Hokkaido Storm Chaser
Japan Snowboard Tours
Spend a week chasing Winters biggest storms with our expert local guides & pro snowboarders Shinya Nakagawa & Gaku Nagai. Our base for this tour is Asahikawa city where we can access the resorts and backcountry zones in around the Dasetsuzan National Park, including Asahidake, Kurodake, Tokachidake, Kamui and Furano. We’ll have our local guides Shinya Nakagawa and Gaku Nagai leading the way. Shinya and Gaku are not only qualified backcountry guides, they are pro snowboarders who grew up in this region and are some of the most experienced and qualified professionals working in Hokkaido. Shinya and Gaku have a lifetime of experience riding in these areas as well as reading the conditions and terrain. Outside of the riding, we will visit 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.
Our 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.
Here’s what to expect on tour:
- Watch the highlights from our past tours HERE
- You’ll spend 5 days exploring Central Hokkaido’s secret resorts & backcountry zones
- You’ll get to experience snowboarding culture in Hokkaido while travelling with our local Japanese guides.
- 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
Our guide to guest ratio is 1 : 4. 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.
We keep the itinerary flexible so we can ride at the best area as selected by your guides on the day.
Here is a sample itinerary:
January 26, 2020 – Arrival
Welcome to Japan. Make your way to the meeting point at Sapporo Chitose Airport and you will be transferred by bus to your hotel in Asahikawa. Our guides will meet you on check in. After checking into your hotel, you’ll have the afternoon free to explore the surrounding area. That night we’ll host you at a local restaurant bar where you’ll meet your guides who will run you through the tour, weather, equipment and answer any questions you have.
January 27 to 31, 2020 – Storm Chasing
Breakfast early at the hotel. Your guides will assess the weather and snow conditions on a day by day basis and decide on the best and safest areas to ride. Each morning we will drive to the chosen location in our private vans. Once here we will either use a tram or lifts 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 Japan. Our guides are on hand to share their knowledge and insights. We will ride new places each day with our guides, followed by trips to local onsen before returning to our accommodation 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’ turns.
February 1, 2020 – Departure
Breakfast at the hotel, followed by check out at 10:00am. All good things must come to come to an end, and after a big week of riding deep, Japanese powder we will transfer you back to the airport and say goodbye.
On this tour we spend 5 days riding the resorts and backcountry areas in the Daisetsuzan National Park. 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.
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 the tour we will be staying in modern single share ensuite rooms at our hotel, OMO7 Asahikawa. This is a 4 star city hotel with modern amenities. Each day buffet breakfast is included at the hotel.
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.
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 or chairlift 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. 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!
- 5 days of guiding with qualified local backcountry guides and pro-snowboarders, Shinya Nakagawa & Gaku Nagai
- Private transfers daily in comfortable 4WD vehicles
- Scheduled Airport transfers on arrival and departure day from New Chitose Airport to Asahikawa accommodation
- 6 nights single share accommodation at OMO7 Asahikawa
- Breakfast daily at OMO7 Asahikawa
- Mint guide on hand throughout tour