A Premium Backcountry snowboard tour into Japan's Daisetsuzan National Park
Spend a week chasing the winter storms through the ‘roof of Central Hokkaido’ with our expert local backcountry guide and Japanese pro snowboarder Shinya Nakagawa.
Our base for this tour is Asahikawa city where we can access both the local ski areas along with the backcountry zones within the Daisetsuzan National Park including; Asahidake, Kurodake, Tokachidake, Kamui and Furano. As this is a powder hunter program, be prepared to earn your turns as we splitboard or ski tour anything from lift accessed side-country terrain through to roadside backcountry ascents.
After hiking from anywhere between 30 mins to 3 hrs, your lead guide will safely recommend the best route down to ensure you score the powder run of your life. On average, expect to ski and snowboard a mix of deep dry powder in the trees through to open bowls and natural gullies.
The day finishes with a visit to one of the local hot springs in the Daisetsuzan National Park to relax the legs before we head back to our centrally located Asahikawa hotel. Being a thriving city of 350,000 people, Asahikawa city has a buzzing entertainment area with plenty of noodle shops and izakaya restaurants, where you can try the local speciality of Asahikawa ramen and the ‘Japanese’ famous Otokoyama sake.
Register your interest for winter 2024
Guest to Guide Ratio
3 guests : 1 guide
Register your interest for winter 2024Currency Convertor
Backcountry - Splitboard and ski touring
Why Travel With Mint
In a rapidly changing travel industry it’s important to know that your travel provider is accredited, accountable and responsible. We are a registered member of AFTA and IATA and conduct business in accordance with the ATAS Charter and Code of Conduct. When you travel with Mint you can have peace of mind that you are booking with a qualified and established travel operator with over 20 years of expertise. And as a full-service travel agent, we are able to take care of your flights, insurance, stopovers and pre or post tour arrangements.
Expert local guides
Our team of local guides are some of the most experienced professionals guiding in Hokkaido.
Daisetsuzan National Park
Home to the tallest and wildest peaks in Hokkaido. The terrain ranges from big mountain alpine lines to undulating tree riding, accessed by trams or from roadside locations.
Asahikawa City Stay
Surrounding our hotel in Asahikawa is over 2,000 shops and restaurants and bars. You'll enjoy the after-ski experiences only available in the city.
No Onsen, No Life
For years this tour was known as the Onsen Tour. 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.
Asahikawa Backcountry Tour
Get in touch for a detailed tour itinerary and more info
Located in Central Hokkaido around 2 hours drive north-east from Sapporo is the city of Asahikawa. The resorts and backcountry zones within the Daisetsuzan National Park are easily accessible from the city including; Asahidake, Kamui, Tokachidake and Kurodake. You'll have the convenience of staying in the city with countless food, beer, and entertainment options on your doorstep. It does get extremely cold here in mid-winter and the temperature can get down to a bone chilling -30 celsius, so layer up!
SNOW & CONDITIONS
From late January to late February is the ideal time of year to ski and snowboard in Central Hokkaido. What you can expect is light dry, deep snow, perfect for riding powder. Temps will be cold, with temperatures ranging from -10 to -30 degrees Celsius. Days will be short, with an average of 6 hours of sunlight per day. The actual snowfall statistics aren’t measured in this area, there is no need. This place scores some of the biggest storms in Japan so you never need to worry about lack of snow.
After a day of skiing and snowboard we often head 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.
We offer one of the smallest client to guide ratio’s in the industry which ultimately leads to a better experience for everyone. Our small groups allow greater manoeuvrability and ease of access to the best areas a destination can offer. When we are on mountain, our guest to guide ratio is maximum 6 people per guide. This also makes for a more personal experience between our guests and guides.
After you sign up for a tour, you will receive pre-trip emails with specific information about your tour, the arrival and departure day process, information about the destination, packing suggestions, and other relevant information to help you prepare for your trip. In addition to this, you have access to our customer care team who are just a phone-call away. And as a full-service travel agent, we are able to take care of your flights, insurance, stopovers and pre or post tour arrangements.
Throughout the tour you'll stay in a modern, 4 star city hotel with great amenities including a wax room, hot spring, sauna, cafe and restaurant. You'll stay in a single room which gives you privacy and plenty of space for your equipment. Each morning a buffet breakfast is included at the hotel and in the evening your Mint hosts will make plans for an authentic dinner at an izakaya in the surrounding area.
Meet your expert team
EXPERT GUIDES & LOCAL PARTNERSHIPS
Mint opens doors around the globe. Our long-standing relationships with local guides, local legends, professional athletes, local businesses and resorts allow us special access to places and people. Travelling with us, you go behind the scenes to get a close-up view of each destination. You’re enriched by the knowledge of our experts and local guides.
Meet your guides
Japanese pro snowboarder and JMGA backcountry guide, Shinya Nakagawa, grew up in the Asahikawa region and has a lifetime of experience touring the endless backcountry zones here. There's really nothing sweeter than watching Shinya's classic powder turn.
Meet your guides
Born and bred in the Kootenays, Hayden Manwell considers himself extremely lucky to have grown up in the outdoors, discovering his passion for the mountains at an early age. His love of snowboarding has taken Hayden all over the world, including many seasons riding and guiding in Japan, America, and New Zealand. Hayden’s wealth of experience and his enthusiasm for sharing the stoke made backcountry guiding a natural fit. When he isn’t wandering around the backcountry, you’ll find Hayden mountain bike guiding, fly fishing, or out on the lake.
YOUR TOUR INCLUDES
- 6 nights accommodation in a single share ensuite room (1 person per room)
- 6 Buffet breakfast with Western & Japanese food
- 5 days of guiding with qualified local backcountry guide and pro-snowboarder, Shinya Nakagawa
- Private transfers in 4WD vehicles to & from resorts
- Scheduled arrival and departure day transfers from Asahikawa Airport to our hotel
- Cultural excursions
- Fully-escorted tour, guides on hand throughout the tour
All our Japan Tours are 6 nights and run from Sunday to Saturday. You’ll ride everywhere mid-week to maximise your time on-snow and avoid the weekend day-trippers. If 6 nights isn’t enough, then book one of our multi-tour combo’s. Join us in Asahikawa, then start a new tour in a different destination the following day. Ask us about tour combo ideas.
Register your interest for winter 2024
PRO-TIP – GO PRIVATE!
Book this tour as a private departure – with your own guide and all the benefits of a Mint group tour – for any group, big or small (even just one traveller). Get in touch to discuss.
WHY TRAVEL WITH MINT?
In a rapidly changing travel industry it’s important to know that your travel provider is accredited, accountable and responsible. Mint is a registered member of AFTA and IATA and conducts business in accordance with the ATAS Charter and Code of Conduct. When you travel with Mint you can have peace of mind that you are booking with a qualified and established travel operator with over 20 years of expertise. And as a full-service travel agent, we can take care of your flights, insurance, stopovers and pre-or post tour arrangements.
WHAT HAPPENS IF BORDERS ARE CLOSED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)?
The global health crisis has impacted everyone enormously, so we want to make sure your future travel plans are safe and reassure you that we are committed to supporting our customers in the best way that we can. You can view our latest Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates HERE
WHAT IS A BACKCOUNTRY TOUR?
Our Backcountry Tours offer you the best chance to ride deep, Japan powder. Guests will need to have prior backcountry touring experience and be physically fit and prepared to hike for up to 4 hours each day. Our experienced guides have an in-depth knowledge of the zones we visit, which gives you the ultimate advantage when your chasing deep, un-tracked snow. We’ll aim to ride and ski a lot of powder, glades and trees so please be prepared to ride and ski in the trees for 5 days straight. Of course weather and conditions are impossible to predict so guests must be prepared to ride or ski anything.
WHAT HAPPENS ON ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE DAY?
Once you’ve signed up for the tour we will send you through a comprehensive guide with details about the tour including the arrival and departure day process, a map of where we meet, recommended arrival and departure times, flight options, Visa requirements and transportation information.
WHAT IF I’M TRAVELLING SOLO?
About 99% of our guests are travelling solo, so you’ll be in good company. Our groups generally mix well due to a shared interest in snowsports and an eagerness to explore all that Japan has to offer. The accommodation for this tour is Single Share i.e. you have your own private room for the tour.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE ON THIS TOUR?
Each tour is different, but we know that by offering one of the smallest client to guide ratio in the industry allows you to ski or snowboard at your preferred pace, and ultimately leads to a better experience for everyone. When we are on mountain, our guest to guide ratio is 3 : 1. 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.
IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR ME?
This tour is best suited to advanced skiers and snowboarders who are physically fit and have prior backcountry touring experience. If you’re not sure, give us a call. Weather and ski conditions are impossible to predict so guests must be prepared to ride or ski anything. If you have no prior backcountry touring and riding experience this is not the tour to learn. Please be prepared to ride and ski in the trees.
WHICH AREAS WILL WE VISIT?
We keep the tour itinerary flexible so you can ride at the best zone on the day. Each day your guide will make the decision where we ride based on a number of factors including weather, snowfall, group ability and interest. We have half a dozen resorts and countless backcountry zones accessed from roadside locations that we can visit. Ask us for our tour itinerary for more information about where we’ll ride each day.
CAN I ARRIVE EARLY OR STAY ON AFTER THE TOUR?
For most tours you can arrive earlier or stay later. We can tailor the trip to suit your travel plans. Speak with one of our tour specialists when you are booking and they will be more than happy to assist.
WHO ARE THE GUIDES?
All of our tours are guided by friendly, knowledgeable and expertly trained guides who are passionate about the mountains. Our lead guide for this tour is Shinya Nakagawa and he’s supported by Hayden Manwell.
CAN YOU BOOK FLIGHTS?
Yes. Let us take the hassle out of selecting the right flights for the tour. We can book you the best flight options for the tour, with no booking fees.
ARE FLIGHTS INCLUDED?
No, flights are not included. If you need assistance booking flights, we can book you the best flight options for the tour, with no booking fees.
DO I NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE?
Yes. All guests on tour need to be covered by comprehensive travel insurance. Once you have booked on the tour, we strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance. We offer all of our tour guests discounted snow specific travel insurance.
WHAT HAPPENS ONCE I’VE BOOKED?
Once you’ve booked your spot on tour, we will send you through a booking confirmation and provide updates about the tour including the arrival and departure day process, a map of where we meet, recommended arrival and departure times, flight options, Visa requirements and transportation information. We will send out a Pre Departure Guide 30 days prior to departure. Prior to the tour commencing we will invite you to a group chat which is managed by your tour manager and guides.
CAN I BRING MY PARTNER WHO DOESN’T SKI OR SNOWBOARD?
Of course! We can tailor the tour to suit your non-skiing or snowboarding partner. Speak with one of our tour specialists when you are booking and they will be more than happy to assist.
HOW DO I CHECK MY ABILITY LEVEL?
The best way to check if a tour is suited to your ability is by speaking with one of our tour specialists. They will be able to determine if the tour you have selected is a good fit for your ability, as well as suggesting other tour options.
HOW DO I GET TO ASAHIKAWA?
We’ll provide you with instructions to get to Ashaikawa. If it’s your fist time to Japan or if you’re unsure about travel arrangements, often we can link you up with other tour guests to travel with.
HOW DO I CHECK AVAILABILITY?
Speak with one of our tour specialists. As this is a small group tour with limited availability, it’s best to get in touch early to avoid disappointment.
DO YOU TAKE SKIERS & SNOWBOARDERS?
Yes! We are ski and snowboard friendly. Please note that the majority of our tours are led by snowboard guides.
CAN I RENT EQUIPMENT?
You will need to bring your own equipment for this tour. Get in touch for a gear list.
WHAT EQUIPMENT SHOULD I BRING?
This region is one of the coldest places in Japan during winter, with temperatures typically ranging from -10 to -30 degrees Celsius. We strongly recommend that guests dress in clothing specific for traveling in backcountry areas. We recommend that guests have a good quality waterproof jacket and pants, lightweight insulated layer, merino base layers, merino gloves and waterproof gloves, goggles with low light & high light lenses, sunglasses, balaclava, beanie, and helmet. Guests need to bring their own ski touring or splitboard equipment plus avalanche safety equipment for this tour.
WHO WILL BE ON MY TOUR?
Your group will be made up of travellers from diverse backgrounds and will be varied in age. Our groups generally mix well due to a shared interest in snowsports and an eagerness to explore all that Japan has to offer.
ARE LIFT TICKETS INCLUDED?
Lift tickets are not included, and are typically not required for this tour. However if we do choose to use a tramway or lift to gain some elevation, your guides will advise which lift ticket to purchase on the day. Lift tickets in this region are inexpensive and can cost as little as JPY 2,100 (approx. AUD $30)
PRICE PER PERSON
Register your interest for winter 2024
RESERVATION AND DEPOSIT
To secure your spot on tour a 50% deposit is payable to secure your booking. The balance is due 90 days prior to tour departure.
If you would like some more information or a quote for the tour you can contact us by:
Enquire below. Once we receive your request one of our Japan Tour Specialists will be in touch with a with a quote, availability and further details about the tour.
2. OVER THE PHONE
Call us and follow the prompts to speak to one of our Japan Tour specialists.
Within Australia (03) 5296 0314
Drop us an email and one of our Japan Tour Specialists will be in touch with a with a quote, availability and further details about the tour.