In the past 3 years I had the pleasure of spending 6 weeks guiding and skiing in the forests of Hokkaido and I was completely blown away by the completeness of the whole experience. Not only did we enjoy the driest and deepest snow that I have ever encountered in all my years of skiing but we also submerged our selves in the culture of this incredible country with its rich traditions, fantastic food and amazing people.
Hokkaido is without a doubt the most complete and exotic ski destination that I have ever visited.
You’ll find below the program for the powder skiing weeks I organise there.
Day to day Program:
Flight from Europe/USA to Japan.
Arrival in Sapporo/Chitose airport on Hokkaido Island where we meet our local guide for the 3-4 hr transfer to our Ryokan guesthouse, in Niseko where we enjoy our first Onsen session (natural hot springs) and relax after the long trip.
We will be spending the first three nights at the Koikawa Ryokan guesthouse, which is the picture perfect traditional Japanese hot springs resort with paper walls, futon beds, different slippers for each room and everyone sporting their Yukata robes for dinner.
The Koikawa is one of the oldest Onsen Ryokan guesthouses on Hokkaido island, but with its fantastic hot springs, both indoor and outdoor pools in a winter wonderland setting of trees and waterfalls you certainly learn to appreciate its rustic beauty.
We get our ski legs going by exploring the off piste possibilities of Niseko resort where we take on a little ski safari where we sample the best that the area has on offer. After our first big day of skiing we will again feast on some local delicacies and take full advantage of the local baths.
Jet lag out of the way we get going on our first big ski touring day where we climb the flanks of the great cone shaped volcano of Yotei-san, often referred to as the Mt Fuji of Hokkaido. Here we will find some of the best ski touring possibilities Japan has to offer.
Today we move base camp towards Furano but will ski at the Sapporo Kokusai area where we can easily access some excellent off piste / freeride terrain using the lifts and then skinning to get the goods. The Sapporo Kokusai area is locally famous for the deepest snow on Hokkaido island…..and the fact that the ”foreign herds” have no clue about it 🙂 We will spend the night close by at the Asari onsen.
We continue our road trip to Furano-dake with a stop at the Kamui Links ski area for a quick hit. In Furano-dake we will be staying at a nice little lodge with its own hot springs.
Sampling the goods at Furano-dake, which is one of the most famous spots in Japan for excellent touring options and great snow. Today we will have the option of visiting several different hot springs, including a natural one in the woods.
Our last ski day is a short one since we need to make our way back to Sapporo, but not until we have carved out some good turns and dipped into the hot springs one last time. In Sapporo we will enjoy a local feast at one of the cities hidden gems, only known to locals, such as our good friend Hiro.
Transfer to Chitose airport and flight back to the main island and on to new adventures.
Please get in touch with me if you are interesting to experience this unique ski powder experience while being submerged in the culture of this incredible country with its rich traditions, fantastic food and amazing people. I will guide you there with much pleasure and make sure you have the time of your life 😉 !
Deep and super light powder is what makes skiing in Hokkaido worth the long trip and jet lag for sure. In my 6 weeks skiing there in the last couple of years we have been consistently skiing knee to waist deep cold smoke blower Pow……. From what I hear that is the norm but you do have to take into account the fact that just like Iceland, Hokkaido is an island and the sea is always near, meaning you might get warm temps and rain even in the coldest months of the year.
In my experience its always snowing in Hokkaido and that is a good thing. You can expect cold temperatures, down to -20 on the summits on a windy day but in general it will be a comfy -5 to -15. There will be wind and it might be strong above treeline but in general we are staying below treeline and out of the wind. Sun is something I have not seen much of in my 6 weeks there, and that is a great thing as well since it means its always snowing.
Internet and cell phone
You will find that your cell phone works in most places but it will obviously cost you. Wireless Internet is available in most places that we stay at.
Amazingly enough, Japan is all about cash and you will find many bigger places not accepting cards of any sort. It is therefore a good idea when you arrive at the airport in Chitose or Tokyo to get some cash out of a mini bank. Most convenience stores do have mini banks so no worries.
Now if you do not know any Japanese and can not read kanji or hiragana you will enjoy the extreme pleasure of being completely deaf, dumb and blind probably for the first time since you were a wee little babe. As horrifying as it sounds it’s actually a fantastic feeling of exploration and adventure that you should relish in to its fullest. Most people in Japan do not speak English so you should definitively try and pick up a few phrases before arriving and than try your best ones there and you will find that the Japanese will love you for it.
Arrival and departure
The start of the trip is in the afternoon of the first day at the Chitose airport. We will be collecting all participants between 1500 and 1800 hrs as we have around a 3 hr drive to Niseko and dinner that night. The earlier you get in the better so that we do not arrive very late in Niseko. On the last day we will be heading to Chitose airport in and around noon so please try and book a flight in the early afternoon for your departure. If you are traveling as a complete group with the same arrival times we can certainly make changes to the above.
5 to 8 persons
Not included in the price
– Flights to and from Sapporo/Chitose
– Lunches (Every day we stop at convenience stores for resupplying)
– Personal expenses
Included in the price
– Professional guidance of a fully certified UIAGM guide and assistant guide
– Accommodation including breakfast and dinners for 7 nights in double rooms
– All transportation during the week
– All lift tickets
440.000.- ISK / 2.999.- EUR / 3.330.- USD*
All US/EUR prices are based on the current US/EUR/ISK exchange rate as available on The Central Bank of Iceland. EUR/US prices are for information purposes only and are subject to change.
Spots of interest
Sapporo Kokusai Ski Area
Price per person
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