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Hokkaido Powder Guides is owned and operated by Chuck and Toshie Olbery. Together they have been operating the business for 10 years, combining their backgrounds in the travel and ski guiding industries.


Hokkaido Powder Guides are members of the Japanese Avalanche Network and share snowpack analysis with other organizations. This system is similar to the Infoex in Canada and New Zealand and is an important part of the operations with regard to avalanche safety.


Guides have been chosen for their dedication, professionalism and attention to client care and satisfaction. All are career guides and work the summer months guiding alpine and rock climbing or skiing in the southern hemisphere. Together they bring a collective experience in guiding gained from years working for operations in Japan and abroad. They are certified through Japanese and international organizations.


Pawel Kunachowicz

IFMGA logo

Pawel Kunachowicz: gKunah

Nationality: Polish

Qualifications: IFMGA Alpine Guide, Alpine Ski Instructor, Polish Mountain Guides Association member

Languages: Polish, English, Russian

Ski guided: Austria, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Norway, Spitsbergen, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, United States - Alaska, China - Pamir, India, Himalaya

Most memorable ski trip: Two weeks ski traverse of Spitsbergen. We were accompanied only by animals: white bears, seals and reindeers. They were watching us with curiosity. I wonder whether they considered us a good dinner. We travelled on skis, dragging sleds with our tents, food and personal gear. We were surrounded by long glaciers, beautiful white mountains and deep blue sea. Never before or after have I been in such a virgin nature.

Most memorable ski line: Ski down from the summit of Muztagh Ata 7546m in Pamir, China. The reward for a three-week expedition. We started last climb on the summit at night in very cold conditions, strong wind and we were demolished by high altitude. The descent though was with perfect weather and powder. We were in high mountains with the spectacular view of Pamir. We skied down all afternoon!

Reason for guiding: Being in nature, meeting people from different peers and nationalities, learning the world, staying active.


Philip Poole

IFMGA logo

Philip Poole: Phil

Nationality: British

Qualifications: IFMGA Mountain Guide, BASI Grade 3 Ski Instructor

Languages: English, German

Countries ski guided: France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Greenland

Most memorable ski trip: I guided a group of 3 clients to climb the 3 highest mountains in the Arctic. We accessed the mountains of East Greenland by air on a Twin Otter to base camp for this two week trip. Several camp moves with pulk sledges enabled us to climb all peaks as well as some first ascents and first ski descents.

Most memorable ski line:I could write about great lines in Greenland, Antarctica or the Alps, but my most memorable line was here in my home patch of South Cumbria. Winter conditions come and go rapidly in the English Lake District, soyou have to be on the spot and quick to get conditions when they come. This line was on the NE face of the Old Man of Coniston, 45 degrees at the top and normally full of rocks and boulders. A few metres down, I realised I should have climbed the line first! The top gully was icy and so narrow, that only the tips and tails of my skis were in contact with the snow. An ugly thin blade ofrock barred the exit of the gully 50 metres below. A few careful jump turns with heart in mouth, I was below it and whooping down though boulders and rare powder to the lake below. I donft think the line has ever been skied before or since.

Reason for guiding: Helping people realise their ambitions.


Stephan Scanderl



Stephan Scanderl

Nationality: German

Qualifications: IFMGA Mountain guide, canyoning guide, University degree of sporscience

Languages: German, English, French

Countries ski guided: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France,Italy and Russia

Memorable ski trip: skiing down from Mont Blanc till the valley floor in powder snow.

Memorable ski line: Cosmique Couloir (Chamonix) with 40cm of fresh powder and nobody around.

Reason for guiding: to bring my passion of mountain sports to the people and enjoying with them as safe trip.



Chuck Olbery

Charles Olbery: Chuck
NZMGA logo

Nationality: Australian

Qualifications and Memberships: Ski Guide (New Zealand Mountain Guides Association), Canada Avalanche Association member, Japan Avalanche Network member

Languages: English, Japanese

Countries ski guided: Canada, New Zealand, America/ Alaska, Norway

Most memorable ski trip: A two week traverse in the South Coast Mountains in British Columbiato climb Mt Waddington. The weather didnft cooperate for Waddington but the combination of accessing the area by float plane and then sea kiaking for another week out the Bute Inlet made it a great trip.

Most memorable ski line: Mt Francais on the Antarctic Penninsula. A 3,000 meter ski descent to the ocean in boot top powder. Weather was bluebird.

Reason for guiding: Enjoying great experiences in the mountains and meeting new people.

Why Japan: Hokkaido is where we reside all year round. Perhaps it reminds me a little of Tasmania. Also, during winter we ski powder the whole season.



Melissa mkepeace

ACMG logo Melissa Makepeace

Nationality: Canadian

Qualifications: ACMG Apprentice Ski Guide, Active Member of the Canadian Avalanche Association

Languages: English (some/learning Japanese)

Other Countries ski guided: Canada

Most memorable ski trip: In the spring of 2015 I spent a week at Icefall Lodge in the Canadian Rockies. One day, our group climbed about 3000 vertical meters in a day to grab the second descent of a very complex andtechnical icefall called War and Peace. The ice our group skied through, and over, was remarkable, with towers of ice as tall as buildings. We raced back up and out of the valley we had skied into, climbing a short snow covered rock wall with ropes and ice axes, and beating the heat of the day. We went to bed early that night! Most memorable ski line: The first time I skied real powder, at Fernie Alpine Resort in the Canadian Rockies. I couldnft believe what was happening!

Reason for guiding: Itfs pretty cliche, but I love skiing, the outdoors, and helping other people safely experience this passion as well. The work environment is always stimulating and my co-workers are always top notch people too.




NZMGA logoStephane Gagnon

Nationality: Canadian

Qualifications and Memberships: Ski Guide (Canadian Mountain Guides Association), Canadian Avalanche Association professional member, Canadian Ski Instructorsf Alliance Lv.2

Languages: English, French

Countries ski guided: Canada

Most memorable ski trip: A six-week traverse in Argentinafs Glacier National Park to climb the west face of Cerro Torre in Patagonia (Ferrari Route). The Patagonia winter weather is very unpredictable and made for a remote approach on the western glacier with limited amounts of food.

Most memorable ski line: Still searching for it. Too hard to answerc

Reason for guiding: To teach and learn from people in the mountains.

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