifications
JAN Level 1
Wilderness First Responder (80 hour course)

Phil Welch

Phil Welch

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 7th winter working with us.

Qualifications
JAN operations Level 1
Wilderness First Aid

Allu Penttala

Allu Penttala

Guide - Finland

Allu has pretty much grown up with a snowboard on his feet. Starting from a 70m tall resort in his hometown, his enthusiasm towards gliding on snow just kept on growing. Allu was a snowboard coach already at a young age, and has competed worldwide in both freestyle and Freeride. Nowadays he spends all his days finding sweet lines up and down the mountains, searching for the best snow. On top of that, he loves to share the stoke and show people good times on the mountains. By education Allu is a Nordic Mountain leader, Wilderness guide, a Snow technician (Svelav Pro 2) and a Wilderness First Responder (WFR).

Qualifications
Snow Technician (Svelav Pro 2)
Wilderness First Aid (60 hours)

Goar Bermudez Garcia

Goar Bermudez Garcia

Guide - Spain/ Canada

Goar was born in Spain, his family put him on skis at age 3, and grew up between the mountains of Northern Spain where his family is from , and from who he got the passion for the mountains and skiing.

Before starting Architecture school, at age 17 he became a ski instructor, and after spending a year studying abroad in the Italian Alps in 2009, decided that needed to find a balance between Architecture and Skiing.

In 2012 Goar took the dream a bit further moving to the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, where he starts his guiding career, and after 3 seasons of coaching freeride and taking his first guiding courses, started guiding for the past 6 winters based on Whistler and all around BC, the Japan dream was always around but becoming a Canadian Citizen kept this dream for a bit later...

Qualifications
CSGA Ski Guide Level 1
CAA Operations Level 1
Wilderness First Responder

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard

Guide - USA

Meesh has nearly a decade of experience working in the Alaskan heli ski industry. When she is away from Japan, she works for NOLS in their mountaineering and backcountry ski program. She has instructed/guided in Alaska, Wyoming, Utah, Canada, and Chile and has ski patrolled in both Wyoming and New Zealand. Michelle spends her summers in Alaska guiding on Denali.

Qualifications
AAI Professional Level 1
Wilderness First Responder

Masa Ogata

Masa Ogata

Guide - Japan

Originally from Tokyo, Masa made a move for the powder in Hokkaido, and this is his 5th year working for HBC. Masa has experience as a ski patroller at Hirafu Ski Resort, rafting guide in Niseko, hiking guiding at Mt. Fuji, and canyoning guide in Honshu.

Qualifications
JAN Operations Level 1
Wilderness First Responder

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 BDT. Shin is a grad from UBC Okanagan.

Qualifications
CAA Operations Level 1
Wilderness First Responder (80 hour course)

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 Responder (80 hour course)
Avalanche Operations Level 1 (Japan Avalanche Association)