After introducing Rob Forbes last week, here’s the second in our Academy PROfiles blog series.

Academy PROfiles blog series number 2… Introducing Biff Russell!

Niseko Academy coach Biff Russell Biff comes to the team from Upstate New York in the USA. He’s taught around the world and worked with many of our crew down in NZ. He’s also a pretty talented musician and plays a mid-week set at the local Jazz Bar, Half-Note.

Biff, I think you might be the most experienced coach at Niseko Academy, how many seasons have you been teaching for now?
“Since God wore short pants (45 seasons and still counting).”

And how many seasons in Niseko now?
“7 seasons in total (1 season with private family, 2 seasons with the Furano crew, and this (2014-2015) will be my 4th with Niseko Academy.”

What do you like to do when you’re not skiing?
“Writing music and erm… skiing (in the backcountry).”

What’s your best tip for a first time visitor to Niseko?
“Enjoy the live jazz on weekends at the Half-Note. There’s no door charge and there are numerous acts I would pay good money to see in Manhattan. Also, go explore the many restaurants in Kutchan and enjoy the real ‘tastes of Japan’.”

What’s your favourite “niche” to teach?
“No particular niche but I am a teaching junkie so my mantra is ‘any gear, anywhere, anytime’! I am drawn towards putting on telemark skis and going for a walkabout. As I stand in front of the three different pairs of boots I own I feel like I am in the potato chip aisle (apathy? indecision?) – Brian gently guides me towards the right boot for the day.”

After Niseko, where’s your next favourite place to ski/ride?
“Can give the big three in no particular order… The Dolomites in Italy, Ruapehu in New Zealand, Mary Jane in Colorado.”

Biff in Action

And if you’ve been to Niseko already but missed Biff playing at Half Note, here he is…

About the Academy PROfiles

We’ve got a rather interesting group of coaches here at Niseko Academy (artists, musicians, sound engineers, photographers, the list keeps going), and we’d really like to tell a bit about who they are. Most ski and snowboard coaches out there have multiple strings to their bow after all – but our team have some pretty multi-coloured strings!

This mini-blog series will give you a little background on our coaches; what they love, their experience on the snow and some tips on visiting Niseko.