Shimamaki Snowcat Adventures - Reviews

Shimamaki cat skiing

Jan welkerling
12/04/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Rider Ability
    Advanced
  • Country
    Canada
I went cat skiing at shimamaki with HBC and it was a blast, the snow was deep the guides where friendly and made us feel safe all day. The lodging was very traditional and comfortable, the food was amazing and the hot spring at the end of the day was perfect. We will be back next year for sure.

Face Shots Galore

POWDERHOUNDS.COM
06/04/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Rider Ability
    Expert
Face shots galore The snowcat The coastline Powder score After another face shot
Hanging out in Niseko was fun, but it was so nice to get away from the hubbub with a 2 day adventure to a remote and unique part of Hokkaido. And all that deep powder out cat skiing was a whole different level of fun – our experience was truly amazing! After the cat skiing we were on an amazing powder high. If you’re addicted to snorting white powder (the healthy type!) and you’ll be in Niseko, and you’ve saved up some yen, then cat skiing with Hokkaido Backcountry Club is a must-do experience.

See our comprehensive HBC cat skiing review for more information. Keep in mind with our ratings that we are comparing the operation on a global scale, and 5/5 equates to absolutely outstanding.

Epic powder adventure

Dan
26/03/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Rider Ability
    Strong Intermediate
  • Country
    Australia
Door to door service with a smile :)

Well I was lucky enough to book for the 2 day cat trip and found one of the most amazing trips I could ever of hoped for. The powder was deep, the terrain was awesome and the staff were helpful, knowledgable and clear and concise with the safety precautions.
The team at HBC will do all they can to help you get the most out of your day. They push to get as many runs in as possible and mix up the runs as best they can, with the terrain on offer to them at the moment. They are looking to try and expand the area. So I'm sure that this team will only get better with what they do and offer.

The accomadation is very traditional and quiet. I really liked it! The onsen is looking out over the Sea. and the food was very good with fresh fish and a varied array of dishes. It actually makes a nice change from the more western type experience that you now get in Niseko.

I would highly recommend this trip to anyone looking to take their boarding or skiing to the next level. The only problem will be, is that you'll only want to ride amazing backcountry powder after!

You might well see me there again next season too!

Great new operation

Peter
19/03/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Rider Ability
    Expert
  • Country
    United States
This new operation leaves all other cat operations in Japan in the dust. While most are operated on resorts which closed because their terrain could not satisfy skier's needs (making them poor locations for cat skiing), this area is a Canadian style tenure of raw mountains, forests and pow. The government has been slow to grant the operators permissions to access the terrain, but they're slowly budging at the behest of the local community and the future seems bright. Really enjoyed carving out my own piece of Hokkaido powder on my two day visit last February. I recommend you do the same! (don't try to go for just a day, it's too much driving).

Awesome Backcountry Pow!

Keith Bernstein
12/03/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Age
    51-65
  • Rider Ability
    Advanced
  • Country
    USA
Did two days with Hokkaido Backcountry Club (HBC). It was awesome! The powder was great and we squeezed in almost 10 runs per day.
It was definitely the highlight of our 10 day trip to Hokkaido.
My nephew and I joined other groups of 2 & 3 to make up a group of 12 that rode/skied together for the two days. We all got along great.
We spent the night at a quaint, authentic, Japanese hotel with both natural indoor and outdoor "onsens". They were great (but *hot*!).
The hotel isn't very high end, but I don't think there *are* any high end hotels in Shimimaka :-)

We rode open areas at the top, great tree runs throughout, and had constant powder. There were some "steeps" too, which where a blast.
The second day the snow had completely "reset" from the day before, so we had another day of virgin powder.

Trevor, our lead guide was awesome, did a great job of safety education, terrain description, keeping away from flats, breaking trail, and taking us through great terrain. Super nice guy too.
Valerie was a great tail-guide and driver.

Shin, the Operations Manager who I dealt with for reservations, payment, and questions was super responsive and helpful.

There's no question I'll be doing this again on my next trip to Hokkaido, and next year they hope to have permission to sno-cat on a lot more terrain, so it should be even more epic!

Best Cat Ever

Andrew Snelleksz
08/03/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Rider Ability
    Advanced
  • Country
    Australia
This was the best Cat trip I've ever been on. O.K, it's the only Cat trip I've ever been on, but now I'm hooked.

Our group of three got picked up at 7 AM. The trip out took around two hours. Our driver Valerie was very hospitable and was willing to stop for food, coffee and photos opportunities whenever we asked. The drive took us along with the Japanese coastline and the scenery of the snow on the beaches was spectacular.

Hokkaido backcountry club (HBC) are very professional company and safety was always a priority. On arrival to the Cat area all guests received backpacks with probs shovels and a transceiver. The HBC team then took us through our av training. Once everybody was up to speed with safety we were loaded up and on our way up the hill.

The Terrain varied from fun open playgrounds to well spaced tree runs. But it didn't matter where you were it was all covered in beautiful Japanese powder. The Group took turns of going first on each run. Everybody got at least one or two goes of going first each day. Not that it mattered because there was enough terrain for fresh tracks for everybody on all the runs.

Our lead guide Trev was informative, helpful and experienced. He was very keen and we even did a run that hadn't been done before.
It ended up being the run of the day for me.

Our tail guide Valerie who also swapped between Cat Driver and Van driver (very flexible) was a lot of fun and super friendly while still maintaining a professional approach to her job.

The Snow was the winner on the day. Boot to knee deep powder, not super dry but definitely not wet and very forgiving if you come unstuck. But the best bit was its abundance. No runs skimped on the JPow.

The accomodation for the one night between cat days was on the ocean and went above expectations especially with the food they served. Dinner was a delicious assortment of seafoods with lots of other extras. Breakfast was a mix of western (eggs and bacon) and Japanese and was quite substantial.  Rooms were traditional japenese tatami floors with futon beds. The hotels outdoor Onsen has an amazing ocean view but is a little small (max 4 people). There is a more room in the indoor pool.

Overall I highly recommend this Cat trip. We did two days but obviously you can do one or more. Along with the Heli we did the following day this trip was reasonably priced. And anyone that gives you end of day beers in the Cat is worth recommending.

As chance would have it we did this trip with Powderhound team Greg and Lyndell. It was great to shred with you guys. Catch you for a beer some time.

Andy

HBC BACKCOUNTRY CLUB

Daryl Hoffman
29/02/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Rider Ability
    Expert
  • Country
    USA
Ok so I'll start with the riding portion then I'll fill in the logistics. This is an overall new operation so they have exponential potential to grow when they sort out the permits with the forestry service. The guides are some of the most experienced I've been around. The zone to ski was pretty good, not difficult for an expert but still fun and good terrain for a large group of all skill types. The snow was straight perfect "ja-pow" and wind exposure was minimal. There's a nice variety of runs, The tree runs being the best , were super fun with nice spacing and the open faces were fast with a nice flow.

Overall it's a great intro to some nice clean backcountry and you'd be hard pressed to not get at least one poster shot on the trip. Like I said, there's quite a bit of meat on the bone for the operation to expand their zone to the really fun stuff which is something to look forward to. At the end of of the day, everyone was all smiles and The beers in the cat ride back was a nice touch.

Logistically if your driving yourself to Shimimake and don't know a lick of Japanese or have a hotel reservation with an exact gps address, your gonna be in for a rough day. Basically don't do what I did. Set up a reservation for accommodations and you'll be sorted. The food was unexpectedly good having been given a full crab to chow on was cool.

If you want to get gnarly then think about a guided sled tour or heli trip, otherwise enjoy a fun cruisy day with some buds.

Cheers to the staff at HBC they got a good crew and look forward in where they are taking the Shimimake zone in the future.