Asahikawa - home to the driest powder on earth

Join the Asahikawa Freeride Tour for a week shredding some insane spots, with incredible backdrops and some of the deepest, driest powder in the world. The best part is, this area still doesn’t get the crowds. 

Asahikawa is Hokkaido’s second-largest city. You’re probably thinking why stay in the city? It’s all about the access, terrain and snow quality. Asahikawa is THE most snow-sure part of Japan. It has the most days with snowfall and the coldest temperatures in all of Japan. Within a 30 – 70 minute drive, you’ve got dozens of places to ride – from quirky, old-school ski hills to larger modern resorts and lift-accessible backcountry zones filled with endless hits, pillows, banks and wind lips. Of course, no trip is complete without a day riding the steaming stratovolcano, Asahidake. There’s arguably no zone in Japan that’s littered with as many good spots to ride, still with minimal tourists and insane snow quality.

On this tour you’ll chase the snow and ride a variety of lift accessed backcountry and resort terrain. Mint guides have years of experience snowboarding in this region and will monitor storm cycles so you’re scoring these zones in the best conditions. There is no set itinerary, your guides will select the resort daily based on weather and snowfall. You will ride every resort mid-week, which means you’ll avoid the weekend day-trippers.

You’ll also get to see the ‘real’ Japan while staying in a lively regional city, rather than a resort. Each day your guides will shuttle you out of the city and into the countryside. After riding, there’s always time to stop at an onsen and hit up the 7-Eleven for snacks. At night, Asahikawa is a buzzing city with hundreds of dining and drinking options, all without the ski-resort price tag. Your guides will plan dinners throughout the week, from ramen, sushi, BBQ’s and izakaya to quality burgers and mexican for the less adventurous.


22 December - 28 December
29 December - 4 January
5 January - 11 January
12 January - 18 January
19 January - 25 January
26 January - 1 February
2 February - 8 February
9 February - 15 February
16 February - 22 February
23 February - 1 March
2 March - 8 March
9 March - 15 March


All tours are 7 days / 6 nights and run from Sunday to Saturday. You'll ride Monday to Friday to skip the weekend crowds and maximise your time on-snow.


USD 2,990 - 3,490 single room
(scroll down for pricing)

Ability Level

Advanced - You’re confident riding off-piste, you’re comfortable in most conditions from deep pow to hard pack or in low visibility, and can safely navigate in most alpine or treed terrain.

Why Travel With Mint

It’s important to know that your travel provider is accredited, accountable and responsible. 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. Mint Tours is a registered travel agent and a member of AFTA and IATA and conduct business in accordance with the ATAS Charter and Code of Conduct.


Visit Asahidake

Visit Asahidake, the highest mountain in Hokkaido. You will be awed by this conical shaped volcano that billows steam from multiple vents.


Fewer crowds = more pow

Explore the lesser known ski areas surrounding Asahikawa and a few of our secret spots.


Premium is the new Normal

Your stay will be premium in every way. You'll ride with a small group of 6 people, stay in a Private Single Room at a quality hotel, have a dedicated powder guide on-hand with private transport and we include some meals, all lift tickets and supply all the safety equipment you need.


Asahikawa City Stay

Surrounding our hotel in Asahikawa is over 2,000 shops and restaurants, full of local delicacies. You'll enjoy the after-riding experiences only available in the city.


Stay at OMO7

All guests stay in their own room which gives you plenty of space and privacy. Rooms are modern and have a comfortable bed, lounge, ensuite bathroom and enough room for all your gear. The hotel has great amenities including a hot spring, sauna, restaurant, drying room and board wax and tune station.

Asahikawa Freeride Tour

Get in touch for a detailed tour itinerary and more info


On this tour you'll get a unique cultural perspective being based in a lively regional city. By night, you'll have countless food, beer, and entertainment options on your doorstep. By day, your guides will shuttle you to and from the resorts and backcountry zones. There's plenty of variety in resorts to choose from. Where you'll ride largely depends on the snowfall and conditions as well as the groups appetite for adventure. The driving times can range from a 30 - 70 minutes.


The season is long and lasts from late December well into late March. In January and February you can expect light dry, deep snow, perfect for riding powder. Temps will be cold, with temperatures ranging from -2 to -20°C / 28 to -4°F. Days will be short, with an average of 6 hours of sunlight per day. The actual snowfall statistics aren’t measured and there's no need. This place scores some of the biggest storms in Japan so you never need to worry about lack of snow. March brings empty resorts and a mix of sunshine, but also frequent snow storms and is the locals favorite season.


The plan for each day differs due to a number of factors, but we'll always make time for an onsen visit or two throughout the trip. There's no better way to recover than to soak in the mineral rich, geothermal waters. Some of the other local activities that are popular are a visit the sake brewery for a tasting, a trip to our favorite sushi train on the outskirts of town, or a visit to the Field Earth snowboard showroom in a neighbouring area.


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 typical guest to guide ratio is 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 insurance, stopovers and pre or post tour arrangements.


Guests stay in the heart of Asahikawa city in a quality 3-star standard hotel. All guests stay a private Single Room with ensuite (1 person per room) which gives you plenty of space and privacy. The hotel has great amenities including a hot spring, sauna and restaurant. An extensive hot and cold buffet breakfast is included.

Meet your expert team


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 expert team

Kei Ishiuchi

Local guide Kei Ishiuchi is a snowboarding veteran with over 20+ years experience including stints as a test rider for Burton, editor of Japanese snowboarding magazines and head coach for multiple ski schools across Japan. Spend a day riding with Kei and you’ll see why our clients keep coming back to ride with him, season after season.

Meet your expert team

Scott Anfang

Scott is our lead guide and coaching director who brings a lifetime of industry experience to his role. He is a three-term AASI National Snowboard Team Member and the was the coach of American Association of Snowboard Instructors National snowboard team.

Meet your expert team

Hayden Manwell

Hailing from Nelson in Canada's Kootenays. If Hayden isn't guiding at Baldface Valhalla, you'll find him guiding in Asahikawa with Mint. Hayden’s wealth of experience and his enthusiasm for sharing the stoke make 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.

Meet your expert team

Tommi Laitervo

Tommi has spend many winters guiding in Japan. An experienced backcountry guide, educator and facilitator of avalanche safety courses. Experienced in avalanche forecasting and a founder of the Pyhä Snow Safety Center in Finnish Lapland. Tommi loves to help people start their journey in off piste snowboarding, skiing, telemarking and adaptive skiing.


Tour Inclusions



✔ 6 nights accommodation in a Single Studio Room with ensuite (1 person per room)
✔ 5 days of on-snow guiding in a small group of 6 people
✔ 5 day lift ticket
✔ Scheduled airport transfers from Asahikawa Airport to hotel (arrival and departure day)
✔ Use of avalanche safety equipment – Dakine Helipro pack, transceiver, shovel and probe
✔ 5 days of private transfers to and from resorts
✔ 6 buffet breakfasts
✔ 1 group dinner (arrival night)
✔ Fully-escorted tour, guide on hand throughout the tour
✔ Complimentary use of hotel onsen
✔ Complimentary wax and tune station
✔ Mint merch pack
✔ Pre tour support from Japan Tour Manager



✘ Flights to Asahikawa
✘ Travel insurance
✘ All lunches – expect to pay USD $6 – $15 per meal
✘ 5 dinners – expect to pay USD $15 – $40 per meal
✘ Onsen entry fee – expect to pay between USD $3 – $7 per visit
✘ Any meals, drinks, snacks not listed
✘ Guide gratuities

Dates and Price




All of Mint’s Japan Tours are 7 days and 6 nights and run from Sunday to Saturday. You’ll ride every resort during the week (Monday – Friday) to avoid the weekend day-trippers and maximise your time on-snow. If 6 nights isn’t enough, then book a multi-tour combo. Join the Asahikawa Freeride Tour, then start a new Mint tour in a different destination the following day.


WEEK 1 – 22 December – 28 December – USD $2,990 single room

WEEK 2 – 29 December – 4 January – USD $2,990 single room

WEEK 3 – 5 January – 11 January – USD $3,490 single room

WEEK 4 – 12 January – 18 January – USD $3,490 single room

WEEK 5 – 19 January – 25 January – USD $3,490 single room

WEEK 6 – 26 January – 1 February – USD $3,490 single room

WEEK 7 – 2 February – 8 February – USD $3,490 single room

WEEK 8 – 9 February – 15 February – USD $3,490 single room

WEEK 9 – 16 February – 22 February – USD $3,490 single room

WEEK 10 – 23 February – 1 March – USD $3,490 single room

WEEK 11 – 2 March – 8 March – USD $2,990 single room

WEEK 12 – 9 March – 15 March – USD $2,990 single room




During the tour you will ride a lot of powder, glades and trees. Of course weather and conditions are impossible to predict so guests must be prepared to ride or ski anything. Here’s a guide of typical conditions:


December and January is ‘storm riding’ season. Expect cold temperatures and snowy or stormy conditions. Frequent storms mean that you will often spend back-to-back days riding in the trees.

February sees regular storms, however the weather is more settled which opens up more options for locations and terrain choices, including the volcano, Asahidake. Temperatures sit well below freezing and the snow stays in great condition, even days after a storm.

March is what the locals refer to as ‘secret season’ thanks to regular snowfall and zero crowds. The weather can be a mix of sunny or snowy/stormy, so always be prepared for anything. More hours of sunlight means there’s plenty of opportunity for longer days on the mountain and to explore some of the further afield options.




Welcome to Japan. Make your way to the meeting point at Asahikawa Airport where your guide will meet you and drive the group to the hotel. Check in opens at 3:00 pm. After check in, you’ve got some free time to settle in to your room, unpack and set-up your equipment for the adventure ahead. In the evening, meet your guide for an info and welcome session. Your guide will explain what’s in store for the week, the current weather, run through equipment and answer any questions you have. Then join your guide for dinner at one of the local izakaya. It’s a great opportunity to get to know everyone on tour as most guests are travelling solo.



You’ll spend the next 5 days riding the surrounding Asahikawa Resorts. The tour itinerary is flexible so you can ride at the best resort on the day. Your guide will monitor storm cycles to ensure you’re scoring the best conditions as weather and snowfall affect each resort differently. There’s over half a dozen resorts to choose from and driving times can range from 30 – 70 minutes and largely depends on weather, snowfall and the groups appetite for adventure. Each day will follow a similar format:

Mornings – The breakfast buffet is open from 6:30 am and you can enjoy breakfast at your leisure. Your guide will advise the departure time the evening before which is typically around 7:45 am. Each morning your guide will explain the weather and snow conditions for the day and advise the group where you’ll be riding. Load up the van and drive to the resort.

Throughout the day – Once at the resort the aim is to spend a full day on-mountain. Your guide will take the guess-work out of it and give you a locals perspective from day one. Be the first into the trees, hit the secret powder stashes and safely explore beyond the resort boundaries. They also know the best places for a tasty lunch and have all the photo spots for the ‘gram on lock.

Afternoons – After riding, your guide will make plans according to time, the groups interest and energy levels. You could find yourself at one of the many local onsen (hot springs), stopping off at a sushi train, a quick visit to the 7-Eleven or another local attraction like the sake brewery or snowboard shop before returning to the hotel.

Evenings – On return to the hotel, you’ve got free time. Head to the hotel onsen and sauna to relax, grab a drink in the lobby bar, or wax your board ready for the following day. Your guide will plan group dinners each night and most of the restaurants are just a short walk from the hotel. Join the crew to share a few stories about the days’ turns over a bowl or ramen, a stack of sushi or at one of the many traditional izakaya before turning in for the night.



Breakfast at the hotel, followed by check out. All good things must come to come to an end, and after a big week of riding deep, Japanese powder, your guide will drop you back at the airport or train station and say goodbye.

Ability and Grouping



This tour is suitable for Advanced snowboarders and skiers. You’re confident riding off-piste, you’re comfortable in most conditions from deep pow to hard pack or in low visibility and can safely navigate in treed terrain. You can maintain a continuous and moderate pace, through trees, traverses and flat sections.

On this tour you will ride for 5 consecutive and full days. Guests need to be able to ride or ski multiple days in a row at a moderate pace. 

If you’re not quite up to the ability level for this tour, don’t dismiss the possibility of experiencing the best powder turns of your life! Talk with the Mint team and they will be able to make recommendations for other suitable tours, or how to work towards joining this tour.

When you are ready to book, you’ll be asked to self-evaluate what type of rider/skier you are. The more accurately you’re able to self-assess your on-snow abilities, the more you (and others in your group) will be able to relax and enjoy the tour.



Each day you’ll travel, ride and ski together in a small group of six people with a dedicated guide leading the way. Each week typically has twelve guests which will always be led by two guides. This allows the group split into two smaller groups (6 people per group), to better manage any splits in ability or pace. You’ll regroup in the evening for dinners and to create a fun and social vibe.

Your guides will decide on which group you’ll ride/ski with based on a number of factors including safety, ability, fitness and pace. Know that your guides always have your best interest in mind when creating your group. As much as possible, we strive to place you in a group with other riders/skiers who have similar abilities and pace.



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 assist with pre-or post tour arrangements.



Mint’s Freeride Tours offer you the best chance to ride deep, Japan powder. Our experienced guides have an in-depth knowledge of the resorts we visit, which gives you the ultimate advantage when your chasing deep, un-tracked snow. On this tour we will ride a mix of in-bounds resort terrain as well as backcountry zones. The backcountry zones are mostly lift-accessed, however there are times when a short boot pack is necessary (typically 10 minutes). During the tour you will ride 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.



Yes, all lift tickets are included for this tour. Please note that none of the resorts that we visit on this tour are on the Ikon or Epic Pass.



An estimate of spending money for the week is around USD $250 – $350 to cover lunches, dinners and snacks. Here’s an indication of what you can expect to pay for meals and activities:

  • Lunches – expect to pay USD $10 – $15 per meal
  • Dinners – expect to pay USD $20 – $40 per meal
  • Onsen entry fee – expect to pay between USD $3 – $7 per visit
  • Sushi train visit – expect to pay USD $10 – $30



It’s hard to estimate when the tour will fill up. That being said, the Asahikawa Freeride Tour is the most popular Japan trip, so our advice is to book as soon as you’ve made the decision to travel. That way you can secure your preferred travel dates and you won’t be disappointed. Bookings close 90 days before a trip departs, however most tours typically fill up well before this.



On this tour you will ride a mix of terrain from resort to backcountry. There’s a range of terrain to access from alpine, playful or challenging tree runs, some with features such as pillows and drops. Expect deep snow, soft landings and lots of fun features. Generally speaking, Japan doesn’t have steep terrain, but be prepared for deep snow. The backcountry zones are mostly lift-accessed, however there are times when a short boot pack is necessary (typically 10 minutes). Snowshoes/split boards/touring skis are not required.



Your guides decide the group you’ll ride or ski with based on a complex handful of factors — it’s part math, part safety, and part ability and fitness. Know that we always have your best interests in mind when creating the group. As much as possible, we strive to place you in a group with other riders/skiers who have similar on-snow abilities and pace. If you are travelling with friends or family who are different abilities, please let us know when you book the trip.

If you have concerns about your group while you’re on tour, please discuss with your guide at the earliest opportunity. If we’re able to adjust we will try to do so, and if we’re not, we’d love the opportunity to explain why. We want you to have the best tour possible.



Whether you’re lifelong snowboarder or skier or have just booked your first tour, the best thing you can do to get the most out of your Mint experience is to start a pre-trip fitness regime. We’re not looking for you to be an Olympic athlete, but you do need some fitness endurance. You’ll spend five, full and consecutive days on-snow, so you should be physically fit enough to comfortably ski/ride for five consecutive days. Your muscles should be up to this task, and your cardio fitness means you can sustain a consistent pace.



Arrival and departure days are off-snow. Once you’ve signed up for the tour you will receive a comprehensive guide with details about the tour including the arrival and departure day process, instructions on flights, where to meet, gear list, recommended arrival and departure times, visa requirements and transportation information.



The accommodation for this tour is Single Rooms i.e. you have your own private room for the tour. 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 snowboarding and an eagerness to explore all that Japan has to offer.



Each day you will ride with a small group of 6 people.



The Asahikawa Freeride Tour has a flexible itinerary so you can ride at the best resort on the day. Each day your guide will make the decision on which resort to ride based on a number of factors including weather, snowfall, group ability and interest. The larger and well known locations are Kamui, Asahidake and there’s plenty of secret spots that you’ll visit throughout the week.



Yes, pre or post tour accommodation can be arranged. 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.



All of our tours are guided by friendly, knowledgeable and expertly trained guides who are passionate about the mountains. The guides in Asahikawa are Kei Ishiuchi, Scott Anfang, Tommi Laitervo, Christina Bruno, Hayden Manwell, Josh Slootweg, Chuck Morin and Richie Owen. You will be assigned a guide at the start of your tour. On select departures we have guest pro riders Chad Otterstrom, Todd Richards and Ingemar Backman.



No, flights are not included, but Mint can provide you with a list of the best flights to book to match up with your tour and arrival or departure times.



Yes. All guests need to be covered by comprehensive travel insurance. Once you have booked on the tour, we strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance.



Once you’ve booked your spot you will receive 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. You will receive a Pre Departure Guide 30 days prior to departure.



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.



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.



Once you’ve booked, you’ll be provided with a guide which contains all the info on how to get to Asahikawa, either by flight or train. 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.



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.



Yes. We are ski and snowboard friendly. Please note that most tours are led by snowboard/splitboard guides.



Complimentary use of avalanche safety equipment is included as part of the tour. Quality rental snowboarding or ski equipment is not available in Asahikawa. Please bring everything you need with you.



Asahikawa can be a very cold place in winter. It’s recommended that guests dress in layers of clothing specific for traveling in backcountry areas and have a good quality waterproof jacket and pants, insulated layer(s), merino base layers, merino gloves and waterproof gloves, goggles with low light and high light lenses, sunglasses, balaclava, beanie, and helmet. Guests will need to bring their own ski or snowboarding equipment for the tour (board, boots, bindings & outerwear). Powder boards and ski’s are strongly recommended.



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 snowboarding and an eagerness to explore all that Japan has to offer.



The Mint team is committed to ensuring that you enjoy the trip of a lifetime. While gratuities are not included in your tour cost – nor are they mandatory – they are gratefully accepted. Gratuities are divided among the guides and team who will take care of you throughout your tour.




To reserve your spot, email info@minttours.com with your preferred dates and one of our travel managers will send you a quote, availability and further information for the tour.



A 50% deposit is payable to secure your booking. The balance is due 90 days prior to tour departure.



View our terms and conditions HERE


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