HOKKAIDO BACKCOUNTRY TOUR
7 NIGHTS I 6 DAYS RIDING
March 04, 2017 to March 11, 2017
$3299 PER PERSON
Daisetsuzan Range, Tokachidake, Asahidake, Kurodake
This is our premier Backcountry Tour in Japan. If you want to lap tracked out runs from the lifts this probably isn’t for you. If you’re willing to work for some of the best neck deep turns in epic terrain and don’t like sharing with crowds then this tour is made for you! Our backcountry guides are some of the most experienced and qualified professionals working in Hokkaido who have a lifetime of experience riding in these areas as well as reading the conditions and terrain. Join our Central Hokkaido Backcountry Tour and ride some of the deepest, lightest and driest powder in the world. This tour is based in the Daisetsuzan National Park which is 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. Kurodake is home to the longest lift accessed vertical in all of Hokkaido and we will utilise this to access some amazing backcountry lines around this mountain. Asahidake is the tallest mountain in Hokkaido at 2291m and offers the chance to ride down through a live volcano crater. Tokachidake located in the Daisetsuzan National Park, is the highlight of the tour and offers big backcountry high alpine touring (2000 meters) to the volcano crater. Outside of the riding there are authentic onsens throughout the region to give you a great Japanese experience. Being off the beaten track you will also experience real Japanese cuisine and hospitality.
Your tour includes:
- 6 days Backcountry Guiding in Daisetsuzan National Park with qualified guides
- Japanese & English speaking host from Mint Tours, available throughout tour
- 4 nights twin share accommodation, Asahikawa Grand Hotel
- Breakfast daily at Asahikawa Grand Hotel
- 2 nights twin share accommodation at Kamihoroso Ryokan Tokachidake
- Breakfast daily at Kamihoroso Ryokan
- Dinner nightly at Kamihoroso Ryokan
- 2 lunch packs for backcountry days in Tokachidake
- 1 night twin share accommodation at Natulux Hotel Furano
- Return Airport transfers, to/from Sapporo Chitose Airport
- Private transfers throughout the tour in 4WD vehicles
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 backside 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. We spend 2 nights in a mountain lodge near Tokachidake. This place has endless lines right at the doorstep and we can tour from the lodge to all of these areas. 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.
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 lifts are often closed due to big storms, so for this reason we run this tour towards the end of Winter when we are more likely to get some breaks between storms. The temperature towards the end of winter is usually well below 0 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. We will ride new places each day with our guides before returning to our accomodation in Asahikawa or the mountain lodge in Tokachidake. 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!
For our first four nights we will be staying in 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 Japanese speaking Mint host is on hand to help with the tedious task of 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. From Asahikawa we will head to the southern end of the range for 2 nights in a remote backcountry hot-springs pension. This is the highlight of the tour. This traditional pension is surrounded by 3 huge peaks, one of which is the famous Tokachidake, offering huge 700m+ descents. There is also a secret forest hot spring located in the backcountry for those game to brave the elements! Our last night of the tour will be spent in Furano. This is a great opportunity to extend your stay to this amazing resort region or transfer back to Chitose airport.
Below is a sample itinerary for the tour:
Day 1 Arrival Day
Transfer from Sapporo Chitose Airport to our accommodation in Asahikawa.
Day 2 – 5 Asahidake & Kurodake Kurodake is home to the steepest and longest lift accessed vertical in Hokkaido. Asahidake is the tallest mountain in This enormous volcano has a tram way to get us up to around 1600m. From here it’s all leg power to the summit where we’ll ride some enormous alpine lines.
Day 6 – 7 Tokachidake
We spend two nights at our mountain lodge. Tokachi is the highlight of the tour and offers high alpine touring to the volcano crater. We can tour straight from the lodge and this place has endless lines right from our doorstep. At the end of each day we’ll relax in our onsen and enjoy delicious home cooked meals at our lodge.
Day 8 Departure Day
We say goodbye and transfer back to Sapporo Chitose Airport.
This tour is suitable for confident intermediate to advanced riders with good physical fitness and powder riding experience.
- Asahidake Ropeway Single Ride is ¥1,200 per trip ($13 AUD).
- Kurodake (Sounkyo) Ropeway Single ride is approx ¥1,100 per trip ($12 AUD)
$500 deposit per person required to secure booking 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. Backcountry & touring equipment is required for this tour. Please advise us if you’d like require rental equipment.