Mint Chicks Hokkaido Backcountry Tour
7 Nights I 6 Days backcountry riding
February 24, 2017 to March 03, 2017
$3299 per person
Asahidake, Kurodake & Tokachidake
Get an introduction into riding backcountry terrain with the Mint Chicks. If you want to take the next step and start riding backcountry terrain then this is the tour for you. We spend 6 days riding hokkaido’s best lift accessed and hike-to backcountry zones. Your backcountry guides are some of the most experienced and qualified professionals working in Hokkaido. Our bilingual guides have a lifetime of experience riding in these areas as well as reading the conditions and terrain. They will be here to support our riders and provide insights into travelling safely in backcountry areas. The terrain out here ranges from big mountain alpine lines to undulating tree riding and expect some of the deepest, lightest and driest powder in the world. 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! This tour is suitable for strong intermediate snowboarders who are comfortable riding powder.
- 6 days Backcountry Guiding with qualified guides
- Private transfers throughout the tour in 4WD vehicles
- 4 nights twin share accommodation, Asahikawa Grand Hotel
- Breakfast daily at Asahikawa Grand Hotel
- 2 nights twin share accommodation, Kamihoroso Ryokan, Tokachidake
- Breakfast daily at Kamihoroso Ryokan
- 2 dinners at Kamihoroso Ryokan
- 2 packed lunches for Tokachidake BC days
- 1 night twin share accommodation Natulux Hotel Furano
- Transfer from Sapporo Chitose Airport to Asahikawa accommodation
- Safety briefings with guides
- Mint Chicks hosting throughout the tour
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.
This tour runs in late February / early March as weather is more favourable for backcountry touring. 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 at the beginning of March when we are more likely to get some breaks between storms. The temperature towards is usually well below 0 and can get down to a bone chilling -20 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 your Mint Chicks 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!
Throughout the tour we stay in twin share accommodation.
4 nights at Grand Hotel Asahikawa
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 Mint Chicks host is 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.
2 nights at Kamihoroso Ryokan, Tokachidake
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!
1 night at Natulux Hotel Furano
Our last night of the tour will be spent in Furano. We’ll be staying in the main town and have lot’s of great local Izakaya’s to choose from and karaoke nearby for anyone who’s game. For anyone wanting to get some more riding in, this is a great opportunity to extend your stay in Furano to further explore this amazing region or you can transfer back to Sapporo Chitose airport.
We take a maximum of 6 women on this tour with a guest to guide ratio of 1:6.
Our backcountry guides for the Mint Chicks Hokkaido Backcountry Tour are some of the most experienced and qualified professionals working in Hokkaido. Our bilingual guides have a lifetime of experience riding in these areas as well as reading the conditions and terrain. They will be here to support our riders and provide insights into travelling safely in backcountry areas. They are on hand throughout the tour to make sure your stay is not only fun but also safe.
Transfer from Sapporo Chitose Airport to our accommodation in Asahikawa. We’ll head out for a group dinner so you can get to know the group and guides.
We spend 4 days with our guides riding lift assisted backcountry terrain in Asahidake & Kurodake. After riding on 28 February we will transfer to our backcountry lodge in Tokachidake, settle in and tuck in to a traditional Japanese meal at the lodge.
We spend 2 days hiking and riding the areas surrounding our lodge in Tokachidake. At the end of each day you’ll be able to relax and rest in the amazing natural onsen. After riding on 2 March, transfer to lodge in Furano. Last night dinner in Furano at a local Izakaya.
This tour is suitable for confident intermediate to advanced riders with good physical fitness and powder riding experience. If you would like to speak to one of our guides about suitability please get in touch – [email protected]
+ We strongly recommend that guests consider bringing a powder board for this tour.
- 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.