Snow Peak came to be because a young mountaineer sought solace in the mountains of Japan’s Niigata, Prefecture. His experiences not only led him to start the company that became Snow Peak, but also set in motion a multi-generational tradition of returning to nature for healing and rejuvenation. Snow Peak’s evolution is closely tied to the personal stories and journeys of the Yamai family, beginning with Yukio, then his son Tohru and granddaughter Lisa. Enjoy a brief introduction to each of them before we dive deeper into each member of the family member’s story and how their experiences shaped Snow Peak’s trajectory.
Yukio Yamai, Snow Peak Founder:
Born in the Yotsuya area of Tokyo in 1931, Yukio Yamai was ready to enter senior high school when an air raid destroyed the family home in March 1945. Yukio then moved to his father’s hometown, Sanjo, in Niigata. Unable to afford school, he started working for a wholesaler of metalware to help make ends meet. War caused Yukio to peer into the chasm between life and death, and maybe this is what led him to make decisions that would utterly change the trajectory of his life. After the trauma of World War 2, Yukio Yamai returned to his home in the Niigata, Prefecture and sought solace in a new passion for mountain climbing. Yukio saw a need for better climbing equipment, so in 1958, he started his own metalworking company that became Snow Peak.
Tohru Yamai, CEO of Snow Peak USA and Chairman of the Board:
After several years of working in Tokyo, Tohru felt separated from nature. He tolerated his commute on packed trains to Shinjuku. He joined lines 10 yards wide full of silent people heading to their office towers. It struck him that the individual seemed so meaningless here, and this was difficult to bear. Restoring the individual’s human spirit is part of Snow Peak’s mission, and it is what Tohru so badly needed during that time. Soon after, Tohru followed his father’s request to leave Tokyo and rejoin Snow Peak, where he later led the company’s evolution into a car camping brand.
Lisa Yamai, President of Snow Peak:
Lisa Yamai studied fashion and worked in Tokyo like her father Tohru. Most weekends after she finished work, she would commute back to Niigata to camp and relax in nature. She saw a need for stylish, technical apparel that could be worn in Tokyo and while camping. This led her to join Snow Peak and launch its first apparel line in 2015. Eventually, she was appointed president and now oversees new innovative projects focused on rural revitalization, sustainability and experiential initiatives.
Snow Peak’s existence is nothing without its community of Snow Peakers, we’ll also share the stories of four members of our community, who will offer rich testimonials demonstrating the healing power of nature in their own lives. We hope these stories serve as inspiration for your own outdoor moments and serve as a reminder of the importance of reconnecting with nature.