About Us

CERTIFIED JAPOW FANATICS

Whiteroom Tours was founded on the principle of creating tours & ski holidays that are fun, adventurous and allow you to experience each destination from a local’s perspective.

From these humble beginnings and with the help of our growing client base, we have grown into a fully licenced travel agency specialising in guided ski and snowboard tours, ski and snowboard holidays, mountain guiding, instructional tours, group travel, as well as personalised travel packages to Japan.

Whiteroom prides itself on providing the highest quality guiding and tour products. We have achieved this by building a professional team of hand-picked ski and snowboard guides from around the world with exceptional local knowledge.

Our team members originate from a variety of professional ski industry backgrounds but all have one very important thing in common, their love of the mountains and Japanese powder.

At Whiteroom, our number one priority is your safety, which is why all customers guided outside the resort boundaries must personally carry appropriate avalanche safety equipment.

All our guides are certified in avalanche safety management and first aid, plus with mountain guiding accreditations or ski patrol background, you can be assured you are in safe hands.

Whiteroom guides receive ongoing training in first aid, backcountry travel and avalanche safety with their respective country’s mountain safety associations & through our in-house training programs.

Daily guide meetings are held in each area to analyse the days’ weather, snowpack and prevailing conditions. Combined with our seasons’ knowledge bank we make the best decisions to ensure you ski or ride the best lines & maximise your experience.

POWDER, CULTURE, ADVENTURE!

Meet the Team

Paul Ellis

PRESIDENT, FOUNDER & GUIDE

After seasons working in the US, Australia and Japan, as well as expeditions to the mountains of Central Asia, Paul started what was to become Whiteroom Tours in 2007 with an idea to create a website around helping those venturing into the backcountry around the world. Backcountry Logistics was created and soon born Backcountry Snow Tours, which had tours planned for Pakistan, Gulmarg and Furano, Japan. Seeing that the market wasn’t really there for backcountry tours to remote locations yet he moved to offering a resort based Japan tour and sold ESS Boardstore owner Mark Chandler on the idea. In 2007 the first tour was run to Furano. In 2010 he founded Whiteroom Tours with the aim showing more people the areas in Hokkaido he came to love. Today Whiteroom Tours has grown into a Travel Agency, Tour Operator and Guiding Company with more than 50+ tours and guiding throughout Japan. Paul holds his CAA Avalanche Level 1 Professional and Wilderness First Aid certificate.

Ross Mcswiney

JAPAN CEO & GUIDE

Ross has seen more winter than most people see in two lifetimes. Having first guided in Japan with Whiteroom Tours in 2012, he heads up our Whiteroom Japan operations. He is responsible for establishing Whiteroom Guides and ensuring Whiteroom runs to the highest of standards. Ross has over 26 years experience as a Thredbo Ski Patroller, National Ski Patrol Trainer & Examiner, Australian Ski Patrol Advanced Emergency Care Course Trainer & Examiner  plus has skied 19 years in Hokkaido & Northern Honshu, 13 as a professional ski guide.

He holds his NZ Avalanche Stage 1 Professional, Certificate IV Training & Assessment, Remote / Advanced / Advanced Resuscitation / Occupational First Aid and is also an Avalanche Awareness and First Aid Trainer.

RONAN MAGUIRE

JAPAN GENERAL MANAGER, AVALANCHE FORECASTER & GUIDE

An Irish man who happened to land on his feet in the high alpine of NZ. Ronan has since made the mountains his home and Guiding, Ski Patrolling, Avalanche Training & Avalanche Forecasting his profession.  Ronan has been one of the NZMSC’s National Avalanche Forecaster, managed Snow Safety and the Avalanche Program for Mt Hutt NZ, been a member of the NZ Avalanche Education Advisory Committee, trainer of both recreational and professional avalanche courses plus an Avy Search and Rescue Dog handler. For the past 7 years, Ronan has been with Whiteroom becoming our  Japan General Manager which includes overseeing all guide operations, avalanche assessment, and forecasting.

He looks forward to sharing his passion for the mountains with you and enjoying some good turns together.

EMILY CARROLL

JAPAN TRAVEL MANAGER

No one is more passionate about Japan and travel than Emily. She has spent years living and working in Japan as an English teacher and before that on exchange through High School and University.

Her knowledge of Japan and fluency in the language means that you get the best possible advice and a fantastic holiday. 

TRAVEL & ADMIN TEAM

Atsushi Iwai

Japanese Liaison - Furano, Japan

Craig Shephard

Sales & Administration - NSW, Australia

Kate Stiegler

Guest Services - Furano, Japan

Guiding team

Mal Haskins

Mal is based in Wanaka New Zealand where his passion for the mountains, climbing, mountaineering and skiing can be quenched. He is an IFMGA / NZMGA Mountain and Ski Guide. During the winter months in New Zealand he lectures on the Tai Poutini Polytechnic Ski Patrol Program, works at Mt Cook Heliski as a lead guide and snow safety officer, Forecasts for the Mt Cook Avalanche Advisory as well as running his own operation based from Wanaka, Mountaineering, Ski-touring, Ski Mountaineering teaching avalanche courses. He is a member of Wanaka SAR and Winter Mt Cook Sar teams. During Summer he spends time down on the Antarctic Peninsula taking people climbing - Mal loves to ski and enjoys sharing his love of being outside and seeking adventure with like minded people.

Paul Black

After cutting his teeth backcountry skiing multiple seasons in Austria & France, Blackie kept his love of winter going with 23 years Ski Patrolling, 14 as Thredbo Ski Patrol Captain & 14 years skiing in Hokkaido, 10 as a Ski Guide. Holds NZMSC Avalanche Pro 1 & is a Patrol Trainer/Examiner.

Timm Phillips

Timm grew up in Buffalo, New York. He honed an ability to hold a ski edge on icy race courses before moving on to snowier pastures. Timm enjoys teaching and sharing with riders and the subtle joys of backcountry mountain travel, onsens, and procuring sundries at 7-11s. Folks remark on his lighthearted style, and patience. Timm guides on Denali, the Cascades, and the Sierra during the spring and summer months, and is with us in Japan in the winter. He completed the AMGA Advanced Ski Guide Course, Rock and Alpine guide courses, is American Avalanche Association Pro 2 certified, holds a Wilderness First Responder, LNT, and AIARE Instructor certifications. Away from the snow, Timm enjoys surfing and all day brunch.

Taneli Peussa

Taneli grew up in the icy winters of Finland. A highly qualified ski, snowboard, telemark instructor & guide, Taneli holds his NZMSC PRO Level 1 & Remote First Aid. Having guided with Whiteroom for 8 years, he’s stoked about guiding in Japan and showing guests the best parts of Hokkaido on and off snow. His favourite mountain is Asahidake and taking guests there keeps him thrilled every time! In the summer he runs eBike tours in Finland.

Greg Young

Greg loves nothing more than sharing a powder day in the mountains with friends - old or new. Growing up in snow deprived West Australia, one taste of fresh pow kickstarted a new life spending 20+ winters snowboarding across New Zealand, Canada, Europe, Australia and guiding tours in Japan with Whiteroom since 2013. He holds his NZMSC Avalanche Pro 1, NZSIA 2 & Remote First Aid.

Alistair Martin

Alistair is an Australian born national who now calls New Zealand home. He works as a ski patroller for Mt Hutt where he is the assistant snow safety officer and has also spent time ski patrolling in Colorado. He holds the NZ Avalanche Risk Management Lvl 6 and a Certificate IV in Emergency Medical Response. Loves to share his passion of the mountains.

Ta-yuan (Owen) Lee

Owen is passionate about skiing and enjoys his free time travelling the world to ski, climb and meet people. A native Taiwanese, he grew up in Aotearoa and the love for the outdoors saw him pursuing a career in New Zealand, Canada and Australia as a mountain guide and an outdoor education instructor for the past ten years. Owen has a science degree in ecology, New Zealand Certificate in Avalanche Risk Management Level 5, and Wilderness First Responder. He is a qualified NZMGA Apprentice Ski Guide and currently working towards becoming an IFMGA mountain guide.

Sean Riley

Sean is based out of Dillon, Colorado where he patrolled for 7 seasons at Keystone Ski Resort as well as on the South Island of New Zealand patrolling at Coronet Peak. Sean also ski guides for Colorado Adventure Guides in the high mountains of Summit County, Colorado and now spends his summers there as a climbing guide. He holds an Avalanche Pro 2 certification with the American Avalanche Institute and is also an Emergency Medical Technician.

Jeremy Wishart

Jesa hails from Tasmania, but has spent many winters ski touring and guiding in BC’s Selkirk Mountains. He has a background in ski patrolling, wilderness whitewater guiding and enjoys playing a bluegrass tune or two. Jesa holds Canadian Avalanche L1 and CSAI certifications and believes great experiences in the mountains involve both great planning and good folks.

Jordan Raymond

Born and raised in New Zealand, Jordan found his calling at a young age for skiing bottomless snow and ski mountaineering and has been chasing winters ever since. Jordan is a qualified Assistant Ski Guide with the NZMGA, holds his avalanche risk management level 5 and PHEC certificates. He is stoked to be back in the land of bottomless pow to help you experience what skiing in Japan is about.

Scott Earnshaw

Scott’s love for backcountry skiing has taken him on some amazing adventures in the South Island of New Zealand, the vast mountains near Banff, Canada as well as the backcountry of Niseko, Otaru and Furano. Scott will be back at Whiteroom Tours for a second season and can’t wait to get back into skiing powder and showing what Hokkaido has to offer. In the “off” season Scott Patrols in the Southern Hemisphere at Mt Cheeseman. He holds his New Zealand Certificate in Avalanche Risk Management Level 5, NZSIA Level 1, as well as his Pre-Hospital Emergency Care certificate.

Taylor Rogers

Tay is all about good vibes, immersing in culture and rippin’ pow! As well as a guide, Tay is a Nationally Accredited Ski Patroller, Patrol Supervisor at Thredbo Resort, Mountain Safety Collective Observer and Fire & Rescue Firefighter. Tay holds CAA Ops 1, ASPA Certification, Wilderness & Remote First Aid quals and is a big advocate for safe backcountry use through educating and upskilling the next gen of rippers. Time off is spent cooking, camping and skydiving.

Matthew Maar

Matt grew up with skis on his feet in the hills of Northern New York and from an early age was hooked on floating through powder. He was a ski instructor in Montana for 6 seasons before becoming a backcountry ski guide and avalanche educator for the last two. In the summers he leads backpacking trips throughout the mountains and deserts of the Western US. He holds an AAI Professional Avalanche Level 1 and Wilderness First Aid.

Jesse Yelverton

Jesse found his passion for skiing in Colorado where he began his career as an avalanche professional. Jesse has worked as a ski patroller and avalanche forecaster in Colorado and New Zealand, as a skiing, rock and ice climbing guide, and as an ambulance emergency medical technician. He holds a degree in Snow, Weather and Avalanche Science from Colorado Mountain College, certified Avalanche Professional L2 by the American Avalanche Association, is a registered wilderness EMT-IV, qualified avalanche and wilderness medical instructor, and a professional member and aspirant guide of the American Mountain Guides Association.

Mark Turner

I began my snow sports career at 16 as a park builder and L1 snowboard instructor, then soon realized I wanted to ski full time, and began pursuing a ski patrol/avalanche technician career. Big Mountain snowmobile skiing led to snowmobile guide, ski guiding and avalanche control/consulting opportunities. Eventually I traded the adrenaline filled high-paced environment for one of more solitude and began ski tour guiding at backcountry huts throughout BC. I discovered something special about being able to hear the fresh snowflakes slowly pile up, and once the opportunity arose to ski 2 seasons in the Italian Dolomites, I rediscovered my passion for resort assisted backcountry skiing. CAA Level 1, Wilderness First Responder, CSIA Level 2.

Stephen Parker

Stephen has completed various mountaineering exploration expeditions including first snowboard descents in the Indian Himalaya and New Zealand’s Southern Alps. He’s has worked as a Splitboard guide and Avalanche Educator in Afghanistan, India, New Zealand and Japan, and loves nothing more than riding deep powder through trees, then ending the day sipping green tea while soaking in rustic hot pools. He has a PhD and works as a wilderness guide in the South Island of New Zealand. Qualifications include NZMSC Avalanche Operations Stage 2, Pre-Hospital Emergency Care , Certificate in Ski Patrol, Post Graduate Diploma in Outdoor Education & Avalanche Practitioner Canadian Avalanche Association

Rob Featherstone

Rob is originally from the UK. He grew up walking and climbing throughout Wales, Northern England and Scotland. Since moving to New Zealand he has completed three seasons on a ski patrol team most recently at Mt Hutt. Rob holds his Avalanche Risk Management Level 5 and Pre Hospital Emergency Care qualification. In his free time when he’s not skiing, he loves climbing, mountain biking and whitewater paddling.

Rachel Ryan

Rach is an adventure enthusiast, ski patroller, and cat-ski guide hailing from Wanaka, New Zealand. Originally a geologist she spent years in the Aussie outback funding skiing and climbing adventures in the US, Canada, Europe and Japan. Rach delights in spending time in unique places with family, friends, and clients who share the need to find the next best powder ski run. She holds the NZ Certificate in Avalanche Risk Management (Level 6), Emergency Care and Pre-Hospital Care, and is the Ski Patrol Supervisor at Treble Cone, Wanaka, NZ.

Callum Grant

An enthusiastic Mountain Guide and Ski Patrol Team Leader with many years of experience leading trips and rescues in New Zealand’s demanding mountains. Blending a high level of professionalism with fun and enjoyable trips with excellent customer satisfaction.

Brian Richards

Brian is based out of Bozeman, Montana, where he has focused his life and career on backcountry exploration. Brian spent nearly a decade guiding ski trips out of yurts in the mountains of Yellowstone National Park, has guided backpacking trips throughout the canyons of Utah and mountains of Wyoming and Montana for the past seven years, and has spent time ski patrolling at Big Sky, Montana. When not taking clients through the mountains, you can find him pedalling a bike throughout the Northern Rockies. He has his Professional Avalanche Level 1 certification and is an Emergency Medical Technician.

Jack Stewart

Jack is a keen outdoors man and adventure enthusiast. Originally from Australia he now lives in the South Island of New Zealand. Splitting his time between ski patrolling at Treble Cone in the winters and being a biodiversity ranger on the wild west coast in the summers. He is always up for a yarn and hunting out the best snow. He holds his NZ certificate in Avalanche Risk Management (level 5), Emergency Care and Pre – Hospital Care.

Sam Janssen

Sam was born in the north island of New Zealand, snowboarding and skiing at every possible opportunity on Mt Ruapehu. In his Mid-20s after moving to Revelstoke B.C for a winter season he decided to dedicate the rest of his life to being in the mountains. After completing his avalanche risk management Level 5, pre hospital emergency care and Patrol Level 4 he has since had 6 seasons experience in the Ski Patroller role between New Zealand and Canada. When he’s not patrolling or guiding, you’ll usually find him climbing, ski touring or mountain biking somewhere in natures playground.

Nathan Hunter

Nathan hails from Edinburgh & found his love of skiing on the local hills of Scotland. With over 12 seasons of instructing, managing Snow Schools and guiding in Scotland, Italy, Japan, Canada and New Zealand. In the summers he can be found cycling the roads of Hokkaido and Honshu. Joining the team in 2019, he holds NZSMC Avalanche Stage 1, BASI Level 2 and BASP First Aid.

Our INSTRUCTORS

Paul Barker

Northern English man Paul has skied all over the world in Europe, Canada, USA and New Zealand. He holds the top NZ Level 3 ski qualification and has accreditations in Telemark, Race, Freestyle and Nordic, all at NZ Level 1, Kids Cert NZ Level 2 and also holds a BASP outdoor first aid certificate. This is Pauls first season with Whiteroom and he can't wait to share his vast knowledge and passion of skiing with everyone.

Geon Bang

From South Korea, Geon loves travelling around the world for snowboarding, surfing and performing music. Inspired by freeriding snowboard documentaries, he started his Snowsports career in Whistler (Canada) then Whakapapa & the Remarkables (New Zealand) and now in Japan. Geon has his SBINZ LV2, NZSIA LV1, AST LV1, First Aid & Teaching Children certifications.

Emily Sumner

Born in Manchester, UK, Emily fell in love with Snowsports as kid skiing in the Alps. Emily then set out to New Zealand to become an instructor and went on to share her passion for skiing and snowboarding in Japan, Canada, and Switzerland. Most recently returned home and been working at her local indoor slope helping people get out into the mountains and coaching freestyle. Holds Level 2 Ski and Snowboard as well as being adaptive and park certified.

Jamie Brown

Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, Jamie was raised in the mountaineer’s paradise of Chamonix in France, where he fell in love with skiing from a young age. Starting his instructing career in Chamonix, he has since worked at Coronet Peak in New Zealand, and now will be working his first season in Japan. He loves skiing, snowboarding, and hiking out in the mountains, meeting new people, and teaching different skill levels and ages. Jamie holds a BASI Level 2 and PSC1 First Aid qualification.

Jolien Laenens

Since I was little, I have been fascinated by the mountains and knew I wanted to work in the mountains. I am always looking for a new adventure whether it is in the European alps, Canadian Rockies or Japanese mountains. It gives me fulfillment to share my passion about skiing and allow people to experience the magic of learning skills in a magnificent environment like the mountains. On my free days, I like to go freeriding, ski touring and explore everything the mountains offer. In summer, I swap the frozen water for its liquid form and you will find me on a surfboard or kiting.

Lindsay Olin

Growing up in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, Lindsay has been skiing her whole life. She’s had the opportunity to teach snow sports in Colorado, Oregon, New Zealand, and now Japan. She’s passionate about sharing her love of skiing, snowboarding, and the mountain lifestyle with others. Lindsay’s certifications include PSIA Alpine Level 2, AASI Snowboard Level 1, and PSIA Children’s Specialist 2. She studied French and Spanish at Pacific University in Oregon.

Jack Burt

My name is Jack Burt and I am from just outside of Glasgow Scotland. I grew up skiing in the alps and in Scotland, and have since spent time in Canada and New Zealand achieving my CSIA, NZSIA And BASI level ones as well as a BASI level two, a teaching children certification and my ISIA avalanche level two. I am looking forward to my first season with Whiteroom and can't wait to offer people the same experiences that made me fall in love with skiing.

Beth Allsworth

Beth has previously worked in Japan and Canada and is currently based back home in the UK teaching students with additional needs and disabilities to ski and snowboard. She is super stoked to return to Japan and help others to find their love for snowsports. Beth is working towards her BASI Level 3 Snowboard qualification but is an experienced ski, snowboard and adaptive instructor.

Georgina Hinton

I was born and raised in London, UK and fell in love with skiing at the age of 2, learning to ski in Villars, Switzerland. As I got older I decided to turn my passion for skiing into ski racing and began competing in Regional and National races on dryslopes in England as well as International competitions around Europe, in Italy, France, Switzerland and Austria. I have spent the last 5 years sharing my love for the sport by instructing all ages and abilities in the UK, as well as encouraging more people to get into racing!

Fred Habgood Filler

From south east England, Fred is an Alpine Level 3 Ski Instructor and also has completed Adaptive, Avalanche and Coaching qualifications. Learning to ski on multiple European mountains and resorts, Fred then started his career as an instructor in Canada at Whistler Blackcomb in 2019. Fred is keen sportsman having played rugby at University and now pursuing a career as a skiing instructor. Whenever able he likes to learn new skills, travel, cycle and learn about new cultures.

Nicole Clements-Stewart

Nicole grew up on a farm in New Zealand and found her love for skiing in the south island at Mt Hutt ski resort. This led her into the ski industry, instructing for three winter seasons, two in New Zealand and one in Japan. She enjoys meeting new people and helping them improve their skiing ability. She enjoys teaching of all ages and holds a level 2 NZSIA certification. More recently, Nicole completed a doctorate in veterinary medicine and plans to work as a vet throughout Asia after the winter season.

Will Marcinowski

A kiwi fella from the deep south of Aotearoa/New Zealand, Will has spent the last 9 seasons instructing snowboarding in the southern alps of New Zealand. Will holds an NZSIA level 1 and SBINZ level 2. The past 4 seasons in Nz Will has been running the snow school at Lake Ohau Snow Fields and you can always be sure to find him with a smile on his face at his home resort, Ohau. In addition Will has completed 5 seasons cave guiding on the west coast of Nz’s south island. In his free time, Will is chasing waves and surfing his brains out.

Rodrigo Navarro

Born and raised in the Andes, Rodrigo started to ski at 3 and he raced internationally in super-G up to the youth Olympics. Holding an MBA, he worked in business while enjoying his free time exploring the world and skiing. His passion for skiing moved him to change his life and since then he’s had the opportunity to work as in instructor in Chile, France, and Japan. His certifications include BASI Alpine Level 2, ENYSSCHAG Ski Level 2, and Japanese level 1. Also, he can speak Spanish and Portuguese

Sheldon Robb

Growing up in the south coast of Australia Sheldon spent every waking moment in and around the beach surfing and enjoying everything the coast had to offer, once he left highschool Sheldon moved to British Columbia Canada where he fell in love with every aspect of Snowboarding and Skiing whether that be Freestyle or deep powder riding. Sheldon continues to develop his skills and currently holds both a CASI level 2 and CSIA level 1 as well as a park certification.

Jake Peacock

Since the age of 18 I have worked in 5 different countries instructing multiple different sports. Skiing is my passion in life, my first time skiing was at 16 on a family holiday after this I knew that skiing was going to be part of my life for the rest of it. Since then I have been on 3 winter seasons, worked at 2 winter festivals and been to 10 different resorts. There is nothing I enjoy more than a powder day and to be able to pass on my passions to people who want to learn.

GUEST SERVICES TEAM

Riley Aspinwall

Riley began skiing on the East Coast of the US in Maine and Vermont where she fell in love with the outdoors. Inspired by the mountains, she moved West and began working in the outdoor industry as a mountain bike and hiking guide based in Utah. She has spent her winters living in various ski towns in Utah, Colorado, Queenstown, and now Japan! Riley is an EMT with a bachelors in Biology and has a passion for wilderness medicine. She is happiest when her spare time is filled with adventures in the mountains- tramping, skiing, or biking! Riley is looking forward to helping you enjoy every aspect of your winter holiday, as part of the Guest Services team.

" Julian and Taneli were AWESOME! They went above and beyond to make sure we found fresh powder every day "

Lisa Wilson

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