Fiona Duncan is a snowboard adventure guide with MINT TOURS in Japan and New Zealand. She’s also a pilates instructor and surf coach. This is her Japan.
As a youngster growing up in the North Island of New Zealand my parents would take us to the mountains in the school holidays, riding down the mountain on plastic bags, taking on Happy Valley, Whakapapa with little ski’s.
When I was 21 years old I escaped to Switzerland and began working in a Chalet in the Alps. This escalated into a deep love for the beautiful mountains and the exhileration of sliding down the slopes.
I have been snowboarding for 17 years. I have ridden so many amazing mountains around the globe and met so many awesome people along for the ride.
Snowboarding is such a rad sport that attracts a wide variety of adventurous people, whether you are a competitive rider or a week end warrier it doesn’t matter we all still love to snowboard and be in nature – that’s what I love.
What do you love about Japan?
The culture, people, food and powder snow!
What do you love about guiding?
Sharing my love of snowboarding, being in nature and being physically and mentally resilient. Also meeting people from all walks of life.
I love encouraging people to play, life has so many demands and serious stuff going on that being on holiday and assisting our guests to have a good time is really important to me, challenging them to not take stuff to seriously.
Also I love to try and crack jokes and make people laugh, sometimes they look at me and wonder what the hell I said as I speak with a kiwi accent, other times I get laughed at for having ADHD, but I don’t care so long as they are laughing and living in the moment that is all that matters to me. Helping them to have the time of their life is what a snowboarding holiday with MINT is all about.
Just sharing the pure stoke of taking someone on the ride of their life and sharing a high five after that moment is super sweet.
How hard is it to ride the powder in Japan?
It’s not hard at all – riding powder can be challenging but so long as you are keen for some speed it is sweet as.
Is it out of everyone’s league?
Riding powder is the dream of snowboarding, so if you are a keen snowboarder you have to experience riding in Japow.
What is your favourite food in Japan?
Chicken Teriyaki Koyama in Myoko.
What is your funniest moment in Japan?
Well it would have to be in the toilet – sorry hahah – in the shinkansen ( fast train ) station there was this running water sound when I sat on the toilet seat, I guess it was to help with the momentum, so I was a little startled, then the train passed by so the whole room shock, then I reached for the flush button and I accidentally pressed the emergency help. Oops.
Where else can we snowboard with you as a guide?
New Zealand this year on the Mint Chicks Camp from August 14 to August 21.