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LEVEL UP WITH A WEEK OF COACHING AND GUIDING

For Intermediate Snowboarders – If you want to take the next step and start riding deep powder and trees, then this is the tour for you. You’ll spend 5 full days snowboarding with a qualified coach and guide who will get your riding dialled so you can confidently ride off-piste, in the trees, in deep powder and variable conditions. You’ll learn the skills to be able to navigate the whole mountain, even on the deepest days.

This tour is based in Asahikawa which 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. 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.

Your coach and guide is one of the most experienced and qualified professionals in the industry and will give you tips and feedback to improve your snowboarding while exploring different ski areas. You‘ll chase the snow and ride at different resorts each day. There is no set itinerary, your guide 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 guide will shuttle you out of the city and to the resorts. 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 guide will plan dinners throughout the week, from ramen, sushi, BBQ’s and izakaya.

Dates

12 January - 18 January, 2025

Ability Level

Intermediate - Guiding and coaching for intermediate snowboarders

Group Size

Maximum 6 people

Price

USD 2,990 single room

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.

Highlights

Freeride Coaching

If you want build skills to confidently ride off-piste, deep powder and trees, then this is the tour for you. With guidance from a highly qualified coach, you'll improve your freeriding over the course of the tour.

Highlights

No crowds = more pow

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

Highlights

Asahikawa City Stay

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

Highlights

Flexible Itinerary

Our base for this tour is Asahikawa. We have private transport on and to shuttle you to the best resort each day. We can travel far and wide to find you the best snow and terrain for progression.

Highlights

Premium is the new Normal

We'll make sure your stay is premium in every way. You'll stay in your own private ensuite room and all the perks like a onsen, sauna, drying room, wax station and great breakfasts. You're steps away from Asahikawa's shopping dining and drinking spots and you'll have private transport on-hand for the entire tour.

Japan Progression Tour

Get in touch for a detailed tour itinerary and more info

COACHING & GUIDING

If you want to take the next step and start riding in powder and in the trees, then this is the tour for you. You'll spend 5 full days snowboarding with a qualified coach and guide who will get your riding dialled so you can confidently ride off-piste, in the trees, in deep powder and variable conditions. You'll be able to navigate the whole mountain, even on the deepest days. You'll also get expert advice on gear and equipment.

ASAHIKAWA CITY-STAY

On this tour you'll get a unique cultural perspective being based in a lively regional city. By night, you'll have countless food and entertainment options on your doorstep. By day, your guide will shuttle you to and from the resorts in private transport. 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.

SNOW & CONDITIONS

February is the ideal time of year to ride 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°C / 14 to -22°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.

EASY ACCESS

While Central Hokkaido is a remote area, fortunately Asahikawa is one of the easiest destination to reach in Hokkaido. There's daily flights from Tokyo to Asahikawa or, if you're coming from another destination in Hokkaido like Niseko or Rusutsu, once you get back to Sapporo, it's only a 1.5 hour train ride.

SMALL GROUP TOUR

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 we have a maximum of 6 people per coach. This also makes for a more personal experience between our guests and guides.

QUALITY ACCOMMODATION

Arrive at Asahikawa Airport in Central Hokkaido and we'll shuttle you to our hotel in downtown Asahikawa City. Throughout the tour you'll stay in a modern, city hotel with great amenities including a wax station, onsen, sauna and restaurant for breakfast. You'll stay in a private single room which gives you privacy and plenty of space for your equipment. Buffet breakfast is included throughout your tour, and each night you can explore the the surrounding area's local ramen shops, sushi and countless izakaya.

MINT TOURS

EXPERT GUIDES & COACHES

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.

ESSENTIAL INFO

Tour Inclusions

INCLUSIONS

 

✔ 6 nights accommodation in a Single Room with ensuite (1 person per room)
✔ 5 days of on-snow guiding and coaching in a small group of 6 people
✔ 5 day lift ticket
✔ Scheduled airport transfers from Asahikawa Airport to hotel (arrival and departure day)
✔ 5 days of private transfers to and from resorts
✔ 6 buffet breakfasts
✔ Fully-escorted tour, guide/coach 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


WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

 

✘ Flights to Asahikawa
✘ Travel insurance
✘ All lunches – expect to pay USD $6 – $15 per meal
✘ All 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

WINTER 2025 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 Japan Progression Tour, then start a new Mint tour in a different destination the following day.

 

WEEK 1 – 5 January – 11 January, 2025 – USD $2,990 single room

WEEK 2 – 12 January – 18 January, 2025 – USD $2,990 single room

WEEK 3 – 19 January – 25 January, 2025 – USD $2,990 single room

 

Itinerary

DAY 1 – ARRIVAL DAY

 

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.


DAY 2 – 6 – RIDE DAYS

 

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. You’ll do a combination of coaching and guiding throughout the day. Expect to clock up the vertical while you learn and explore the 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 with the crew, 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.


DAY 7 – DEPARTURE DAY

 

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 Level

ABILITY

 

This tour is best suited to intermediate snowboarders who can confidently ride most groomed trails on the mountain and are beginning to ride powder, explore off-piste and treed terrain. On this tour you will ride for 5 consecutive and full days. Guests need to be able to ride 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 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS A PROGRESSION TOUR?

 

A Progression Tour offers you the best chance to build your skills so you can feel confident riding deep powder, trees and even works towards snowboarding in backcountry terrain. Mint’s experienced and qualified coaches have an in-depth knowledge of the resorts you’ll visit, and will find you the perfect terrain for progression. During the tour you will ride powder and trees so please be prepared to ride in the trees. Of course weather and conditions are impossible to predict so guests must be prepared to ride in all conditions.


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 assist with pre-or post tour arrangements.


ARE LIFT TICKETS INCLUDED?

 

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.


BUDGETING FOR THE TOUR

 

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

HOW FAR IN ADVANCE DO I NEED TO BOOK?

 

It’s hard to estimate when the tour will fill up. That being said, Mint’s Japan tours are popular, 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.


FITNESS

 

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 ride for five consecutive days. Your muscles should be up to this task, and your cardio fitness means you can sustain a consistent pace.


WHAT HAPPENS ON ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE DAY?

 

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.


WHAT IF I’M TRAVELLING SOLO?

 

All guests stay in 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.


HOW MANY PEOPLE IN MY GROUP?

 

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


WHICH RESORTS WILL WE VISIT?

 

The Japan Progression 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 and Pippu and there’s plenty of secret spots that you’ll visit throughout the week.


CAN I ARRIVE EARLY OR STAY ON AFTER THE TOUR?

 

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.


WHO ARE THE GUIDES?

 

All of our tours are guided by friendly, knowledgeable and expertly trained guides who are passionate about the mountains. Your coach and guide is Christina Bruno.


ARE FLIGHTS INCLUDED?

 

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.


DO I NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE?

 

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


WHAT HAPPENS ONCE I’VE BOOKED?

 

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.


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?

 

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.


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.


CAN I RENT EQUIPMENT?

 

No. Quality rental snowboarding equipment is not available in Asahikawa. Please bring everything you need with you.


WHAT EQUIPMENT SHOULD I BRING?

 

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 snowboarding equipment for the tour (board, boots, bindings & outerwear). Powder boards are strongly recommended.


WHO WILL BE ON MY TOUR?

 

Your group will be made up of travellers from diverse backgrounds and will be varied in age. Groups generally mix well due to a shared interest in snowboarding and an eagerness to explore all that Japan has to offer.


GRATUITIES

 

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.

HOW TO BOOK

HOW TO BOOK

 

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.


DEPOSITS AND PAYMENTS

 

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


TERMS AND CONDITIONS

 

View our terms and conditions HERE

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