Naoko originally comes from Osaka, Japan. She went to overseas to study when she was 17 year old. She studied in U.S.A and Australia. She went to New Zealand to get NZSIA qualified when she was still a University student. After she finished her degree, she decided to become a professional ski instructor. She worked in Mammoth Mountain in America for 4 years, and is now working in New Zealand and Japan. She is a fully internationally certified instructor. She worked till 2010 winter season with the local Japanese government as trainer and trained local Japanese instructors in Furano and Tomamu. She got “Instructor of the year at Cardrona in 2012 and nominated in 2013 for the “New Zealand Instructor of the Year”. She has over 20 seasons experience. She speaks fluent Japanese and English. She worked with a Japanese magazine as translator and interpreter. Her love for skiing is only eclipsed by her love for FOOD and SHOPPING!!
Kojima started ski racing when he was 7 years old and raced for the next 16 years. After which he decided to switch and took up snowboard racing and won the Japanese National Championship 3 times. He was a member of the national team for 6 years and competed at World Championship and World Cup. After retiring from his racing career he became a high school teacher. He formed the first Japanese school snowboard team and promoted snowboarding to Japanese sports education. He founded Kojima Academy in Furano in 2002 and focused on his snowboard racing program. His program coached young snowboard athletes from around the world in Japan, New Zealand and Europe. He had a total of 6 athletes that went to Salt Lake City Olympics, Torino Olympics, and Vancouver Olympics. He again enjoyed olympic success with an athlete gaining a silver medal at the Sochi olympic games.
Ben has taught skiing for almost 40 seasons. He has worked as a ski instructor, race coach, instructor trainer and examiner.
He has taught skiing to 18 month old children through to 80 year old adults. He has taught all levels from beginner to experts. He has trained and examined ski instructors working for some of the best instructor training programs including Rookie Academy, Cardrona Instructor Training Centre and Snowtrainers. He is an Examiner for the New Zealand Snowsport Instructors Alliance for both the ski and adaptive divisions. He coaches ski racing up to national team athletes and his athletes have had success at world cup, world championships and Paralympic games.