Hokkaido Snow Tow
If you are wanting a Hokkaido ski tour powder adventure without all of the hassle of researching and coordinating transfers and accommodation, and you prefer to ride independently (without a guide
) then the Hokkaido Snow Tow could be just what you are looking for!
This Hokkaido ski tour is designed for the budget conscious
; those who just want a warm and comfy place to rest at night between constant face-shots during the day.
You can bring a friend, an entire group, or just come along on your own and join a group of like-minded powder hounds.
The Ski Areas
The first 3 days of skiing will be in the Niseko Area
(staying in Hirafu Village
in a well-located lodge) including Niseko
After 3 epic days of riding the Niseko area, you will travel up to Central Hokkaido
(staying in the regional city of Asahikawa
). From here you will access a couple of Hokkaido's hidden gems
and Kamui Links
At the end of each day, you can soak in natural hot springs
, treat yourself to delicious Japanese food
, and think about how life couldn't get much better (oh and post brag photos
on Powderhounds Facebook page
and share with your friends to see)!
- Ski some of the best powder on the planet
- No need to follow a guide, rip the POW at your own pace
- Soak your powder-tired bones in outdoor natural hot springs aka "onsens"
- Relax and be driven from location to location (with a beer in hand at the end of the day!)
- All of the headaches of planning your trip before arrival and whilst you are on tour are taken care of
- Venture out to resorts that many visitors don't get to
Skier/Boarder AbilityGiven that this trip is unguided (except Asahidake) and you are likely to be skiing off-piste, we recommend that you be an intermediate to advanced skier or rider. Asahidake in particular is all off-piste and if you are not a strong skier in deep powder (including traversing and hiking) then you will need to engage a guide on this day. Otherwise you can ride at Kamui Ski Links.
If you are planning to ski off-piste, we would also highly recommend that participants carry avalanche safety gear including a minimum of transceiver, shovel, probe and backpack.
The steep & deep in Niseko
Superb Japanese food
More Hokkaido POW POW
You will stay in lodging which is utilitarian and functional, but nothing fancy. All of the lodging for this tour is based on shared triple or 4 person rooms as it is aimed to keep the costs down. There is no single supplement upgrade available for this tour.
The lodging in Niseko is within close walking distance to all of the fun amenities of the downtown Hirafu area. The lodging gives you lots of access to everything Hirafu has to offer during the off-hours including bars, restaurants, the food truck spot, convenience stores, and of course the Niseko Hirafu ski base.
The common area in our lodge features a big flat screen TV, great sound system, lounging sofas and free wifi. The basement area is your one stop entertainment room complete with a ping pong table, various games and instruments including guitars and piano.
The accommodation has shared showers (split gender) and shared community toilets.
The hotel in Asahikawa is great. It is full (Japanese) size, with a hot springs style bath free of use for an après-ski soak. Centrally located to the small downtown of Hokkaido's second largest city, we're within easy walking distance of everything a downtown has to offer including bars, restaurants, karaoke joints, street vendors, tako yaki stalls, and more.
About 1 hour away from some of the best snow in the world in any direction, this hotel is a great base to come back to before deciding where to storm chase the next day. The hotel's daily buffet breakfast, featuring many Hokkaido specialties, both Japanese and Western, is sure to give you the boost you need to surf Japow's white waves!
Each room features free Wi-Fi. Bathrooms feature shower/tub combinations, complimentary toiletries, and bidets.
Your room at Niseko Hirafu
Niseko lodge common area
Your room at Asahikawa
Day 1: Airport meet and greet, and travel to Niseko
We meet at 2pm in Sapporo's Chitose Airport (CTS) which is the main airport in Hokkaido Island.
If you are unable to arrive by 2pm at the airport, you will either need to arrange a shuttle to Niseko
(at your own expense) or arrive a day before and meet the group at CTS on day 1 of the trip. Alternatively you can meet at the Hirafu Welcome Centre at 5:00 p.m.
Day 2: Ski Niseko
A short walk from our accommodation, the first day of Japan pow is spent at the much-talked-about Niseko Resort. With 15 meters of snow per year and an average base of 5 meters, there's plenty here to keep you sufficiently busy all day. If the backcountry access gates are open you can do a hike to the summit and off the back, or hike over to one of the back bowls.
Day 3: Ski Rusutsu
Located an hour's drive from Niseko, Rusutsu is Hokkaido's most famous tree skiing area. With no needlessly roped off areas, this place is an all you can see tree ski paradise. The impressive lift network plus no lines ensures that you'll be good and tired at the end of the day.
Day 4: Ski Kiroro and head north to Central Hokkaido
You will pack up your things, check out, and head 80 minutes away to Kiroro. The drive weeds out all but the most dedicated skiers and leaves this great little resort ripe for some excellent lines. Ski amazing tree lines, open bowls, and never encounter any lift lines. After finishing with Kiroro, you will head to Central Hokkaido in pursuit of snow which is even lighter than that found in the Niseko region. The drive to Asahikawa is about 3 hours, but you'll be making a stop in Otaru
to get some of the freshest sushi available on the island.
Day 5-6: Central Hokkaido - Asahikawa Area
Chest deep at Asahidake
Ahh, the feeling of turning in POW
You arrive in Hokkaido’s best kept ski secret—Asahikawa!
Unlike Niseko and Hakuba, Asahikawa isn’t frequented by many foreigners and maintains a traditional Japanese feel. Asahikawa isn’t a resort, it is a centrally located city with easy access to three different resorts which get vastly varying amounts snow depending on what the weather is doing.
And that’s not all. If you can believe it, the snow in the Asahikawa region is even lighter than anywhere else in Japan including Niseko. The area around Asahikawa is truly the crème de la crème—the best of the best lift accessed snow on earth
From the Asahikawa base, you'll have easy access to Furano, Asahidake and Kamui Ski Links.
Day 5: Ski Furano
Day 6 Option 1: Ski Asahidake
The smoldering volcano of Asahidake is a Hokkaido is a must for powder hounds. Asahidake consists of just one tram that leaves every 20 minutes and pretty much all of the terrain is off-piste. This is where you can find the very best quality pow that Hokkaido has to offer. It can get so deep and light, that it is excitingly scary. If you want to ride Asahidake you'll need a backcountry guide which will be an additional 10,000 yen.
As this is backcountry access terrain, it is absolutely mandatory
that you have the proper equipment.
Day 6 Option 2: Ski Kamui Links
This fun resort is only 40 minutes away from your lodging in Asahikawa. Only frequented by locals and a handful of foreigners, you'll be amazed to look around and realize that you've got the entire hill to yourself. The smaller sized hill offers fun off piste off the back side as well as great tree runs in bounds as well.
Day 7: Transfer and the end of the trip (OR ski a half day)
Day 7 marks the end of the trip. You have a few options here depending on your time frame:
- Leave in the morning and get dropped off at Sapporo's Chitose Airport by 11am
- Get dropped off at Sapporo Teine Ski hill at noon for a half day of skiing (return transportation and lift ticket not included)
- Get dropped off at Sapporo Station
- Quad share per person in Niseko, twin or triple share in Asahikawa
- 50% deposit required to secure booking
- Balance due 1 month before trip
- AIRPORT TRANSFER: return transfers to/from Sapporo Chitose Airport
- TRANSPORT: guide will drive you to each of the ski areas
- LODGING: based on twin to quad share in separate beds
- LIFT PASSES: 5 days of lift tickets
- HOSTING: English speaking facilitator to communicate daily activities, meeting times and recommendations
- DINNER RESERVATIONS: for the group (not mandatory), meal price not included
- FLIGHTS: International flights in/out of Chitose airport (CTS) - book flights here
TRIP INSURANCE: Highly recommended, as all subsisting costs will be charged in case of absence. Payment by credit card, Visa Premier or Gold MasterCard, may provide cancellation insurance. Check your contract. You can purchase special ski insurance here.
- BREAKFASTS, LUNCHES, DINNERS & DRINKS: only those meals stated above are included in the price.
POWDER SKIS & POWDER BOARDS: It is highly recommended for maximum enjoyment that you have appropriate skis and snowboards for deep, deep powder.
AVALANCHE SAFETY GEAR: Beacon, shovel and probe etc. If you don't have it you can buy it online here.
- GUIDING: Guiding in-bounds, off-piste or backcountry isn't included in this trip. If you would like to go to Asahidake, you will need a backcountry guide - 10,000 yen
- ADDITIONAL LIFT PASSES - any additional lift passes required beyond the 5 days.
Japan Ski Tours Terms & Conditions
Deposit and Full Payment
- Deposit is 50% of the trip cost
- The remaining balance is due one month before trip departure
- Credit card payments may be made via Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express
- All payments are in Japanese yen
- 30% cancellation fee for cancellations made more then 3 months before the start of your trip
- 50% cancellation fee for cancellations made between 1-3 months before trip departure
- No refund for any cancellations made less than one month before trip departure
Cancellation by Japan Ski Tours
Japan Ski Tours reserve the right to cancel any program due to weather or route conditions. If a tour is canceled before commencing, due to weather or route conditions, then a full refund will be given; however, JST is not responsible for any additional expenses incurred in preparing for the program (i.e., airline tickets, equipment purchase or rental, hotel reservations).