Boom is a fairly appropriate word for what has happened in Niseko over the past five years. But it was almost 10 years ago that the owner of Kutchan’s Boom snowboard shop came up with the name. In 1996 Naohisa Takiguchi decided snowboarding had gained enough mainstream popularity that there would be enough business to start selling snowboard gear in Kutchan. He opened a snowboard section on the third floor of his brother’s ski and sporting goods shop across the road – Takiguchi Sports. Within three years he was doing well enough to move out on his own and moved into a small space across the road. Takiguchi had been to Kutchan’s sister city St Moritz in Switzerland several times and decided to name his shop after its snowboard shop, Boom. These days its run by his son Naotoshi who has been working in the business since he was 15. Naotoshi is a mad-keen snowboarder but unfortunately these days he’s actually too busy to get out on the mountain very often. He travels Japan going to about 10 snowboard shows a year and they stock more than 20 different brands.