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Snowboard and hang out with Chad Otterstrom for a week in Central Hokkaido

This is an incredible experience where you can snowboard and hang out with Chad Otterstrom for a week in Asahikawa, Japan with a small group of just 6 riders. He’ll share with you his knowledge and experience from a life in the mountains. We’ll have our videographer on hand to capture all the action. Plus we’ll send you home a better snowboarder and STOKED.

This tour is based in Asahikawa City on the northern island of Hokkaido – THE most snow-sure part of Japan. Asahikawa is Hokkaido’s second-largest city and has the rep of having the most days with snowfall and the coldest temperatures in all of Japan. Expect some of the deepest, lightest and driest powder in the world. Asahikawa is off the usual tourist trail so you’ll get a real Japan experience. What you’ll find here is deep powder, quirky old-school resorts, a steaming volcano, incredible backcountry, authentic onsen and a buzzing city without western influence.

Throughout the week you’ll ride a variety of lift accessed backcountry and resort terrain. You’ll chase the snow and ride at different resorts or backcountry areas each day – Asahidake, the lesser known ski areas and always a couple of our secret spots. Mint has years of experience snowboarding in this region and will monitor storm cycles daily to ensure you’re scoring these zones in the best conditions.

Dates

WEEK 1 - 21 JAN - 27 JAN
WEEK 2 - 28 JAN - 3 FEB

Guest to Guide Ratio

6 guests : 1 guide

Price

USD 2,990

Tour Type

Freeride - resort and lift-accessed backcountry riding

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 insurance, stopovers and pre or post tour arrangements.

Highlights

Ride with Chad Otterstrom

Professional snowboarder Chad Otterstrom’s career spans the better part of three decades. His accomplishments include: Transworld Snowboarding’s Rider of the Year, Gravity Games and USASA National Champ, X Games competitor and judge for Natural Selection Tour.

Highlights

Visit Asahidake

If weather permits, we'll visit Asahidake, the highest mountain in Hokkaido. You will be awed by this conical shaped volcano that billows steam from multiple vents.

Highlights

Fewer crowds = more pow

Explore the lesser known, old-school 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

Premium is the new Normal

We'll make sure you your off-snow experience is as good as the deep Asahikawa powder. Your stay will be premium in every way. You've got a private hotel room, a photographer/videographer on-hand, transport and Chad O leading the way all week.

Tour Details

Get in touch for a detailed tour itinerary and more info

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 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 minutes to 1 hour.

SNOW & CONDITIONS

From January to late 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.

ONSEN & CULTURAL VISITS

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.

SMALL GROUPS

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. We have a maximum of 6 people on this tour. This also makes for a more personal experience between our guests and guides.

PRE-TOUR SUPPORT

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.

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, 4 star city hotel with great amenities including a bar, wax station, hot spring, sauna and restaurant. 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.

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 expert team

Chad Otterstrom

Professional snowboarder Chad Otterstrom’s career spans the better part of three decades. His accomplishments include: Transworld Snowboarding’s Rider of the Year (2005), Gravity Games (2005) and USASA National Champion (1995), and X Games competitor (1998-2007) and judge (current). Otterstrom has also coached athletes at Stratton Mountain School, Woodward Copper, and Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club.

Meet your expert team

Jeremy Black

Award winning videographer Jeremy Black will join us in Asahikawa.

ESSENTIAL INFO

Tour Inclusions

INCLUSIONS

  • 6 nights in a single ensuite room, 4* hotel (1 person per room)
  • 5 days of on-snow guiding with Chad Otterstrom
  • Videographer on hand throughout the tour
  • Video and photo highlights from the tour
  • 5 day lift ticket
  • Use of avalanche safety equipment – pack, transceiver, shovel & probe
  • 5 days of private transfers to and from resorts or backcountry areas
  • 6 buffet breakfasts
  • 1 group dinner (arrival night)
  • Mint merch pack
  • Airport transfers from Asahikawa Airport to hotel (1 departure time)
  • Fully-escorted tour, guides on hand throughout the tour

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • All lunches – expect to pay USD $10 – $15 per meal
  • 5 dinners – expect to pay USD $20 – $40 per meal
  • Any meals, drinks, snacks not listed
Ability

This tour is suitable for advanced snowboarders. You should be comfortable on black diamond runs, frequently ride off-piste at a resort or in the backcountry, can confidently navigate any alpine and treed terrain and maintain a continuous rhythm and pace, even through traverses and flat sections.

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 our 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, we’ll ask you to self-evaluate what type of rider you are. This will help us book you on the right tour. 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 enjoy the tour.

Tour Dates

All our Japan Tours are 6 nights and run from Sunday to Saturday. You’ll ride every resort mid-week to avoid the weekend day-trippers and maximise your time on-snow. 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 and multi-tour discount.


DATES

  • Week 1  21 JAN – 27 JAN, 2024
  • Week 2  28 JAN – 3 FEB, 2024

BOOK A PRIVATE TOUR
Book this as a private tour with your own guide and all the benefits of a Mint group tour – for any group, big or small. Booking a private tour so you can ride with like-minded friends is the best way to guarantee the speed and ability levels of your group.

FAQ

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 insurance, stopovers and pre-or post tour arrangements.


WHAT IS A FREERIDE TOUR?
Our 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). We’ll aim to ride a lot of powder and trees so please be prepared to ride in the trees for 5 days straight. Of course weather and conditions are impossible to predict so guests must be prepared to ride anything.


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, drinks 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

HOW FAR IN ADVANCE DO I NEED TO BOOK?
It’s hard to estimate when the tour will fill up. That being said, Asahikawa is our most popular destination, 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.


WHAT IS THE ITINERARY?
For further information, including a tour itinerary send us an enquiry.


WHAT TYPE OF TERRAIN WILL WE RIDE?
On this tour we 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. The backcountry zones are mostly lift-accessed, however there are times when a short boot pack is necessary (typically 10 minutes). Snowshoes/split boards are not required.


FITNESS
Whether you’re a snowboarding veteran 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 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?
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, visa requirements and transportation information.


WHAT IF I’M TRAVELLING SOLO?
The accommodation for this tour is Single Share 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?
There is a maximum of 6 people on this tour.


WHICH RESORTS WILL WE VISIT?
We keep the tour itinerary flexible 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. We have many resorts and backcountry zones that we can access. The driving time to each destination varies and can range from 30 minutes to 1 hour from our base.


CAN I ARRIVE EARLY OR STAY ON AFTER THE TOUR?
Yes, we can arrange pre or post tout accommodation. 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?
This tour is led by Chad Otterstrom and assisting him is our guide and videographer Jeremy Black.


ARE FLIGHTS INCLUDED?
No, flights are not included.


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.


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.


CAN I BRING MY PARTNER WHO DOESN’T SKI OR SNOWBOARD?
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 Asahikawa. 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?
This tour is available for snowboarders only.


CAN I RENT EQUIPMENT?
Complimentary use of avalanche safety equipment is included as part of the tour. There is no rental snowboarding equipment available in Asahikawa. Please bring everything you need with you.


WHAT EQUIPMENT SHOULD I BRING?
Asahikawa can be a very cold place in winter, with temperatures typically ranging from -10 to -30°C / 14 to -22°F. We strongly recommend that guests dress in layers of clothing specific for traveling in backcountry areas. We recommend that guests have a good quality waterproof jacket and pants, insulated layer(s), merino base layers, merino gloves and waterproof gloves, goggles with low light & 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 recommended.


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

Booking Information

PRICE
USD 2,990 per person

Ask about the multi-tour booking discount.


DEPOSITS AND PAYMENTS
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.


TERMS AND CONDITIONS
View our terms and conditions HERE

Enquire

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