MINT CHICKS JAPAN
7 Nights I 6 Days Coaching
January 19, 2018 to January 26, 2018
$2499 PER PERSON
Aomori Spring Resort – Northern Honshu
Want to improve your riding in the snowiest place on earth! Our Mint Chicks Progression Tour allows women of all ages to improve their snowboarding in a down to earth and supportive environment. Perfect for intermediate snowboarders who want to learn how to ride powder and improve their technique. Our home base is magnificently located at Aomori Spring Resort, on the northern tip of Honshu, the main island in Japan. This area is famous not only for its’ impressive scenery, but also for the colossal amounts of light, dry powder snow that it scores each season. We conduct our snowboarding sessions on the uncrowded slopes, which are perfect for progression. In no time you’ll be floating surfy turns through the powder and in the perfectly spaced trees. Along the way you’ll be hosted by our qualified coaches. Our Mint Chicks crew have years of experience in making sure you achieve your goals and are on-hand to help out, every step of the way.
During our coaching sessions we typically keep our group size to a maximum of 6 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 waiting and more time riding powder!
SNOW & CONDITIONS
Aomori scores it’s biggest snowfall during January. 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.
We make sure all our guests stay in quality accommodation that’s in the best location. Throughout the tour you’ll stay in ski-in/ski-out, luxury accommodation at the Rockwood Hotel & Spa. Our comfortable twin share rooms are equipped with 2 single beds and offer glimpses of Mt Iwaki or the Sea of Japan, that will have you feeling zen in no time. Each room has a great heating, private ensuite bathroom, TV, and free WiFi. Buffet breakfasts and dinners are included.
UNLIMITED ACCESS TO POWDER BOARDS
To help you float in the deep Japanese powder, all our Mint Chicks guests receive access to our fleet of powder boards from Nitro Snowboards. You’ll get to ride the latest powder shapes from the Nitro 2018/19 range, including their female specific boards, The Women’s Slash, the Treehugger and the Sweetleaf.
A TYPICAL DAY
Mornings Each morning we’ll have breakfast at the hotel which consists of a wide selection of western and Japanese foods including eggs, bacon, breads, rice, fresh fruits, cereal, yoghurt, miso, soups and salads. You won’t go hungry! To prepare for the day ahead, hit the onsen in the morning, do some stretching and then it’s time to gear up and head out onto the snow. If you want test out one of our powder boards, ask one of our friendly guides to help you set up the board. Before we head out on snow, your coach will complete a gear check, and run through the plan for the day. Our hotel is impressively located just steps from the gondola and chairlift, so walk out the door, strap in and your set to go.
Morning Coaching Sessions Each morning we’ll have a dedicated coaching session where you’ll work on individual goals. Our morning coaching sessions typically run from when the lifts open at 9am until midday. Your Mint Chicks coach is on-hand the whole session to give you feedback, encouragement and of course to make it fun. No matter what you want to work on, your coach will be able to provide you with the tools to take your snowboarding to the next level!
Lunch After our morning session is complete, we’ll break for lunch on mountain at one of the café’s. Enjoy a bowl of hot ramen, or head to the rider’s café for some American food. Take the opportunity to warm up and work out what you’d like to focus on for the afternoon.
Afternoon Coaching Sessions Snowboarding in deep powder can be hard work, so each afternoon you can choose what you’d like to do. If you’re keen to pick-up where your last coaching session left off, no problem. Join our afternoon coaching session. Your coach is on-hand to give you more feedback and set new goals. If you’d prefer to go freeriding with your new skills and new shred-buddies, feel free to head off on your own, or even hit the Aomori Springs park, which is always fun with small jumps and easy ride-on features. If it’s nuking snow at night, join us for a ‘nighta’, where you can cruise the powder covered groomed runs until 9pm, under floodlights.
Evenings After a long day riding deep Japan powder, there is no better way to warm up and soothe the muscles than to hit the onsen. Our hotel has a beautiful indoor and outdoor onsen with natural geothermal water from deep within Mt Iwaki. Relax and revive, while taking in the snowy views all the way out to the Sea of Japan. There is also a day spa where you can get a massage, or if you still have energy to burn, you can hit the gym. Each evening, catch up with the ladies and other Mint Tours guests and guides at the hotel bar. Grab a hot drink or something stronger and catch up on the days’ happenings. Each night we have a buffet dinner included at the hotel. You’ll be able to sample some of the freshest seasonal produce from the Aomori region, plus there is a great selection of international dishes, with over 40 items to choose from. Round off your meal with a trio of sake samplers from the local area. For anyone wanting to kick on, join the other guests and guides in the bar for some after dinner drinks and fun, or if you’re game we can break out the Karaoke.
Arrival Day – January 19, 2018
Welcome to Japan! Make your way to the Aomori Airport or Aomori Shinkansen Station where we’ll arrange your transfers to the resort. Once you arrive, your guides will be on hand to check you in to our hotel and make sure you are settled in and feeling at home. In the afternoon we’ll hold a welcome session where we’ll go over the plan for the week and you have the opportunity to ask any questions. In the evening we’ll bring the group together for dinner at the hotel. It’s a great opportunity to get to know the other ladies as well as your coach and host.
Warm-up Day – January 20, 2018
We start the day with hearty and healthy breakfast at our hotel. Then it’s time to get your gear together and meet your coach for your first day on-snow. Your coach will do a gear check in the morning to ensure that everyone is prepared for the day ahead. We’ll make the short walk to the closest chairlift and kick off our first session. Our first morning on snow is very relaxed and everybody is encouraged to ride at their own pace. The morning coaching session is all about warming up and getting used to the conditions and terrain. The warm up session is also a good opportunity to work out your riding goals for the trip. After our morning session we’ll break for lunch and head to one of our favourite mountain restaurants. After everyone has refuelled and warmed up, we’ll head out for our afternoon session. We’ll explore another part of the resort and your coach will be on-hand to give you encouragement, tips and feedback along the way. After riding, head back to the hotel and you’ll have free time until dinner. In the evening we’ll head out for a group dinner at the hotel
Coaching Days – January 21 – 25, 2018
Each day will follow a similar format starting with an early breakfast at the hotel. Your coach will meet you each morning and we’ll aim for a 9am start. Your coach will tailor the session to suit group and individual needs. After our morning session, we’ll break for lunch on mountain and then it’s up to you what you’d like to do in the afternoon. You can join the afternoon coaching session where you’ll get to explore more of the resort or you can take the opportunity to relax and rest the legs and head back to the hotel. After riding, you’ve got your afternoons free to relax. Back at the hotel we’ve got a communal chill out area where you can kick back and chat with the others. In the evening we’ll have a group dinner. The food in Aomori is amazing with lots of local produce on offer. There is a small bar for anyone wanting to finish off the day with a few cocktails and maybe some karaoke.
Departure Day – January 26, 2018
We say goodbye, high fives all round after an epic week of riding. Everyone will travel back to Aomori Shinkansen Station for our farewell, with a few new tricks in their bag as well as a bunch of new snowboarding friends.
Your tour includes:
- 7 nights twin share accommodation with ensuite
- Daily buffet breakfasts
- Daily buffet dinners
- 6 day lift ticket
- 6 days coaching with our qualified coaches
- Free access to powder boards from Nitro Snowboards
- Board setup, and tech sessions
- Return scheduled bus transfers from Shin-Aomori Station to Aomori Springs Resort
Our accommodation for the tour is the Rockwood Hotel & Spa, which is the only ski-in/ski-out property at Aomori Springs Resort. This 4 star hotel is located at the base of Mt Iwaki and each room has amazing views to the mountain or to the Sea of Japan. The modern and comfortable, twin share rooms come equipped with 2 single beds, a couch and sitting area, TV, free Wi-Fi, Yukata (robe) and ensuite bathroom. The Rockwood Hotel & Spa hotel has 2 restaurants, a hotel bar which serves drinks and snacks, a small convenience store, indoor and outdoor onsen facility, day spa, drying room, theatre room, karaoke room, gym and rentals. As part of your tour package, buffet breakfast and dinner is included.
As part of the tour, all guests receive 6 days of professional snowboard coaching with our qualified Mint Chicks coach, Rachel Newton. Rachel is on-snow all day with the group, and is on-hand to make the progression fun and to provide individual feedback. We will ride to the conditions, and change the plan and pace to suit. We typically keep our group size to 6 ladies per coach, so you can get the most out of the sessions and progress at your own pace. All our lessons are conducted on terrain suitable for progression.
Our Coaches & Guides
Our supportive coaches and guides are some of the most experienced riders and elite athletes in their field so you’re in good hands and in for an epic time. They are on hand throughout the tour to make sure your stay is not only fun but also safe. Our head Mint Chicks coach Rachel Newton, is a qualified coach who has coached athletes at the highlest level. Her passion is now coaching female snowboarders and seeing them progress and taking on new challenges.
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 coaches and guides with you on-mountain during the day, they keep the stoke going well into the night, so you’ll always have crew to hang out with.
If you’d like a bit more room we can arrange a private room for guests. Just ask when booking.
Time on Snow
It’s up to you how much time you would like to spend snowboarding. You can easily ride from first to last chair with the accommodation being so close to the ski-area. We also understand that it’s your holiday so you can participate in as much or as little as you like. Our Mint guides and coaches will be available for scheduled daily coaching and guiding sessions. You are welcome to join in or if you’d prefer to do your own thing that’s also okay.
Free Access to Powder Boards
Our Mint Chicks tour is supported by our good friends at Nitro Snowboards. They are giving us a fleet of powder boards to test drive in the deep Japan pow! We’ll have many boards to choose from including our favourite female specific powder board, the ‘Slash’. We love this board!
Snow & Conditions
This tour is running at the peak of Japan’s snow season. At this time of year the Aomori region sees consistent Winter storms that bring massive quantities of light, dry powder snow. Due to its close proximity to the Sea of Japan, this region often scores the highest annual snowfall on Japan’s main island of Honshu. Thanks to Aomori Spring’s location on the northernmost part of Honshu, you can guarantee cold temperatures and plentiful snow at this time of year. Even if it hasn’t snowed for a few days, the cold temperatures ensure light, dry snow can still be found days after a storm.
From the moment you arrive and see the towering snow banks lining the roads, you will feel like you are in a traditional Japanese resort. Don’t expect lift lines at Aomori Springs, this resort is virtually empty. The resort takes longer to reach than the more well-known Japanese Ski Resorts, so is often overlooked. What you can expect is empty runs, and powder turns until the lifts close. We also love that this resort isn’t over commercialised, so you’ll enjoy a real Japanese experience. There is enough English signage to feel comfortable, but the lack of international guests helps you feel immersed in the culture. There are excellent restaurants on-site plus you can purchase all the basics in the convenience store. Being an onsen resort, guest at the hotel have free access to the onsen facility.
Aomori Springs resort is a medium sized resort by Japanese standards. There are 15 marked runs, but there are plenty more lines to be found just of the pistes and in the trees. They have a great lift system with a gondola that goes from the base to the top of the resort, plus some hooded chairs which are handy when it’s dumping snow.
The slopes of Aomori Spring are mostly north facing which keeps the snow in pristine condition. This tour is running at the peak of Japan’s snow season. At this time of year, the Aomori region sees consistent Winter storms that bring massive quantities of light, dry powder snow. Due to its proximity to the Sea of Japan, this region often scores the highest annual snowfall on Japan’s main island of Honshu. Thanks to Aomori Spring’s location on the northernmost part of Honshu, you can guarantee cold temperatures and plentiful snow at this time of year. Even if it hasn’t snowed for a few days, the cold temperatures ensure light, dry snow can still be found days after a storm.
The terrain at Aomori Springs is perfect for progression. The resort has long, wide-open, rolling groomed runs that caters to intermediate snowboarders. If you’re not ready to tackle the trees, there are lots of easy to reach powder stashes just off to the sides of the runs. Once you’re used to riding in powder, there are perfectly spaced trees where you can practice your powder turns. There are plenty of trees at Aomori Springs and no competition for the plentiful fresh powder. They also maintain an impressive park setup, complete with a superpipe, which is the training area for the New Zealand Snowboard Team during Winter. They also have a ‘nighta’ sessions from 4 – 9pm, where you can ride under the floodlights each evening.
The Aomori Spring Ski Resort is well and truly off the radar of most international skiers and snowboarders who head to Japan. Unlike the high profile Japanese ski resorts that are busy and over-commercialised, you can find a true Japanese resort experience and fresh tracks all day long at Aomori Springs. We love that this area is a lot quieter than the larger resorts, so lift lines are usually non-existent and on a powder day (which is often!) there’s lots of opportunity for fresh tracks all day long.
As part of the tour we have included return transfers from Shin-Aomori Station to the Rockwood Hotel at Aomori Spring. On arrival day your guides will meet you at Shin-Aomori Station and transfer you to our hotel. We request that all guests arrive at Shin-Aomori Station before 3:00pm.
The easiest way to travel to Shin-Aomori Station is on the Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo. The trip takes 3 hours. Rail passes that will cover your trip can be purchased from Mint Tours for ¥19,000 or you can purchase a Rail Pass from Tokyo Station for ¥20,000.
Below is the Shinkansen train schedule from Tokyo Station to Shin-Aomori Station:
- Departs Tokyo Station 9:36am
Arrives Shin-Aomori Station 12:35pm
- Departs Tokyo Station 10:20am
Arrives Shin-Aomori Station 1:29pm
- Departs Tokyo Station 11:20am
Arrives Shin-Aomori Station 2:43pm
Our Mint Chicks Japan Progression Tour is perfect for intermediate riders who can comfortably link turns on blue/red runs. If you are looking to step up your game and learn how to ride different types of terrain in different conditions, then this tour is for you! It doesn’t matter if you haven’t ridden (or even seen!) powder before. Our coaching and freeride sessions will get you confident to shred Aomori’s powder stashes. Even on the deepest days! If you’d like to speak to one of our Mint Chicks guides to see if this tour is suitable for you please get in touch [email protected]
To secure your spot we require a $500 deposit with the balance paid 90 days prior to departure. Group numbers are strictly limited.