Meet The Trainers

We are a hand selected group of high end training professionals who are dedicated to your learning and skill development. We are ski & snowboard scholars, professors of the snow crystal, scientists who shred and academics of alpine adventure. We are mountain people who want to share our connection to the alps and the outdoor experiences that drive our lifestyle, so you can live the dream with us here in Hakuba.

james hyland guide profileJames Hyland

Evergreen Head Snowboard Trainer / Chief Examiner

James Hyland was born, as all Canadians are, with skis and a toque on. James started skiing at the young age of 4 and grew up skiing, racing competitively and eventually became an instructor and race coach. His snowboard journey began in 1990 when he switched from ski racing in preference for riding sideways like one of the all-time legends, Damien Sanders. Soon after he began competing at a national level in freestyle competitions, representing Ontario.

James started freestyle coaching, training and certifying instructors at 21 years of age at his hometown ski club Snow Valley (Ontario) and internationally throughout Europe and Japan. After moving to the Canadian Rockies James obtained his level 4 CASI and became Head Trainer for programs like Nonstop in Fernie, BC, and now at Evergreen International Ski School in Hakuba. Snowboarding is James’ life, his love of the sport and leadership is second to none and if there is anyone to spread the love to shred, it’s this guy.

Luke Smith

Snowboard Trainer

Originally from the UK, after travelling around the world for a while, Luke finally settled in Hakuba, Japan where he now lives year round working in the beautiful Japanese Alps.

Always an ‘enjoyer’ of the outdoors and the sports that go with it, Luke finally found a sport that had it all…. Snowboarding! He now spends his winters as a CASI Level 3 instructor, trainer and CASI course evaluator for the Alpine Academy. When not at work he gets out into the amazing Hakuba Backcountry as often as possible. With his local knowledge and time spent in the Hakuba mountains, ask him nicely and he might just tell you one of his secret shred spots!

It’s the Japanese snow and his passion for snowboarding that keeps his stoke level maxed out all winter. But his expertise in the mountains does not stop there…! In Summer Luke is an ACA Pro Canyon guide so you’ll find him in a wetsuit and harness with a bag of rope on his back guiding people through the local canyons. If not in the canyon then he’ll be out rafting or mountain bike guiding.

With his variety of guiding and teaching experience he’ll be sure to get you improving and having fun in no time!

Stefan Gassner

Ski Trainer

Stefan was born and raised in Austria and started skiing when he was 4. He grew up competing in alpine and skier cross races and basically spends his entire live in the Alps whether it’s rock climbing, ski touring or canyoning.

After graduating from an Austrian ski racing high school he followed his passion and shared his experience for the last 6 years coaching race teams and ski instructors in Austria, Australia and now Japan. Stefan is usually a man of not too many words but when it comes to skiing you can see his passion in his eyes, always on the hunt for the perfect turn or the best lines in the backcountry.

Stefan completed his Austrian ski diploma (The ‘Staatlicher’- full cert trainer/examinator qualification), D-Trainer (Race coach qualification) and his Skiführer diploma (Austrian guiding certificate) as well. He loves sharing his knowledge about the alpine environment and boosting peoples skiing abilities, so weather you look out for a great day in the powder or shredding down groomed slopes, he knows his stuff.

George Perry

Freeride Ski Trainer

George is 22 years old coming from the United Kingdom. He started skiing when he was 4 years old in Austria and continued to ski there throughout his early life. When he finished school at 18 he moved to Austria to pursue his dream of being a ski instructor, he has done 4 seasons in Sankt Anton and once in Southern Hemisphere season in Falls Creek, Australia! During that time he completed his full Austrian Landes Lehrer and hope to continue on in the coming seasons with staatlicher and skifuhrer eventually.

Peter Eiterer

Freeride Ski Trainer

Peter was born and raised in a small village in the beautiful Austrian alps. He is in the lucky situation that they have a large selection of big ski resorts nearby, so learned how to ski quite early- in the age of 3. After he survived my school career it was up to him what he will do next and luckily he made the decision to become a Ski instructor. Last year he did his “Landeslehrer“ and he wants to go for the fully certified “Staatlicher Skilehrer“ when he will return to Austria  . After doing a few seasons in one of the best ski resort in Europe (St. Anton), he is super exited for the season in Japan and he is looking forward to make some great experiences. He was never very interested in ski racing therefore he had much more time to explore the most beautiful places and mountains offside the slopes. When he is not touring up different mountains he always tries to improve his technique and get better in every single discipline. As soon as the snow is gone in spring he gets his mountain bike and his hiking boots out that he can stay fit for the winter and also to check new unexplored terrains and summits. In the end he wants to say that he is a very uncomplicated person and it is not hard to persuade me to do something what have to do with doing sports in the mountains.

Rusty (Zi Xiang Lin)


Rusty was born and raised in Taiwan.You might wonder how a man who come from a country without snow could becomes a professional snow sports instructor and trainer.After years backpacking around the world.Rusty easily addicted to the life style of snow mountain.He learnt how to snowboard in Australia.Obtained his first instructor certification in Japan.Got instructor position in Canada.Through seasons back to back worked as instructor in ski schools in Canada,Japan and Australia.He commit all his enthusiasm to snow sports and consider it as his life time career.

Combining with passion and profession. He always teaches students with all his heart and soul.Seizing every chance to Improve his riding technique.All the efforts made him became the first Taiwanese who passed CASI level 3 and also the only one who work as Trainer in the ski school in Japan and Australia.After he finish the evaluator training.He will start his new journey of evaluating CASI courses and exams in Hakuba.

Follow Rusty.You will own a chance to explore the enjoyment of snowboarding.To overlook the beautiful snow view from the summit of mountains.To search for the traces of powder and enjoy the one of the kinds experience.

Zack Ford


Zack was born in the United States as a flatlander in the state of Georgia. His love for board sports started with surfing in the ocean with his father, and skateboarding with his younger brother. After heading to ride in the mountains for the first time 15 years ago he was hooked. His newly found love for the mountains and gliding on snow led him to the Northern Rocky Mountains of Montana. After spending six seasons instructing and guiding at Bridger Bowl he achieved his Avalanche Level 2 through the American Avalanche Institute, American Association of Snowboarding Instructing Level 3, AASI Snowboard Trainer and Examiner, Children and Freestyle Specialist and Wilderness First Responder. After completing a guiding course with Alaska Mountain guides spending 12 days on Flower Glacier in Haines, Alaska he decided to move to Alaska. He has worked as a coach and instructor at Alyeska Resort for the past two years. When not working Zack can be found deep in the mountains on his splitboard in search of fresh powder, spine lines, and long glacier runs. Come share a day with Zack and enjoy having fun slashing powder while learning about the environment and snow surrounding you.

  • Evergreen International Ski School
  • Evergreen Outdoor Center
  • Evergreen Backcountry Guides