AN AUTHENTIC JAPANESE DEEP POWDER EXPERIENCE
This is an all-inclusive resort and backcountry tour where you’ll chase the snow. The aim of the game is to ride powder every day, which is why we have a flexible itinerary and private transport on hand. You could find yourself riding at a resort in the Nagano or Niigata region in the morning and doing a backcountry hike for more fresh tracks in the afternoon.
If you haven’t been to this region before, what you need to know is this that some resorts scored an incredible 22 meters / 72 feet of snowfall last winter. It’s one of those places where waist-deep means exactly that. Thanks to its location roughly 20 kilometres from the Sea of Japan, big snowfall is a regular occurrence during the months of January and February. Once you arrive and see the towering snowbanks lining the streets, you’ll know that you’re in for a deep powder adventure.
This is an all-inclusive resort and backcountry snowboarding tour with a flexible itinerary and a small group of 6 people. Your expert backcountry guide will monitor the weather to ensure you’ll ride at the best resorts and backcountry zones each day. You could find yourself riding a resort in the morning and doing a backcountry hike in the afternoon for fresh tracks. You’ll chase the snow so you can ride the best resort in the region each day. From our base in Myoko we have access to many resorts in the region such as Madarao, Tangram, Seki Onsen, Lotte Arai, Togakushi, Myoko Suginohara, Akakura Onsen and Akakura Kanko. You’ve got an expert backcountry guide and private transport on-hand so you’ll be ahead of the punters and into the waist deep stuff. Your guide will give you a locals perspective from day one – from the secret spots and stashes to the best onsen and ramen. If you don’t have you’re own equipment, you have complimentary access to our fleet of backcountry safety equipment as well as snowshoes and poles throughout the tour.
WEEK 1 - 21 JAN - 27 JAN
WEEK 2 - 28 JAN - 3 FEB
WEEK 3 - 4 FEB - 10 FEB
WEEK 4 - 11 FEB - 17 FEB
Guest to Guide Ratio
6 guests : 1 guide
USD 2,650Currency Convertor
Intermediate to Advanced
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.
Our base for this tour is Myoko, which gives us easy access to many resorts and even more backcountry zones in the region. Some of the places we like to visit include Madarao, Tangram, Lotte Arai, Seki Onsen, Suginohara, Akakura Onsen, Akakura Kanko, Ikenotaira and Togakushi.
We have our 4WD van ready to chase the storms and shuttle you to the best resort each day. Storm chasing means we keep the itinerary flexible to find you the best snow.
For an authentic Japan experience we stay in a 200 year old onsen hotel. It's a basic hotel, but here you'll experience Japanese hospitality (omotenashi). All four onsen at the hotel are natural hot springs, with water flowing directly from Mount Myoko. The hotel has the largest amount of onsen water in the Akakura Onsen district.
Your tour includes buffet breakfasts and expertly prepared dinners made with the freshest local ingredients.
Myoko Powder Hunter Tour
Get in touch for a detailed tour itinerary and more info
This lively onsen town sits at the foot of the impressive Mt Myoko and thanks to its close proximity to the coast, it scored an incredible 22 meters of snowfall last winter season. It's one of those places where waist-deep means exactly that. Big snowfall is a regular occurrence during the months of January and February. While it's an area that is already on the radar for many skiers and riders, there's still places that we can drive to that are relatively quiet. You can be sure that on a powder day the trees will stay untouched for long enough to tire you out, and with a short hike, more fresh turns can be found.
We've included nearly everything to make this a stress-free trip. You'll stay at an onsen hotel where you've got your own private room for the trip (no sharing with snoring room mates), buffet breakfasts and dinners prepared with local produce, a dedicated backcountry guide to monitor the storms and find you the best snow daily, private transport on-hand to take you to the best resorts each day, all lift tickets for the trip and we'll pick you up and drop you off from the bullet train on arrival and departure day. If you don't have you're own avalanche safety equipment, you have complimentary access to our fleet of packs, transceivers, shovels and probes as well as snowshoes and poles throughout the tour.
We’ll chase the snow and ride at different resorts each day. Our centrally located lodge in Myoko is the perfect base to not only explore the Myoko resorts - Suginohara, Akakura Onsen and Akakura Kanko, but also the lesser known ski areas – Lotte Arai, Seki Onsen, Kuriohime, Togakushi, Madarao, Tangram and a couple of our secret spots. Mint guides have years of experience skiing & snowboarding this region and will monitor storm cycles daily to ensure you’re scoring these zones in the best conditions.
For an authentic Japan experience, you'll stay in a basic but comfortable onsen (hot spring) hotel in a small village where you'll experience true Japanese hospitality (omotenashi). Each guests stays in their own private ensuite room (1 person per room) and breakfasts and dinners are included that are made with local produce. After a long day riding powder, there's nothing better than relaxing back at the hotel's onsen. There's also a few lively bars and restaurants surrounding the hotel for after dark.
GETTING TO MYOKO
Myoko is easy to reach from Tokyo which makes the Myoko Region Freeride Tour a great option if you’re travelling solo or it’s your first time to Japan. Get on the Bullet Train in Tokyo and in just under 2 hours you will arrive at our local Shinkansen station. Once you arrive, we’ll take you to our hotel, check you in, and make sure you’re set up for the adventure ahead.
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 take a maximum of 6 people on this tour. This also makes for a more personal experience between our guests and guides.
Meet your expert team
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
Born and raised above the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland. In winters, Jari is a freeride guide in Japan, the Alps and at his home resort, Pyhä in Finland. Jari established the Pyhä Snow Safety Center where he teaches Finlav courses and operates avalanche forecasting for Pyhä's free ride areas. A qualified snow safety instructor and educator, avalanche forecaster, ski patroller and snowsports instructor in the disciplines of snowboarding, telemark, alpine and cross-country. In summers you’ll find Jari working as a coast guard on the Finnish Archipelago.
YOUR TOUR INCLUDES
- 6 nights accommodation in a single ensuite room at a locally owned onsen hotel (1 person per room)
- 5 days of resort and backcountry guiding with a professional guide
- Use of avalanche safety equipment – pack, transceiver, shovel & probe
- Use of snowshoes (verts) and poles
- 5 day lift ticket
- 5 days of private transfers in 4WD vehicles to & from resorts
- Return arrival & departure day transfers from Joetsu-Myoko Station
- 6 breakfasts
- 6 dinners
- Cultural excursions – onsen, shrine etc.
- Fully-escorted tour, guides on hand throughout the tour
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
- Travel insurance
- All lunches – expect to pay USD $10 – $15 per meal
- Any meals, drinks, snacks not listed
This tour is suitable for strong intermediate to advanced snowboarders and skiers. You should be comfortable on black diamond runs, be able to ride/ski off-piste at a resort or in the backcountry, can confidently navigate 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/skier 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 relax and enjoy your tour.
The only way to guarantee the speed and ability level of your group is to book a private tour so you can ride with like-minded friends. If you have a group of 6 people, you can book this as a private tour.
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.
- Week 1 21 JAN – 27 JAN, 2024
- Week 2 28 JAN – 3 FEB, 2024
- Week 3 4 FEB – 10 FEB, 2024
- Week 4 11 FEB – 17 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.
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 backcountry guides have an in-depth knowledge of the resorts and backcountry zones 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 hiking is necessary. If you don’t have your own splitboard or snowshoes, you can use our fleet of Verts and poles. We’ll aim to snowboard 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.
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, drinks and snacks. Here’s an indication of what you can expect to pay for meals and transport to Myoko:
- Lunches – expect to pay USD $10 – $15 per meal
- Drinks, beers and snacks – expect to pay USD $20 – $30 per day
- Train fare to/from Joetsu-Myoko Station (approx. USD 70 one way from Tokyo Haneda Airport)
HOW FAR IN ADVANCE DO I NEED TO BOOK?
It’s hard to estimate when the tour will fill up. That being said, the Myoko Freeride Tour is a popular tour, 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/SKI?
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. Snowshoes/split boards/touring skis are required. If you don’t have your own equipment, we have a fleet of Verts snowshoes and poles that you can use complimentary.
WHO WILL BE IN MY GROUP?
We 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.
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.
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?
We have a maximum of 6 people on this tour. We know that by offering one of the smallest client to guide ratio in the industry allows you to ride at your preferred pace, and ultimately leads to a better experience for everyone.
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. Our centrally located lodge in Myoko is the perfect base to not only explore the Myoko resorts – Suginohara, Akakura Onsen and Akakura Kanko, but also the lesser known ski areas – Lotte Arai, Seki Onsen, Kuriohime, Togakushi, Madarao, Tangram and a couple of our secret spots. Mint guides have years of experience skiing and snowboarding this region and will monitor storm cycles daily to ensure you’re scoring these zones in the best conditions.The driving time to each destination varies and can range from 5 to 45 minutes 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?
All of our tours are guided by friendly, knowledgeable and expertly trained guides who are passionate about the mountains. Your guides for this tour is Jari Valvio who has spent many winters snowboarding, splitboarding and ski touring in the Myoko region.
Jari was born and raised above the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland. In winters, Jari is a freeride guide in Japan, the Alps and at his home resort, Pyhä in Finland. Jari established the Pyhä Snow Safety Center where he teaches Finlav courses and operates avalanche forecasting for Pyhä’s free ride areas. A qualified snow safety instructor and educator, avalanche forecaster, ski patroller and snowsports instructor in the disciplines of snowboarding, telemark, alpine and cross-country. In summers you’ll find Jari working as a coast guard on the Finnish Archipelago.
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 MYOKO?
We’ll provide you with instructions to get to Otaru. 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 this tour is led by a splitboard guide.
CAN I RENT EQUIPMENT?
Complimentary use of avalanche safety equipment is included as part of the tour as well as Verts (snowshoes) and poles. We do recommend that you bring all your snowboarding / ski equipment with you as the rental selection is limited.
WHAT EQUIPMENT SHOULD I BRING?
Myoko can be a cold place in winter, with temperatures typically ranging from +3 to -10°C / 37 to 14°F. Days will be short, with an average of 6 hours of sunlight per day. This place scores some of the biggest storms in Japan so you never need to worry about lack of snow. 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.
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.
USD 2,650 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
If you would like some more information or a quote for the tour you can contact us by:
Enquire below. 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.
2. OVER THE PHONE
Call us and follow the prompts to speak to one of our Japan Tour specialists.
Within Australia (03) 5296 0314