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.

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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.

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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!

Vincent Gennant

Joining us for his first Japan powder season is former pro snowboarder Vincent Gennant. Vince was originally German but joins us after stopping off in Whistler, B.C for half a dozen years of big mountain riding. If you`re a snowboarder and keen to learn from a pro, then request Vince to guide you and your crew. Vince will focus on our lift access trips and be honing his backcountry guiding skills as a tail guide through the 2016-17 winter season.

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Andrew Spragg

Andrew first visited Hokkaido in 2003 and after a 1 week trip knew that he had to come back. In 2005 he established a small backcountry tour company. Over the next 11 years he worked to build and develop that operation, ultimately turning it into one Niseko’s most respected backcountry tour operator. Recently the founding partners have parted ways and are now each running their own independent operations.  Rising Sun is Andrew`s new direction and with years of experience in the region along with a great team to work with, we are looking ahead to many more years of incredible backcountry skiing in Japan.