About Us

Our team members have been skiing/riding in Hokkaido for years and have ample experience finding the best lines, deepest snow and most unique terrain on the island. Combine that with professional qualifications and a rigorous safety program, you can rest assured that you`ll be in good hands with one of the most competent guiding teams in Japan.

Please keep reading to find out a little more about the unique indivuals that form our experienced guiding team:

Meet Our Crew

Andy Cole

Head Guide

Andy is a full time mountain guide from New Zealand. He started his career with air force search and rescue before transferring to the NZ Army where he ran ski touring, mountaineering and rock climbing courses. Following that, he established a New Zealand based guiding company called 4 Peaks Adventures. In 2017, Andy returns to Hokkaido for another winter of powder and is looking forward to leading the Rising Sun crew through the season as our head guide. Andy is an IFMGA Climbing and Ski guide.

Scott Walker

Head of Snow Safety

Scott comes to us with 17 years of ski guiding experience in the mountains of New Zealand and is a full cert ski guide with the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association. Coming from a ski patrolling background, safety is Scott`s first priority followed very closely by a keen desire to ensure his clients have a fantastic experience. Scott is a passionate telemarker and only likes to ski exceptional snow…so you can be sure he will do his best to find the goods! During the kiwi summer`s you`ll find him building sweet single track mountain bike trails in New Zealand`s mountains with his trail building company T5 Contracting.

Bronwen Waters

Bronwen entered the ski industry as a patroller and has spent numerous winters working in New Zealand, Canada and Norway. She is now an NZMGA assistant ski guide spending her Southern hemisphere winters guiding with Aspiring Guides and Harris Mountain Heli-ski. She also works as an avalanche educator teaching both recreational and professional level avalanche courses and will become an important part of our AST instructor team. Bronwen is looking forward to an awesome powder season and sharing time in Hokkaido`s mountains with our guests.


Mitch Potter

Mitch first made his way to Hokkaido back in 2009 and has never looked back. 2017-18 will be his 8th consecutive Japanese winter and let`s just say that he has things pretty well figured out over here. Even for Mitch though, there’s still plenty of new terrain to explore and he’s always looking to find the next uncharted line. Mitch mainly finds himself on the road, looping Hokkaido’s best kept secrets.

Jakub Doubic

Jakub “aka” the Horse is known amongst the crew for his ridiculous ability to charge up a skin track. A ski instructor turned guide, Jakub is headed back to Hokkaido for is 6th straight winter and forms an integral part of our multi-day trip guiding team. Jakub is a full cert ISIA instructor with avalanche qualification.


Kasuya “Tak” Takahiro

A Hokkaido local, you’ll generally find Tak “cheering” (that means chillin` in Tak-speak) somewhere in Hokkaido’s backcountry. Tak loves skiing and it shows. After a lifetime of shovelling, moving and generally dealing with snow (a huge part of life for any Hokkaido resident!), Tak decided that playing in snow was better. After several years instructing at Kiroro resort, Tak has been educating himself in safe backcountry travel techniques, snow safety and returns to Rising Sun as one our trusted multi-day trip guides. Combine his enthusiasm with the type of local knowledge that can only come from growing up here and you’ll be stoked to get out on a trip with Tak.

Hiro Nakamura

Hiro has worked and skied extensively in the Niseko region and worked for several operations across town including NISS, Hanazono Powder Guides and most recently Hokkaido Mountain Experience. Hiro has also spent time in New Zealand on both the North and South Islands teaching snowboarding at Mount Ruapehu and Cardrona. Hiro returns to the Rising Sun team for the 17-18 season and is stoked to ride more Hokkaido pow this winter!

Toshi Ota

Originally from Tomokomai, Toshi learned to ride in Hokkaido`s mountains and spent his lifetime making tracks around the island before moving overseas for a 5 year stint between 2013-2017. During that time Toshi spent his time working  as a raft guide in Canada and New Zealand. Toshi returned home in 2017 to re-join the Rising Sun team. Toshi is back again for the 2018-19 season and looking forward to re-visiting his favorite backyard powder stashes with some lucky Rising Sun guests.

Anna Loomes

Anna is excited to be joining Rising Sun for her first season of skiing in Japan. Usually based in New Zealand’s Southern Alps, Anna spends the summer months working as a Glacier and Trekking guide. Until recently Anna was a ski patroller and has worked over the years has worked at New Zealands remote Club Fields, Mt Ruapehu and at The Remarkables. Anna is now qualified as an assistant ski guide with the NZMGA and now works for Aspiring Guides and Methven Heli-ski during the Southern winter season.

Soren Rasmussen

Soren was born in Tokyo and grew up skiing in Nagano, but hadn’t been blessed with Hokkaido powder until he started working as a translator in the local ski industry 3 years ago. He’s hooked, and is looking forward to his first season with Rising Sun and third Hokkaido winter. When it’s not snowing, Soren applies his love for the outdoors and Japanese language skills together as a cultural tour guide climbing Mt. Fuji and other pilgrimage routes across Japan. Soren`s favorites include ramen, hot springs and finding great snow.

Brannen Maloney

After several winters living the Hokkaido ski bum dream, Brannen has finally taken on a “real” job with Rising Sun. Brannen is responsible for just about everything required to keep our operation running day to day. Amongst other glamourous jobs such as securing roof racks and snow clearing Brannen is our marketing specialist, responsible for our rental fleet and most importantly our manager of manager`s.

Erika Hirata

Erika is originally from Osaka but discovered Hokkaido powder a few years ago and hasn`t looked back since. Like several other member`s of our team, Erika now spends summer in Canada and winter here in Niseko, Japan. Erika is our office manager so will likely be answering your emails and phone calls while making arrangements to ensure you have a seamless trip to Japan!

Yui & Andrew Spragg

Andrew first visited Hokkaido in 2003 and after a 1 week trip knew that he had to come back. He spent the next dozen years living, working, exploring and guiding guests to the best backcountry powder he could find across the island. Along the way, he met Sapporo local Yui Yamaguchi and together they established Rising Sun Guides.  Rising Sun is a professional backcountry guiding operation that aims to find our guests the best snow, most unique lines, incredible restaurants, onsens etc while maintaining the highest safety standards. We also view avalanche and safe backcountry travel education as an important part of our role within Hokkaido`s  mountain community.  Andrew is a professional member of the Canadian Avalanche Association.