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Hosted by Chris Coté and Todd Richards

Spend a week riding ‘Leisure Powder™️’ in Japan with Chris Coté and Todd Richards, hosts of “The World’s Greatest Action Sports Podcast”.

This tour is based in Asahikawa City on the northern island of Hokkaido – THE most snow-sure part of Japan. 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. 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 consistent snow quality.

Each day you’ll hang out and ride with your hosts Chris and Todd. You’ll chase the snow and ride a variety of resort and lift-accessed backcountry terrain. There is no set itinerary, Chris, Todd and the Mint guides will select the resort daily based on weather and snowfall. 

You’ll also get to see the ‘real’ Japan while staying in a lively regional city, rather than a resort. 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 hosts will plan dinners throughout the week.

Dates

12 - 18 January, 2025

DURATION

7 days / 6 nights. Ride Monday to Friday to maximise your time on-snow and skip the weekend crowds.

Price

USD 3,990 single room

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.

Highlights

Ride with Chris Cote and Todd Richards

Spend a week riding ‘Leisure Powder™️’ in Japan with Chris Coté and Todd Richards, hosts of “The World’s Greatest Action Sports Podcast”.

Highlights

Visit Asahidake

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 ski areas surrounding Asahikawa and a few of our secret spots.

Highlights

Premium is the new Normal

Your stay will be premium in every way. You'll 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.

Highlights

Stay in Asahikawa city

Surrounding your 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.

Highlights

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.

Monday M.A.S.S. Asahikawa Freeride Tour

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 - 70 minutes.

SNOW & CONDITIONS

January 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 & CULTURE

The plan for each day differs due to a number of factors, but we'll always make time for an onsen (hot spring) 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 shop, a trip to the sushi train on the outskirts of town, or a visit to the local snowboard shop and skate park.

ACCOMMODATION

Throughout the tour you'll stay in a modern, 3 star city hotel in downtown Asahikawa with great amenities including 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 with your hosts.

MINT TOURS

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.

ESSENTIAL INFO

Tour Inclusions

INCLUSIONS

 

✔ Tour hosted by Chris Coté and Todd Richards
✔ 6 nights accommodation in a Single Room with ensuite (1 person per room)
✔ 5 days of on-snow guiding (Monday to Friday)
✔ Post tour video with highlights from the week
✔ 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, guides 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
✘ 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

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 the Monday M.A.S.S. Asahikawa Freeride Tour, then start a new Mint tour in a different destination the following day.

Arrive: Sunday 12 January, 2025
Depart: Saturday 18 January, 2025
Price: USD $3,990 single room

 


CONDITIONS – WHAT TO EXPECT FOR YOUR TOUR

 

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 anything. 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.

ITINERARY

DAY 1 – ARRIVAL DAY

 

Welcome to Japan. Make your way to the meeting point at Asahikawa Airport where the Mint guides 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 up with Chris, Todd and the Mint guides as they explain what’s in store for the week, the current weather, run through equipment and answer any questions you have. Then it’s time for dinner at a local izakaya.


DAY 2 – 6 – STORM CHASING

 

You’ll spend the next 5 days riding the surrounding Asahikawa Resorts with Chris, Todd and the Mint guides. The tour itinerary is flexible and your guide will monitor the 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. 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.

Afternoons – After riding, your guides will make plans according to time, the groups interest and energy levels. You could find yourself night riding, heading to 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. There will be 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

This tour is suitable for Advanced snowboarders. You ride at a moderate pace and have snowboarding experience both off-piste at a resort and in the backcountry. You’re comfortable in most condition – from deep pow to hard pack or in low visibility. You can maintain a continuous pace, through trees, traverses and flat sections. On this tour you will ride for 5 consecutive and full days.

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 enjoy the tour.

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 assist with pre-or post tour arrangements.


WHAT IS A FREERIDE TOUR?

 

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 boot pack is necessary (typically 10 – 15 minutes). During the tour you will ride a lot of powder, glades 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 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

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 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.


WHAT IS THE TERRAIN LIKE?

 

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 – 15 minutes). Snowshoes/split boards are not required.


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?

 

Guests have their 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 ON TOUR?

 

12 people.


WHICH RESORTS WILL WE VISIT?

 

The Monday M.A.S.S. 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.


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.


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?

 

Complimentary use of avalanche safety equipment is included as part of the tour. 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).


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 and Mint’s 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 terms and conditions HERE

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