VIDEO: Amado Stachenfeld

LOCATION: Hokkaido, Japan

“My father was a very active man. He took us to sea and mountains to have fun and that has influenced me a lot. My grandfather was a craftsman. He would return from hunting with birds or fish, and he’d teach us how to skin and eat it.” –Taro Tamai

Through Gentem Stick, Taro Tamai is making an impact on the snowboard world by harking back to the roots of snowboarding, which lie in surfing. There’s an emphasis on hiking in the backcountry, understanding the terrain and thinking about what it means to be engaged with the mountains.

Taro laid his foundation for the outdoors through learning how to read conditions for fishing. This comes through when he talks about his philosophy towards nature, which seems to be almost cubist in the sense that he would talk about one concept from a variety of angles. Daigo Kobayashi, the Editor for Diggin Magazine told us, “Taro’s language can be challenging to understand. In a way, it’s authentically Japanese. He talks about complex ideas in a kind of abstract sense that is ultimately up to you to interpret.” One perspective that we were particularly drawn to was his view of surfing, snowboarding, fishing and hunting as the same concept.

We joined Taro and his 8 year old son, Tenma, in the Niseko backcountry, celebrating Tenma’s first backcountry trip carrying all his own gear.

*For English subtitles select CC option*