Whiteroom Blog

On Tour with Whiteroom – Niseko Explorer

If you’d love to visit the powder capital of Japan, while seeing more of the surrounding areas and avoiding the crowds, our Niseko Explorer Tour is for you. With 7 nights in Niseko and 3 nights in Otaru, we keep things flexible to make sure you get as much powder as possible!

You’ll spend 9 days exploring resorts in the Niseko and Otaru area, with our team of experienced guides who know all of the best spots. We’ll take you into terrain few know about and make sure you ride the resort with the best conditions each day – your own deep powder tour!

There is so much on offer in the Niseko area, and most people barely touch the surface while skiing in Japan. Here is an example of what you can expect on our Niseko Explorer Tour:

Our first day involves exploring Niseko United, a huge skiable area consisting of 4 resorts which can be accessed on one lift pass. Your first taste of Japanese powder is followed by the Welcome Dinner party.

Panorama from Mt Yotei (left) across Niseko Hirafu to the peak of Mt Niseko-Annupuri (right).
We’re all here for faceshots, and Niseko delivers!

We head to Moiwa, a small ski area close by to Niseko, and share our favourite tree runs with you. A good place to escape the crowds, with a great onsen nearby to sooth your legs after two days skiing and riding.

Moiwa is a smaller ski area but has some great bowls and tree runs on offer.

Our guides take you to some of their favourite spots between Niseko Hanazono and Niseko Village resorts. Good timing and a couple of shorts hikes pay dividends!

Hokkaido is home to some of the lightest, driest powder in the world. And we’ve looked!
Fresh powder awaits a short hike away…

It’s off to Rusutsu for a bit of Japanese magic, and some great terrain featuring a variety of bowls, pipes and pillows. The resort is divided into two areas, connected by a gondola, and also features a decent terrain park and ‘supernatural park’… if you can drag yourself away from the powder on offer. Rusutsu also has a few surprises in store sure to put a smile on your face at the end of the day…

Some great terrain features and steep sections make every run fun at Rusutsu.

We like to visit the main hotel at Rusutsu at the end of the day to experience the variety of attractions…

With some clear weather forecast, it’s time to hike the Mt Niseko-Annupuri peak for some runs into the back bowls. A short 15-20 minute hike will give you a great view of the surrounding area, some great long runs and Japanese powder in all directions. Today starts early as we aim for first lifts to beat the crowds to the top!

Mt Niseko-Annupuri back bowl returning towards Niseko Annupuri resort.
Mt Yotei (1898m) sits opposite Mt Niseko-Annupuri; a great backcountry option (4 – 5hr climb) if you’d like to earn some turns. A skiable crater awaits you at the top.

With a heavy snowfall overnight, we head to Kiroro Snow World. There are some great lift accessed backcountry lines to explore here, and our guides will get you into the deepest snow!

Kiroro Deep Powder
Kiroro is regularly blessed with large amounts of powder.
It’s fresh tracks all day for the Whiteroom Tours crew at Kiroro!

After six big days riding powder we make the transfer to Otaru and explore the surrounds. A historical fishing town, Otaru has it’s own special charm and a variety of restaurants, bars and tourist spots worth a visit. A huge indoor shopping centre next to our hotel keeps us entertained for a few hours, and the sports club has a huge onsen area with the best turbo-jet back massage pool I’ve ever used!

Temperatures of -15C don’t stop the local fishermen from heading out.
Your morning view from the Grand Park Hotel, where our tour guests stay while in Otaru.

After a huge buffet breakfast, the team head to Teine for some fun glade skiing, before progressing into steeper chutes and bowls. Great views of Sapporo will greet you on a clear day. We spend our evening enjoying some local beers and cuisine in the nearby historic canal area of Otaru.

With a population of nearly 2 million, Sapporo spreads across the plains below Teine resort.

Our last day on snow sees us head to Kokusai, one of our favourite destinations. While there are only a few lifts on offer, with some local knowledge our guides make sure the crew gets their fill of open bowls, undulating terrain, steep sections and most importantly fresh turns!

Kokusai has a great mix of in bounds and backcountry terrain on offer.
Did someone say powder? Kokusai collects it’s fair share over the Japanese winter.

After a huge 9 days of powder, we finish our tour with a great meal of sushi, somewhat fitting given Otaru’s history as a fishing village. A quick jaunt through town involves sharing a beer or two with the locals at a microbar and the laughs keep rolling into the night.

The next morning we farewell our guests, some transferring directly to nearby Chitose Airport. With new memories for all and smiles still flowing, we know we’ll see at least a few of the crew again, as plans are already being discussed to return and ski Japan again. Japanese powder is an addiction some can never let go, and one we love to share!

We run a variety or guided Japan tours across Hokkaido and Honshu in addition to the Niseko Explorer, so get in touch if you’d like to know more!

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