Meet The Guides
By joining a tour with Japan Ski Tours, you're skiing with guides well acquainted with the ski terrain and traveling with hosts accustomed to Japanese language and culture.
Brent Potter-- Head Ski Guide
Born and raised in Japan, Brent spent his younger years on Japan's northern most island Hokkaido, the capital of Japow. After graduating high school and departing Japan, Brent spent two years attending an outdoor guiding school in Canada and later took up residence in Denver, Colorado. Fast forward 10 years and he's now back in his old stomping grounds, shredding the gnar gnar. Brent has been a key member of Japan Ski Tours and his humorous stories and epic mountain poses have led to many foreigners leaving Japan with great memories.
Aimee Whitmore -- Lead Guide (Hokkaido)
Aimee grew up in New Zealand in the shadow of a Mt Fuji look-alike and next to black sand beaches and big surf, but as soon as school was finished the mountains were calling. After her first winter season she was hooked, travel and snow was always going to be on the agenda. Her passion has taken her to USA & Canada coaching snowboarding for 6 seasons before moving to Japan where she has spent the last 7 winter seasons instructing and guiding all around resorts in Hokkaido & a few in Honshu. She also has experience heli-skiing in Alaska the past two springs and spends the southern hemisphere winters at Mt Hutt in NZ. She continues to return to Japan to immerse herself in the culture, food and of course the amazing powder.
Shunta Kimura -- Guide Interpreter (Hokkaido)
Shunta (aka Ume) is an expert telemarker from Aichi who started skiing from the age of 20 and got instantly hooked. Shunta gets in over 100 days of skiing a year, which is an impressive feat in a country with a short 80-day powder season. His formal higher education is in PE and Education and brings his skills from the brick and ivy into the white powder paradise of Japow. Summers are spent river guiding in the beautiful mountains of Hokkaido and winters are spent living the dream, guiding our guests to the best white and fluffy.
Daniel Hoshizaki -- Ski Guide (Tohoku)
Daniel is a fourth generation Japanese-American who grew up in Japan. Ever since he first learned how to ski some 26 years ago he has never stopped exploring the snow capped mountains of Japan as well as the US. His passion for the outdoors has also lead him to work an eclectic array of career fields including wildland firefighting, biology, and professional outdoor sports photography. He now spends his winter helping people experience the incredible snow and culture of Hokkaido with Japan Ski Tours.
Luke Cummings -- Snow Tow Facilitator
Luke grew up in Japan as the son of Christian missionaries. Having lived more than half of his life in Japan, and married to a fine Japanese lady, Luke has a deep understanding of Japanese culture/people and considers Japan his home. Just like all of our other guides, Luke speaks fluent English and Japanese. As your snow tow driver, Luke will take you to various ski resorts, sushi joints and sake breweries to give everyone a full taste of Japan, its powder and its culture.
Taro Kinoshita -- Guide Interpreter (Tohoku)
Born in Tokyo Japan, Taro started skiing when he was 3 and got deep into the ski biz since his father was one of the founders of Scott Japan. Taro made the junior racing ski team and was nominated as the Tokyo representative of the slalom ski team in high school. He took a break from his ski career after high school and went on a musical mission involving 35 countries and and 80 cities. Taro joined back into the ski scene by starting off as a patroller for three years then getting into guiding for three years at the backcountry legend of Hakkoda; Taro brings his extensive experience to us in Iwate.
Ashley Valentini -- Guide Interpreter (Hokkaido)
Ashley Valentini is a linguist, an educator, and an international snow superstar who grew up between the Ice Coast and the Italian Alps. Currently based in Big Sky, Montana, on the doorstep of some of the gnarliest riding in the lower 48, she has spent winters in the Dolomites, the Sierras, the Cascades, the Green and White Mountains, the Japanese Alps, the Rockies, and she just can't stop as the list goes on. She has also been known to chase the winter to Argentina, New Zealand, and various northern hemisphere locations that make you earn your turns and feel the burn. From halfpipes to headwalls, skateparks to dock starts, the sand, snow, cement, and surf, she is in her element on a board and loves to share her passions with other people. A former Asahikawa resident, Valentini knows how to live the dream in Hokkaido and is eager to share some of its best kept secrets.
AERIE Wilderness First Aid
AERIE Heartsaver CPR
Kevin Chartier-- Ski Program Developer
Kevin hails from Big Sky, Montana where he lives with his wife and three-year-old son, Santiago. With the philosophy that if the outcome is certain, it is not worth doing, he loves big adventures. He has skied across the Alps via the Haute Route, guided skiing in Chile and even went on a unique ski journey through Turkey in 2015. With a passion for ski lines that put you "out there" and steep descents that combine climbing with skiing, he also loves soft snow, unique cultural experiences and sharing these experiences with others.
The cold, windy, high places of the world can lead to transformative experiences and Kevin truly believes that everyone should be doing this stuff!
Eric Green -- Lead Guide (Tohoku)
Eric grew up in Oregon and has been connected with the snow since he began skiing at the age of two, and snowboarding at 12. After high school Eric moved to Colorado to “go to college” but ended up spending most of his time exploring the front range and developing an interest in backcountry travel. To extend the winter, Eric began to travel to Chile for the austral winters where he landed in Chillán acquiring work as a snowmobile and CAT ski guide as well as a youth free ride coach. Eric spent several of the following seasons sharing time between Chillán, Jackson Hole, and Alaska Rendezvous Lodge. Eric currently spends his winters between Big Sky, Montana as a snowboard guide and coach and Chillán, Chile guiding snow trips and surfing long obscure lefts. Eric loves to surf and shred in new places with new people and looks forward to doing so with you as he continues to work toward his AMGA certification and FWQ prominence.
Cedric Denis -- Tail Guide (Tohoku)
Born in the the loving household of a preschool teacher, and craftsman, Cedric found himself falling in love with sports of creativity, choosing lines less traveled and drawing his own path. Through countless bails, and non stop hail, Cedric learned to ski on the icy slopes of eastern Canada. Only to find himself thinking, maybe there's more to skiing than rolling hills and Labbat 50. He took his baby steps towards the backcountry scene in Gaspé, QC. Since then, there was no going back, he learned to read the snowpack and became a pro patroller out west, living in the parking lot and wherever is camper would take him. The unlimited access to open terrain only arose more hunger for new lines and deeper powder. Japan seemed to be the next logical step. Every slope his journey has taken him on since those icy begginings have always proven one quote right "If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball."
Andy Quirk -- Tail Guide (Hokkaido)
What Andy lacks in karaoke talent, he makes up for in the sporting field! After playing rugby for 20 years, Andy took up snowboarding in Fukui, Japan first, then the famed Furano, which was akin to surfing on snow and an addiction soon surfaced. After over eight snow seasons, Andy decided to run eight marathons. His most recent was in Berlin, training in the outback of Australia. He's worked as a Japanese speaking guide at Vald'isere, Whistler and Australia. Andy has a keen interest in travel, languages, Japanese food and culture as well as the sake.
David Benitez -- Guide Interpreter (Tohoku)
David spent his early days sipping on agua de coco and singing Despacito under the palm trees in the tropical island of Puerto Rico. He then wandered to the land of the rising sun, Japan, where he found the most addicting substance in the entire world, Japow.
He first loved the (groomers) at the different ski resorts in Japan's main island. But after an intense, not so Despacito training of constantly being stuck in Hokkaido's deep powder, he quickly became a Japow hound. Now you can't get him back into the ski resorts. Well, that unless the pistes are freshly groomed in the early morning.
While he sometimes dreams about wearing shorts and sandals en una playa en Puerto Rico, to him, there's nothing better than riding Japan's deep pow. He'll be happy to show you around. Just don't ask him to sing Despacito, coz he's probably gonna do it anyway.