Powder Skiing Japan Factsheet Hokkaido is a superb destination for powder skiers. Despite being at the same latitude as Marseilles, Hokkaido winters are very cold and the maritime location ensures it is very snowy. The mountains of the central part of the island have a reputation for some of the lightest and deepest powder snow on earth. The volcanic mountains in central Hokkaido rise to c.2500m though lift systems tend to have an elevation maximum of the tree line c.1600-1700m Most runs have an elevation difference of approx 500m. Much of the ski terrain therefore is in the tree line, which is stunning as long as you focus on the gaps! For Europeans travelling to Japan, immersing oneself in the cultural traditions, customs and modern lifestyle are one of the main attractions for visiting the country. As a whole the Japanese are wonderfully polite, gentle people who go out of their way frequently to help visitors. Amongst other things the Japanese are very clean! Visiting the hot tub
(or ‘onsen’ as they are known) seems to be virtually a daily event for all Japanese, old and young. This is not the beer swigging hot tub event of the western ski resorts, they are almost mystical places. Fabulous relaxing venues that superbly compliment the exertions of the ski slopes, a real must. Travel Arrangements Flights are not included in the cost of the trip and therefore you will need to arrange these separately. Most international flights to Japan arrive in Tokyo and you will need to book a connecting flight to Sapporo / Chitose airport. For the return you need to book an evening flight from Asahikawa back to Tokyo on the final ski day (day 8 of the trip) and the return flight from Tokyo back home should be booked for day 9. If you’d like any assistance with your travel, don’t hesitate to contact us. Connecting flights in Japan Tokyo has 2 airports: Haneda and Narita. They are a significant distance apart and so if you need to transfer between the 2 airports, please
make sure to leave plenty of time (3 hours +) On arrival at Sapporo / Chitose airport, our local agent will be waiting at the airport and you will be transferred by private minibus to Niseko. The transfer time is about 2½ hours On the final ski day you will be taken back to Asahikawa Airport for an evening flight back to Tokyo where you will stay the last night before returning to the airport and flight home. Your Guides For our scheduled trips one of our Mountain Tracks IFMGA Mountain Guides will travel with the group from Europe to Japan to guide for the duration of the trip. They will be assisted by a local Japanese UIAGM Mountain Guide. Accommodation on Hokkaido You will stay for the first 5 nights in a Japanese-style hotel in Niseko. This will be followed by 2 nights in a hotel in Asahidake. At the end of day 8 you will return to Asahikawa airport for the late flight back to Tokyo, where you will be met and transferred to a hotel for the last night. Meals Breakfasts and
evening meals are included in the accommodation package. Breakfasts will be a mix of traditional Japanese style food which will consist of rice, fish, miso soup and salad. Western style breakfasts when available will consist of a cooked breakfast with cereal and toast. Dinner is included on all nights except for the last night in Tokyo. Itinerary 7 days guided skiing. For the first 5 days we explore Niseko and surroundings ski areas where we really are spoilt for choice. Everywhere we have stunning views of the Sea of Japan and Mt Yotei, the Mt Fuji of the North. The widely spaced birch offer world-class tree skiing The lift accessed off-piste gives easy access to fall-line skiing on all types of terrain from mellow, easy-angled slopes to steeps. The backcountry touring is sublime and we can end the day with a visit to a local outdoor thermal hot spring! Within an hours drive from the hotel we can visit Rusutsu, Kiroro and Chisenupurri - all resorts we have visited on previous trips.
On day 6 well check out of the hotel before skiing and weather-permitting head to Kiroro, a small ski area about an hours drive from Niseko. In the early afternoon well continue on to Asahidake which is a further 3.5 hours drive from Kiroro On arrival in Asahidake we check into the Hotel. Evening meal and breakfast are taken in the hotel Asahidake is in the Daisetsuzan range and is home to Japans most impressive volcanoes. The resort is small but we can fill our boots with 2 days of fantastic lift-accessed backcountry touring on the volcanoes. At the end of day 8 we have a 1 hour transfer to Asahikawa airport and the short flight back to Tokyo. We are met at the airport and transferred to the Hotel by public transportation for the last night. A typical day A typical day involves traveling from our base to surrounding ski areas where we access the offpiste via the lift system. Areas are chosen for their good access to off-piste Days are then finished soaking in the many thermal springs
of the area. The risk of avalanches is low A lot of the skiing will be tree skiing and the mature birch and pines in the mountains of this area provide good anchoring. Despite the cold temperatures, Hokkaido receives a lot of snow and the deep snow-pack promotes good stability. Average slope angles are 30 degrees with the steepest being about 35 degrees. It is more like the Rockies here with average runs of 500-700m of superb powder snow. Recommended Kit List To really enjoy the light, dry powder wide all-mountain skis are essential (a minimum of 95mm under foot is recommended). It would be good if you have a freeride set up with a ski touring binding and boot but this is not essential as the walking distances are not very great. As always you must ski at all times with avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe. Bring a small day pack around 25 liters in size to carry these and other bits and bobs - skins, camera, water, snacks etc which you might want during the day. The
temperatures can often be very cold so if possible you should bring a good down jacket, neck warmer and good gloves/mittens. Equipment Hire It is possible to hire skis and boots in Niseko but ideally if you have your own please bring them with you. If you need to hire the avalanche safety items please let us know at least 3-4 weeks prior to travel so we can insure they are available for you. What is included/excluded in the price? The price paid to Mountain Tracks includes: - All accommodation with breakfast - 7 evening meals - 7 days guided skiing - All lift passes - Daily minibus transfers between the hotels and the ski slopes - Transfer between Chitose airport and Niseko at the start of the trip and between Asahidake and Asahikawa airport at the end of the trip. The price does not include: - Flights - Lunches - Drinks - 2 evening meals - Optional extras in the hotels – telephone, laundry, minibar - Personal insurance - Ski equipment hire Local Currency The local currency is the
Japanese Yen. The current exchange rate from Sterling is about £1 = Y140 (Sept 2017). Many shops and restaurants do not accept credit cards and so you must ensure you have enough cash to cover your expenses. You can use debit and credit cards in the local ATMS to obtain money. Foreign exchange can be exchanged at local banks and post offices. Prepaid Currency Cards which can be used at any ATM (displaying the appropriate Visa/Mastercard sign) to obtain local money are also a good option. Local expenses The main expenses you will have on the trip are lunches and drinks (cost depends on consumption!) Expect to pay: Lunches – 1,500 Yen Drinks and other expenses – 1,500 Yen Evening meal (in Tokyo) – 3,000 Yen Total daily budget = 3,000 - 25,000 yen for the duration of the trip = approx £175. The Weather Hokkaido is COLD in January and February. Daytime temperatures can vary from 0 to -30 degrees Celsius and so it is essential that you come prepared for the cold conditions.
Daylight hours are from 6am-4pm. Medical Facilities There are major hospitals in both Niseko and Furano with English speaking doctors and nurses. Medical and health care is of a very high quality in Japan. We strongly advise you to bring sufficient quantities of any specific medication that you require. You should also bring a personal basic first aid kit containing band-aids, pain killers, elasticized bandage and Second Skin for blisters. Your guide will carry a first aid kit Local Time Hokkaido is 9 hours ahead of GMT. Thus, at midday in the UK it is 9pm in Japan Visas Citizens of most European Countries and the USA do not require visas for short visits to Japan. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the end of your trip. Survival Japanese! Hello - Kon-nichiwa Good Morning – Ohio-gozai-mas Good Evening – Kon-ban-wa Nice to meet you – Haji – me –ma – shite Thank you – Arigato –gozai – mas Excuse me – Sui – masen More information If you have any
questions or need further details don’t hesitate to contact us: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: +44 20 8123 2978 Skype: mountaintracks