Niseko’s ski maker to the stars

What do you give to the friend who has everything, especially when that friend is the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin?

When current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came across this very conundrum he called upon none other than master ski maker Hideo Komori to make him a pair of custom Japanese racing skis for his Rusky buddy. Komori-san is a former top national ski racer himself and his company Kei Ski specialises in high-performance custom skis, on which national championships have been won.

“He is one of only two high-performance ski makers with their own factories in Japan, and recently moved from Sapporo into a beautiful historic stone warehouse in Niseko Town.”

Testing is currently under way for a “born-in-Niseko” ski. “We’re researching the best shape and materials now, but I think it will be something that’s light, stable and playful – something that will provide ultimate performance for Niseko’s powder.”

As well as top-end skis, Komori-san has also developed what could be the ultimate beginners’ ski, something sure to be very popular with Niseko visitors and ski schools in coming years. Komori-san’s Escort ski has a very short tail, with just 15cm between the heel of the binding and the rear tip. This makes it really easy for beginners to get into the snow plough or “pizza” stance, stop and graduate to parallel. They’re so easy to ski that beginners can expect to be on the lifts on their first day.

Komori-san is another of a growing population of artisan craftsmen who have relocated
to Niseko, drawn by the lifestyle and freedom this natural wonderland offers to create their work. Niseko seems to be a place where people like Komori-san can draw inspiration and find a balance of passion and play that allows them to dedicate their lives to their crafts.

With a team of five staff, Kei Ski currently produces about 800 sets of skis a year, so if you’d like a pair of the finest skis made in Niseko and for Niseko, you’d better get your order in soon.

This article appeared in Powderlife 2019 / Vol 12 / Issue 52 


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