Shiribetsu Day Heli Skiing Overview
NB Hokkaido Backcountry Club Heli Skiing is not operating for the 2016-17 season.
Niseko Heli Skiing is ichi-ban because it offers the perfect combination of the best powder in the world and a helicopter, the ultimate lift! Unlike other Japan heli skiing
outfits that offer very lame helicopter accessed skiing, Hokkaido Backcountry Club
offers “proper” heli skiing that includes qualified backcountry guides and some fabulously steep terrain and long runs. The Hokkaido Backcountry Club helicopter is your ticket to the exclusive Shiribetsu-Dake volcano.
All Hokkaido Backcountry Club heli skiing packages include professional guiding and safety instruction, along with all required snow safety equipment, including backpack, avalanche beacon and probe. The package also includes guided resort or backcountry skiing in case of inclement weather, plus gourmet fare at the beautiful base restaurant.
Ideally you will have a group of 3, 6 or 9, however you can enquire if your group consists of other group sizes (including solos) and they will do their best to combine you with another group.
The 6-run package includes 6 heli runs on your booked day and you can purchase additional runs if others in your group are also up for more powder. Any unused runs due to inclement weather are refunded.
Where is the Hokkaido Backcountry Club Heli Skiing?
The heli skiing is on Shiribetsu-dake, which is just north of the Rusutsu Resort
and only half an hour drive from Niseko
in Hokkaido Japan. Mt Shiribetsu is just southeast of the very imposing Mount Yotei.
The heli skiing package includes complimentary transport services between Rusutsu, Niseko or other local accommodations, and the heli staging area.
See our Rusutsu travel
and transport to Niseko
pages for information on getting to these resorts.
Heli Skiing Terrain
There is one helicopter landing zone on top of the Shiribetsu-Dake volcano, from where there are nearly 360 degrees of lines available. The terrain is pretty impressive with steep ridges, bowls and a few cliff drops, and there is a mixture of open powder lines and tree skiing amongst widely spaced birch trees.
The gradient pattern is fairly typical for a volcano, with steep pitches of 30-40 degrees (and up to 46 degrees) at the top, that taper down to very mellow slopes that terminate at the road surrounding Mt Shiribetsu.
Hokkaido Backcountry Club claim that the average vertical per run is 650 metres (2,130 metres), although when the Powderhounds reviewed HBC heli skiing
the runs were an average of 800 metres of vertical bliss!
The minimum ability level for the heli skiing is that of strong intermediate (off-piste ability, not on groomers), although the terrain is best suited to advanced riders and above.
Well by now you’ve probably heard the Powderhounds raving about Hokkaido having the best powder in the world, and Shiribetsu-dake is no exception. And in addition to quality powder, there’s certainly quantity with frequent powder resets. The nearby snow factories of Rusutsu and Niseko score about 14 and 15 to 18 metres of snow per season on average respectively, which gives you an indication of the huge volumes of snowfall for heli skiing!
You can see our Hokkaido Backcountry Club heli skiing review
for more information.
Japan Heli Skiing Hokkaido Backcountry Club from Powderhounds.com on Vimeo.
You will be picked up from your accommodation in a private mini-van around 7am in Niseko or 7:30 am from Rusutsu, and driven to the helicopter staging area and restaurant near Mt Shiribetsu.
Over a coffee, you’ll sign a waiver, be weighed, be given a briefing of what to expect during the day, and get truly psyched for an amazing experience! You’ll be given instruction on the use of your avalanche safety gear (provided by HBC) and a helicopter safety briefing.
The weather can be quite fickle in Hokkaido (because all that abundant powder doesn’t fall from blue skies) so the aim is to get in as many runs as possible as quickly as possible, so lunch time might ultimately be determined by the weather conditions on the day. Lunch is generally a 3-course affair, which is taken in the comfort of a cosy restaurant next to the staging area.
In the event of no-fly hours, guided resort, slack-country or backcountry tours are provided as a back up activity.
At the end of the day you can have a few beers whilst you high-five your ski and snowboard buddies, and then you will be driven back to your accommodation in Niseko or Rusutsu.
The ultimate ski lift...
..safety briefings included.
Rates & Inclusions
- ¥160,000 per person
- Extra runs - Y13,000 + tax per run
- Runs not used refunded at ¥16,000 per run
- Lunch - 3 course cuisine at a restaurant
- 1 qualified guide for every 3 guests
- Use of avo gear; beacon, probe, shovel & backpack
- Instruction on how to use avo gear & helicopter safety briefing
- 6 heli ski runs
- Daily return transfers to/from the heli ski staging area and your Niseko/Rusutsu accommodation
- Personal items and services (alcoholic beverages, tips etc)
- Expenses incurred in case of evacuation or rescue
- Ski / snowboard rentals -available for rent (prior booking)
- Flights - book flights here
- Travel Insurance - purchase online here
Dry Hokkaido powder...
..let's hit that powder.
HBC Terms & Conditions
HBC requires all fees at the time of booking for all trips if booking within 60 days of the trip. If booking in advance of 60 days we will take a 25% deposit. We will require the full amount if you are getting an early bird discount.
Full payment for Shimamaki Snowcats is due by October 15th.
HBC does not offer refunds on snowcat tours for weather related problems (extreme avalanche condition, torrential rain etc)
If HBC is asked to find a replacement for the cancelling guest, payments will be refunded once the seat is filled with another guest less an administration fee of 25,000yen
You may sell your seat to another guest, but in order for HBC not to charge you the 25,000yen administration fee, you must collect the money directly from the replacement guest. HBC will not be involved in the transaction.
For non-mechanized tours, cancellation between 60 and 30 days before the trip will result in a 50% cancellation fee. Cancellation within 30 days of the trip for any reason, including injury, will result in a 100% cancellation fee.
Heli bookings cancelled on our part for reasons of weather or safety qualify for a backup lift assisted tour at Rusutsu for 35,000yen. The remainder will be refunded. If you decide not to join this program, you will be refunded 20% of the total.
Runs not skied in our helicopter program qualify for a refund of 13,000 yen per run for 6-run guests and 8,580yen/ min for private charter guests.
Additional heli runs will be billed at 16,000 yen per run for 6-run guests and 8,580yen/ min for private charter guests.
Heli guests not flying or delayed due to weather will be offered a backcountry / resort / or slackcountry tour with the prospect of flying if the weather changes. Guests can also re-book for the following days if there is availability.
Minimum group numbers apply for all tours. In the case of low numbers, we will attempt to reschedule.
Included in all ski packages is the use of backpack, avalanche transceiver, probe, and shovel, as well as avalanche and helicopter safety briefings.
A set menu lunch and apres ski appetizers are included in all heli programs.
We recommend you purchase your own trip cancellation insurance in case you need to cancel for injury or any other unforseen circumstances.
You will receive an invoice email with payment instructions via international bank transfer or PayPal credit card. You do not need a PayPal membership to use this credit card service.
Due to service fees, our preferred method for larger transactions is international bank transfer. All bank transfer details are available on your electronic invoice.
If you choose to complete a bank transfer, please ignore any service charge listed on your invoice and only transfer the amount owing on the balance line of your invoice.
All customers are required to read a release of liability waiver and medical information form before departing. Failure to do so will result in cancellation of the tour without refund.
All participants under the age of 19 must also have a parent or legal guardian sign their release of liability. All minors must be at least 13 years of age and accompanied by a guardian or parent while on the tour.
All tour pricing listed on this website is based on a minimum group size of 3 people, unless otherwise stated. If your group is smaller or larger than 3, please ask about availability.
HBC reserves the right to cancel any tour at any time, typically due to inclement weather or unsafe backcountry travel conditions.
We ask members to be honest about their skill levels. If you have booked and paid for a trip with HBC, but your skills are insufficient for the trip you have booked, we will try to accommodate you with another program if possible but we will not issue refunds.