Powder Seeker Trip Japan
Hokkaido Powder Seeker
Late January 2021
(exact dates to be confirmed when flight schedules come out)
If you want to ride deep powder Hokkaido is the place to go! This is a mega-trip to sample the backcountry touring and off-lift riding in Niseko and outlying smaller resorts on Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, and the place with the highest snowfall. In conjunction with local guides and with an IFMGA guide too, this is a chance to discover some of the worlds most reliable powder! There’s a reason that there’s so much snow there – it snows all the time! Many days can be spent riding during snowfall or in poor visibility, but the trees give enough perspective and the tracks fill in with each run.
It’s a great mix of touring and using lifts, with the emphasis on finding great powder, (by hiking or not), enjoying Japanese culture, and seeing a lot of Hokkaido in a short time. It’s a wonderful place and the guaranteed powder snow makes it a great destination. What we do each day will depend on weather – if it’s snowing and cloudy we will be riding off lifts, if it’s good visibility we will go touring. One of the highlights could be climbing the volcano Yotei, near Niseko, which gives a stunning 1000m deep powder descent (in good weather), or maybe we’ll ride the trees in Rusutsu resort, beside the snow covered fun fair rides, with views out to the coast.
Who’s it for?
Suitable for skiers or splitboarders. Ideally you should already be comfortable in powder or deep snow conditions to make the most of this trip, but if you’re not that used to it you definitely will be by the end of the week! Fat skis (100mm+ underfoot ideal) or snowboard is obligatory! The terrain is up to and including 30 degrees steepness, for the most part, and there is a lot of tree riding so you need to be happy in the (perfectly spaced) trees.
As it’s midwinter, and it snows a lot, it can be pretty cold. Lots of warm gear, good gloves and excellent goggles and facemask are essential items. A helmet is a good idea because of all the tree riding. Big skis and bindings that you can get into in deep snow are a good idea. As are ski leashes. Not a problem for boarders!
Accommodation is a mix of western style and Japanese style ryokans in the mountains with hot springs (Onsen). Rooms are normally simple twin share, and having the hot springs at the end of the day does wonders for tired legs and the taste of Japanese beer! We travel in private minibus around the different areas so that we can have lots of options for seeking out great powder. We keep the plan reasonably flexible, but it’s basically a 2 centre trip with a few days based in each area and the options available to each centre.
Expect unusual food and a break from your normal traditions of what to eat for breakfast . There are plenty of other skiers and snowboarders around, but less if we go touring. There are many other visitors, but also lots of Japanese out on the slopes too. The scenery is spectacular with flat land between wooded hills and volcanoes. People are really helpful, friendly and very polite. Security is not an issue at all. Lift passes are quite reasonably priced.
Check out the edit from our 2016 split board trip. Filmed mainly at Mount Yotei, Rusutsu and Tocachidake:-
Date : January 2021 Because of the time needed to secure flights and accommodation please register your interest before September 2020.
Cost: Contact us for details.
Sat International flight to Tokyo or Sapporo
Sun Airport pick up in Sapporo, transfer to Japanese-style accommodation near Niseko in afternoon.
Mon Off the lift warm up and backcountry at Rusutsu resport. Niseko accomm.
Tue Backcountry touring in the Niseko area, relax in the hot springs. Niseko accomm.
Wed Backcountry riding/touring Niseko area, afternoon drive to Asahikawa hotel
Thu Off the lift riding or touring Asahidake. ~Asahikawa hotel.
Fri Backcountry skiing/riding near Furano/Tocachidake – Asahikawa hotel.
Sat Backcountry skiing/riding at Furano or Kamui – drive to Sapporo hotel
Sun Transfer to airport flight home / back to Tokyo for some sightseeing