Meet the Staff

Matt Stormont, General Manager

Matt was born and raised in London and, after graduating, travelled the Caribbean pursuing his love of Marine Biology. He has resided in Japan for the past 7 years - after initially planning to stay for just a few months he quickly fell in love with the country and decided to stay. Living first in the port city of Hakodate, after the birth of his son, he decided to look for somewhere where his family could enjoy being close to nature and chose Niseko. After a couple of seasons working in Hirafu he moved across to Hanazono to manage the Inn. During the summer months he enjoys hiking the various peaks around Hanazono, trout fishing on the nearby Shirebeshi river, and sampling the multitude of onsens (natural hot springs) that no visitor to Niseko should leave without trying. Matt's management of the Inn is encapsulated by a simple mantra "When you arrive at the Inn you are our guest, when you leave you are our friend, when you return you are family!"

Justin Prescott, Assistant Manager

Justin joins the Freedom Inn team ready to drive guest services to new levels of excellence as the resort grows around us. Born in South Carolina and entering his 5th year in Japan, Justin merges Japanese politeness with Southern charm for a unique blend of hospitality. Three years as a JET English instructor in Aomori followed by a year on the Sakura House guest house team in Tokyo has gives Justin experience with Japanese culture, snow and service and he is settling down to a long run with Niseko and Freedom Inn. 

Hirokazu Adachi, Designated Driver Extraordinaire

Adachi-san is a resident of nearby Kutchan town, where in the spring and summer months he works on his family farm growing wheat and potatoes. During the Winter he is the driving force (excuse the pun) behind our evening shuttle service, driving guests to and from restaurants and onsens in the evening. His cheery nature has made him very popular with guests and staff alike and he takes great delight welcoming back repeat guests and remembering everybody's names and where they live.

Yukino Kinjo, General Staff

Yukino's hometown is in Okinawa and this winter is her first time to experience snow. Currently studying at Naha's International Resort College, Yukino is preparing for a career as an international flight attendant and thus looks forward to meeting guests from all over the world. 

Linus Nolte, General Staff

Linus is a world traveler hailing from Göttingen, Germany.  His stops prior to Hanazono include Tokyo, where he worked at a gourmet German restaurant, various locations in New Zealand and various cities in his home country.  Overflowing with optimism and positive energy, Linus adds considerable brightness to Freedom Inn's cozy atmosphere.

Nicholas Roberts, General Staff

Nick doubles the London contingent on the 2013-2014 Freedom Inn team. He is taking the winter to escape the desk work that has bound him to Tokyo for the past 3 years prior to returing to his home city to pursue a Masters degree. Nick developed an appreciation of Japan's mountainous terrain and nature, often hopping a train to where he could run trails, surf waves and snowboard on Japan's junior varsity of snow. Hokkaido powder is new to him and he is enjoying plunging its depths as much as our guests.

Kenichiro Shiraishi, General Staff

Ken is a Tokyo native experienced in hospitality and travel. His last stop before Niseko was working at Disney World's Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida, prior to which he was a travel advisor at Japan's largest travel agency, JTB. Ken has boundless energy as a marathon runner and graduate of Waseda University's Sports Studies faculty.  Look out for his infectuous enthusiasm about EVERYTHING.

Cliff Bernstein, Proprietor

Cliff is a native New Yorker who has resided in Japan for over 21 years. Living in Tokyo he at first skiied exclusively at resorts around Honshu, and was initially skeptical of the claims of perfect powder from his friends who had been up to Hokkaido. Eventually (fortunately!), he was persuaded to give it a try. That was 13 years ago and the start of a love affair with Niseko that would see him purchase the Freedom Inn in 2007. Cliff was drawn to the beauty of Hanazono and the top class facilities at the Hanazono 308 Ski Centre just down the road. He can often be seen escaping the hustle and bustle of city life in Tokyo by sneaking out up the hill and grabbing some first tracks or wandering off into the backcountry with his snowshoes. Cliff enjoys sharing his local knowledge with guests about Niseko and other choice destinations in Japan.