Japan Backcountry Skiing

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Introduction

A ski trip to Japan means nothing but world-class powder skiing.

The Hokkaido resorts benefit from Siberian weather systems ensuring huge amounts of light dry powder. That’s why it’s also called Ja-Pow.

Japan is a fascinating country with an interesting history and unique traditions that will captivate you. Whether it’s the food or the relaxing hotsprings “Onsens”, one thing is certain – a ski trip to Japan is one you will never forget.
We will ski the ski areas around Niseko and Furano on the Japanese northern island Hokkaido and skitour the Volcanos Yotei, Shiribetsu and Tokachidake.

We stay at lodges and B&B’s.

Trip starts and ends at Sapporo New Chitose airport.

Clicking on the ‘Book Now’ button opposite, will open a new tab/window in your browser and direct you to our online tour booking system. Here you can check the course dates and availability

Course Details

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    Dream Guides Product

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    From €4249.00 pp

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    Ability Level B – G

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    Fitness Level 2

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    Location: Hokkaido/ Nazawa Onsen, Japan

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    Guide ratio: 6:1

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    Season: Mid Dec – Mid Feb

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    Duration: 11 nights accommodation, 10 Days guiding

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Location

Japan has earned itself a prominent place on the ski map for it’s powder skiing. ‘Ja-Pow’ gets a serious amount of snow during the winter months due to its position. Cold air from Siberia mixed with the Sea of Japan’s moisture makes for a large amount of fresh powder each night. The snow is kept in great condition due to the cold temperatures. The terrain is of a lower gradient than the steeps we find in the Alps, but you can be sure to enjoy some world class skiing day after day.

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Further Information.

What's included
  • Guides expenses and fees
  • In resort transport
  • Full board hotel accommodation
  • Uplifts according to itinerary
What's not included
  • Transport to/from Tokyo and internal flights
  • Equipment rental
  • Avalanche pack
  • Travel insurance
Who is this for?

Powder hounds! You can expect to be skiing from first lift each day, enjoying the best conditions of the area. You must also expect to be ski touring most days at a moderate pace.

Accommodation and huts

We will be staying in typical Japanese hotels and guest houses on a half board shared twin rooms basis.

Typical Itinerary

Typical Itinerary

Day 1:
Arrival at Sapporo New Chitose Airport, Privat transport to Niseko, aprox. 2H
Overnight at Lodge in Niseko.

Day 2:
Skiing in Niseko
Overnight at Lodge in Niseko, Onsen

Day 3:
Skitour to volcano Shiribetsu next to Rusutsu, + 800m
Overnight at Lodge in Niseko, Onsen

Day 4:
Skitour to the volcano Yotei, + 1400m, (+ 300M if possible to ski down to the crater)
Transport: 0,5H
Overnight at Lodge in Niseko, Onsen

Day 5:
Skiing in the Niseko skiarea and it’s north face, small skitour to the hidden Onsen
Overnight at Lodge Niseko

Day 6:
Transport to Furano, aprox. 4H
Afternoon or night skiing in Furano
Overnight at Hotel in Furano
(For those only doing the first week this is the arrival or departure day from Sapporo airport)

Day 7:
Skiing in the Furano skiarea
Overnight at Hotel in Furano

Day 8:
Skitour to volcano Tokachidake (+1500m) in this Back Country Paradise, wild Onsen in the forest, Transport aprox. 1H
Overnight in Hotel in Furano

Day 9:
Skitour to volcano Furanodake
Overnight at Hotel in Furano

Day 10:
Skitour to volcano Asahidake, + 600m
Overnight in Furano, Onsen

Day 11:
Departure day: Transport to New Chitose Airport aprox. 3H

Training

Good fitness will make it more fun and you’ll get more out of your week! Although we will tailor the course to your ability, we definitely recommend getting as fit as possible before you start. The process of training for your goal will help you focus on your goal – and having a goal will help you focus on your training. So all in all training is good!

Back country skiing and ski mountaineering is all about being able to exercise at a moderate intensity for several hours, and your training should reflect this. Probably the best training is cycling as this targets similar muscle groups and prepares the mind (exercising for long periods in poor weather requires mental strength!). However not everyone has the opportunity to do this and so alternatives such as jogging and gym workouts are also good.

The focus should be on training Cardiovascular Endurance as well as Strength for long days in the mountains – for cardio cycling/running/rowing machines are much better than weight training. Try and exercise for up to a couple of hours at a time at least twice a week. Try yoga, swimming, pilates etc too to help with core stability and balance. Squats and cycling are a good way to strengthen your legs. Remember to build up your workouts over time. If you are not used to exercising much, your muscles and joints need time to build up to avoid injury.

Try and choose an activity that you enjoy and keep a note of what you do and your times – this really helps with keeping the motivation up. If you are not used to training then your local gym will be able to advise you on a plan and schedule to help you achieve your goals. Training does not work overnight! The fittest athletes train as part of their lifestyles and have been doing it for years. Consider training for a good couple of months before coming out to the Alps.

Kit List

If necessary it is possible to rent most hardware items on arrival including a full ski touring set up.

1. Skis with ski touring bindings. Your skis should be a minimum of 90mm underfoot and should be off-piste specific.
2. Ski poles
3. Skins and ski crampons
4. Ski boots and boot crampons – these must fit and be comfortable as we will spend time ascending throughout the week.
5. Ski Helmet
6. Rucksack – 30-40l. with ski straps
7. Avalanche Kit. Transceiver, probe, shovel, harness with 1 screw gate karabiner(can be rented in Chamonix)
8. Sun Protection. Sunglasses, goggles, sunhat, sunscreen, lip salve/block
9. Clothing. 3 sets socks and light coloured thermal tops
10. Clothing cont. Lightweight Gore-Tex top/bottoms, warm hat, thick gloves, thin gloves
11. Insulating layers.
12. Personal first aid – blister kit, ibuprofen.
13. Cash for additional hot drinks / snacks on the mountain
14. Water bottle (minimum 1l)

Download our Clothing & Hardware kit recommendations here

Remember: Kit should be lightweight but functional – you have to carry it. It is possible to rent equipment on arrival.

Booking info

To find out more about our course, availability, or to ask any questions, please get in touch through the website or by phone on +33 (0)845 527 58 12.

For expeditions we take a 20% deposit to secure your place on one of our courses, we take a further 50% of the course price 4 months prior to departure and we ask for the balance to be paid 8 weeks before the course start date.

Insurance

We strongly recommend getting specialist travel insurance that covers cancellation, medical and mountain rescue.

Make sure that it covers glaciated mountaineering and climbing/ skiing. We recommend the Dogtag (www.dogtag.co.uk) – they have comprehensive policies and a good reputation.

Getting to Tokyo

It is best to book flights and airport transfers well in advance of your departure.

Flights from London to Tokyo take around 15-20 hours and return flights cost in the region of £500.

FAQ's

How big will the group be?
Our ski courses will be no more than 6 people per guide. If the group is larger than 6, there will be a second guide and we will have the ability to split the group if necessary.

Is it possible to book individually rather than a group?
Yes. We run our courses with a minimum of 4 people. You can either book individually into a group or you can book as a group and fill the spaces yourself.

What equipment will I need?
Please read the kit list above.

When is the best time?
Good backcountry conditions are generally from January until March in Japan.

Do I need insurance?
Yes. You will need to take out a comprehensive backcountry skiing package to cover yourself for your trip.

What’s the weather like?
The weather in Japan is fairly consistent in January through to March, with plenty of snow fall most days. Expect fewer sunny days but more snow. Blue skies are less important in Japan because a large chunk of the powder skiing is done in the trees.

How do you match up people on the course?
It is very important for you to let us know your previous experience and ski ability level before booking with us. Then we are able to match you up to suitable groups with similar abilities to make sure you get the most out of your trip.

What will we do if the weather is bad?
We will have flexibility to travel around the ski areas to find the best conditions and weather. Snow storms aren’t so common in Japan, with light winds being the main troublemaker. Snow fall is regular and skiing in snow white outs is normal. Visibility is still good in the trees and night skiing with floodlights is also a cool option.

Why choose Adventure Base?

3 reasons to choose Adventure Base for all your mountain adventures.

1. Safety means success – We have been guiding clients in the backcountry for over 8 years with a very high safety rate. To date we have had no major incidents or injuries. This is due to us taking great care in assessing the current snow conditions, and educating our clients on mountain safety.

2. Fun times – We believe in fun times. Skiing in the backcountry can be a serious challenge. But who says it can’t be fun too? Our guides are full of energy, knowledge, fun facts and big smiles. They help create lasting memories.

3. Word of Mouth – Over 70% of new clients have been recommended to us by a friend or colleague. We don’t spend big on marketing campaigns, we stay true to our product, we pay attention to every detail and then let you do the talking.

Federico Arletti
“It really is as they say.. it snows a lot in Japan! I love the Asahidake region for its easy access backcountry terrain and what better way to rest your tired legs than in a traditional onsen hot spring”
Federico Arletti, IFMGA Guide

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