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Backcountry Touring Day Trips - Reviews

Amazing Guides!

Sandra Woodbury
06/03/2018
  • Would Revisit
  • Would Recommend
  • Age
    18-35
  • Ability
    Expert
  • Rider Type
    Telemarket
  • Month:
    February
Ben was our guide and made sure we had an incredible time and got fresh tracks in spite of there being no new snow. He was extremely knowledgeable, helpful and his enthusiasm was infectious.

We could not have asked for a better company or guide to ski with! Thank you Ben and Rising Sun Guides for the trip of a lifetime!!

Niseko Touring

Simon Williams
20/02/2017
  • Would Revisit
  • Would Recommend
  • Age
    36-50
  • Ability
    Advanced
  • Rider Type
    Alpine Skier
  • Month:
    February
Not sure where to start on for my review. Put simply I'd have to say there was a big mismatch between the service experience I was expecting and that which I received. I had been searching for, and had thought I had found a mountain ski tour around Niseko. My main goal was to learn the location of good off-piste runs near the start of my holiday with the safety, knowledge and security of a professional tour guide so that I could at least consider those runs during the rest of my holiday.

Had I known this was taking place in a different resort. And more importantly that there was no potential for breaks or lunch I would not have taken it. As a skier on their 2nd day in 5 years - some breaks/food/drink were essential. The guide was very much in a rush/panic all day - Im not sure why because we had left on time? This may be due because there was a big queue at the first lift. So much so that he chose to ’skip’ taking the lift - and skin up the whole way instead. It’s worth pointing out that the cost for skipping the lift was NOT returned to us.

As I had reported prior to the event I had zero uphill experience. I was alongside experienced tourers and as a result I fell behind. My lack of experience and perhaps bad uphill technique lead to fatigue and later exhaustion.

For full disclosure I should say that I had suffered an ankle sprain prior to ski holiday, but I honestly do not feel that was the a significant factor in the tiredness. Since it’s relevant here I should say whilst it’s hard to evaluate one’s own level of fitness (depends who you compare yourself too), I took my fitness level seriously before the event. I was racing 10km on Sat mornings followed later the same day by 2 hours of squash. Plus another 4 hours of squash, 2 hours of Ski Fit (app fitness programme), and 2-3 hours of jogging each week for several months prior to the event. 

I requested on 3 separate occasions to the guide to do one run without me, where they skinned back up to the same location. This would have been a safe option and give me the break that I needed. That request was denied on every occasion - and could have easily been accommodated. As a result I became ever more exhausted, to dangerous levels. As a previous ski guide myself (on-piste, not touring) I think this was dangerous and reckless. And is not something I'd ever allow to happen, nor would my employers have allowed it either.

Whilst the guide was a pleasant enough socially, and I should say he offered and did carry my back pack at one stage to aid me - I feel I have to point out the short-falls listed above. Whilst I realise there is a commercial incentive to accept everyone into each event, you’ll either need to do a better job of ensuring participants are of a similar level (for example perhaps you should only be accepting those with prior uphill experience, or have a telephone interview before allowing them in), or ensuring that the safety needs of ALL those attend are delivered.

Editor's Note: It appears there was a significant mismatch between Simon's expectations and what was outlined regarding the tour on Powderhounds and via the multiple emails between Simon and the operator. The following is comments from the operator, some of which are based on discussions with the guide and other guests.

"We`re really sorry to hear about the difference between expectations and this guest`s experience. We are however surprised as this trip was sold as a backcountry ski tour from the beginning and throughout the booking process we made it clear that we would be earning our turns by hiking all day. We were also clear that we would not be skiing on chair lifts at any time and that lift tickets would not be required. As such we didn`t charge for lift tickets. Accordingly there were no tickets to refund. With regards to the request to sit out for a lap. Unfortunately this isn`t an option when backcountry skiing; particularly on cold snowy days. It sounds like a great idea at first however in the winter it takes little more than a few minutes to go from hot and sweaty to freezing cold. This is not a good situation for a tired person and something we cannot allow to happen. The only choice in these situations is to evaluate if another lap is possible for the whole group or for the whole group to call it a day. Our certified ski guide encouraged this guest and determined that he was up to the challenge. Again we are really sorry that this experience did not live up to expectations however we do feel that the details of the trip were effectively communicated and that our priority of safety was maintained throughout the day."