Epic Honshu Buffet (Skiers Only) - Reviews

Awesome Authentic Japan pow ski trip

Nick Simcock
04/03/2017
  • Would Revisit
  • Would Recommend
  • Age
    36-50
  • Ability
    Expert
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Country
    New Zealand
  • Month:
    February
We had an awesome 10 day trip with Jason and Epic Ski. We are a couple of advanced skiers who love side/back country, and wanted an authentic Japanese experience away from the hoards of other foreign skiers in Japan.

We travelled to Yudanaka from Tokyo and were met by the welcoming people form the Yudanaka view hotel. Transport was easy and all the instructions and info Jason provided was spot on. The staff were awesome and a mix of Japanese and foreigners. There was a ‘great go” to concierge from Australian called Mitch. If you need anything Mitch sorted it.

The accommodation was excellent. We decided to take the traditional Japanese room with futon beds. The room was quiet and very comfortable. We used the Onsen (hot springs) daily before and after skiing. These were a highlight. The food in Yudanaka is well priced, varied, and high quality. We ate in the hotel 3 nights and the remainder in different local restaurants. The sushi train was fun and the craft beer on tap in the hotel was heavily sampled!


The cultural aspect of the trip was a real bonus with a visit on a non skiing day to Nagano to visit the famous Zenkoji temple, Nagano Olympic centre and a massive ski shop with great sales. Other activities after skiing included a sake tasting at the local sake producer. Jason also organised traditional Japanese Taiko drums, Geisha show and a karate demonstration on a couple of evenings in the hotel. They were all really authentic and interactive.


And now to the skiing………..There are lots of options from Yudanaka and we mostly skied all the fields of Shiga Kogen – the largest in Asia. Our first day was a 70 cm powder day at Madarao ski field and it was an epic introduction to Japanese powder. We had a good group of 6 who were very well matched in terms of ability and had some wicked skiing. Jason and his guide Jack were heavily focused on safety with good briefings, and packs with probes, shovels and all skiers wearing beepers. The guiding was very thorough and skier instructions well communicated. We felt that they were being cautious but were also incredibly focused on always trying to find us the best line and best snow available, even on now powder days. While we were advanced skiers the trip would also be great for beginners and intermediates too. There are excellent options for all levels and with Jason and his team of qualified instructors we saw other groups significantly improve over the week.


Overall the trip was fun and well run, provided excellent value, and a really authentic Japanese experience.


One other last tip……….Get a Japan Wireless wifi dongle (0n line)with unlimited high speed wifi across Japan – 7000 yen for 2 weeks. Pick up and drop off at Narita airport.

Terrific Skiing in Japan

Paul Mangotich
08/02/2017
  • Would Revisit
  • Would Recommend
  • Age
    51-70
  • Ability
    Advanced
  • Country
    Montreal, Canada
  • Month:
    January
Jason and his ski guides gave us a terrific ski adventure in Japan. We were fortunate to have great snowfall while there, and as a result the skiing was adventurous, challenging and FUN!

The Ryokan experience is a pleasant and very luxurious way to enjoy typical Japan, great food, entertainment and very attentive staff.

Each day, Jason and his team would take us out to a selected mountain for the day; safe travels, very supportive group and extremely enjoyable as people & skiers... I would recommend this trip to all strong skiers.

Fanden & Stenmark, Powder Chaser

P-O Fandén
05/02/2017
  • Would Revisit
  • Would Recommend
  • Age
    51-70
  • Ability
    Advanced
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Country
    Sweden
  • Month:
    January
Shiga Kogen, first week in January. Early on the season and not so much snow as we desired but the guides made the best of the situation and took us to ski areas where we had the possibility to taste the Japanese powder. Out of a trip of total ten day's in Yodanaka we skied six. For the two last days the weather had added a 30 + 30 cm with fresh POW and the trip was blessed. We had four to one ratio with the guides that made it reay easy on the mountain. If you like to try skiing in Japan we honestly can recommend Jason and crew / Fanden o Stenmark

A perfect ski holiday

Hans Henrichsen
12/01/2017
  • Would Revisit
  • Would Recommend
  • Age
    51-70
  • Ability
    Advanced
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Country
    Norway
  • Month:
    December
I had a great time skiing with Jason and his guides during the start of 2017 season. It was really an Epic Buffet experience that offered the best of skiing at a variety of different resorts, combined with the excellent Japanese food and cultural deep dives. What stood out on this trip was Jason, Jack and Tom's strive to give their guests the best powder experience, in safe settings and tailored to individual abilities. I have never enjoyed such a varied ski experience that also challenged my own level, that these guys were able to give me. I can warmly recommend.

Yudanaka Buffet

Rachel
07/06/2016
  • Would Revisit
  • Would Recommend
  • Age
    36-50
  • Ability
    Advanced
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Month:
    February
This tour is a great way to cover the numerous ski areas in this part of Nagano. As we kept hearing, it was the worst snow year for about fifty years so many of the usual off piste runs were not skiable. Jason and Jack's familiarity with the terrain, however, meant we found what powder stashes there were and were able to make the most of the new snow when it arrived.
The accommodation at the Biyu in Yudanaka was fantastic, as was the food, onsen and highlights of the local area such as the snow monkeys.
I would recommend this to anyone but particularly Japanese first timers and those travelling alone or in small groups.

Epic Ski Yudanaka

Mark Burdon
29/03/2016
  • Would Revisit
  • Would Recommend
  • Age
    36-50
  • Ability
    Advanced
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Country
    NZ
  • Month:
    February
Thank you Jason and guides, for the excellent 10 days in the Nagano area. Accomodation, food and ski fields were all excellent. Plenty of variety for all abilities. Highly recommend this trip.

Honshu Buffet

Lauren
15/01/2016
  • Would Revisit
  • Would Recommend
  • Age
    18-35
  • Ability
    Advanced
  • Rider Type
    Snow Boarder
  • Country
    Canada
  • Month:
    December
I'll preface by saying that the snow conditions were the worst they've been in recent memory, with only 50% of expected snowfall. As a result, many of the runs were closed, and off-piste boarding was out of the question.
Jason and his crew worked with the conditions to provide the best experience possible. They scoured the hill to find the freshest untouched powder. Luckily it snowed during the last part of our trip and we had the opportunity to play in the light, powdery snow.
In terms of value for the dollar - having an intermediary plan for hotels, breakfasts, tickets, and transportation was definitely a help. It would have been very challenging to do this as a foreigner, and I felt that this was worth the expense of the trip. It was hard to justify the need for a guide when all of the slopes we hit were on piste.
Despite the setbacks, we definitely had a blast and would love to come back to experience a more typical season.

Epic Gourmet Honshu Buffet

Eugene
12/01/2016
  • Would Revisit
  • Would Recommend
  • Age
    51-70
  • Ability
    Intermediate
  • Country
    EU
Awesome cramplets at the highest cafe in Japan Lox at the highest cafe in Japan Hot curry in Nagano Chilly restaurant Our usual dinner at ryokan
Apart from beeng an Epic Snow Sports adventure it was a cultural and Gourmet food delight. Not only we had a full on ski camp we also had an opportunity to enjoy authentic Japanese culture and food and discovered many hidden gems and surprises along the way. So what is on offer is an amazing rare opportunity just came along and pick your servings :-). See the picks provided below.

ESA Shiga Kogen

paul
08/01/2016
  • Would Revisit
  • Would Recommend
  • Age
    36-50
  • Ability
    Intermediate
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Country
    USA
  • Month:
    December
Had a great time in Japan with the ESA crew. We didn’t get the snow Japan is known for but the guides/instructors/comedians made the effort and we did our fair share of powder skiing. Anxious to give us the best experience, there were several days when we skied an area a little and hopped back in the van in search of a better snow. Try that with the local bus service! There was a good mixture of Japanese culture too. The Ryokan provided authentic Japanese breakfasts and dinners, the onsen experience, a Taiko drum performance and some good holiday music. Additionally, we got out to Nagano for a night to check out the Olympic venue as well as a couple other nights out for group dinners. And, of course, there were the snow monkeys.
The group dynamic worked out. Skiers from around the world assembled and all got along and had a good time.
The trip had a lot going on and there is no way I could have navigated all of that without the local knowledge of Japan and the surrounding ski areas.
Lastly, the tour was a little short for such a long trip, so I added a few days on to either end and ESA handled the accomodations and rides which I greatly appreciated.

Social, fun, cultural and relaxed ski tour

Mick Tee
05/01/2016
  • Would Revisit
  • Would Recommend
  • Age
    36-50
  • Ability
    Advanced
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Country
    Australia
  • Month:
    December
Epic's Honshu Buffet was a great 9 day trip with an all inclusive package of ski tours, cultural sights and traditional Japanese hotel. The standout for this tour are that you ski with a great bunch of people both the ski guides and the guests on tour making it a very fun and relaxed holiday.
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