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Skiing in Japan

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
So I graduated college in May and am currently between jobs. As I have been searching for jobs I came across a job and it got me thinking. There are 2 things that I have always wanted to do before I am tied down: Live in Japan and be a ski bum. I think now is the best time to do these and I figured maybe I can do both of these at the same time.

Does anyone have experience working at a ski resort in Japan as a instructor or something? I'm talking about working full time at the ski resort and living on the mountain.

Does anyone have experience working outside of a resort, such as an English teacher, and just skiing on your time off?

I really want to make this happen and have been talking to a few ski school type places that specifically hire english speaking people. I can speak Japanese ok, but I cannot read/write kanji.

If you have ANY input, please post. Even general experiences in Japan would be helpful. Thanks
post #2 of 29
there couldn't be a worse time to think about teaching English in Japan. Japan's biggest conversational school just collapsed the other day. over 600 schools are gone. over 4000 teachers lingering the streets, looking for work at the moment... or leaving. Some major airlines are even offering them cheap one way tickets home. It's farcked.

This over influx of teachers will undoubtedly scar the ESL pay scale in Japan for some time too.

I'll give you my job next july.
post #3 of 29
Hey there WRXskier18. Since the english teaching thing seems dead, considering what Samurai said (unless you really want to teach language, it probably wouldn't be that much fun), DO court the possibility of working at the resort. I envy, terribly, the position you are in, free to undertake a life expanding adventure, INCLUDING SKIING. If you can speak Japanese, go get that job and have a great time. Go forth with confidence (it WILL work and this might be the best experience of your life so far), this journey is something that will benefit you through your whole life. Get that job, ski the far eastern pow, soak up the culture, bring a camera, and post many fantastic TRs for us.
post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 
thanks for the encouragement.

I know all about NOVA. My parents keep telling me about it and my friend got hired by them a few weeks ago. Luckily, her family has money so at least she can survive.

I guess I was thinking about a desk job or some other job, but I guess there is no substitute for living at a ski resort. There are 2 things that i'm kinda worried about.

1. I hope I'm not too late.
2. I hope I get paid enough so that I can pay for my season pass and plane ticket. I just cannot afford to come out losing money at the end of season.

If those things are good, I'm pretty sure i'll take whatever.

Samurai, what's your job? Maybe i'll take it
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
Oh, I forgot to mention that I have no formal ski instructing experience, which seems fine with employers, but have been a ski patroller for 3 years.
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by wrxskier18 View Post
2. I hope I get paid enough so that I can pay for my season pass and plane ticket. I just cannot afford to come out losing money at the end of season.
Now you see, you are quite wrong, I couldn't afford to buy two pairs of skis, three pairs of bindings, etc., but I did it anyway, and now I HAVE what I wanted, even though I went further into debt to do it.

My mom always told me that if you want a job, don't wait and see if they offer it to you, be a pest, don't let them rest until they give it to you. Make a list of what you consider valuable about your abilities, and use this list to craft a series of communications to your prospective employer, letting them know for certain that you are the one they want. Do it. Go there. You know you want it. Make it happen by the force of your will. [the gospel] As ye have believed, so shall it be done unto you. [/the gospel] You can do this.

BTW your screen name sucks, it's totally forgetable, but I can tell you have unaccessed character that deserves a better name. How about FarEastRider?
post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 
haha, sounds good to me. That's just the name i've used in past forums, mostly car forums.

Well, this is the second night in a row that I have stayed up well past 5am applying to places and writing e-mails. Hopefully it pays off, but for now i'm off to bed cause i have to get up in 3.5 hours

post #8 of 29
Wow, only 3.5 hours of sleep and you're staying up working... not drinking.

you've got something going right.

VA is right. DO IT.
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by samurai View Post
Wow, only 3.5 hours of sleep and you're staying up working... not drinking.
I, on the other hand, have been staying up drinking.
post #10 of 29
VA is right, you have every opportunitiy to make it happen.
Embrace it!

He's also right about having a forgettable username. PM me if you want to change that
post #11 of 29
Thread Starter 
it was a little rough this morning

Hopefully the work pays off. I just gotta wait with my fingers crossed.
post #12 of 29
I don't think you would have any problems getting a resort job with your language skills - especially having both English and Japanese. There are more and more foreigners heading to Japan for ski holidays, especially Australians and New Zealanders in their off season - and we speak English. It is cheaper than going to the US, and there are lots of direct flights to Japan. Those I know who have gone said they did not find language an issue in the resorts as they employed plenty of english speaking staff.

It is becoming popular with down under skiers because of the powder. Apparently the Japanese don't ski off piste in the resorts so you can have untracked powder days after a snow fall. Who wants to be in a desk job with that on offer, and a desk job is likely to be a flight or a drive away.

Take a transceiver with you if you are going to ski powder, even in bounds. A few years back a group of kiwis got buried and the Japanese had no idea what to do. Yes, they were out of bounds but it was HOURS before they organised someone in to search for them, even though they were aware immediately when it happened. Sounds like they need your ski patrol skills to me.
post #13 of 29
avalanche control does not exist at my resort.

Don't even get me started on how far behind Japan is to the rest of the world in terms of avi science.
post #14 of 29
Good luck with your search! Keep us posted!
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by samurai View Post
avalanche control does not exist at my resort.

Don't even get me started on how far behind Japan is to the rest of the world in terms of avi science.
samurai, you may be interested then to read the article "White Knights of Valentine's Day" from The Sydney Morning Herald about the rescue by members of the Thredbo Ski Patrol of Japanese skiers caught in an avalanche at Hakkoda.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/travel/va...734017516.html

There is also a multimedia presentation with a commentary from one of the Thredbo patrollers.

http://www.smh.com.au/multimedia/wor...che/index.html
post #16 of 29
As julie in nz has noted, there are lots of Australians and New Zealanders travelling to Japan to ski. The main areas for these skiers are Niseko, Rusutsu and Furano on Hokkaido and Hakuba in the Nagano region in central Honshu.

The two main ski schools at Niseko have a number of English speaking instructors from Australia, NZ, Canada and the US. Their websites are:

Niseko International Snowsports School (NISS) http://www.harmonyresorts.com/lessonsandprograms.cfm

Niseko Base Snowsports (NBS) http://www.nisekobase.com/about.php

The Aussie invasion of Niseko in recent years has meant that many of the locals in Hirafu village (the main community in the resort area) speak English. The neighbouring regional town of Kutchan still has few fluent English speakers.
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by wrxskier18 View Post
If you have ANY input, please post. Even general experiences in Japan would be helpful. Thanks
Given your username, I bet you could always make a living (probably a pretty reasonable one) shipping parts to the US and Europe...

Spend a few days a week wrenching and FedEx-ing, the others skiing? If you aren't able to swing the jobs you'd really like to do, might be worth considering...
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by rugbyskier View Post
samurai, you may be interested then to read the article "White Knights of Valentine's Day" from The Sydney Morning Herald about the rescue by members of the Thredbo Ski Patrol of Japanese skiers caught in an avalanche at Hakkoda.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/travel/va...734017516.html

There is also a multimedia presentation with a commentary from one of the Thredbo patrollers.

http://www.smh.com.au/multimedia/wor...che/index.html
Thanks for the article. I was aware of that situation and they got a lot of props for their work.

Welcome to Japan.
post #19 of 29
I just got a job in Japan over my uni break for 3 months starting in december. Have a look at www.boobooski.com, if you wanna be an instructor u dont need to be qualified through these guys.
post #20 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the help everyone.

So far, i might have opportunities in Hakuba47, Evergreen Outdoor center (hakuba), SAS (Niseko), Gala Yuzawa, and Naeba ski academy.
Anyone have any input on those places?

I am a little overwhelmed with what to do. It seems like there are so many other places that I could be applying to, but no one has their e-mail addresses on their websites!

I'm looking for a mountain with the best ski area as well as the best atmosphere. It seems like Niseko is almost 1/2 Australia. Obviously there are more jobs for someone like me there and they are easier to find, but I was hoping for something different. I would rather work somewhere where most people are Japanese because one of the reasons I want to go is to get better at japanese.


spasevskij, i applied at boobooski and am waiting for an interview from them.

Garrett, I would LOVE to spend my time wrenching and skiing. Cars and skiing are my 2 favorite things (hence the sn!). I'm not sure how i'd get a job like that though unless i was in a bigger city.
post #21 of 29
Thread Starter 
Has anyone skied at Hakuba47/Goryu? It seems a lot smaller than Happo-one.

Anyone know how it stacks up against Yuzawa?
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by wrxskier18 View Post
Thanks for the help everyone.

So far, i might have opportunities in Hakuba47, Evergreen Outdoor center (hakuba), SAS (Niseko), Gala Yuzawa, and Naeba ski academy.
Anyone have any input on those places?

I am a little overwhelmed with what to do. It seems like there are so many other places that I could be applying to, but no one has their e-mail addresses on their websites!.....
Dave Enright at Evergreen in Hakuba is a cool guy. Runs a great operation; you'll need to be good as most of his guides/instructors are CSIA Level 2 or better (or Aust/NZ equivalent) as well has being avalanche trained.

Evergreen does have its own website & email, however, my previous experience is out of season (as is at the moment), emails will only get answered sparodically. Try searching at http://www.snowjapan.com/e/start-here.html
post #23 of 29
To slightly hijack the thread, does anyone have any input on what would be a good place to go that is easily accessed from Tokyo?

I travel there occasionally, and have a day or two to kill and would love to ski in Japan just to say I've done it. The kicker is I don't speak the language, nor do I have any means of transportation other than rail system. If it makes any difference, I stay near Tachikawa station in western Tokyo. Thanks for any suggestions . . .
post #24 of 29
Plenty of decent skiing easy to access from Tokyo, especially by train. You'd take the Chuo line into Tokyo station, then hop on the shinkansen up to Niigata or Nagano -- Niigata for one day, Nagano to spend the weekend. PM me for detailed suggestions.
post #25 of 29
nice work getting a job in japan. i just got a job with free room & board at a place in northern japan. not your average resort though, it's kind of out of the way. i head over in march but i'll be staying for the next ski season.
post #26 of 29
Hakuba is by far the best ski town/ski areas in Japan. The only reason one would want to go to GALA would be its proximity to Tokyo (and as it is owned by the train company, I think they get very good deals on travel). Search on TGR for the "japan jongified" thread as there is a lot more info there. Of course, there is also the forums on SnowJapan.com
post #27 of 29
Whatever happened to the Nova ex-employees? I have heard that Nova doesn't pay well, so were these people not ready to teach at schools? Do different qualification levels exist to teach in schools vs. teaching at Nova/Kumon ect.?

The reason I am asking is that I will probably take the "teach English in Japan" route one day, at least for a few years. I have a 4-year degree (unfortunately in Chemical Engineering, not English) but I love Japan and it would great if my wife and I could head over there, as she hasn't lived there since she was 16 and misses her family and the food. I was planning on enrolling in a Japanese immersion course at an international university for 6-9 months, and then moving on to an instructing job, or potentially working for my father-in-law in Oita. I know several Canadiens and Australians teaching in good schools in Oita, and they all love it.
post #28 of 29
nova went the way of the dodo, many of the dumber nova employees got stranded with absolutely no savings (they got into the country by bending some of the visa laws in place) and had to be bailed out of the country - mostly australians and kiwis. everyone else that's still hanging on is trying to find work at other eikaiwa or they're doing menial jobs just to survive until their visa runs out.

if you go make sure you're either entrepeneurial, frugal or are very good at talking your way into jobs, cuz the job situation there for foreigners is pretty tight.. not too bad in rural areas however.
post #29 of 29
Thread Starter 
Just to let everyone know, I will be working at gala yuzawa starting in 2 weeks. Thanks for everyone's input. I was really debating either Hakuba or Yuzawa. I decided on Yuzawa because it seemed like i would be forced to use more japanese there, which is what I want. Also, it's easy access and good skiing. I applied to about 10 places and got a job offer from everywhere except Happo-one in Hakuba. If I got an offer there, I probably would have taken it, but I only got offers from Hakuba47, Goryu, and some private ski academies. Those mountains seemed smaller and more for boarders, and it seemed like that staff there (ski patrol) is a PITA.

Thanks again for the help. If anyone is in the area, let me know.
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