§37. New generation. (3)

Snowboarding is art for me.

Professional snowboarder, Owner of Mañana Café
IHARA Hiromasa

In this column, we introduce a professional snowboarder who was born in Kutchan and raised in Kutchan.


I was born in 1980 in Kutchan. I took a snowboarding pro license at the age of 22. I am currently working on magazine photos, DVD video and event appearance.

Spring of third grade junior high school, I bought a snowboard at Hirafu. Then I started snowboarding alone without any teacher. To me, the video was only one textbook. I became too enthusiastic about snowboarding my parents were surprised.

In March of the next season, I entered Snowboard Junior World Championship that was held at Hakusan Ichirino Onsen (Ishikawa) . I almost couldn’t practice half-pipe in Hirafu. However, I have participated in half-pipe competition. Competition in just two days, I grew myself surprisingly. Unexpectedly, I won the half-pipe competition of the Japan youth tournament held in Hakuba Norikura shortly thereafter. A snowboard used in the competition was bought at a supermarket nearby and was not famous.

Two years of high school season, I got to the World Cup in Finland.
I am good at sports from childhood, also have confident of concentration.
I, in addition to snowboarding, Nordic skiing, and baseball was doing well. Days continued to be completely absorbed in snowboarding competitions.

But gradually, I became tired of competing against people. NAKAI Koji made snowboarding competition more popular in Japan. But somehow competition with people did not satisfy me. As a result, I began to regard snowboarding as something to express myself. Thus I moved to work in magazine photos and videos from the competition.
Also important was that I hit it off with photographer HANASAKA Takashi in the U.S. Before long, I was convinced that snowboarding is an art. This means that the mountains and snow, the white canvas, to express myself. Photographer makes visible the moment when I express myself with snowboarding.

I opened this café to be involved with this town as a member of society, without a snowboard.
I wanted this café to be not only for snowboarders, but also for local people everyday.
In Kutchan, town residents are often distinguished “downtown people” and “mountain people”. In this café I hope “downtown people” and “mountain people” have contact with each other at ease. I hope “downtown people” will be interested in mountain even more than now. In the future, I hope to transmit something new to the world from our town.

Australians have been moving to Kutchan from the 21st century. I feel that Kutchan has changed little by little with inspiration from them. Respecting the history of 100 years of winter sports, I wish add something new to the town. With the cooperation of people gathered in the café, I might express something new of mine.

Ihara’s blog

Mañana Café
4-2, Minami 1 Nishi 2, Kutchan
Tel: 0136-22-3735

We resume updating this blog.


This Niseko Hirafu interesting history blog, was created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ski lift at Hirafu ski area (Grand Hirafu at present). On 10 December 2011, the renewed Hirafu Gondola begun operation , and we also opened a brandnew Mountain Center. Then the 51st winter season began.


This blog started in December 2009, we published 36 times. This time, based on this blog, carried out further interviews and a book “A History of Powder Skiing in Niseko ” was published. Suspending for this blog update, that is why our work was concentrated on the publication of the book. Thank you for your patience.

” A History of Powder Skiing in Niseko” English digest version and Japanese version are available. These were released on December 1, 2011. The books are sold at Hotel Niseko Alpen Shop, other shops in Grand Hirafu, major bookstores in Hokkaido and amazon.co.jp.

In addition, a room of “A History of Powder Skiing in Niseko ” with an exhibition of photos and movies was opened at the the first floor of Hirafu Gondola station.

  • Date: December 10, 2011 – March 31, 2012
  • Time: 9:00 to 16:00
  • Admission: Free

§36. New generation. (2)

Telemark skiing is skiing that fitted the Japanese snowy mountains very much.
Telemark Skier, Organizer of TOYRU, Patagonia Ambassador

 I was born in 1969 and was brought up in Kanagawa. In the days of
primary schoolchild, I played with friend absorbedly in forest and
river around the home. Hero of boyhood was Uemura Naomi (Adventure) and
Hoshino Michio (Nature Photographer). I thought that I wanted to go to
Hokkaido from admiration to Nature and adventure.

 I came to Hokkaido after graduation from high school immediately.
For first one year, I worked at ranch. In the next year, I began work,
skiing in skiing area. I worked in Niseko from the third year and skied.

 I began skiing since I graduated from high school. When I began
skiing, I almost fell down, and I was not able to enjoy skiing. I
practiced ski in Niseko. However, I did not readily improve.

 When I was beginning to give up progress of ski, as for me, it was
pushed forward snowboarding by friend. When I began snowboarding, I
improved unlike case of ski immediately. I was completely absorbed in
snowboarding. I felt much charm of snowboarding. Pleasure that we could
not experience with ski was one of the charm. Another charm was a
feeling of floating when we slipped while it was wrapped whole body in
powder snow. Because snow boarder was very few, there was slope that
nobody glided everywhere in the afternoon. I enjoyed powder snow all

 I found live-in work in Hirafu and snowboarded earnestly. Most of the friends who slipped together were skiers.

 When snowboarding improved more, my field of activities became
larger. However, I noticed that there was Aria whom snow boarder could
not go though skier was Aria who could go.

 I knew Telemark skiing at that time. I think it to have been 1991.
I was able to slip better than common ski unexpectedly. In slow place
of slant, snowy deep place, forest. We could easily go through in area
to be non-good at such a snowboarding, and I was surprised. This which
can walk over snow freely is pleasant. Telemark skiing was shock for me.

 Originally ski is tool which was produced to move over snow in
everyday life. Therefore it is a matter of course that we can walk over
snow by Telemark skiing freely. Ski for Telemark skiing is ski with
function to walk that the origin of ski had.

 There is not good tool as Telemark skiing we move in forest of fresh
snow, and to enter the snowy mountains. We can move about the snowy
mountains at will if we wear Telemark skiing. I think that Telemark
skiing is skiing that fitted the Japanese snowy mountains very much as
well as Niseko.

 As much as I did Telemark skiing, I improved, and I became captive
of Telemark skiing. It was remarkable, and tool of Telemark skiing
progressed. Furthermore, in Niseko, there are Yamamoto Yukio and
Fukamachi Kazuhiko, pioneer of Telemark skiing in Japan.

 As much as I did it, I thought that I wanted to play better more
heartily. I came to participate in race of Telemark skiing soon and
became solely for Telemark skiing.

 We aim at technical top in race. Therefore race was the best as
motive to improve. I participated in race out of Hokkaido, and I became
able to win high rank constantly.

 I participated in World Cup and the world championship,
international race meet. However, I was not able to place high rank in
international race meet.

 Such time, Watanabe Yoichi (photographer) induced me to trip to Alaska. I agreed to the invitation without question.

 In Alaska, all scales were huger than Japan. In Alaska, we
experienced risky and overwhelming thrill and excitement that we could
not experience in Japan. Since then I went to Alaska six times.

 I came to realize splendor of Niseko again whenever I came back to
Niseko from foreign countries on one side of experience in Alaska. In
Japan, snow is piled up in forest having low altitude. And we can slip
in the forest. Any place other than Japan, there are many areas where
it snows in the mountains of high altitudes beyond the timberline. At
this point I noticed that Japanese nature was very unique. In addition,
Niseko is blessed with slopes that are most suitable for distinguished
snowy quantity and quality, ski and snowboarding.

 I organized work “TOYRU” of guide and school now around 11 years ago
to convey splendor of Niseko which made such oneself captive.

 In 2003, we built this building as office of guide and school. There
was help of many friends and built only by ourselves in one month.

 In 2006, ski guides of Niseko area organized “Niseko Winter Guide
Association” (NWGA). I act as representative of NWGA. We perform
activity to have visitor understand rule and manner so that visitor
coming to Niseko can enjoy safely. Furthermore, we work hard to build
good relations with people of Niseko area to get cooperation.

 Niseko is place that I can be proud of to skiers of the world with
confidence. We think that we based in Niseko want to make Niseko better
more heartily. We do not think about only in the present and must bring
up value that only Niseko has for the future.

 Snow and mountain are the origins of Niseko, and the best property
of Niseko is charm of the snowy mountains. I think this to send better
from now on.

§35. New generation. (1)

Mountain and ski and photograph. The simple life only for it.
The Niseko Upas tour sponsorship, Director of association of Niseko Winter Guide, skier, photographer

 I was born in Shizuoka and was brought up in Tokyo and Saitama. I
skied in the days of fourth grader for the first time. It was provoked
by friend and went to Niigata. I have been completely charmed by ski. It
may be said that my life was obsessed with skiing from the time.

 I obtained ski and went to skiing area frequently. I went to Sayama
skiing area of artificial skiing area many times by bicycle from home.

 I watched photograph of Alpine events of ski magazine from that time
and thought that ski was what cool. I knew famous team “Maximum ski
team” of competition ski and joined the team immediately.

 I wanted to go to high school with skiing club, but there are few
such high schools in Kanto. Therefore I concentrated on ski by Maximum
ski team. I come to win a prize since eleventh grader in preliminary of
inter-school athletic meet. In preliminary at the age of twelfth
grader, my start order became last by slip-up. However, I was roused
adversely and won the second place from the 130th start. Passing of 128
people is my career-high.

 I was going to enter university in area with snow and entered
university in Iwate. I made skiing club. Ski was all center in my
college student days. I spent most time in albite and skiing area for
ski. It was that time that I had begun to ski in backcountry.

 I found a job in information appliance maker, and my type of job
was sales. I was transferred to long-cherished Sapporo at the age of 26
years old. Teine, Kiroro, Rusutsu, Niseko, Asahidake…. I spent all
free time on skiing. I went to North America. In this time, I
completely became captive of backcountry skiing. My younger brother is
photographer. Thus I studied photograph by self-education from these
days and have begun to photograph mountain and ski. Scene that skier
ran the inside where spray of snow shined for backlight in Mt. Taisetsu
fast was really fun for both photographer and skier

 I left company at 30 years old of time with order of transfer after
all. It was 1996. Because there was deposit, anyway, I did only skiing. I
thought that there was not anymore at such an opportunity in the life.

 It occurred to me to make living by photograph soon. When I did
heliskiing in Canada, photographer photographed the scene. I was very
glad of watching photograph that myself skied. I thought that such a way
of life was good.

 When I began photographer, I was engaged by Ross Findlay of NAC and
took photograph of rafting every year from May for three years.

 Visitors were really pleased with photograph of scene which they
enjoyed in Nature in rafting. I thought that this was suitable for me
than time when I took big contract for the office worker era. I raised
technique of photograph by practice desperately.

 I cast all property and bought the latest camera system and prepared
at that time. Because savings finally disappeared, I made up my mind to
make living by photographer.

 I photographed skier in skiing area and sold the photograph to the
skier when skier liked. I came to go to backcountry before long and
established “Niseko Upas” which did photography to set with ski guide.
Upas means snow by language of Ainu.

 From the mid-1990s, ski was affected by snowboarding and evolved
greatly. Not only we glided on plane regularly as in the past, but also
Fat ski enabled ski which was dynamic than regular run in plane. Tamai
Taro entered mountain together and reclaimed technique of new ski.

 It became my living to take ski photograph based in Hirafu. I came
to work on video work before long. And there is request from magazines
of the world, and I go to overseas mountain frequently every year. I
ski in world various mountains and photograph. As a result, I
understood good point of Niseko more.

 We who came from the outside of Niseko and novel photograph and
video, these reminded skiing area company of new charm of Hirafu with
local person. Frankly speaking, I think that there is such a fact.

 It is 2005 that I built house and workshop in this place
overlooking Mt. Yotei in the front. Inform charm of this land with ski
and photograph in the world. I think that it is my work with
confidence. Of course work cannot lack in cooperation with friends of
Niseko not oneself alone. And it is important to learn this local
history. I think that it is our duty to hand down it to young
generation recently.

Nature and sports are the origins of business.
NOASC Co., Ltd.
Representative director ROSS CARTY, KUNIYO CARTY

 I was born in Brisbane in southeastern Australia in 1966. I was
brought up from 10 years old in Canberra and loved ski since the days
of child. But it is ice hockey that I got absorbed most. I was chosen
as vice-captain of national team of the boy generation and came for
Kushiro( Hokkaido) and Tomakomai( Hokkaido) in 1983. It was my first
visit to Japan. I was 17 years old then.

 For school days, I skied in Europe and Canada. In 1989 to graduate
from university, I came to An’nupuri skiing area of Niseko to ski. I
just stayed in Japan to learn Japanese to come to Niseko again. I stayed
in Sapporo in summer.

 I graduated from university and found a job in Australia. But I sent
resume to Saint Moritz lift Corporation (Hirafu) because I intended to
go to Hirafu in the next year. It worked, and I was assigned to work of
patrol in Hirafu.

Ross: Kuniyo worked in company of Tokyo.

Kuniyo: It was work of business assistance of apparel maker. But I
came to Niseko after all and began part-time job in Alpen shop.

Ross: I dropped in at Alpen shop well elsewhere in those days because there was not shop to buy chocolate and Coke.

Kuniyo: We did the first date in in employee dining room of Hotel
Niseko Alpen. We did the second date in in house of Hank which had
closed. Ross was able to talk about only some Japanese, and, as for me,
dictionary was necessary for our conversation because we were not able
to speak English at all. Ross studied Japanese hard.

Ross: I worked in bar and Graubünden of Watanabe Junko. In Graubünde, Ross Findlay worked, too.

 With Kuniyo, we launched business to import Australian snowboard
into Japan before long. But the yen became weak, and profit has
decreased. Therefore I opened shop and school of snowboarding in Niseko.

 I founded NOASC(Niseko Outdoor Adventure Sports Company) in 1994.
Tour of backcountry, summer rafting, kayak, adventure camping. I
extended business.

 From about 1995, sports business of me and Ross Findlay, Australian
business of Hirafu including tour business of Peter Murphy came to
attract attention. Then powder snow of Niseko comes to be known to
people of Australia and East Asia rapidly, and it becomes big topic in

Ross: We married in 1996.

Kuniyo: At first Ross got along well from neighboring women to persuade my parents into our marrying.

Ross: We became parent of 3 children all too soon when we noticed.

Kuniyo: Ross loving children works on swimming and outdoor activity with other children very eagerly.

Ross: Rugby is minor sports in Japan than Australia. I want to diffuse
rugby as summer main sports of Hirafu in cooperation with various
people. I want to teach children splendor of rugby.

Kuniyo: Through child, adults not to know can make friends
immediately. Because bond with area becomes stronger by being concerned
with event and PTA of school.

 The 21st century began, and, in addition to NOASC, I made travel
agency and real estate company. Range of business spreads, and this can
cover both hardware and software to enjoy Niseko. I want to call in
Asian people that there is more as well as people of the English zone
that I did including Australia from now on in Niseko. Across Kutchan,
Niseko, Rankoshi, local government, we think that we should make an
effort jointly to promote it.

 Nature and sports are the origins of my business here. I think that
town of Kutchan and Niseko becomes town with agriculture and industry
to assume nature and sports resources. Japan does not yet have such a
town. I want to do my best for the realization. And I look forward to
the future of this town.

Encounter of two people is the first encounter with Japan of Australia.
NAC Co., Ltd.
Representative director ROSS FINDLAY, YOKO FINDLAY

ロス・フィンドレー夫妻_MG_9545.jpg Ross: It was in Boyoso which there was in slope of Hirafu in February, 1991 that I met Yoko for the first time.

Yoko: I was crazy about moguls competition as player in those days
while freeloading at Lodge Rondo of Hirafu. One day I encountered Ross.
He ate pickle and rice then. I thought to be “foreigner” who seemed to
be what poor. And I talked to him unintentionally.

Ross: Rice was 200 yen, and pickle was free. I think that smile of
Yoko at that time let me live in Hokkaido after all. Then there are us
together all the time.

Yoko: Ross did work of instructor of ski at that time. I lived in
the summer in Sapporo, and I fought in one place after another in
meeting of moguls in winter based in Hirafu. We make money in summer
and ski in winter. Therefore let’s cooperate, and to opinion agreed on
two and came to live together before long.

Ross: In Australia, a lot of Japanese foreign students worked using
working holiday. Japanese had friendly feeling to see their spirited,
serious personality and wanted to come to Japan once because Japanese
economy was brisk at all.

 I was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1964 and was brought up in
Sydney. I learn sports studies and business administration in Canberra
University and graduate in 1986. I thought that I did centering on
sports from school days and would assemble my life.

 It is 1989 that I came to Japan for the first time. Using working
holiday visa, I did instructor at “Miura Yuichiro Snow Dolphin ski
school” in the Teine mountains of Sapporo for approximately two years.
Then I knew Hirafu and was absorbed in this mountain and snow. From
1991 the end of the year, I have begun to live in Hirafu. I worked at
branch of Graubünden of Watanabe Junko in the winter season and
worked by Kitazawa construction in the summer.

Yoko: It is the Kitazawa Teruyoshi president of Kitazawa construction of Kutchan to have become benefactor.

Ross: His company built log house in Kabayama(Kutchan). Because most
of material of log house were import goods, manual was English. I was
asked to translate the English manual. In that way I have begun to work
in construction site. And I was able to learn technique of carpenter.
My Japanese improved very much at the same time, too.

Yoko: At the beginning, he did not understand simple Japanese at all.

Ross: In autumn of 1994, we held wedding ceremony in Yamada Shrine. I called my parents, brothers then from Australia.

Yoko: Then we intended to launch summer business in Hirafu and
established NAC(Niseko Adventure Center) in spring of 1995. Main
business is rafting in Shiribetsu river. However, nobody knew what
rafting was at that time in Japan.

 Because winter splendor of Niseko is celebrity, many people come
from the inside and outside of country. But nobody came in summer.
Therefore I wanted to convey charm of summer Niseko well, and I had my
eyes on Shiribetsu river. Quantity of water is always abundant and is
clear stream to be able to enjoy nature of Niseko. Because there was
not money, there was only one boat. paddles was my own work. There was
big hole at bottom of boat soon. I repaired boat somehow and continued
doing business.

 I decided to have visitors wear dry suit. This may be beginning in
the world in rafting. Thanks to dry suit, visitor did not get wet with
water of river. And rafting became suddenly popular. Reputation
gradually spread out on word of mouth and the Internet, and visitors
increased. From the second year, management got on track.

Ross: Because schools which adopted rafting experience for school
excursion from Honshu increased, sales increased smoothly. I was
concerned with the establishment of association of Japanese river guide
in 1997. And we bought material of gymnasium of school abolished in
spring of this year. I planned to build big company building with these
materials. I decided to make reception desk Counter of rafting and
trekking tour, shop of outdoor goods and cafe in the building.

Yoko: I think that it was good that we were able to offer work to
young people who wanted to live by the construction and later business
in Hirafu.

Ross: There were a lot of people without money like us before a
little. In the people, there are a lot of people doing hirafudeironna
business including rafting and guide

 In 2003, I was chosen as foreigner to “sightseeing Charisma Skills
100 selections” of Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport for
the first time. It was evaluated that we had many people know charm of
summer Niseko newly only in winter. I want many people to know charm of
Nature of Niseko except ski and snowboarding from child to adult more.
I always thought so while bringing up four children with Yoko in Niseko.

§32. Pioneers. (2)

Niseko rule that advanced Niseko
Mayor of Niseko snowslide accident prevention meeting Niseko snowslide investigation here and there

 I was born in Sapporo in 1947. I was charmed at the age of high
school student by mountain climbing. Of course, at university, I
belonged to the mountaineering club. At first I climbed the mountains
of Hokkaido such as Mt. of the cold winter period Tokachi Taisetsu,
mountain traversing of Shiretoko mountain range, Mt. Rishiri
thoroughly. I stayed in Nepal as agriculture investigator after
graduation at university for three years. At that time, I settled
design of Himalayas mountain climbing and prepared for mountain
climbing. And, for life, I opened Lodge Woodpeckers in Moiwa skiing
area (Niseko) in 1975.

 I repeated expeditions from the late 1970s to Pakistan, the
Himalayas and China. I acted as Captain in mountain-climbing party of
Chamlang peak (7,380m above sea level) in the Himalayas of Nepalese
side in 1986. By mountain climbing of Aconcagua peak (Argentina, 6,980m
above sea level) of Miura Yuichiro, I of support corps acted as Captain

 And it was opportunity to have met founder Yvon Chouinard of
Patagonia company at the mid-1980s, and I began sea kayaking. I ran the
whole course of Shakotan, Shiretoko, Chishima, Aleutian, South American
Beagle Channel and Horn cape by sea kayaking. I do work (sea kayaking
guide) of the sea in summer and do work of mountain in winter. Such a
life pattern began.

 In Shiretoko, I put argument on many people over regulation of
open-air fire at the shore, and I did experience to maintain
appropriate method and manner of open-air fire. In Shiretoko, person
dies without open-air fire. We considered how we should do to build a
fire without giving damage to nature. I suggested result of the
examination to administration and affiliate.

 I came to Hirafu since the days of junior high student. It is about
time when lift just started a business. However, I did not use lift. I
enjoyed mountain traversing to reach from top, Goshiki hot spring, Moiwa
Konbu hot spring from 1,000m plateau.

 By the way, I talk about establishment of “Niseko rule” about
snowslide accident. This rule is official rule made in 2001 for
security of people running on the outside of skiing area management
area and all skiing area users. Group engaged in establishment of this
rule is “Niseko An’nupuri district snowslide accident prevention
measures meeting “, “Niseko skiing area security use measures
communication meeting”, “Niseko Free Passport meeting “and preventive
measures against “Shiribeshi district mountains accidents meeting”.

 When ski accident happened in mountain from 25 years ago, I was
called for conduct of search. In backcountry of Niseko at that time,
most snowslide accidents were taking place in Japan. It caused victim
caused by snowslide every year. I thought that I wanted to prevent
accident caused by snowslide somehow. And, based on data, I thought
that I wanted to warn when and where snowslide was at increased risk
for being generated.

 I knew that snowslide was caused by my experience right after
snowstorm was settled in the middle of Snowstorm. It might seem
unexpectedly, but data showed it, too. At first I wanted to convey this
definitely. And I suggested some following matters. Border rope is
provided with some gates, and patrol being placed there. What the
situation of mountain is sent to on the Internet every day. Patrol
reconfirm people leaving outside slope from gate. And of course warn of
Aria whom you must never enter at all by danger. Inform help expense
that you should bear when accident happens by any chance.

 For forecast of snowslide, it is necessary to announce information
of temperature and Wind of the mountaintop precisely. Therefore Niseko
snowslide accident prevention meeting is made, and Niseko snowslide
investigation place is thereby had jurisdiction over. Investigation
place announces weather data and snowslide forecast in Japanese and
English on the Internet every day at the appointed hour.

 However, lift company and administration opposed making rule to go
outside slope at first. This is because it will allow to go outside
slope when it makes rule. Even if there is accident, nobody gets
responsibility. Such an opinion will be proper thought for manager. But
accident continued happening practically. Big charm to go to the world
of Niseko can slip in fresh snow raining steadily freely. I continued
talks with Shiribeshi forest management station that was manager of
national forest.

 Reality that there were people to want to glide in backcountry with
one’s risk at relatively early time was recognized in Hirafu. Because
there was merit in business, it was thought whether means to keep their
security was necessary. We asked tour guides who belonged to
association of Niseko Winter Guide (NWGA) to obey Niseko rule. We
explained to rash youths particularly carefully. Selfish action of only
one causes result to take freedom of all the members. Many people
understood, “there was rule to keep freedom” in this way.

 For ten years, the authorities ratified our way after all. The
result “is current Niseko rule”. It took ten years to come to here. But
I think that the process in itself is our property. We did not obey
instructions of authority and government office, and we made rule
voluntarily and obeyed the rule.

 I think that splendor of Niseko is not yet handed down to person
enough. For foreigner, the splendor still less comes. And, by our wisdom
and effort, I am convinced that Niseko becomes more splendid.

§31. Pioneers. (1)

We repay nature of Niseko from now on
Telemark Ski Assosiation of Japan’s honorary chairman, YUKIYAMA SANSO

 I was born in Iwanai in 1948. My father was teacher. Because father
became the principal of Soga Elementary School (Niseko), our family
moved to Niseko.

 We think that I am skier by nature. Because there was always ski in
everyday living. When I was primary schoolchild, means of
transportation of the winter season of about a half year was ski.
Therefore, even to neighboring house, we wore ski. Mail carrier sent
mail in ski, too. On the other hand, skiing was play. Father was crazy
about ski. When I gained physical strength, father took me to
backcountry skiing with father.

 Father was player of cross-country skiing before the war. Father
wrote several manuals after the war. From the considerable past of 1961
when lift was established, skiing was carried out flourishingly in
Niseko. Not to mention from Hokkaido, many people came to ski from
district except Hokkaido. They were people who really liked nature and
ski of Niseko.

 Lift started a business 50 years ago, and slope came to be
maintained. Large-scale tournaments such as all-Japan championship or
National Athletic Meet were held, and visitors who came to skiing area
triggered by it increased. But it became limited to slope that we could
do it with ski when lift was installed, and slope came to be
maintained. Skier with technique was able to ski freely in old days
wherever of mountain. However, it has been regulated that any skier
went outside slope. For skier with technique, this regulation is

 However, it is dangerous that person without technique of ski goes
out to backcountry. In fact, after the 1980s, some accidents occurred
in backcountry. There was thereby time when ski in backcountry was
strongly regulated. Volunteer concerned about skiing not being possible
in backcountry made “Niseko rule”. Both sides of people who wanted to
regulate ski in backcountry to get rid of accident and skier who wanted
to glide in backcountry without regulation groped for with cooperation,
and, as a result, “Niseko rule” was devised. I think that we can enjoy
skiing safely in backcountry by following “Niseko rule”. I think that
activity in essentially free backcountry should revive by following
this rule.

 I opened “Yukiyama Sanso” in Hirafu in 1976 and did business for
approximately 15 years. I looked for free, mobile ski to play with
visitors in slope and wilderness without lift in spring. And I tried
telemark ski which nobody did in those days. I read manual of telemark
ski which father left and mastered telemark ski by self-education. As
you know, telemark ski is technique of skiing that developed in the
Norwegian Telemark district. Telemark ski differentiated in Alpen ski
and cross-country skiing later. Telemark ski is ski which is most
suitable for means of transportation in the mountains which can perform
“climbing, walk, run” easily. Friends who did telemark skiing gradually
increased, and they spread telemark skiing in various parts of Japan.

 By the way, cross-country skiing is very effective to guide visitor
in nature of Niseko. Because snow is firm, and there is much good
weather, the early spring is most suitable. Because you came to Niseko
with much effort, you should enjoy nature except slope. I think that it
should become common to be accompanied by guide who knows the field
well when visitor is in nature to enjoy nature more. I want more people
to know value and role of guide. I intend to bring up such a culture

 Niseko is not so very large, but nature in the Aria is very
various. There are Mt. Yotei, Shiribetsu river, Niseko An’nupuri and
the Sea of Japan. As for me, both body and heart were brought up in
climate of Niseko. In this land, I did many fun, splendid experiences.
And I want to share such time with many people in future.

 At opportunity of the 50th anniversary of the Hirafu skiing area
opening of business, we think something to repay to nature which gave
splendid time to me so far. When we think like that, nature and our
relations will change.

Hirafu makes people happy.
Guesthouse ISLAND Ishikawa Yoshiyuki Kazuko

(we heard story from Kazuko)


 We two were staffs of farm co-op of Kamishihoro( Hokkaido). We
married, and it was past one year, and I have got sick. While child
care was not possible, and I sent life as it was said that we could buy
thing which we wanted to buy to some extent, I held sense of impending
crisis when “in this situation I might not grow up as adult”. I
thought, “I did not come through more hardships”. At such time, my
father died. I had effect of father whom person loved, and I came to
think that I wanted a job that I could meet various people.

 I intended to open coffee shop first. But very good article was not
found. However, in model house where we dropped in at by chance, we have
done fatal encounter.

 Branch manager who could not come in model house always came to
model house by chance on that day. He watched us and seemed to think,
“it was some interesting visitor”. We found a kindred spirit in branch
manager and talked in various ways. As a result, plan to run lodging in
Niseko was completed. It was May, 1990.

 We obtained land in only one month. Not to mention layout and the
appearance, we decided to color of curtain by the end of December. We
had summons from house maker in January, 1991 that we were restless a
little and greeted suddenly. Person of house maker told us, “this plan
might be called off”.

 Because branch manager of charge had left company by circumstances
not to understand to us, realization of dream has made a fresh start.
But we did not give up realization of dream for it. We managed to reach
the opening of business in December, 1991 after all. When we looked
back and thought, this “case” tried whether we were serious.

 It was not said that I loved ski, but, since tenth grader, skied by
own way. But opportunities when I skied with visitor increased since I
came here. We felt once when “in this situation I let the ski life of
visitor be out of order”, and I practiced hard. I did my best and took
the first grade official approval of ski.

 There are splendid mountain and river in Niseko; and there immediate
in the Sea of Japan. It is Wonderland of a lot of nature. Above all,
this location to run on towards Mt. Yotei is my favorite scenery.

 20 years passed since that, and visitors from foreign country
suddenly increased including Australia. All too soon of the situation
such as “here foreign country” these days. Thanks to you, English
becomes able to talk and enjoys the very exciting life.

 I think visitor to be the best treasure coming up in the life of we
two. Of course rate has for value of service, but at first wants to meet
visitor as one human being like family. Thanks to you, we have had big

 I think that Hirafu is place making person happy. Gift of overall power local as for it.

 We say work called guesthouse, or, for us whom person loves, way of
life is not stopped anymore. It is our best property, and smile of
people and visitor whom we met still lives all the time here.

I want to take good care of children.
Hütte MORGENROT Fujii Toshihiro


 Morgenrot started a business in 1981. About 1981 is time of the
daybreak of lodging street of Hirafu. Morgenrot is meaning called the
morning glow in German. Because I devoted the youth to mountain
climbing, as for me, I added words in conjunction with mountain to
Hütte. It is not Guesthouse Morgenrot and is not Lodge Morgenrot
and “is Hütte (in German mountain hut) Morgenrot”.

 My birth is Setana( Hokkaido). Because father who was member of
post office taught skiing in mountain near house, we loved ski since
the days of child. By policy of father to want to let you develop
independent spirit from junior high school, I lodged at house of aunt
of Aomori alone. Lift has been already installed in Moya skiing area in

 At the age of tenth grader, I came to Hirafu for the first time.
Niseko Kogen lift was just completed. I remember that Hirafu Station
overflowed with person. Because buses from station to skiing area had
too many passengers and were not able to get, I went on foot to skiing

 Niseko was favorite land all the time from those days. I married in
1972 when the Sapporo Olympics were held. Of course destination of
honeymoon was Niseko.

 For school days, I was crazy about mountain climbing. I belonged to
mountaineering club called Keirei-kai and spent all our time river
trekking in Iide mountain ranges (Fukushima, Niigata, Yamagata). It was
mountain that I met wife. In addition, I freeloaded at mountain hut
called Javelle of Kirigamine( Nagano). It was loved to date at popular
hotel which spread out from the 1950s by eminent people of mountain
climbing world. Three rocking chairs were put on terrace of the second
floor that could view gentle Kirigamine Heights from a distance, and
good visitor of article puffed at pipe leisurely. I want to run
mountain hut sometime, too. It became my young dream.

 However, because I could not have hut suddenly, at first I found a
job in the fiber industry. We were transferred to Sapporo at last. And,
triggered by that I might not agree to policy of company, I resigned
from company and moved to favorite Hirafu. I was 35 years old that
assumed living of family.

 I visited financial institution daily to raise building fund, but
took more than one year before I borrowed money. Anyway it was said that
management of lodging was impossible in those days in Niseko.

 Existence of school where child goes to is very important to person
who moved from other place. School has role that links area to parent as
well as role for children. Acquaintance between adults through child
and teacher is important.

 Inhabitants of Hirafu can choose either of principal school of
elementary school in city of Kutchan or local branch school in
attending school of child. There was movement to abolish branch school
at one time, but town assembly and administration drew our will to want
to let children go to history and naturally comfortable Kabayama branch
school, and branch school was retained.

 When local vitality is lost, school cannot continue. On the other hand, we can enhance local vitality again through school.

 I reduced guest room and established picture book cafe recently. It
is motive not to have worked for age as in the past and that me thought
that I want to make children, place to stay of children who
particularly come from foreign country coming to Hirafu. Because
picture book can be beyond the language barrier.

 I want mother and children to spend comfortable time relaxedly here
even if I do not ski. Now that children became independent, it is wife
and two and, like thought for school, wants to do this place in place to
help in the slightly local future.