Tohoku Backcountry Guiding

 

The Tohoku region in northern Honshu is one of the last frontiers of Japan snow wilderness. With almost limitless backcountry terrain and very few foreigners, you will be blown away with the untouched lines you will get to enjoy from start to end. 

After years of scoping out the best mountains and terrain in the 6 prefectures of Tohoku, Whiteroom is pumped to be finally ready to offer this region to our clients for private guiding. Tohoku is completely off the radar for most gaijin, with more than 13 main ski resorts and countless surrounding mountains. Resorts like Geto Kogen, Appi Kogen and Hachimantai get a ridiculous amount of powder with nobody there to chew it up and then there is Hakkoda Ski Resort where you ascend to the peak and explore the limitless backcountry possibilities and dodge snow-monsters!

Unlike in Niseko and Central Hokkaido, Whiteroom does not have a physical office or guides permanently situated in Tohoku, so all guiding must be organised in advance, and be a minimum of 5 days. We will create a private guided tour for you, customised to get you the most out of your trip. Check out our Tohoku Powder Tour as an example itinerary.

Options for private guiding in Tohoku:

RESORT POWDER GUIDING

If you are after a great experience being shown all the best inbounds and slack country in the Tohoku region, then this is the product for you. We pick you up from your accommodation and in our comfy 4WD vans and take you to the resort with the best conditions or if you have a specific ski area in mind we’ll show you around the whole resort orientating you and showing you all the best powder stashes. Each resort offers up loads of terrain that you wouldn’t even know about if you didn’t have a guide. Booking a private guided tour with us will make your ski holiday!

Ability recommendation – High-Intermediate and up

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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. Many resorts in the region have great backcountry that is easily accessed by the lift system. With such few foreigners in the region, you don’t have to go far from the lifts to get untouched pow, but knowing where to put a quick boot pack, hard traverse or short skin is the key to getting you fresh deep powder. If you have skins or a splitboard we can go even further ensuring you get fresh tracks all day!

Ability recommendation – Advanced and up

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BACKCOUNTRY TOURING

Tohoku has a wide variety of terrain ready for the avid backcountry tourer to explore. Where we can go all depends on the weather and your fitness, the options are almost limitless! The mythical snow monsters and notoriety of Hakkoda is for hardcore powderhounds. Hachimantai is deserted, and with off-piste now permitted, this resort provides a fun day on the snow, and Zao Onsen, a resort still very much off the beaten path provides an amazing mix of backcountry skiing and ancient culture.

Ability recommendation – Advanced and up with touring gear

BOOK NOW…

 


 

Tohoku is the best place in Japan to get away from crowds and gaijin. Join on our popular Tohoku Powder Tour or Aizu – Zao Powder Tour or let us build you a personalised private guided package including accommodation and all transportation across the region. We’ve been doing it for 10 years and with support on the ground in Niseko, Furano and Tohoku we can provide personalised service at the best price.

If you reside in Australia we can also book discounted airfares.

Please contact us for a personalised quote.

 

Pricing for private Tohoku guiding is available on request.

All guiding in Tohoku is required to be booked in advance and must be a minimum length of 5 days.


 

EXAMPLE PRIVATE PACKAGE

6-night/5-day Private Tohoku Tour

¥228,000 per person / 6 people

Inclusions

  • Transfers from/to Morioka train station & daily transport
  • 6 nights twin/triple share accommodation at Hotel Grand Annex Morioka
  • 5 days flexi lift passes in Tohoku area. This could include any of the following resorts: Geto Kogen, Appi Kogen, Hachimantai, Shimokura, Tazawako, and Shizukushi.
  • Welcome & farewell dinner parties
  • Onsen (hot spring) tour
  • Daily breakfast

Optional extras
– Discount flights with Qantas from Australia
– Single share accommodation – ¥45,000 per person
– Cat Skiing at Hachimantai Resort – POA
– Avalanche gear rental – ¥10,500
– Tokyo or Kyoto stopover


EXAMPLE PRIVATE PACKAGE

8-night/7-day Private Tohoku Tour

¥329,000 per person / 6 people
Inclusions

  • Transfers from/to Morioka and Aomori train stations & daily transport
  • 5 nights twin/triple share accommodation at Hotel Grand Annex Morioka
  • 3 nights twin/triple share 
accommodation in Hakkoda
  • 7 days flexi lift passes in Tohoku area. This could include any of the following resorts: Hakkoda, Aomori Springs, Geto Kogen, Appi Kogen, Hachimantai Shimokura, Tazawako, and Shizukushi.
  • 4 dinners showcasing the areas delicious food including a welcome & farewell dinner party
  • Onsen (hot spring) tour
  • Daily breakfast

Optional extras
– Discount flights with Qantas from Australia
– Single share accommodation – ¥52,500 per person
– Cat Skiing at Hachimantai Resort – POA
– Avalanche gear rental – ¥11,500
– Tokyo or Kyoto stopover

 

CAT SKIING OPTIONS – Price on application


Guided Tohoku tours do not include:

  • Avalanche Safety Gear (beacon, shovel, probe and backpack)
  • Ski/SB equipment
  • Assurances on the days’ weather

NOTE: If you booked a certain ski resort and the lifts are shut that day we will offer up another resort. If all available resort options are closed we will try to reschedule another day (if available), or offer you a full refund

Zao Onsen

Zao Onsen is one of Japans oldest resorts located in the Yamagata Prefecture, famous for two things. Firstly as a hot spring resort (unsurprising given the name), as secondly for the Juhyo or ‘Snow monsters’ that appear every winter on the upper slopes. More spectacular than scary, the name of ‘snow monsters’ is given to the ice trees as they take on interesting shapes from the heavy snowfall and freezing winds. In fact, Zao is one of only a few places in Japan where these ice trees can be seen. In terms of terrain, Zao is a large spread out resort with long runs and great terrain for intermediates. There are also relatively few foreigners, adding to its appeal.

Hakkoda

The epitome of backcountry powder heaven and a must do for any experienced backcountry enthusiast.   Located in the northern part of Honshu, the snow is lighter than that of other Honshu resorts, but not quite as dry as Hokkaido. A huge amount of terrain awaits from the top of the ropeway, but with unmarked regions, questionable visibility at times, and lots of ‘dead spots’ that will mean a long hike out, we highly recommend a guide even for the most advanced explorers. Hakkoda has notorious weather patterns with heavy snow storms coming unimpeded from Siberia and blissfully bluebird skiing… all possible in the one day, so as they as say ‘when it’s good, it’s good’

Appi Kogen

Zao Onsen is one of Japans oldest resorts located in the Yamagata Prefecture, famous for two things. Firstly as a hot spring resort (unsurprising given the name), as secondly for the Juhyo or ‘Snow monsters’ that appear every winter on the upper slopes. More spectacular than scary, the name of ‘snow monsters’ is given to the ice trees as they take on interesting shapes from the heavy snowfall and freezing winds. In fact, Zao is one of only a few places in Japan where these ice trees can be seen. In terms of terrain, Zao is a large spread out resort with long runs and great terrain for intermediates. There are also relatively few foreigners, adding to its appeal.

Geto Kogen

Truly off the beaten path, Geto Kogen is a fun resort to smash for a day or two as part of a longer Tohoku snow trip. Uncrowded, huge snow dumps, and plenty of areas to play in, Geto is a brilliant little spot.

TOHOKU GUIDING

  • Expect an 8 am pick-up from your accommodation and drop-off at 4-5pm
  • Depending on the groups’ ability we will spend 90% off the day off-piste exploring the side and backcountry of Furano. However if your group just want to be shown around piste that’s fine too, but our guides won’t like it that much and really, what’s the point? By and large, we are guided by your ability and fitness and will match terrain choice to these attributes
  • Hiking is not expected but a short boot pack or traverse her and there can get you some pretty amazing lines, but that’s up to you! We are keen if you are!
  • Avalanche safety equipment is compulsory for this product.
  • The resort destination can be flexible so that you get the best conditions possible
  • If you booked a certain ski resort and the lifts are shut that day we will offer up another resort. If all available resort options are closed we will try to reschedule another day (if available), or offer you a full refund

Remember – lift tickets are not included but can be arranged

BACKCOUNTRY TOURING

Expect a 7:30-8am pick-up from your accommodation and drop-off at 5-6pm

  • The destination can be flexible so that you get the best conditions possible
  • If you booked a certain area and the weather makes this objective impossible we will offer up another resort. If all available options are not possible we will try to reschedule another day (if available), or offer you a full refund.
  • Avalanche safety equipment and touring equipment is compulsory for this product.

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.
  • Furano 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 any more carbon than necessary to the atmosphere.
  • Note: extra charges may apply for transportation from areas outside of Furano.

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 ability 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. Beware that we aren’t going to get into group politics so please sort out everyone’s 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. Conversely, 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 the 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 day 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.

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 Guides will refund your full payment less the 20% deposit if notice is given 30 days prior to your booking date commencement.

Whiteroom Guides will refund 50% of your full payment if less than 30 days but more than 7 days notice of cancellation is given.

Whiteroom Guides will provide no refund for cancellations less than 7 days prior or a no show on your booked day.

If Whiteroom Guides 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

Many of our Whiteroom Guides are also qualified instructors but the format of our trips is to ensure you ski great lines, great snow and incredible terrain. All our Guides are happy to offer advice and tips to help you improve your skills, but except for our Powder Progression Tour, we do not offer straight ski or snowboard lessons.

If you are interested specifically in instruction to improve your skills we can recommend booking a ski lesson with some exceptional 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/Pippu it is 2 hrs extra travel on top of  3 hrs regular driving to Asahidake. 5hrs of driving plus guiding = a very long day. If clients are staying in Asahikawa clients they will be charged an extra ¥10,000 and must also pay for the guide’s accommodation either before or after the guided day.

meet-our-guides

Thanks Ross , our group of 9 thoroughly enjoyed the trip , our time in Furano & other areas was great with a good selection of skiing for our group , guides were thorough & professional – always on time – transport was excellent , our accommodation – Wonderland in Furano & Sheraton in Kiroro was very good , have stayed there before , flights & transport all good. One of our best trips thanks again Ross & the Whiterooms team – Steve Maish


We booked a guided tour for a day at Asahidake. Lexi was a great guide, very helpful, knowledgeable, fun, and easy to get along with. She made our first day in Asahidake a great learning experience that allowed us to make the most of the rest of our time there! Many thanks Lexi & Whiteroom!


Great tour to Asahidake with Adam. We had initially arranged a lift accessed tour in Furano but changed last minute to go to Asahidake thanks to Stef letting us know about the impending bluebird day. We had had an epic trip and Adam picked a great mix of terrain that suited our mixed group. will definitely be back! – Pat


Excellent day, with a knowledgeable and relaxed guide. Blackie was able to quickly identify the most likely terrain for awesome snow, and was able to match the pace of the day with our levels of fitness and ability perfectly. Keep up the good work, hope to see you next year for a longer tour – Alex


We had Julian to Asahidake and Paul at Furano. Excellent! is the only word that describes the two day we spent with you guys. Keep up the good work! – Lars


We had 3 awesome guided days. Wyatt took us to Kiroro and we had a great day skiing areas we may not have explored on our own. We were 100% happy with Wyatt and would go guiding with him anytime. We had 2 days guiding with Brett at Asihadake and Tomamu. We had 2 awesome days with Brett and the Tomamu backcountry experience was amongst the best ski days we have ever had. Our Whiteroom guides were great and we would have no hesitation to tour with them again – Lyle


Greg in Niseko and Zach & Brooke in Furano were so cool guides. We loved to snowboard with them and it was really perfect. I have absolutely nothing to add – we had perfect conditions, the guides were great..very polite with perfect guide skills and always the nose for fresh japow! Thanks and we will come back for the next round – Marc


Zach was fantastic – went out of his way to make sure we had the best couple of days possible. Definitely hope to come back and do more guided days with him in coming years! – Nick