Whiteroom Blog

The Lure of Asahidake

The northern island of Japan, Hokkaido, is renown for some of the best quality powder snow in the world. It’s no surprise then that Asahidake (Mount Asahi), the tallest peak in Hokkaido at 2291 metres (7516 ft), draws a lot of interest from skiers, snowboarders and snowshoers from near and far.

Located at the northern end of the Daisetsuzan National Park, plumes of steam serve as a daily reminder that the mountain is an active volcano, with the last determined activity being back in 1739.

The biggest point of interest for many is that this is no ski resort; you won’t find any groomed piste or ski patrol here. What you will find is great powder skiing and riding, tree lines, open faces and touring options for those who enjoy earning and burning. One cable car (or ‘Ropeway’) gives you access to nearly 500 metres of vertical, with the unload station sitting at 1600 metres.

If you are looking for an Asahidake backcountry guide make sure to get in touch with us!

Four ‘courses’, which are basically cat tracks, provide you with an easy option to get back to the cable car. There are plenty of hidden gems at Asahidake if you know where to look, with pillow lines galore, large natural halfpipes, huge fallen tree rides and even a few cliff drops here and there. Many ski and snowboard pro’s have made the journey to Asahidake to get at these spots, leaving a swathe of video parts and cover shots in their wake.

We get a lot of interest for guided days at Asahidake here at Whiteroom Tours, for all of the above reasons. A day here is nothing short of an adventure, a bluebird day here with fresh snow will be something you’ll never forget.

There are two big reasons to consider a guided experience when you travel to Mount Asahi for a day. Number one, as mentioned, is that there is no ski patrol here. This is an off piste backcountry mountain, that just happens to have a cable car to make the going uphill part easier. You’ll be in charge of your own fate here, so be prepared. All of our guides are backcountry certified and hold first aid training.

The second is that the topography of the mountain includes many flat areas and creek lines. When visibility is low (and even when it’s good) it can be tricky to pick your lines back to the cat tracks while avoiding a slog through waist deep powder. Asahidake is the home of snowboarders on fish boards carrying poles (something you don’t see that often) and the fatter than fat ski brigade. Many great runs begin with a short hike and long traverses, and knowing the right drop points is key. Our guides know Asahidake well, and will make sure you get the most out of your day, no matter what the weather throws at us.

To top if all off, this is a very photogenic mountain, providing some great opportunities for memorable lines and images. Many people trek close to the steamy fumaroles on good weather days for epic shots amongst the volcanic action. To top off your day, the gift shop wrote the book on merchandising and has something for everyone, including their own beer. Hotels in the base area also have great onsens open to the public to soak those muscles after a long day…. what else could you ask for?

If you’d like to know more get in touch with the crew at Whiteroom Tours.

Whiteroom guide Dave getting the goods at Asahidake. [Photo: Joel O’Rourke]

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