If you are thinking about a ski season - think about Japan! I’m Tom Sharpe and I recently spent the winter snowboarding in Japan’s far North, specifically the Niseko region of Hokkaido.

My Experience - Becoming A Snowboard Instructor In Niseko, Japan

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Last updated on
June 19, 2024

Why Become A Snowboard Instructor In Japan?

If you are thinking about a ski season- think about Japan!

I’m Tom Sharpe and I recently spent the winter snowboarding in Japan’s far North, specifically the Niseko region of Hokkaido.

People say everything is better in Japan - and they’re right! Travelling Japan is eye-opening for all, and that’s why it’s on everyone’s bucket list, and if it isn’t put it there! Japan will stagger you with something unique where ever you look, it almost feels impossible how dissimilar it is to home, for me that’s Australia, but other instructors on the EA program came from Europe, North America and the world!

During my stay the little things I don’t think about at home suddenly become a huge adventure, for instance: going to the supermarket in the nearest town (Kutchan) or a local conbini (convenience store) could involve all my housemates hopping in the Toyota Hiace, navigating the rural roads in blizzard conditions, and once there using google translate to chaotically decode the food we’re buying. Planning meals was one of the most exciting things - I always made sure to pick up at least one thing hadn’t seen before!

It’s like Japan lives in its own little world and what ever it is that makes it so special has a grip on all who visit. Including me- I’ll definitely be back to see more!

Living/Working/Riding Niseko United Resort

When you hear about Niseko, it’s almost as if it’s some faraway magical land that has bottomless snow where people only eat onigiri (sushi triangles) and ride endless powder days!

I can attest, the rumours are true!

When you first get to Niseko you’ll be greeted by the huge Mount Yotei Volcano and if it’s December, January or February probably a LOT of very fluffy snow. One day we had 70cm of snow in 24 hours, imagine being late to a lesson because it took you an hour to dig the van out the snow! (See picture blow)

When you first get to Niseko you’ll be greeted by the huge Mount Yotei Volcano and if it’s December, January or February probably a LOT of very fluffy snow. One day we had 70cm of snow in 24 hours, imagine being late to a lesson because it took you an hour to dig the van out the snow!

The riding at Niseko can obviously only be described as world-class powder, you’ll soon found out Niseko is actually four resorts connected - Hanazono, Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village and Annupuri. 

The riding at Niseko can obviously only be described as world-class powder, you’ll soon found out Niseko is actually four resorts connected - Hanazono, Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village and Annupuri.

Hirafu is the lively heart of Niseko and it can get pretty busy around peak season with great food trucks, events and nightlife, just make sure you don’t leave your jacket at Wild Bill’s and check out Cafe Commons - if you can find it!

But, if you really want to get the most out of your time there make sure to familiarise yourself with Niseko’s side country areas and gate system rules, as well as the multitude of nearby smaller resorts and touring if that’s what your in to. Also, If you’re a snowboarder make sure to demo a locally made Gentemstick board - specifically designed for Niseko’s terrain and deep powder. A little bit of research on the area can really go a long way for finding for finding powder hotspots, as well as fun road trips and experiences!

A little bit of research on the area can really go a long way for finding for finding powder hotspots, as well as fun road trips and experiences in Niseko, Japan!

The resort is a melting pot of cultures, languages, and stories. The clients you teach can come from all over the world, and you can meet some incredible people through a job like ski/snowboard instructing! Although, the highlight for me was riding and living with the other instructors I shared accommodation with, the stories, jokes and experiences we went home with were awesome and we all still stay in touch from other sides of the world. So, don’t let the idea of travelling alone worry you, as I guarantee you will meet amazing people through working and the EA Ski and Snowboard course!

I hope you’re fired up about riding in Japan!

Download Our EA Ski & Snowboard Training Japan Instructor Guide HERE

If you are thinking about a ski season - think about Japan! I’m Tom Sharpe and I recently spent the winter snowboarding in Japan’s far North, specifically the Niseko region of Hokkaido.

Watch Tom's Winter Film HERE

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