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Powder Odyssey - Reviews

An Alternative Ski Adventure

James
31/01/2017
  • Would Revisit
  • Would Recommend
  • Age
    51-70
  • Ability
    Expert
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Country
    Canada
  • Month:
    January
We had an excellent time on the Secret Tour by Powder Recon (which covers part of the resorts of the Powder Odyssey Tour resorts), and it delivered as advertised: an abundance of powder conditions both on and off piste, led by a very knowledgeable, capable, and client-focused group of guides. The Bandai area mountains are not huge and the trails not overly difficult, but the terrain is varied and the tree skiing challenging enough for most. Accommodations and food were first rate. I would recommend this trip for those looking for an authentic Japan skiing/boarding experience in a very scenic setting, easily reached by train from Tokyo.

Powder Odyssey Tour - Jan/Feb 2016

Richard Male
13/02/2016
  • Would Revisit
  • Would Recommend
  • Age
    36-50
  • Ability
    Intermediate
  • Rider Type
    Snow Boarder
  • Country
    United Kingdom
  • Month:
    February
This tour was amazing, never riding the same resort twice yet having the guides ensures you make the most out of each resort, never having to worry how or if you can get back on to the piste.
They were all saying this year was the least amount of snow they have had, but with the guides knowledge of each resort we still found POW and fresh tracks.

Powder Recon - impressed!

Katya
25/01/2016
  • Would Revisit
  • Would Recommend
  • Age
    36-50
  • Ability
    Advanced
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Country
    UK
  • Month:
    January
Just returned from a Powder Odyssey tour (January 2016). Extremely impressed. Yes, the snow this year (at least in January) was somewhat lacking - but to me that's when being on tour actually pays off as you can move around to take advantage of the best snow.

We visited the following resorts: Alts Bandai, Geto Kogen, Amihari and Shizukuishi.

Our group of 7 happened to be fairly similar in terms of skiing ability and we all skied together in the mornings, which worked quite well as no-one was holding anyone up. Also given the challenging conditions it was good to have one of the guides at the back, sweeping, especially going through tight trees, where bamboo shoots or minor insufficiently filled gullies provided interesting challenges...

Here are the things we very much liked about the tour:

- professionalism and general attitude of the guides: always going out of their way to help, good group management and judgement, especially on the mountain: choosing routes whilst balancing risk and adventure

- the guides' local knowledge: James clearly knows all of the areas we visited like the back of his hand and so was able to find the elusive stashes of powder or fun tree runs so we could make the best of every day whatever the conditions

- the split of morning guiding / free afternoons

- choice of accommodation - mostly traditional "onsen" hotels with no other westerners in sight, all high quality. Nicely appointed rooms, often in traditional Japanese style. Having an onsen became a major part of après-ski

- eating local food, but with western options for breakfast. Eating out is surprisingly inexpensive

- relaxing transfers, chilling out to great music, whilst James and Tom were doing all the hard work, driving

- banter and laughs with the guides and other members of the group

- performance of our Nordica skis, rented from Powder Recon: brand new and great to ride.

It is a pretty nice way to spend a week, and I fear, quite addictive!

Powder Odyssey Indeed

POWDERHOUNDS
30/05/2014
  • Would Revisit
  • Would Recommend
  • Age
    36-50
  • Ability
    Expert
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Country
    Australia
Deep in Geto Kogen The food was a great experience every night The accommodation was of a high standard Virtually every hotel had a beautiful onsen & hot spring Transport was comfortable & very social There were just endless lines of DEEP UNTRACKED POW
If you are a powder hound who is also looking for great Japanese cultural experiences, this is the tour for you. We headed to the “last frontier” of Japanese skiing, to resorts that were off the beaten track of international skiers and snowboarders, where very little if any English was spoken and cultural immersion was at an all time high, and there were plentiful freshies. Perfect!

Powder
This is up there as some of the best, if not the best skiing we’ve experienced in Japan! We definitely got our fill of powder. They took us to ski resorts where no one else was riding off piste (in part because it’s banned). At most resorts they get special permission to ride off-piste or otherwise the guides know how to do it discreetly. So there were lots and lots of fresh lines. It was very hard to ski at other resorts after this tour!

Hopefully many of our photos we took will give you an idea of how much powder fun we had! The resorts we visited were: Alts Bandai, Inawashiro (x 2 days), Nekoma, Geto Kogen, Hachimantai and Shizukuishi.

Transport
There is a fair bit of driving with this tour (especially if you depart from Myoko) so it was awesome to sit back and relax (and sometimes have a nap) and laugh with our new found buddies, whilst the guides did all the hard work. A couple of the ski resorts seemed like they’d be a nightmare to self-navigate to, so it was great that the guides knew where they were going. The guides also drove us to restaurants a couple of nights and frequently did 7-Eleven stops! All too easy!

Accommodation
The quality of the accommodation was way above expectation, and I don’t know how they offer this tour at such a low price. We got good at re-packing our bags becuase we moved accommodation frequently but the upside was that we got to experience a variety of places. Two western style hotels were on-mountain at a ski resort, two western style hotels were in a city (where it was great to go out), Geto Kogen had simple accommodation, whilst we also spent a couple of nights in a fabulous ryokan (Japanese style) near Inawashiro. The various onsens were also a highlight of the trip.

Restaurants
We also had a variety of amazing dining experiences including hotel buffets, restaurants and izakayas. The guides provided options on some nights, and guests on a budget also had the choice of take-away from the 7-Eleven.

Guides/Staff
The guides were amazing; an abundance of knowledge, charisma, fun and energy, and Bryce’s Japanese language skills made everything super easy such as hotel check-ins, ordering dinner some nights, and sorting out logistics. And impressively the guides were very culturally sensitive.

The guiding was only in the mornings, which was ideal. The guides oriented us and showed us some secret stashes, whilst we had free time in the afternoon to self-explore. We had two guides so they could break into two groups according to speed or skiers/snowboarders depending on the terrain each day. The terrain covered was largely off-piste and a little bit of side-country. We personally wear beacons, shovels, & probes when off-piste in Japan but this was not mandatory for guests or the guides, as they feel they are only riding in areas that are very safe. We'd recommend taking your own gear.

Whilst a couple of guests had reported that Powder Recon seemed a little slow in responding to pre-trip emails, once on the road, they seemed very organized and everything ran very very smoothly.

The guides were very flexible and were only too willing to help guests with all sorts of requests from finding vitamins, to doing beer stops, to picking up and dropping off guests at the station if they were starting or finishing the tour late or early. This was great for the guests with special requests but on a couple of occasions their flexibility impacted on other guests’ experiences.

Fun
This trip seems to attract like-minded skiers and boarders with a sense of fun and adventure, so we had so much fun. The guides were great at gee-ing everyone up to make sure that everyone was having a great time, but this probably wasn’t necessary considering the great group we had and the amazing powder.

We can thoroughly recommend this tour to other powder hounds and we can’t wait to go again!!

Great Tour - One of the Best!

Andrew Henderson
19/05/2014
  • Would Revisit
  • Would Recommend
  • Age
    36-50
  • Ability
    Advanced
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Country
    New Zealand
That's me at Geto Kogen And another epic powder run
God I love this tour. I have had the extreme good fortune to do it twice. Two of the best weeks skiing of my life. This is the sort of stuff you know lurks in Japan, but could never find yourself. Quiet resorts with only a handful of people skiing during the week and heroic amounts of dry Japanese snow to play in. It does not get better than this.

The fields have varied a little between the two trips, depending on the conditions and what sort of skiing/boarding the group wants to do. There is the opportunity to do some ski touring or snowshoeing if you are interested, but there is so much low hanging fruit to pick on this tour, the most effort made is usually a few hucks, or a bit of traversing to get nice lines through the trees.

All of the destinations are perfect. Most of the fun stuff is tree skiing, as it usually is in Honshu, with well spaced trees and good pitches. The guides know all the fields and spend the morning making sure you know where all the secret stashes are.

This company has excellent guides and really cares about their guests. On the field and off, this trip is really well organised and a lot of fun. I skied with excellent people, passionate skiers and boarders, fun to ski with and to socialise with. I have made some good friends from these tours! I will definitely be going again.