Guided Ski Touring in Japan
Join Mark Klassen for a guided powder skiing or snowboarding adventure to the legendary deep snow and mystical forests of Japan. I have seven years experience skiing in Japan, exploring areas like Niseko and Furano on Hokkaido but in 2020 we are returning to Hakuba. This is my favourite area to tour in Japan! You can join this trip right now or get more detailed logistical information here. Or contact me if you would like to discuss further.
We will spend a week exploring all the best touring and off piste zones. Some days we will access the backcountry with lifts in the morning and on others we will tour from the road.
Japan is well known for its incredible snow and fantastic terrain but to top this all off we base in the incredible Motoi Lodge, situated in a secluded forest near the base of Tsugaike ski area. The Motoi is one of the all-time favourite accommodations for all my guests, and I consider it one of the premier ski lodges anywhere.
I have never seen it snow anywhere like I have seen in Japan. The snow is incredible, once a northerly flow sets up across the Sea of Japan we can expect cold powder dumps of 5-50 cm a day for days on end! My first night ever in Japan it snowed 65 cm in town overnight!
In between these systems you can get clear weather, which would allow us to travel further afield and to higher elevations. We can also get a (usually) shorter-lived warm system where the snow is denser but still good skiing. This warm system often precedes the colder snow, which sets up well for more stable avalanche conditions.
The terrain in Hakuba is the best I have seen in Japan. The defining feature here is the forest. It is truly special to experience skiing through the buna and dake-kamba trees. There is also open alpine terrain at higher elevations that give big, steep runs. Some of our trips will start at one of the various ski areas with a ride up the lifts and we start our tour from top. The last run may be down the piste. We will also tour straight from from the roadside.
Expect trips that involve an average of 1200 m elevation gain over the day and 6-8 hours in duration. This may include several shorter runs or one long one.
Motoi Lodge is in a quiet forest near the Tsugaike ski area, about 15 minutes drive from Hakuba. It is run by Hajime Kobayashi and his family. The Motoi is a small, traditional, family-run inn. It is intimate, cosy and serves an outstanding menu.
It has a similar vibe to a backcountry lodge in BC. Breakfasts and dinners are at the lodge and are included in the price. The food is an outstanding blend of traditional and modern Japanese cuisine prepared by “O-Kamisan”, who was trained in France.
THE NITTY GRITTY
You need to have done some previous ski touring or split boarding and be able to ride powder in the trees. If you have backcountry touring experience and are comfortable with a black diamond run at a ski hill then you will enjoy this trip!
An all-inclusive 7-day powder ski touring / split boarding trip to Hakuba, Japan.
January 16-22, 2020 (Japan Time)
Hakuba is on the island of Honshu. It is a 3 to 5 hour journey from Tokyo via train, bus, or airport shuttle.
Transport once you arrive in Hakuba