Southern Hokkaido Powder Tour
10 NIGHTS | 8 DAYS SKIING/RIDING |
GUIDED & HOSTED SKI & SNOWBOARD TOUR
THE POWDER IN SOUTHERN HOKKAIDO HAS TO BE SEEN TO BE BELIEVED! JOIN US AND EXPLORE ONE OF JAPAN’S SNOWIEST REGIONS STRETCHING FROM OTARU IN THE NORTH TO THE NISEKO REGION AND DOWN TO HAKODATE.
Join us on this epic powder hunting road trip! Starting in Otaru you will wind your way along then inland to Rusutsu, Niseko, Moiwa and down to Hakodate. This area of Hokkaido gets the most snow of anywhere on the island and you’ll be storm chasing the whole time so pack your snorkel!
This is a Lift Accessed Backcountry Tour where hiking is optional but encouraged!
If you want to get the best conditions day in day out our guides are there to show you the way and get you deeper in the white stuff than could be possibly imagined. All our guides have years of experience finding the best terrain and snow whilst keeping in mind your safety and maintaining the stoke on high! This is the true “whiteroom” experience.
From Chitose Airport you will arrive into the seaside city of Otaru where you will be based for the next 3 nights. From Otaru you’ll ski the backcountry of Kokusai as well as Teine known for it’s steep terrain and amazing views across the water. Along the way, and we don’t advertise these for good reason, there are a variety of options pending conditions including road drops & short touring options are all possible.
If we need a rest or the weather doesn’t cooperate we will take you to the Yoichi Whiskey Distillery, soak in a natural onsen, feed you some delicious local sushi and recharge for the next 5 nights in the snowy Niseko area.
In Niseko we’ll head straight through the gates and into the backcountry to experience why Niseko became the birth place of the Japan powder revolution. From there we’ll head to Rusutsu to enjoy the perfectly gladded trees, deep pow and views to the sea. Moiwa is a small resort that packs a punch when it comes to easy backcountry access and deep snow accumulating in it’s back bowls. Next stop Kiroro and yes the rumours are true! The pow is deep, so deep it doesn’t see the sun for most of the season – you’ll love Kiroro.
Throughout the tour your guides and hosts will make sure your get the best out of your ski holiday. After skiing all day you’ll be taken some of the best local restaurants and bars in both Niseko and Otaru. You can also choose to relax in front of the fire and eat in, enjoy a soak in the local onsen (hot spring) or just simply hang out with your new friends
To round all this off we’ll then head down the south west peninsular to Hakodate. Steeped in history, Hakodate was the first city to be opened to western trading in the late 1800’s. It has a beautiful mix of Japanese and Western architecture and two great resorts nearby with great tree skiing, dry pow and not a gaijin to be seen expect your new tour friends! Each night you will return to Hotel Emi to soak in it’s natural onsen and relax.
On our last night we will have a sashimi feast straight from Hakodate’s fish markets.
Finally we will drop you to the new Hakodate Shinkansen Station where you will be whisked at 400km p/hr down to Tokyo and back to reality.
Our Japan Ski tours are designed for anyone who loves skiing or snowboarding, is keen to ride with like minded individuals and wants to get the most out of their ski holiday.
Dates & Prices (Japanese Yen)
EARLYBIRD – GET ¥15,000 OFF !
28 Dec 2019 – 7 Jan 2020
19 – 29 Jan 2020
28 Jan – 7 Feb 2020
16 – 26 Feb 2020
6 to 1 Client to Guide ratio
MAX 12 people per tour
SKILL LEVEL: Advanced
You must be able to ski the whole mountain with confidence and at a reasonable speed in powder, through trees and in variable conditions. You must have a good level of fitness. Snowboarders in this level are able to keep speed in flat sections by planning ahead as well as hold a solid traverse line and be able to hop up and manoeuvre in a way as to not slow down the group. Groups are split up into ski/board/ability levels and some groups we will be doing some hiking (traversing/bootpacking) to get to the goods. Skins or split-boards are not required but if the group has touring gear or wants to hire we will happily take you deeper into the backcountry. Check your ability level here.
Prices are in Japanese Yen and include consumption tax. Correct as of 11th April 2019. LAND ONLY.
*EARLYBIRD offer requires full payment by 30th August 2019
**The Currency Exchange widget provides an indicative market rate. Please ask your consultant for a quote in your home currency.
FULLY GUIDED & HOSTED
- 3 nights twin/triple share accommodation at the Grand Park Otaru
- 5 nights twin/triple share accommodation at Full Note Pension in Central Hirafu
- 2 nights twin/triple share accommodation at Emi Hotel in Hakodate
- 8 guided days at any of the following – Niseko United, Kiroro, Rusutsu, Moiwa, Kokusai, Teine, Asari, Tenguyama, Hakodate Nanae Snow park & Niyama Kogen
- 8 day of flexible lift passes
- Transfer to Shin-Hakodate train station & daily transport
- Welcome & farewell dinner party
- Daily cooked breakfast
- Onsen (hotspring) experiences
- Whiteroom t-shirt
– Private airport transfers
– Accommodation Upgrade for Niseko
– Discounted flights with Qantas
– Single share accommodation
– Avalanche gear rental – ¥14,500 for 9 days
NOTE: Avalanche safety gear is compulsory for all our tours. Please advise us upon booking if you have your own gear or will need to rent.
Transfers are not included in this tour due to the tour starting in Otaru and Hakodate. We recommend taking the train from Chitose Airport to Otaru and then take the Shinkansen from Hakodate to Tokyo for a true Japanese experience. Private transfers can be booked on request. Your guide will transfer you to Shin-Hakodate Station at the end of your tour.
Arrival/Check-in day – 1st night
Upon landing at Sapporo’s Chitose Airport you’ll make your own way by train to Grand Park Otaru or select to be transferred privately by Sky Express private transfer. You’ll be met your guides at welcome drinks that night in the Hotel bar where they will run you through the tour, weather and answer any questions you have.
First day exploring Kokusai. Your guides will show you around this hidden gem so you can get you snow feet back and enjoy untracked powder coming straight of the Sea of Japan from Siberia. Toast your first day with a welcome dinner in one of Otaru’s amazing Izakaya restaurants.
Wake up looking at snow on the beach and after an amazing buffet breakfast get suited up to head to the home of the 1972 Olympics. Teine provides some steep open bowls where your guides will be able to find you long powder chutes not often seen in Hokkaido. On the edge of Sapporo the views from Teine highland mix mountain with city. After working up an appreciate its will be time to one of Otaru’s famous exports Snow Crab! and an ice cold Sapporo Classic.
Pack your bags and get ready to hit the road. We begin our trip South but won’t have far to go before stopping at Kiroro Snow World. This resort is well known for receiving over 20 metres of snow annually. Your guides will navigate through Kiroro’s backcountry access gates so you can get out further into the backcountry. From here you will head to world famous Niseko.
Get ready to explore Niseko United. With four perfect resorts all on one volcano, you will be spoilt for choice. The guides will be hunting out powder stashes from in the resort and the open gullies this area is known for. With the ability to start at one side of the mountain and move across never skiing or riding the same slope twice.
From Niseko, we will venture out for a day to Rusutsu Resort. In less than an hour, your guides will transport you to one of the tree skiing meccas of Japan. With endless Japanese birch forests and plenty of natural hits, Rusutsu is a snowy playground that anyone can enjoy! This is one of our favourites. In the afternoon we’ll check out the singing tree and other bizarre Japanese things in the Rusutsu mall.
Grab your onsen gear as we will be heading to Niseko lesser known sister of Mowia. This smaller powder gem is a local favourite for ski racing leaving some of the best backcountry terrain in the region untouched for us. After multiple days of smashing fresh lines, it will definitely be time to soak our weary legs. Multiple onsens are all within a short distance of the slopes where we can fully recharge.
After a relaxed post onsen nights sleep our guides will take you to some of the more hidden places in Niseko. Hike the peak with us and head into the back bowls if conditions are good. Finish your day with a team beer in Half Note Apres Bar at the tour accommodation.
Its time to leave the bright lights of Niseko behind as we continue on our Southern tour to the port city of Hakodate. Famed for being the first port in Japan opened to foreign trade this travel/rest day will see you wandering around renovated old red brick fishing warehouses taking in some local fare.
Having spent chilled out night in Emi Onsen Hotel you will be ready to hit the slopes again and Hakodate Nanae Snow park won’t disappoint. Overlooking Lake Onuma and the Pacific, Nanae has plenty to offer with uncrowded slopes and quick laps straight of the gondola. After a great day on snow, we will see local Sushi Masters preparing the freshest fish right before our eyes.
Time to check out and say goodbye to your new friends, our guides will transfer you to Shin Hakkodate station so you can catch the high-speed bullet train back to Tokyo.
NOTE: This itinerary is an example. The tour will be run largely by the weather and each day will fit around where the best conditions are. This is the beauty of such a tour.
Niseko is the apré ski capital of Japan. With a wide variety of bars and restaurants you will have a ball both on and off the snow. Made up of 5 resorts, Niseko is big enough to cater for all tastes. Plenty of intermediate powder runs are found side by side with off-piste advanced areas and the gate system here allows you to head deep into the backcountry away from the crowds for those solitary powder lines you’ve come to Japan for. You pretty much guaranteed reliable, day after day powder skiing and riding in classic tree skiing terrain, long groomers and wide ope alpine bowls.
Moiwa is a little known secret and we’re happy it’s kept that way. Within only 20mins drive from Niseko it’s an amazing little powder paradise with two lifts, amazing trees and awesome back bowls. You’re sure to fall in love with this hill.
Located only 40mins around the other side of Mt Yotei, Rusustu is another favourite amongst locals getting away from the Niseko crowds for a few solitary turns amongst the trees. Its modern lift system two mountains and long ridge and tree runs down into gullies and epic backcountry which will not disappoint even the most seasoned skier.
Hidden in the mountains between Sapporo and Kutchan, Kokusai is well off the beaten track and practically deserted. However that is not because it lacks terrain in any way. Kokusai has a huge off-piste area below its two Gondola’s and there is some great stuff hidden off to the right of the gondola too.
This is a great little resort located 40 minutes from downtown Sapporo and about the same from Otaru. Little know by foreigners, Teine has some awesome terrain off its main high-speed quad, and it’s steep too! With views to the coast you can get heavy systems coming straight off the sea and unloading their snow ladden clouds directly onto to Teine.
Located between Niseko and Otaru this gem gets the most snow of anywhere in Hokkaido. With easy access to its backcountry through a gate system Kiroro has some of the best terrain to get that true waist deep Japanese powder experience. Like many resorts in Japan if you didn’t know where to drop off the run you’d completely miss the best runs. When it’s blowy in Niseko, Kiroro is usually getting the goods!
In Niseko you’ll be staying at the lovely Pension Full Note. It is a Japanese-style Bed & Breakfast located in the centre of town, with lovely staff and a warm and cosy country style atmosphere. It has a sunken lounge, fireplace, long communal table where we have our delicious welcome and farewell dinner parties and daily breaky. We love this place!
GRAND PARK OTARU
This 4 star hotel is right on the water with views up and down the coast and on the other side of the hotel there are views to the hills you’ll be skiing over the next few days. You’ll stay in luxury here with all the comforts of home and then some. The breakfast is amazing and with a shopping centre, bars and restaurants below the hotel you’ll have plenty to do when you’re not skiing.
HOTEL EMI HAKODATE
This gorgeous boutique hotel has been beautifully renovated to include a lovely common lounge area and sashimi bar. It’s famous for its onsen and the rooms are well appointed and spacious.
Greg shared lots of great hint’s and tip’s to aid my boarding during the first few days when condition weren’t great. As soon as there was some fresh snow Greg took to the best resorts and best conditions. Also felt safe within his supervision in the back country. Showed us spot’s we’d never find on our own. The best part had to be the 3 day add on to Otaru, lovely city, great meals and most of all we got some all time conditions at Kiroro, Kokusai then Sapporo-Teine. Everyday better than the last, giving us a great end to the trip. Cheers for a great tour and looking forward to an explorer tour in the future!!!
Best couple of weeks of snowboarding I’ve had! Greg was awesome! The staff at the fullnote were excellent, but sharing bathrooms etc is not my thing, I will look to stay in separate accommodation next time. Consider expanding your options on that front. I’ll be back for the Explorer next year!
I liked being taken to areas of resorts I would not have visited without a guide or known about. I also liked that we got to visit many different ski resorts and had a good explore of the best they had to offer considering the conditions. Keith was a great guide and his knowledge of the resorts and runs was really helpful. I had confidence in his ability to assess my skill level and had no worries about whether I was good enough to do a run we were heading to. That said one of my group members was set against doing any kind of walking/hiking which I think is not reasonable on a tour such as this. Although I don’t think it greatly impacted our runs I wouldn’t know if there was somewhere which may have required a little more walking. I think it should be made clearer in the description that the tour will involve some hikes in the snow and physical fitness to complete this is a must. And also that we will definitely be doing tree runs so if you don’t like them perhaps this tour isn’t for you! I was glad for the flexibility of the guide days as the snow in the first half of the tour wasn’t great. I really liked Otaru (more so than Niseko) and would have enjoyed an additional night there (the hotel and surrounding shopping centre was fantastic) along with more skiing at those resorts. Niseko Hirafu is so busy we couldn’t eat at many places because they were booked out. Perhaps a heads up that we had to make bookings for dinner would have been helpful or a list of places we could go where we didn’t need a booking. The Moiwa onsen experience was great. The breakfast was good (and the welcome dinner) and the staff very friendly and helpful. Our best day was at Mt Teine. The snow was great and the runs were perfect. Big thanks to Keith for getting us out there on the best stuff from the get go!