John’s career has combined a unique mix of tertiary education and outdoor guiding and instruction with an in depth knowledge and perspective of Japan’s out of the way places.
His official career started with an arts degree in economics and geography. After graduating in 1980 he had a brief stint in Canberra’s Public Service before the lure of wild places drew him from Canberra to the Snowy Mountains to work as an outdoor guide. This was no sudden change, though, as John has been involved in the outdoors for most of his life. A passion for white water and long distance paddling saw him win many state championships in down river racing, sprinting and long distance paddling and ultimately a bronze in the 500-metre K1 sprint at the Australian sprint canoe championships as a 17 year old.
His passion for skiing saw him start work in 1981 with a seminal Australian outdoor company. Here he worked on both ski guiding and instruction, walking and canoeing and white water rafting tours as a guide.
Soon after came his first trip to Japan, where he landed in Hokkaido and found a ski resource second to none throughout the world. In 1984 he combined his experience in Japan with his guiding and instruction skills and ran the first ever commercial backcountry ski tour in Japan for foreign skiers. In 1985 he started his own company to specialise in Japan adventure tours, specialising in Hokkaido and later Mt Fuji and Shikoku. He ran the first commercially guided road riding tours in Japan in 1985. Over these early and subsequent years he spent many hours learning to speak Japanese.
Over the intervening years John became an accredited ASF NCIS Ski Instructor. He also continued his search for adventure, participating in a Mt McKinley expedition and subsequently running commercial tours on the Ruth Glacier in Alaska. He skied the Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt on telemark skis, did a rare telemark ski descent of icy Mt Fuji and continued to work as a guide both in Australia and Japan.
He also developed and ran an outdoor education business for Australian east coast schools and a Snowy Mountains based adventure company. Both of these enterprises specialised in mountain biking and back country skiing. Throughout he has also had a passion for both photography and writing and has been published many times in both disciplines, including at one time writing regular columns for an Australian ski magazine on ski technique.
In his spare time he also teaches outdoor leadership casually through the Australian Outdoor Recreation Industry Training Package.
His passion for wild places, Japan and adventure continues unabated and with his young family, he divides his time between a base in Furano, Hokkaido Japan and the small village of Berridale in the Australian Snowy Mountains.
His current qualifications include Arts Degree (Economics and Geography), UNE, Australian Ski Patrol Training College accreditation (Apply advanced first aid and Manage casualty in a remote or isloated area), Dip Outdoor Rec TAFE. The latter includes the following disciplines:
- Dip Level – Demonstrate, apply and instruct off road cycling.
- Dip Level – Demonstrate, apply and lead hikes in alpine areas.
- Dip Level – Instruct alpine and cross-country skiing.
- Dip Level – Apply overnight snow craft and touring skills.
- Dip Level – Undertake and manage risk.
- Dip Level – Navigation in Extreme environmental conditions.
- Dip Level – Admin tasks.
- Cert 1V – Perform deep-water rescues.
- Cert 1V – Perform a comprehensive range of white water rescues and recovery.
- Cert 1V – Apply, instruct and guide kayaking on grade 2 water.
- Cert 1V – Apply and instruct rafting skills on grade 3 and 4 water.
- Cert 1V – Guide raft trips.
- Cert 1V – Guide day and overnight ski tours.