Japan Backcountry Guides
Whiteroom specialises in backcountry ski and snowboard guiding throughout Hokkaido, Japan. Whether it be a one-off deep powder experience in the backcountry of Kiroro or a multi-day adventure chasing snow storms around Hokkaido and Tohoku, our travel and guiding team can help make it a reality.
We offer three main products: Resort Powder Guiding, Lift Accessed Backcountry and Backcountry Touring. These services are operated from our bases in Niseko, Furano and Tohoku and can be booked as one-off days or multi-day packages complete with accommodation and all other logistics completely taken care of. Click on one of the links below to find our more…
Whiteroom also offers a photographic service alongside it’s guided days. Capture lifetime memories of your Japan holiday experience including epic powder shots, backcountry landscapes, portraiture or cultural shots. More info…
Safety, flexibility and adaptability are key to a great guided experience. Our staff are experienced guides from around the world with accreditations and combinations of mountain guiding, ski patrolling, instructing, avalanche certifications and first aid plus years of experience on snow. We study the weather and mountain environment continuously to ensure the best location is chosen each day in consultation with your group, ensuring you get the best conditions on your guided day at one of the many areas in Central Hokkaido, Niseko, Otaru or Tohoku.
Want to ski Asahidake? Let one of our Asahidake Guides show you why it’s talked about so much!
If you do want to join us in 2019-20 we recommend that you pre-book, especially for multi-day tours as our guides do book out. If you want to leave it to chance you can drop into one of our bases in Niseko or Furano.
Whiteroom Guided days are the perfect addition to any ski trip. Please don’t hesitate to email call us on +61-3 9639 0372 to have a chat about guiding to suit you and your group.
As we are an IATA (TIDS) registered travel agent and can create a multi-day guided package including accommodation and all transportation. If you reside in Australia we can also book discounted airfares.
RESORT, LIFT ACCESSED BACKCOUNTRY GUIDING & TOURING
PEAK SEASON – ¥78,000 (1-6 people)
(28DEC – 29FEB)
¥57,000 (1-3 people)
¥70,000 (4-6 people)
(10 – 27DEC / 1 – 28MAR)
Price includes: Niseko, Moiwa, Rusutsu, Kiroro, Kokusai, Teine, Shiribetsu & Mt Yotei.
Furano, Tomamu, Sahoro, Kamui, Asahidake, Tokachidake & Pippu.
Kurodake – on request (¥5,000 extra)
CAT SKIING OPTIONS – Price on application
Guided days include:
- Your own qualified guide
- Furano or Niseko Accommodation pick-up/drop-off (7:30-8am / 4-6pm) and transportation to the resort of choice
- Flat rate – maximum of 6 clients per guide.
- 7 people and above 2 guides needed. Tail guide ¥57,000 shoulder season/¥78,000 peak season
Guided days do not include:
- Avalanche Safety Gear (beacon, shovel, probe and backpack)
- Lift passes
- Ski/SB equipment
- Assurances on the days weather
- Accommodation pick up from areas other than Niseko or Furano. Extra charges will apply for additional travel.
NOTE: If you booked a certain area and the lifts are shut that day or the weather so bad it is unsafe for you to tour we will offer up another resort or backcountry area. If all available options are closed we will try to reschedule another day (if available), or offer you a full refund.
RESORT POWDER GUIDING – If you are after a great day being shown all the best inbounds powder and slack country then this is the product for you. Our guides can take you on a locals tour of the resorts throughout Hokkaido, showing you all the best powder stashes and hidden lines. Each resort offers up loads of terrain that you wouldn’t even know about if you didn’t have a guide. Booking a guided day tour with us will make your ski holiday!
Ability recommendation – High-Intermediate and up
LIFT ACCESSED BACKCOUNTRY – If you want the goods but don’t want to work too hard for it, that is accessing the backcountry using the lifts, then this is the product for you. All the resorts in Japan have some great backcountry that is easily access by the lift system. Knowing where to put a quick boot pack or hard traverse in is the key to getting you fresh deep powder. There are even a few road drops we can take advantage of for that special experience!
Ability recommendation – Advanced and up
BACKCOUNTRY TOURING – This product allows you to choose from a variety of terrain in the region depending on the weather and your fitness. With snow all the way to sea level we have the unique ability to tour almost anywhere – the options are almost limitless! Throughout Hokkaido we can access some breathtaking mountain ranges, passes and also use the lifts if required to tour away from the resort and into some amazing terrain and of-course POWDER!
Ability recommendation – Advanced and up with touring gear
Add our photographic service to any of the above products!
When booking this service you are getting:
- Your own qualified and experienced guide. This means you can have one person or up to six in the group. The fee remains the same so the more people you have the cheaper per person it becomes.
- Base area accommodation pick-up and drop-off and transportation to the ski area. Usually you will have private transportation, but if we have another group heading to the same ski are that day you may need to share. We don’t want to add anymore carbon than necessary to the atmosphere.
Things to remember:
- Avalanche safety equipment. You will need this equipment. This includes a transceiver, probe and shovel. You can hire this equipment from us and you will be instructed how to use this equipment and be given a safety briefing before each days riding. The gear issued to you is your responsibility and if it is lost or damaged you will pay for a new replacement.
- This is a private booking. You will only have those in the group that you yourself have booked. If it’s you and your three friends then that’s who’s in the group. If it is just you then awesome. You book and we guide – no blow-ins.
- We can only guide to the lowest abiity in the group. If you have a friend that’s slow and the rest of your group is fast then you may have some issues getting as much out of the day as you’d hoped. You either need to be happy that you are going slowly and accessing mellow terrain or you need to quietly ask your friend/partner to go have a beer or hot chocolate so that you can hit some more challenging terrain. Beawre that we aren’t going to get into group politics so please sort out everyones expectations before the guided day and we’ll all have a lot more fun.
- Mixing skiers and snowboarders – whilst we don’t really mind guiding mixed groups this can limit your terrain choice and prefered line. Skiers can of-course traverse hard, step up and pole out of flat spots so this opens up larger areas of terrain, especially on Asahidake. Conversly snowboarders read a mountain differently and want to smash long wide open turns and hit drops and features.
- We do not guide beginners or low-intermediates. Sorry but we don’t see the point in guiding someone on piste. If you are this ability level we recommend booking a private instructor as you’ll get so much more out of a day instruction than a days guiding.
- Asahidake is for advanced skiers and boarders only. Some hiking is involved and if you are a boarder you need to be able to keep your speed. There is no ski-patrol and the entire mountain is off-piste.
With 9-25 meters of snow falling each winter across Hokkaido, and constantly in search of fresh lines out past the ski area boundaries in uncontrolled terrain Whiteroom has always had safety of both our clients and guides at the centre of what we do.
Developed over many seasons we now have in place a multi layered safety system that ensures we are in keeping with the highest international standards of operating procedure. This process starts long before we touch the snow in the early hours of the morning as our team of avalanche forecasters rise to check out our weather stations at each of our home bases and match this data to what the forecast is predicting. Each day our guides in the field feed their observations into our in-house snow safety system which combined with live data allows our forecaster to post our daily avalanche hazard rating.
Working with the local Hokkaido Mountain Guides Association we now have a network of remote equipment caches across Northern Japan allowing us to have access to both rescue and medical equipment should we ever need it. If an incident does occur in the backcountry you’ll be safe in the knowledge that our guides hold remote first aid and professional level avalanche qualifications as a minimum as well as undergoing training sessions throughout the season.
This lines up with Whiteroom’s core philosophy of developing strong relationships with the local Japanese associations to ensure a higher standard of care and safety for our client whilst we chase fresh powder and untracked terrain.
Guide Bookings Confirmation & Payment Cancellation Policy
Please note that Guide bookings are NOT CONFIRMED until a 20% deposit has been paid. Final balance is due 30 days prior to the start of your booking.
You must complete our booking form and Registration/Waiver from before your guided day. Failure to do so will result in the cancelation of your booking.
Guide Bookings Cancellation Policy
Your 20% deposit is non-refundable unless we cancel the guided day due to unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather or guide injury.
Whiteroom will refund your full payment less the 20% deposit if notice is given 30 days prior to your booking date commencement.
Whiteroom will refund 50% of your full payment if less than 30 days but more than 7 days notice of cancellation is given.
Whiteroom will provide no refund for cancellations less than 7 days prior or a no show on your booked day.
If Whiteroom has to cancel your guided day due to adverse weather or other unforeseen circumstances you will be offered another date or a 100% refund.
Backcountry Safety Equipment Requirements
Backcountry safety equipment is compulsory for all participants on any guided day. All of the necessary equipment (transceiver, shovel, probe and backpack) is available to hire. Please advise us if you need this equipment when booking. You may also bring your own gear to use.
If your Backcountry trip requires Alpine Touring equipment, split boards or snowshoes we will advise & recommend where the equipment can be rented from if you do not already have your own.
Pre Purchasing Lift Tickets
For day trips we recommend against purchasing lift tickets in advance, as there are no additional cost savings. Pre-purchasing lift tickets may only serve to limit your flexibility. Due to localized weather patterns, conditions can often be much different at nearby resorts & may influence the final destination decision.
Ski / Snowboard Ability Requirements
We recommend that you try to have everyone in the group at a similar ability level.
This is very important as experience shows that no one wants to be in over their head, holding up a group or alternatively waiting for others to make it down the mountain.
However, if you are all happy with a mixed ability group because you are all friends or family members then that is of-course fine with us.
Ski / Snowboard Instruction
Some of our Whiteroom Guides are also qualified instructors or avalanche trainers. All our Guides are happy to offer advice and tips to help you improve your skills.
If you are interested specifically in instruction to improve your skills we acept instructional bookings in the shoulder season only, otherwise we can book a ski lesson with instructional schools in your area.
Extra transportation charges
Greater Furano or Niseko area (outside of Hirafu and immediate surrounds and outside of Furano and immediate surrounds) requiring approximately one hour extra travel – client pays ¥10,000 extra. For example picking up in Rusutsu and taking to Kiroro.
For Asahikawa pick-ups then on to Asahidake or Kamui/Pipu it is 2 hrs extra travel on top of 3hrs regular driving to Asahidake. 5hrs of driving plus guiding = a very long day. If clients are staying in Asahikawa clients they will be charged and extra ¥10,000 and must also pay for the guides accommodation either before or after the guided day.