Antti Autti Onsen Tour
8 Nights I 6 Days Riding
January 16, 2017 to January 24, 2017
$3499 PER PERSON
Hosted by Finnish Pro Rider Antti Autti
Get off the beaten path and explore Hokkaido’s best backcountry zones, local onsens and culture with Finnish pro rider Antti Autti. He’ll be showing us why this region is one of his favourite places to ride and film and give us tips and insights along the way. Antti has been exploring this region for years and along with our local Japanese guides we’ll be showing you some of Hokkaido’s best kept secret spots. Our main base for this tour is Asahikawa, This city is the second largest in Hokkaido and is not on the usual tourist path. It’s a buzzing lively city with great restaurants, bars and shops and from here we can easily access the Daisetsuzan National Park, home to the tallest and wildest peaks on the island of Hokkaido. The terrain out here ranges from big mountain alpine lines to undulating tree riding, accessed by tramways or from roadside locations. We keep the itinerary flexible so we can find the best conditions and terrain on the day. We’ll have our local guide Shinya Nakagawa leading the way. Shinya is a not only a qualified backcountry guide, he’s also a pro snowboarder who grew up in this region and is one of the most experienced and qualified professionals working in Hokkaido. Shinya has a lifetime of experience riding in these areas as well as reading the conditions and terrain. Outside of the riding we will be visiting authentic onsens throughout the region to give you a local Japanese experience. Being off the beaten track you will also experience real Japanese cuisine and hospitality. Here’s what to expect on Antti’s Onsen Tour:
- See what Antti’s Onsen Tour is all about HERE
- You’ll get to ride with legendary Finnish Pro Rider Antti Autti WATCH HERE
- You’ll spend 4 days exploring Central Hokkaido’s secret backcountry zones
- You’ll get to experience snowboarding culture in Hokkaido while travelling with our local Japanese guides.
- You’ll spend 2 days riding the powder factory’s Niseko & Rusutsu
- You’ll sample many of the local onsen at the end of each day.
Snow & Conditions
January is the best time of year to experience snowboarding in Hokkaido. What you can expect is light dry, deep snow, perfect for riding powder. Temps will be cold, with temperatures ranging from -10 to -25 degrees Celsius. Days will be short, with an average of 6 hours of sunlight per day.
Daily Onsen Vists
At the end of each day we’ll be heading to one of the local onsen (hot springs) to soak in the mineral rich, geothermal waters. For millennia the culture of onsen (hot springs) has been rooted in the Japanese way of life. Hot springs have been cherished not only as a way to gain relief from fatigue, but also as a place to cleanse the body, treat illness, or just to interact with other people.
Small Group Sizes
We keep our group size to a maximum of 8 people for a more personal experience between our guests and guides. This ensures you get the most out of your time with us.
We have limited spots available for this tour.
“If someone asks how would I describe myself I’d say I’m someone who walks his own path. Always have.
I was born and raised in a little town up in Arctic Circle called Rovaniemi. There weren’t that much else to do so I rode at my small local hill all day, every day. I must say that I wasn’t that talented – but I was ambitious. There were tons of better riders than me around, but I was so hooked on riding I just couldn’t get enough of it. It wasn’t long after those endless days paid off and I found myself traveling around the world, and as my friends were still playing their Nintendo’s, I was competing against the best riders. But I didn’t want to be another challenger. Every day, I wanted to ride my snowboard like never before. That passion gave me quite a ride: world championship victories, first European to win at X Games, Olympics – and yet the road was just began.
When I was still in the top of contest circuit I did something that many thought was insane. I followed my heart. Still, I wanted to ride better every day and I felt I wasn’t able to be what I wanted if I kept competing. So I quit doing so and went to backcountry. I told I’m not coming to the Olympics, I go to ride powder.
For a Finnish rider, it was at least an interesting move. Finland isn’t known for producing freeride slayers, and even fever makes it as a pro. But I felt I wasn’t just a stranger in my homeland: only few riders in the world also produces their own films.
And that’s exactly what I did. I wanted to get things done by my own way: I needed to make kind of films that got me stoked when I was young. Films that were filled with passionate riding and amazing soundtrack. And I guess I wasn’t the only one: in 2014, Approach & Attack was Onboard Magazine’s most viewed film.
Still after 15 years, snowboarding is the thing that inspires me every day – and I’m grateful that I’ve found my passion and I get to live it. Keep searching for your own passion, and when you do, never let it go.”
For more info on Antti, check out his site HERE
On this tour we spend 4 days backcountry touring in the Daisetsuzan National Park and 2 days riding in Niseko and Rusutsu. At the end of each day we’ll be heading to one of the local onsen (hot springs) to soak in the mineral rich, geothermal waters. For millennia the culture of onsen (hot springs) has been rooted in the Japanese way of life. Hot springs have been cherished not only as a way to gain relief from fatigue, but also as a place to cleanse the body, treat illness, or just to interact with other people.
The Daisetsuzan National Park
The Daisetsuzan National Park in Central Hokkaido is home to the tallest peaks in all of Hokkaido. It is further inland than most ski resorts in Hokkaido which brings with it colder and dryer conditions, often likened to Alaska. In mid winter the place gets extremely cold and combined with the altitude of 2000m + peaks we are pretty much guaranteed to have great snow every day. Asahidake is the tallest peak in Hokkaido at 2291m. This enormous active volcano has a tram way to get us up to around 1600m. From here it’s all leg power to the summit. From here we can ride the amazing back side for some easy laps of the enormous alpine lines. If conditions permit we will try to ride through the centre of the crater around billowing smoke from the volcano, an amazing experience so unique to this place. Kurodake again has a ropeway to gain some easy vertical and then some of the steepest terrain in all of Hokkaido can be accessed from the top. The rest of the touring days will be local secret spots throughout the range. Our local guide Shinya Nakagawa will make the decision on the day as to where we will ride.
Niseko is located on the western side of Hokkaido, on Japan’s north island. It’s proximity to the ocean means that cold wind blows down from Siberia over the warm currents in the Sea of Japan, forming storms that hit Hokkaido and drop huge amounts of cold blower powder snow. These storms can hang around for days or weeks on end, hence how Niseko earns its powder factory reputation. The surrounding mountains also score huge amounts of snow and are usually much quieter on a powder day, meaning more opportunities for untracked turns.
Rusutsu resort is already on the radar for many powder enthusiasts, but as it’s remained relatively quiet, you can be sure that on a powder day the trees will stay untouched for long enough to tire you out! Your guide will be with you all day to get you the best turns. A local favourite for the powder hungry rider.
Daily Onsen Visits
The entire area is a hotspot for Volcano’s and geothermal activity, so naturally we will be resting our legs in some of the most amazing and unique Hot Springs (Onsens) in all of Japan, some of which are said to have amazing healing powers.
For our first five nights we will be staying in twin share accommodation at the Grand Hotel Asahikawa. This city is the second largest in Hokkaido and is not on the usual tourist path. It’s a buzzing lively city with great restaurants, bars and shops. Your guides are on hand to lead the way and help with ordering food in the local restaurants, a daunting experience for anyone new to Japan! Asahikawa is an ideal location as all of the mountains are a short drive from this city on the fringe of the Daisetsuzan National Park.
For the final three nights of the tour we stay in twin share accommodation at the brand new Always Niseko development just 700m from the closest chairlift. Our comfortable twin share rooms are equipped with 2 single beds and can offer glimpses of Mt Yotei that will have you feeling zen in no time. Each room has a private bathroom with shower and bath tub, TV, storage and free high speed WiFi. This location has some great bars and restaurants around and is a short 5 minute walk to the heart of Grand Hirafu. The ski lifts in Grand Hirafu are within walking distance but your guide will collect you each morning and drive to the chosen ski area for the day.
Daisetsuzan roughly translates to ‘mountains of big snow’; and this is what you should expect. Being the tallest mountains in Hokkaido this place is pretty exposed to the weather. This can mean that ropeways and lifts can close down during big storms, but as this is a touring trip we will always be able to find somewhere sheltered to ride when everyone else is stuck in the lodge! The actual snowfall statistics aren’t measured in this area, there is no need. This place get’s hit with some of the biggest storms in Japan so lack of snow is generally not something to ever be worried about. The snow quality can vary due to the huge altitude. The tops of these mountains are home to the driest and best quality snow in all of Japan, if not the whole world. It does get extremely cold out here in mid-winter and the temperature is usually well below -10 and can get down to a bone chilling -30 celsius, so layer up!
We will assess the weather and snow conditions on a day by day basis. Our guides will make a call on the best and safest areas to ride each morning and we will drive out the the chosen location in our private vans. Once here we will either use a tram way to gain some vertical or just start touring from a chosen roadside spot. The vast amount of terrain, cold temperatures and consistent storms provide some of the most reliable snow conditions in all of the world. You’ll get to watch Antti pick the best lines and get the unique experience of not only riding with him, he’s also on hand to share his knowledge and insights. We will ride new places each day with our guides, followed by trips to local onsen before returning to our accomodation in Asahikawa. Each night our local host will take you out to some traditional restaurants and bars to immerse yourself in the amazing culture and share a few stories about the days epic turns!
Arrive at Sapporo Chitose Airport and transfer to our accommodation in Asahikawa. In the evening we’ll head out for a group dinner so you can get to know the group and guides and find out what’s in store for the tour.
After 4 big days of hiking and riding, we can rest the legs and recharge as we drive from Asahikawa to Niseko. We check in to our accommodation in Niseko and head out for a group dinner.
You’ll spend 2 days riding in Niseko and Rusutsu with our guides. In the evenings you’ll head out for dinner and a few well earned beers at one of our favourite local Izakaya’s.
We say goodbye and transfer you back to Sapporo Chitose Airport.
- This tour is hosted by Antti Autti & Mint Tours
- 4 fully guided backcountry days with Antti Autti and Shinya Nakagawa
- 2 fully guided days in Niseko & Rusutsu
- Daily private transfers
- Return Airport transfers
- 2 days lift ticket, Niseko & Rusutsu
- 5 nights twin share accommodation, Asahikawa Grand
- 3 nights twin share accommodation, Always Niseko
- Breakfast daily in Asahikawa
- Access to powder boards from Nitro Snowboards
- Asahidake Ropeway Single Ride is ¥1,200 per trip ($13 AUD).
- Kurodake (Sounkyo) Ropeway Single ride is approx ¥1,100 per trip ($12 AUD)
This tour is suitable for confident advanced snowboarders with good physical fitness and powder riding experience.
To secure your spot on the tour please contact us. We require a $500 deposit per person with balance payable 60 days prior to departure. All bookings are subject to Mint Tours terms and conditions and subject to availability at time of booking.
For bookings contact us
Phone 1300 205 609
Email [email protected]