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Lotte Arai is a 5-star uber-luxe resort with some of the best powder on Earth

Situated in Niigata, just 18 kilometres from the Sea of Japan is a little-known ski area, Lotte Arai Resort.  If this place isn’t on your powder radar, there’s a very good reason. It was abandoned for ten years before it’s recent re-launch, and the resort has had a 5-star makeover. Think luxury rooms, gondolas, lounge bars, bakeries, whiskey and wine bars, private karaoke rooms, indoor swimming pools, onsen, day spas, a zip line, indoor rock climbing walls, and restaurants showcasing the best of the local Niigata produce. This is the only truly 5-star resort on Japan.

And the snow? We’ll if last season’s 21 metres of snowfall is anything to go by, you’re going to need to pack your powder board (and snorkel). Throughout winter, fierce Siberian storms push over the Sea of Japan, dumping pure white goodness on this coastal treasure. By January, Lotte Arai has typically already received around 12 metres of snowfall. So you get the idea of just how much it snows. It CONSTANTLY snows. To deal with this colossal snowfall, Lotte Arai Resort has employed one of the best avalanche forecasters in the business, Dave Iles from Whistler. Dave and his team spend their days ensuring the terrain is safe to enjoy. Fortunately the snowpack at Arai settles, stabilises and bonds quickly so avalanche closures aren’t long. When Dave’s team opens the resort after significant snowfall, it’s pure powder paradise.

Dates

Guest to Guide Ratio

5 guests : 1 guide

Price

AUD $_,___ per person

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Tour Type

Freeride - Be prepared to ride and ski in the trees

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.

Highlights

Pro Guide Erika Vikander

Your guide is Freeride World Tour athlete Erika Vikander. She's a hard-charging, professional snowboarder who has just one goal for the week – to find you the best POWDER!

Highlights

Photographer On Tour

We'll make sure you get your iconic Japan powder shot. Throughout the tour we'll have our professional photographer on-hand, capturing all the action. Each day you'll get to download your complimentary powder shots with all the action on and off the snow.

Highlights

Incredible Terrain and Snowfall

21 metres of snowfall is anything to go by, you’re going to need to pack your powder board (and snorkel). You’ve got 10 avalanche controlled, ungroomed, backcountry style zones to explore throughout the tour.

Lotte Arai Freeride Week

Get in touch for a detailed tour itinerary and more info

Lotte Arai Resort

Situated in Niigata, just 18 kilometres from the Sea of Japan is the little-known ski area, Lotte Arai Resort. It’s a 5-star uber-luxe resort that is home to some of the best powder on Earth. If this place isn’t on your powder radar, there’s a very good reason. It was abandoned for ten years before it’s recent re-launch, and the resort has had a 5-star makeover. Think luxury rooms, gondolas, lounge bars, bakeries, whiskey and wine bars, private karaoke rooms, indoor swimming pools, onsen, day spas, a zip line, indoor rock climbing walls, and restaurants showcasing the best of the local Niigata produce. This is the only truly 5-star resort on Japan.

Snow & Conditions

And the snow? We’ll if last season’s 21 metres of snowfall is anything to go by, you’re going to need to pack your powder board (and snorkel). Throughout winter, fierce Siberian storms push over the Sea of Japan, dumping pure white goodness on this coastal treasure. By January, Lotte Arai has typically already received around 12 metres of snowfall. So you get the idea of just how much it snows. It CONSTANTLY snows. To deal with this colossal snowfall, Lotte Arai Resort has employed one of the best avalanche forecasters in the business, Dave Iles from Whistler. Dave and his team spend their days ensuring the terrain is safe to enjoy. Fortunately the snowpack at Arai settles, stabilises and bonds quickly so avalanche closures aren’t long. When Dave’s team opens the resort after significant snowfall, it’s pure powder paradise.

The Terrain

While the luxury off-snow offering is impressive, it’s the mountain that is the highlight. To start with, you’ve got 1000 meters of vertical from peak to base. The terrain is rolling and open and there’s some big lines to ride from the peak. And to top it off, Lotte Arai leaves 70% of the resort ungroomed which makes it freeride heaven. You’ve got 10 avalanche controlled, ungroomed, backcountry style zones to explore throughout the tour. There’s a reason why local riders refer to it as Japanese Whistler.

Luxury 5 Star Accommodation

Throughout the tour you’ll stay on-mountain at Lotte Arai Resort Hotel. This is a 5 star, luxury hotel with access to the region’s best powder. The hotel has all the modern amenities that you’d expect from a 5 star hotel, onsen, day spa, indoor pools, fitness centre, rock-climbing, bars, bakery, wine cellar, shops and restaurants using the freshest locally sourced ingredients. You’ll stay in a Superior twin share room that is equipped with 2 single beds that will have you feeling zen in no time. Each room has amazing views of Okenashiyama and the surrounding area. Each room has a great heating, private ensuite bathroom, TV, refrigerator and free WiFi. As part of this tour, breakfasts and dinners are included at the hotel.

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 flights, insurance, stopovers and pre or post tour arrangements.

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. When we are on mountain, our guest to guide ratio is 4 people per guide. This also makes for a more personal experience between our guests and guides.

Meet your expert team

Mint Guides

Professional, dedicated and very, very experienced. Not only do our expert guides know how to find the best snow and terrain, they also know how to pass on the benefits of that knowledge in a clear and comprehensive way to get the best out of you too.

Meet your expert team

Erika Vikander

The Freeride World Tour is the "Olympics" of big mountain snowboarding and consists of 45 of the most elite freeride athletes on the globe. Erika is 1 of the 6 women on this tour. Prior to her Freeride career, Erika reached the top of the slopestyle ranks, taking podiums at the highest level, including The Dew Tour, Grand Prix, Burton US Open and even the Sochi Olympic qualifiers.

Meet your expert team

Michaela Davis-Meehan

Michaela is one of our home-grown, Australian hero's who's making a big name for herself in the freeride world. She has earned her place in the elite ranks of the Freeride World Tour in 2020 after her victories at the four-star rated events in Silvretta, Austria and Nendaz, Switzerland.

ESSENTIAL INFO

Tour Inclusions

YOUR TOUR INCLUDES

  • 6 nights twin share accommodation with ensuite, Superior Twin room
  • 6 days breakfast
  • 6 nights dinner
  • Return bus transfers, Joetsu-Myoko Station (Airport transfers available)
  • 5 days of professional guiding at Lotte Arai Resort
  • 5 day lift ticket for Lotte Arai Resort
  • Media team on hand capturing all the action
  • Images/video provided at end of tour
  • Mint Tours guides on hand throughout the tour
  • Safety briefings
  • Evening yoga/ stretching sessions.
Mint Guarantee

Anywhere but ordinary.

 

#1 WE’RE ACCREDITED & ACCOUNTABLE
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 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 and post tour arrangements.


#2 TRAVEL WITH THE EXPERTS
All our tours are guided by friendly, knowledgeable and expertly trained guides who are passionate about the mountains and each destination. Plus, when you hop on the phone with one of our staff, you know you’re speaking with someone who lives and breathes snow. Nobody gets you like we do.


#3 SMALL GROUP GUARANTEE
Whereas most companies try to squeeze as many clients per guide, we know 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, we keep our group size to a maximum of 6 people. Our small groups allow greater manoeuvrability and ease of access to the best experiences (and powder!) each destination can offer.


#4 FULLY ESCORTED TOUR
One of the advantages of travelling with Mint is that you have dedicated guides for your entire tour. Our guides stay with you throughout the tour and are on-hand from the moment you arrive, until we say goodbye on departure day. They are not only with you all day on-snow, they are also on-hand each evening. They are always more than happy to share their experience with you on the mountain, and share a beer and some laughs at the end of the day.


#5 PRE-TOUR SUPPORT
After you sign up for this 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.


#6 PARTICIPANT SCREENING PROCESS
We ensure that everyone who joins these trips are a good fit for the difficulty level. This helps ensure that you’re booked on the right tour, as are the other people joining you.


#7 RISK FREE BOOKING WINDOW
Got cold feet? Couldn’t find a good flight or get the time off work? Cancel up to 7 days after your initial booking and get 100% of your deposit back, no questions asked.


#8 LOCAL PARTNERSHIPS
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.

Tour Dates

All our Japan Tours are 6 nights and run from Sunday to Saturday. You’ll ride every resort 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 Lotte Arai, then start a new tour in a different destination the following day. Ask us about tour combo ideas and multi-tour discounts.


DATES      07 February – 13 February, 2021


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.

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 flights, 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. 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. If you are travelling solo, you will be paired with another guest to room with. The accommodation for this tour is twin share i.e. 2 beds per room. If you’d prefer your own room please request a single room at time of booking.


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, we have a maximum of 5 people per guide. 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 skiers and snowboarders who can link turns in powder snow, can make a variety of turn shapes and can traverse and hold speed. 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 never ridden in powder or shy away from it at your local resort, this is not the tour to learn. Arai terrain has trees – please be prepared to ride and ski in the trees.


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. Most of our guides work for us season after season. If you have a preferred Mint guide, just let us know and we’ll be able to tell you which tours they are leading.


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 LOTTE ARAI?
We’ll provide you with a guide with options to get to Lotte Arai. 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?
Yes! We can arrange rental equipment for most destinations, however we do recommend bringing your own equipment. We do recommend bringing powder boards or ski’s for all our Japan tours.


WHAT EQUIPMENT SHOULD I BRING?
Japan can be a cold place in winter, with temperatures typically ranging from 0 to -10. 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. We recommend that all guests 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 snowsports and an eagerness to explore all that Japan has to offer.


ARE LIFT TICKETS INCLUDED?
Yes. You’ll get a 5 day ‘First Class’ lift ticket giving you lift line priority.

Price and Payment

PRICE PER PERSON
This tour is AUD $____
Pricing is in Australian Dollars and based on twin share accommodation. Please contact us if you would like a quote in your local currency. We can accept payments in USD, AUD, NZD, GBP, CHF, EUR, JPY, CAD.


SINGLE SHARE SUPPLEMENTS
A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this tour. The single supplement applies to all nights on your tour and is subject to availability. Please speak to your tour specialist for further information.


RESERVATION AND DEPOSIT
To secure your spot on tour, a non-refundable 25% deposit is payable within 3 days of booking. The balance is due 90 days prior to tour departure.

Enquiries and Bookings

If you would like some more information or a quote for the tour you can contact us by:

1. ONLINE
Click on ‘Enquiry’ below and send us your details. 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.

ENQUIRY


2. OVER THE PHONE 
Call us and follow the prompts to speak to one of our Japan Tour specialists.

Within Australia (03) 8563 9437
International +61 (03) 8563 9437


3. EMAIL
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.

info@minttours.com

Enquire