fbpx
    • Spring
      • video

        Finding the Flow from Kansai to Kochi

        Shikoku’s many mountains, valleys and proximity to the ocean has made it a hidden gem for rafting, kayaking and canyoning enthusiasts willing to take a step or two further from the Golden Route of Kyoto and Osaka.

        Solace and Giant Salamanders in Akiota

        Just beyond Hiroshima City is a tranquil outdoor destination home to some of Japan's last remaining oosanshouo, the elusive giant salamander.
        Kyoto Oni Trail Outdoor Japanvideo

        The Oni Trail: Hiking Coastal Kyoto

        The mystical oni is prevalent in Japanese children’s stories, usually as a way to scare kids straight. Adventure Travel Kyoto is shedding a new light on this folklore and developing a new hiking route in the countryside of Kyoto.

        Spring Skiing in Japan 2022

        It may be spring in Japan but you can still ski in select ski resorts open all the way to Golden Week.
    • Summer
    • Autumn
      • Pow Bar Founder Megumi Scott

        Beyond the Brand: Pow Bar

        An interview with Megumi Scott, the founder of Niseko brand Pow Bar.
        Churamura Okinawa Sea Turtle Marine Conservation

        Churamura: Footprints in the Sand

        Churamura, an NPO in Okinawa, work to conserve marine life and protect endangered sea turtles in Japan's southernmost prefecture.
        Kawazu

        Fall in Love with Kawazu

        Enjoy waterfall hikes and hot springs, beautiful beaches and delicious seafood in Kawazu on the western coast of Izu Peninsula.
    • Winter
      • Spring Skiing in Japan 2022

        It may be spring in Japan but you can still ski in select ski resorts open all the way to Golden Week.
        Indy Pass Outdoor Japan Tohoku

        The Resistance

        The Indy Pass arrives in Japan to bring avid riders to local resorts that punch above their weight class and offer varied terrain.
        Shinano Town Outdoor Japan

        Go Deep into Shinano

        Discover Snow Country in Shinano Town in northern Nagano, popular for its deep powder but also its mountainous winter scenery.
        Evergreen Outdoor Center Japan

        Japan Snow Guide: Winter 2022 Events & No...

        Check out the latest news and winter events held at ski resorts all over Japan in 2022!
    • Near Tokyo
    • Near Kyoto
      • video

        Finding the Flow from Kansai to Kochi

        Shikoku’s many mountains, valleys and proximity to the ocean has made it a hidden gem for rafting, kayaking and canyoning enthusiasts willing to take a step or two further from the Golden Route of Kyoto and Osaka.
        Kyoto Oni Trail Outdoor Japanvideo

        The Oni Trail: Hiking Coastal Kyoto

        The mystical oni is prevalent in Japanese children’s stories, usually as a way to scare kids straight. Adventure Travel Kyoto is shedding a new light on this folklore and developing a new hiking route in the countryside of Kyoto.
    • All Regions
    • Article Map
    • Ocean and Beach
    • River and Lake
      • video

        Finding the Flow from Kan...

        Shikoku’s many mountains, valleys and proximity to the ocean has made it a hidden gem for rafting, kayaking and canyoning enthusiasts willing to take a step or two further from the Golden Route of Kyoto and Osaka.
    • Mountain and Land
    • Sky
    • Snow and Ice
      • Spring Skiing in Japan 2022

        It may be spring in Japan but you can still ski in select ski resorts open all the way to Golden Week.
        Indy Pass Outdoor Japan Tohoku

        The Resistance

        The Indy Pass arrives in Japan to bring avid riders to local resorts that punch above their weight class and offer varied terrain.
        Shinano Town Outdoor Japan

        Go Deep into Shinano

        Discover Snow Country in Shinano Town in northern Nagano, popular for its deep powder but also its mountainous winter scenery.
        Evergreen Outdoor Center Japan

        Japan Snow Guide: Winter 2022 Events & No...

        Check out the latest news and winter events held at ski resorts all over Japan in 2022!
    • Travel
    • Food and Drinks
    • Races and Events

Scott Walker, Owner Scott Adventure Sports

“I had nothing.” That’s what Australian Scott Walker, owner and operator of Scott Adventure Sports (SAS), had to say about his first days in Japan eleven years ago. Hard to believe when you consider the towering stacks of yellow SAS rafts and the hub of activity around his headquarters at the Hirafu resort area of Niseko, Hokkaido.

When did you come to Japan—and why?

“March 24, 1994,” said Scott, recalling the exact date. He came on a working holiday and soon was hustling around Sapporo teaching private English lessons and working at language schools to support hitchhiking trips to Niseko. “I was there almost every weekend,” he said. After three years of scraping by and facing the prohibitive visa troubles that so many foreigners deal with, Scott decided he wanted to live full-time in Niseko. The way to do it: start a business.

Humble beginnings

Scott spent the summer of 1997 living and working out of the shed that housed his one raft. “I slept there, I ate there; I did everything there.” He had enough equipment for two boats so that morning and afternoon customers could all have a fresh drysuit. He bought four more boats the next year and toward the end of the season, a film crew and writer from a travel and adventure magazine came out and did a spread—and according to Scott, that was a huge break.

That first winter, Scott made a foray into two activities nobody else was doing: dog sledding and snow rafting. He took a crash course in dog sledding on the sand in the autumn. For the latter, he simply attached a raft to a snowmobile and pulled it along the snow. After a few seasons, he phased out the dog-sledding because the snow rafting and snowmobiling were so popular.

How did the business grow?

Steady increases in the number of rafts and diversified activities were the strategy. In 2005, SAS ran over 30 boats on the Shiribetsu River and provided a host of adventure options in the summer.

What’s next?

“Do it well or don’t do it at all,” is Scott’s business philosophy. Scott plans to level off his rafting and capitalize on the winter explosion in Niseko. At the moment, he runs a ski & snowboard school and offers snowmobiling. Scott plans to improve all three, putting them on par with some of the other winter activity operators.

What about non-adventure endeavors?

In addition to the ski rental shop and two accommodations, Australia House and Forest Star Lodge, he recently opened Bohzan, a Nepalese restaurant. All are in business only in winter and manned by his international summer rafting staff.

How’s life?

“I live in the best place in Japan,” said Scott unequivocally. “There are very few places in the world where the river is so close to an established resort,” he said, and went on to talk about a canyoning course he found less than an hour from Hirafu. And of course there’s the snow, which Scott feels makes Niseko “the number one ski resort in Asia, in the same class with Whistler.” Not a bad place to be.

Scott is still hustling. He works hard to push all facets of his company, but there is no doubt that it has paid off, which is why he was able to remember fondly his arrival in Japan, repeating the quote toward the end of our conversation. “I had nothing,” he laughed. “Absolutely nothing.”

Scott Walker At a Glance

Nationality: Australia(オーストラリア)
Age: 39(秘密)
Years in Japan: 11(11年)
Currently resides in: Niseko, Hokkaido(北海道ニセコ)
Quotable Quote: “I live in the best place in Japan.”
「日本で最高の場所に住んでいるよ」

[novo-map id=2 individual=”yes”]

Outdoor Japan logo tree

Related

Latest posts

Categories