Evergreen Outdoor Center
Even though I have spent 25 years of my life in Japan, I still feel very fortunate that I was raised a Canadian in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor of British Columbia and was introduced to the iconic Canadian outdoor lifestyle from a young age.
My parents took me canoeing, camping, horse riding and skiing and instilled in me a love of nature and a respect for the beauty of the Pacific coast. These experiences are what formed my beliefs and my desire to share what I have learned in life with young people, especially my two children.
In 2000 I started Canadian Outdoor Adventure Club Hakuba (COACH). Identifying a need for avalanche education in Hakuba, Nagano, I began by teaching Canadian Avalanche Association awareness courses. I also provided snowshoe trips and backcountry ski tours into the local mountains in the winter and mountain biking tours during the summer. I wanted people to discover, as I had done, these wild spaces and gain a sense of stewardship for our shared planet and home.
Even though I was then, and still am, a patriotic Canadian, in 2001 I felt I needed to change the company’s name. Images of my high school football coach flooded my mind, and the thought of being called coach for the rest of my life was a little daunting.
This is when I decided to rebrand my project, to make it something that was more in line with my purpose: allowing people to return to nature and staying connected to my Canadian roots. I know that the spelling may not be seen as Canadian but this is where the Evergreen Outdoor Center and our mission was born.
“The mission of Evergreen Outdoor Center is to allow for the growth and development of the human spirit through personal interaction with the natural environment, personal challenge and teamwork, and through always accommodating individual needs while maintaining a high standard of safety.”
Over the past decade and a half, Evergreen Outdoor Center has continued to add staff, grow its reach and add to the number of programs we offer. In Japan, we still provide snowshoeing and cross-country ski tours, as well as Avalanche Canada standardized Avalanche Skills Training courses. We hire many Canadian ski guides, and ski and snowboard instructors in winter to provide people here in Japan, with a taste of Canadian mountain culture.
These experiences are what formed my beliefs and my desire to share what I have learned in life with young people, especially my two children.
During the summer in the Japanese Northern Alps, also known as the Hida Mountains, we are spoilt for views of the majestic and powerful 3,000-metre peaks, crystal-clear lakes and rivers, rich soils for agriculture and clean air.
Evergreen offers rejuvenating cycles around the forests and rice paddies, as well as relaxing paddles by canoe or kayak, or stand up paddling on one of Japan’s cleanest and clearest lakes, Lake Aoki.
For a more adventurous day, canyoning, rock climbing and multi-day mountain trekking are professionally guided.
Our kids’ summer camps and programs for international schools, however, are where we really shine. We want to give these children the opportunity to share the same experiences in the natural world that I and the other team members at Evergreen had growing up. All of us here at Evergreen Outdoor Center truly wish to impart upon our own children and the youth of today a love and respect for the people and world around us. We hope that you will visit us in Hakuba, an area we have grown to love and call home.