WESTERN HOKKAIDO TOUR
7 nights | 6 days riding
January 09, 2017 to January 16, 2017
$2499 PER PERSON
Resorts: Niseko, Kiroro, Sapporo Kokusai, Otaru Tenguyama, Sapporo Teine, Asarigawa Onsen
This is a powder hunter tour, where we have access to many resorts in the region and make the call on the day where is the best place to ride. The island of Hokkaido is a mecca for powder hungry skiers and snowboarders from all over the world, home to hundreds of resorts and backcountry areas easily accessed from many small cities scattered around the island. The city of Otaru is situated on the coastline of Western Hokkaido and surrounded by numerous mountain ranges. This unique location ensures that cold air coming from Siberia, crosses the Sea of Japan where it picks up moisture and develops into storms that drop epic amounts of cold dry snow on the peaks around Hokkaido. On this tour we use Otaru as our base for day trips to the un-crowded and un-Westernised resorts around the area. Your guide will decide on riding spots each day based on weather and snowfall, as each mountain in the area can have vastly different snowfall and weather conditions, despite being in close proximity to each other. This flexibility ensures that we will find you the best snow and conditions all day, every day!
- 7 nights twin share accommodation with en suite
- Breakfast daily
- 6 day lift passes
- Return airport transfers
- Private transfers to all ski resorts
- Daily private resort guiding with Mint Tours guide
- Daily onsen visits
- Visits to local restaurants
- Access to our demo fleet of 2016/17 Nitro Powder boards
- Hosted & guided by Mint Tours
Hokkaido scores its biggest storms during the months of January and February. Expect cold temperatures and a lot of snowfall. In Otaru, temperatures will range from a mild 0 down to -15 degrees Celsius. On the mountains, temperatures can get down to -25 degrees celsius. These low temperatures earn Hokkaido’s world famous reputation for consistent and dry snow. Most days throughout winter you can expect to be riding powder from the top of your boots to your waist. Even if we don’t get fresh snow overnight, the cold temperatures usually ensure we will be able to still get fresh tracks days after storms. The amount of snow we receive in these months is mind blowing. Kiroro Resort scored almost 8 meters of snow in January and February alone in 2016 – make sure to pack a snorkel!
Day 1 Arrival Day
On arrival at Sapporo Chitose Airport. Your guide will transfer you to your hotel in the seaside port of Otaru. You’ll have the afternoon free to explore the historic town. Time seems to slow down as you meander through the narrow snow covered streets and browse the local markets and canals. In the evening we will regroup for dinner at one of the local Izakaya’s. Being a port town and in such close proximity to the sea, it’s no surprise that Otaru is home to some of the freshest seafood in Hokkaido. We’ll sample some of Hokkaido’s finest produce including urchin, scallops, crab oysters and flounder. Itadakimasu!
Day 2 – 7 Ride Days
Each day will follow a similar format. We’ll rise early for a group breakfast. Your guide will asess the conditions and select a resort to ride at based on weather and snowfall. From our base in Otaru, we have access to many surrounding resorts ranging from the large international resorts, Niseko & Kiroro through to smaller local resorts which are off the tourist trail and home to deep, untracked powder. This flexibility ensures that we will find you the best snow and conditions all day, every day! After breakfast, we’ll load up our vehicle and depart for the day. Travel time ranges from 10 – 40 minutes. Once at the resort we will spend the day exploring the terrain. Your guide is there to make sure you get the most out of your time on snow. Spend the day in the trees, find some pillows to hit or session a drop into a deep powder landing – whatever you want to ride we can find it for you! After riding we will typically visit a traditional Japanese onsen to relax and soothe our muscles. These natural hot springs draw geothermal water from the ground, which contain minerals that are said to be great for sore muscles and the skin. In the evenings we will set out to explore the local area and sample some of the delicious local food. Each day will be unique and exciting. Our flexible itinerary means your tour will feel less like a schedule and more like an adventure!
Day 8 Departure Day
All good things must come to come to an end. After an epic week of riding deep Japanese powder we will transfer you back to Sapporo Chitose Airport and say goodbye.
Otaru is a small city situated on the coast in the Shiribeshi sub-prefecture in northwest Hokkaido. The surrounding area consists of beautiful mountains that descend down into the Sea of Japan, where waves crash onto the snow-lined beaches. Otaru, while a relatively small city, is home to plenty of great restaurants, bars and shopping malls. Being based here for our tour gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a true Japanese cultural experience. Each night we will set out to explore the lit up canal districts and small laneways that are full of restaurants serving the freshest sushi and other local cuisine. The nightlife in Otaru is not your same old ski town pub, but don’t let that scare you off, there are plenty of small bars in which to enjoy a famous local beer, sake or whisky with the locals! Each day we will set out to explore and ride the neighbouring resorts located between 15 to 45 minutes drive away.
Small Group Sizes
We keep our client group size to a maximum of 7 people 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 organising people and more time on snow! Our transport includes vans driven by your guide for the entirety of the tour.
Accommodation for the tour is twin share are we are based at the luxury, 4 star property, Grand Park Otaru. All guests are accommodated in western style twin share rooms with en suite, with views out to the surrounding mountains. Our hotel is centrally located in town and everything you need is a short walk away. Your guide will be staying with you in Otaru and will be on hand to help with anything you need throughout your stay.
Throughout the tour we will spend 6 days riding the resorts around the area. These range from big resorts with world-class infrastructure to smaller local resorts where we will have the slopes to ourselves. Some of the resorts we have to choose from are:
Kiroro Snow World – A large resort with great lift infrastructure and facilities. Kiroro usually gets around the same amount of snow as the world famous Niseko, sometimes more! Kiroro also has some of the best side country terrain in Japan, with gates gaining access to beautiful untracked tree runs and gullies that run back into the resort.
Sapporo Kokusai – Being located close to the ocean means this resort cops the full brunt of the Hokkaido storms. This medium sized resort offers almost 500 vertical meters of great tree runs. A local favourite for the powder hungry skier and boarder!
Otaru Tenguyama – This resort is only a short 10 minute drive from the city centre. The resort has a cable car, which gives us access to this great little local secret! On a clear day this resort has amazing views down onto Otaru city and out to the Sea of Japan, but don’t bank on too many clear days because this place gets regular snow all season.
Sapporo Teine – At over 1000m high this resort earns it’s place on our trip. This resort can get quite busy on weekends due to its close proximity to Sapporo, but usually during the week runs are often un-crowded. The terrain here has some steep trees as well as nice long piste runs.
Asarigawa Onsen – This small local resort tops out at 660m but still has 540 meters of vertical to get some powder turns on! It’s unlikely you will see another foreigner here, this place is a local secret and we love it for it’s empty lift lines and fresh tracks all day!
Niseko United – Most people have heard of Niseko and there’s good reason for that. This North-island powder magnet scores an average of 15 meters of cold dry powder each season. Niseko is a well-developed international ski resort, boasting an enormous amount of terrain and lift infrastructure to match. The village is hands down the best and liveliest in all of Japan with numerous restaurants, bars and shops all within walking distance.
Suitable for intermediate to advanced skiers and snowboarders.
Choose your tour dates:
+ 9 January – 16 January, 2017
+ 17 January – 24 January, 2017 SOLD OUT
If you would like to extend your trip you can always arrive before the tour starts or stay on after the tour commences.
$2,499 AUD per person
Not your currency? Contact us for a quote in your local currency.
To secure your spot we require a $500 deposit with the balance paid 60 days prior to departure. Group numbers are strictly limited. The tour is subject to Mint Tours terms and conditions.