Good Times Japan Tour
8 Days I 6 Days Riding
February 11, 2019 to February 18, 2019
AUD $2490 PER PERSON
Japan Snowboard Tours
Ride with Antti Jussila, Eero Ettala & Heikki Sorsa
Join Mint and Nitro Snowboards in Japan for a week-long tour, riding pow with some of the biggest legends in snowboarding – Eero Ettala, Heikki Sorsa, Antti Jussila and friends. We’re headed to Aizu, located in Southern Tohoku. This area is a powder magnet, and scores bucket loads of light dry snow, and most importantly, no crowds. The resorts in Aizu are a playground for snowboarders (and good times!); It’s home to some of the best freeride terrain in the region, has perfect groomers for laying high speed carves, progressive parks with loads of features and has a cat ski operation to access the backcountry. Combine this with luxury accommodation, great dining and drinking options and very little western influence and you’ve got one epic destination!
All Inclusive Tour
We’ve included everything so you can focus on just one thing, Good Times! Apart from getting to ride every day with the pro’s and our Mint Tours guides, we’ve included luxury accommodation, buffet breakfasts and buffet dinners, a photographer on hand to capture all the action, all lift tickets, bus transfers, day trips to nearby resorts, movie nights, demo sessions, access to the latest powder shapes from Nitro Snowboards and we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve to keep the stoke going, all week long.
Snow & Conditions
This tour is running at the peak of the snow season in Aizu. What you can expect on this tour is cold temperatures and deep powder. Most days you can expect to ride powder that’s anywhere from boot to waist deep. Even if we don’t get fresh snow overnight, the cold temperatures and our local knowledge will ensure you’ll be able to ride light dry snow days after a storm.
Photographer on Hand
Throughout the tour you’ve got our in-house professional photographer on hand, capturing all the action. At the end of the tour, you’ll get to download a photo package with all your shots from the trip. For our final night on tour we always run a photo session where you’ll get to see who scored the best turns, best drops and the biggest bails!
Supported by Nitro Snowboards
The Good Times Japan Tour is supported by our good friends at Nitro Snowboards. Throughout the tour you’ve got access to our fleet of powder boards from Nitro. You’ll get to test ride the latest powder shapes from the Nitro range.
We’ve got loads in store for the week and each day will be unique. Each day you’ll ride with our guides and the pro’s. You’ll get to ride Alts Bandai, Nekoma and Grandeco resorts as well as a few local secret spots. Our guides are on hand from first to last chair and they have just one focus – Good Times! You can spend your days freeriding with the pro’s, lap the park and learn a few tricks, or just join in for some hot laps all over the hill with our guides.
After riding, you’ve got access to our Good Times bar where you can catch up with the other campers and guides. Each night we’ve included buffet dinners where you can load up on all the Japanese and Western food you can handle and wash it down with a few ice-cold Asahi’s. We’ll also have movie nights, tech sessions and plenty of time to catch up with the pro’s. Sound like a Good Time? Yeah, we know. Grab your buddies or come solo, just make sure you don’t miss out on this epic trip!
When we are on mountain, we typically keep our group size to a maximum of 6 people per guide for a more personal experience between our guests and guides. This ensures you get the most out of your time with us, and keeping the groups small means less time waiting and more time riding powder!
Throughout the tour you’ll stay at the luxury Urabandai Lake Resort. Our comfortable twin share rooms are equipped with 2 single beds, have great heating, private ensuite bathroom, TV, and free WiFi. You’ve got access to the onsen (hot spring) and all the hotel facilities including shops, bar with pool table and darts, and drying room. Also included are buffet breakfasts and dinners at the hotel. For any guests wanting some extra space, we have single share rooms available at an additional cost.
Optional Cat Ski Day
If you ever wanted to experience cat skiing/boarding in Japan, we have an optional cat ski session available. You don’t have to compete for fresh lines here, we have exclusive access to the cat-ski zone, with the snowcat’s to shuttle us to the top after each run. We’ll have our photographer on-hand to capture all the action. There is terrain to suit every level of rider, from wide open powder fields, to tight trees.
Your Tour Includes
- 7 nights twin share ensuite accommodation, Urabandai Lake Resort
- 6 days lift tickets
- 7 Buffet Dinners at Urabandai Lake Resort
- 7 Buffet Breakfasts at Urabandai Lake Resort
- 6 days on-snow guiding
- 6 days riding with pro’s & guides
- Photographer on hand to capture all the action
- Photo package available for download at end of tour
- Hosting throughout the tour by English & Japanese speaking guides
- Arrival transfer – Koriyama Station to Urabandai Lake Resort (one way)
- Departure transfer – Urabandai Lake Resort to Koriyama Station (one way)
- Daily Resort transfers – Urabandai Lake Resort to Alts Bandai, Nekoma & Grandeco (return)
- Access to our fleet of powder shapes from Nitro Snowboards
- Giveaways from Nitro Snowboards & Mint Tours.
11 February, 2019 – Arrival
Welcome to Japan! Make your way to Koriyama Station on the bullet train. This trip takes 1.5 hours from Tokyo. On arrival at Koriyama Station make your way to our meeting point to meet the guides and other guests. We will load up your gear in our transport and then drive to our hotel – Urabandai Lake Resort. Upon arrival, our guides will check you in to your accommodation and then you have free time to get settled. At 6:00pm we will regroup and have a welcome and information session. You’ll get to meet the pro’s and our guides are on hand to run you through the plan for the week and answer any questions you may have. After our welcome session, we’ll head to dinner and get stuck in to an amazing Japanese buffet. Relax with the group and have a few drinks before turning in for the night.
12 February, 2019 – Warm-up Day
Enjoy the breakfast buffet at the hotel and then gear up for a full day riding. Meet your guides in the lobby and we’ll make the short drive to Nekoma. We’ll aim to be on-mountain at 9:00am so we can get the first chair and fresh tracks.Nekoma is one of our favourite freeride resorts in the area with great tree riding. It also gets some serious snowfall thanks to its north facing aspect, so it’s the first place to head to on a powder day. Your guides will run a safety briefing before we get on snow and are on hand to show you around the resort areas. We’ll spend a full day on mountain, ride the trees and hunt out some powder stashes. We’ll finish riding at 3:00pm and then head back to the hotel.
After an awesome first day, enjoy some free time and explore the hotel. You can head to the onsen so you can rest the legs, get a massage or catch up with the other guests for some après drinks. In the evening, meet up with the group for a hearty buffet dinner at our hotel. After dinner, the pro riders will be hosting a movie night. Have a few drinks and watch these legends do what they do best.
13 & 14 February, 2019 – Alts Bandai
Enjoy the breakfast buffet at the hotel and then gear up for riding. Meet your guides in the lobby at 8:00am. Today we head to Alts Bandai. This resort has one of the biggest rideable areas in Southern Tohoku. This resort is modern but definitely not westernised. The lack of westerners means that on weekdays the resorts are virtually empty, and when it snows, there is opportunity for freshies all day long. ‘Alts’ also has one of the most progressive terrain parks in Asia, and was home to the Nippon Burton Open for many years so management understands snowboarding and still maintains one of the best terrain parks in Japan. Each day we will ride to the conditions. If it’s nuking snow (which it’s likely to be!) you’ll want to head into the tree’s for bottomless pow laps. If you’re not ready for the trees, there is wide-open, un-groomed areas to explore. If you’d prefer to stick to the piste, then that’s okay too, Alts has some of the longest, perfectly pitched, groomers that are perfect for carving. They also have an innovative park setup with plenty of jumps, banks, rails and boxes to suit every level of rider. Each day we will mix it up between park sessions, freeriding, riding powder in the trees or getting as low as possible doing team carving laps. Each day you will ride in a no-pressure, fun environment with a great crew. There’s something for everyone on this trip and we want to focus on bringing the Good Times. After riding, you’ve got free time to relax. In the evening, you’ve got a great buffet dinner included at the hotel, then meet the crew to catch up on the day.
15 February, 2019 – Grandeco
Enjoy the breakfast buffet at the hotel and then gear up for a day trip. Meet your guides in the hotel lobby, and get ready for a day trip to one of the nearby resorts, Grandeco. What you can expect here is powder and loads of it. At first glance this resort looks small, but what we’re most interested in here is just off the main runs. There is great fall line tree riding to be had with easy access back to the chairlift. Enjoy the pow laps with the pro’s and guides. Our photographer is on hand to capture all the face shots. After a long day riding pow we’ll head back to the hotel, and then hit the onsen to rest the legs. Join is for dinner and a few hard-earned Asahi’s and some great local food. For anyone wanting to kick on, join us in the Good Times bar to catch up on all the action from the day.
16 February, 2019 – Nekoma / Optional Cat Ski Day
Enjoy the breakfast buffet at the hotel and then gear up for riding.
If you have pre-booked the optional Cat Ski Day, you will be picked up after breakfast and you will make the drive to the staging area. On arrival at the area, our guides will brief us about our resort and location, provide us with safety info about the area and safe operation of the snowcat’s so we’re ready for the day. For anyone wanting to get a few warm up runs, in-resort, there will be plenty of opportunity to do so. We’ll make our approach to the cat ski zone with snowmobile & snowcat. We’ll then divide into smaller groups and spend the morning riding powder with our guides. Your guides are on-hand to provide advice and instruction. After each descent, we’ll load back into the cat and ride back up to the drop off zone. When it’s lunch time, it’s time to get out of the elements and escape the cold. We’ll make our descent from the cat ski zone, back through the resort and in to the mountain cafe at the resort base. Tuck into some hearty and delicious local foods. In the afternoon we’ll head out for another guided session in-resort and explore plenty more lines.
For anyone opting to ride at Nekoma, meet your guides in the lobby and we’ll make the short 15 minute drive to the resort. We’ll aim to be on mountain by 9:00am. Be sure to follow your guides as they know the best places to ride and find deep powder stashes. You’ll spend a full day on-mountain.
After riding, head back to the hotel. We’ll finish the day in the outdoor onsen and then have an amazing traditional Japanese dinner with local delicacies, washed down with a few more ice-cold Asahi’s and a local sampler of sake’s.
17 February, 2019 – Alts Bandai or Nekoma Resort
Enjoy the breakfast buffet at the hotel and then gear up for another day trip. Meet your guides in the hotel lobby, and get ready to head back into the trees at either Alts Bandai or Nekoma Resorts. In the morning we’ll head out for some hot laps on the hill or explore deeper into the trees. We’ll break for lunch on the mountain and then head to the park. Today the pro’s are going to run a demo session. If you want to learn to lap the park like the pro’s, then join the crew for an afternoon of jumps, hits, hand plants and epic bails, of course all the action will be captured by our photographer so you can relive it later. In the evening enjoy a buffet dinner and then it’s time to head to the Good Times Bar. Join your guides and photographer for a photo session to re-cap on the week that was. You’ll get to see the weeks biggest pow turns and best sprays on the big screen. It’s the perfect ender to a week riding pow and park in Aizu.
18 February, 2019 – Depart
All good things must come to come to an end, and after an epic week riding deep, Japanese powder we will transfer you back to Koriyama Station and say goodbye.
Born and raised in Finland, Eero first popped up on the international snowboarding scene in 2005. Since then he has been proving that he’s not only a jack of all trades when it comes to riding a snowboard; he’s a master. With a career boasting 25 magazine cover shots, 2 x Snowboard Magazine video parts of the year, too many podium results around the world to list and the inventor of the Double Backside Rodeo 1080 it’s not difficult to see how so much hype surrounds this man who simply loves snowboarding and having a good time. Eero recently released his own movie ‘Ender’ in 2016 which goes through the past 10 years of his career and documents how good this guy actually is. Eero is no stranger to riding deep powder in Japan as can be seen in his ‘Cooking with gas’ web series.
Another Finnish legend, Heikki has to be one of the most influential snowboarders in history. From dropping some of the heaviest video parts to competing in X-Games and Winter Olympics in halfpipe, Heikki has definitely earned his place among snowboarding royalty. Heikki has multiple video parts from Japan and is no stranger to ripping turns in the pow and showing crew a damn good time while doing it. There aren’t many guys who go as big as Heikki, so join him for a few laps around the hill and you will soon see what we mean!
We couldn’t be more stoked to have Antti join us again for Camp Good Times. Antti has grown up surrounded by the snow and steel of Finland, and brick and whatever else he decides to shred each season. Antti’s first trip to Japan was for Camp Good Times 2017, and it’s safe to say he’s hooked on riding Japanese powder and immersing himself in the local culture. Whether he’s riding the streets of Finland or taking it to the backcountry in Japan, he’s a natural. Check out his killer part in the opener for Method Movie HERE
Our Mint Tours Guides & Coaches
Our coaches are qualified trainers and have worked at some of the biggest international camps like; High Cascade, Windells, Snow Park NZ and The Camp Whistler. Each day we ride in small groups to make sure you get the most out of your time riding with our pro-riders, coaches and guides.
Each day will be different, but here is roughly what you can look forward to:
7:30am – Team Breakfast
Meet in the restaurant for a hearty buffet breakfast. Your guides and pro riders will develop a plan that best suites each days snow and weather conditions. After you’ve got enough breakfast get your gear on and get ready to depart.
9:00am – Morning Session
We’ll aim to leave the hotel at 8:30, so we can be at the resort by 9:00am. Each morning we will head out with our guides and pro riders. Each day we ride to the conditions. If it’s dumping snow (which it’s likely to be) follow your guides into the trees for some pow laps. There’s something for everyone on this trip and we want to focus on bringing the Good Times. This isn’t like going to class for snowboard lessons, this is riding in a no-pressure, fun environment with a great crew.
12:30pm – Lunch
Each day we will aim to meet up for lunch on mountain. Dine on some authentic Japanese food and use this time to talk to the guides and pro riders about new tricks and tips for your riding.
1:00pm – Afternoon Session
This is where the good times really kick in. Use all the new tips and tricks from the morning and put them into play. Lap the park with the pro riders, get into a few more powder stashes, or head out with our photographer to session a feature, it’s completely up to you.
3:00pm – Depart the Resort
Each afternoon we’ll depart the resort at 3:00pm and make the short trip back to Urabandai Lake Resort. When we get back it’s time to relax.
5:00pm – Apres & Nightlife
After a long day of shredding on the hill catch up with the crew at the bar to discuss important matters such as the best turn you had that day, how low your carves are getting or who won the prestigious award of best bail of the day. After these matters have been sorted we will head for dinner at the buffet and let the Good Times continue into the night! It’s a great chance to get involved in the local Japanese customs of Karaoke and Sake!
We define Good Times as, but not limited to:
Snowboarding with mates, new & old, Hi-5’s, Hand plants, Jump line trains, Team chairlift laps, Shredding pow, Partying with a good crew, Landing your first method, Top to bottom Euro Carve laps, Getting stoked with legends
We could go on forever, but we think you get the point. Let the Good Times roll…
As part of the tour we have included private bus transfers from Koriyama to Appi Resort. On arrival day your guides will meet you at Koriyama Station and transfer you to our hotel. We request that all guests meet at Koriyama Station at 3:00pm.
The easiest way to travel to Koriyama Station is on the Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo. There is a direct train from Tokyo Station and the trip takes 1.5 hours.
Your professional guides have an in-depth knowledge of the local area, terrain and conditions. You can be assured we will always find you the best snow conditions available. Our goal is to get everybody on tour enjoying themselves and pushing your riding in a relaxed and fun environment.
Small Group Numbers
Our guest to guide ratio is 6 : 1. We like to keep our group sizes small so you can get the most out of your time with us. There’s nothing worse than riding with a large group, especially on a powder day! We have our guides on-snow every day. At night we’ll have our hosts on hand to show you around the local area. With our small groups, you’ll feel like part of the Mint crew and not just another face in the crowd.
If you’re travelling solo you won’t be alone. In fact our tour is perfect for solo travellers, we just match you up with someone to room with for the entire time. Not only are our guides with you on-mountain during the day, they keep the stoke going well into the night, so you’ll always have people to socialise with and places to go.