Chase Hokkaido's biggest storms on our Niseko Freeride Tour
If you’re chasing that deep, cold Japanese powder, there’s really only one option. Niseko and the surrounding resorts rank number #1 for consistently deep and cold snow.
This is a fully hosted powder hunter tour with flexible itinerary and a small group of 6 people. We will chase the snow so you can ride the best resort each day. From our base in Niseko we have access to over 11 resorts in the region such as Hanazono, Hirafu, Niseko Village, Annupuri, Rusutsu, Moiwa and the coastal resorts Kiroro, Sapporo Kokusai, Teine, Otaru Tenguyama and Asarigawa Onsen. Throughout the tour you’ve got a dedicated powder 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.
Your guide is one of the most experienced and qualified professionals working in Hokkaido who has many years of experience riding in these areas as well as reading the conditions and terrain. The terrain you’ll ride ranges from big open bowls to undulating tree riding and you should always expect some of the deepest, lightest and driest powder in the world.
If it’s your first time to Japan or if you’ve visited many times before, we highly recommend the Niseko Freeride Tour for a couple of good reasons. Firstly, it is consistently our most snow-sure tour and secondly, you can ride a variety of Hokkaido’s best lift accessed, resort and backcountry zones with an optional cat ski day, all in the one week. Need more untracked powder? You can add a backcountry Cat Ski day where you can spend a full day riding untracked powder with oceanfront views.
Register your interest for winter 2024
Guest to Guide Ratio
6 guests : 1 guide
Register your interest for winter 2024Currency Convertor
Freeride - Off-piste and 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.
Chase the Snow
We have a flexible itinerary so we can chase the snow. From Niseko we can access over 11 resorts in the region such as Niseko United, Rusutsu, Kiroro, Moiwa, Sapporo Kokusai, Teine, Otaru Tenguyama and Asarigawa Onsen.
Our guides have decades of experience leading groups throughout the Niseko region. You'll benefit from their extensive local knowledge which will give you access to many of their secret spots.
Premium is the new Normal
We'll make sure your stay is premium in every way. You'll stay in a luxe 4-star hotel that’s near Hirafu’s famous shopping dining & drinking spots and you'll have private transport on-hand for the entire tour.
Ride the Niseko backcountry
The Niseko back-country is accessed via a system of gates. Each of the gates will take you on a different adventure, accessing new aspects and snow conditions, and a variety of different terrain features like pillows, wide open faces, tree runs & natural half-pipes.
Optional Cat Ski Day
Spend a day riding untracked powder with incredible coastal views. Each run delivers 450-650m of vertical and you’ll get 6-9 runs per day. The cat ski operation is just 40 minutes from Niseko. There is a variety of terrain that you’ll explore including wide-open former course runs, old growth glades and long, steep bowls.
Our guides will get you ahead of the pack so you arrive at the resorts before the masses. We'll shuttle you to the best resorts daily in our modern 9 seat 4WD vans.
After riding we always have the option to stop off at an out-of-the-way onsen so you can relax and recharge after a long day riding powder.
Each evening, join your guides to explore the many dining and drinking options in the Niseko area as well as the local town of Kutchan.
RESORTS AND INFO
Get in touch for a detailed tour itinerary and more info
Niseko needs little introduction, with its colossal amounts of snowfall and legendary freeriding, the resort has something for everyone. The four ski resorts in Niseko are accessible with a single ‘All mountain’ pass giving you access to kilometres of groomed runs and in-bounds tree riding options. However, if you’re looking to get into the waist deep stuff and the conditions are right, there are plenty of backcountry options right across the mountain. Apart from Niseko itself there are plenty of smaller resorts surrounding this area which share in the colossal snow storms and are home to some great terrain and quieter (or non existent) lift lines.
If you’re in search of uncrowded terrain and epic powder days (who isn’t?) then a day trip to Kiroro will blow your mind. With up to 18 metres of light, dry, famous Hokkaido powder snow each season, freshies are easily come by (and still enjoyed late into the afternoon). Perfect for intermediate to advanced skiers and snowboarders, a third of the slopes are rated as black runs, and being spread across two mountain peaks so there are countless opportunities to pick your line. Being a well established ski resort, Kiroro boasts an incredibly maintained lift infrastructure, meaning you’re bound to find your favourite tree-run to lap in no time.
Rusutsu is just a 40 minute drive from Niseko and is one of our favourite places to ski and snowboard in Hokkaido for a number of reasons. Rusutsu scores huge quantities of the light, dry, fluffy stuff that Hokkaido is renowned for; it has some of the best fall line tree riding in Japan that is accessed straight off the lifts with minimal traversing; it’s perfectly manicured groomers are ideal for any level of rider; it gets minimal crowds in comparison to the nearby resorts and to top it all off it has a kooky amusement park complete with rollercoaster’s and carousel, weird but cool.
SAPPORO KOKUSAI, TEINE & TENGUYAMA
The city of Otaru is situated just a 45 minute drive from Niseko and this rugged coastline is surrounded by mountain ranges. We access three resorts from the port town of Otaru; Sapporo Kokusai, Teine and Otaru Tenguyama. Being located close to the ocean means these resorts receive the full brunt of the Hokkaido storms. If we time our visit right, there will be plenty of powder, and very little competition for fresh lines. There's some great in-bounds options with glades, steep trees as well as nice long piste runs and rarely any crowds weekdays.
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. This also makes for a more personal experience between our guests and guides. Our Niseko Freeride Tour is a small group tour with a maximum of 6 guests.
You'll stay in modern 4-star luxury at the Chatrium in Niseko. Located in the heart of Hirafu and only 600m from the ski slopes. Your room has floor-to-ceiling windows with mountain views, kitchenette and ensuite. The hotel offers a bar, cafe and restaurant, concierge services, a cosy lounge with a fireplace, boot dryers, equipment storage, complimentary laundry, Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, 24 hour fitness centre.
Meet your expert team
EXPERIENCED 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
Greg has been part of the Mint family forever. With 13 years guiding and coaching experience in the Niseko area alone, it's fair to say he knows a few of the secret spots. Overall, he's been guiding and instructing for over 25 years - working at Coronet Peak, Remarkables, Steamboat, Beaver Creek, Vail, Thredbo and Niseko. Greg is a fully certified snowboard coach, guide and member of the New Zealand Snowsports Instructors Alliance and an NZSIA Life Member.
Meet your expert team
Scott is our lead guide and coaching director who brings over 20 years industry experience to his role. He is a three-term AASI National Snowboard Team Member and the current coach of American Association of Snowboard Instructors National snowboard team. Scott is also Co-founder of GoSnow industries, the first on-demand booking platform for snowsport instructors. Sponsors: Burton Snowboards, Smith optics, Hestra Gloves, Patagonia outerwear, Anon helmets, Purl Wax.
Meet your expert team
Hiro is our newest member of the Mint guiding team. A Niseko local, he brings years of experience coaching and guiding in the Niseko United area as well as the surrounding resorts. Hiro has also worked extensively in New Zealand on both the North and South Islands as a snowboarding coach at Mt Ruapehu and Cardrona. Hiro loves being in the forest all year round. He enjoys exploring new spots and meeting new people to ride, ski or just hang out with.
YOUR TOUR INCLUDES
- 6 nights twin share accommodation in a 4* Studio Suite with kitchenette and ensuite, Chatrium Niseko
- 6 breakfasts at Niseko’s famous farm-to-fork cafe, Green Farm
- 5 days of resort and backcountry guiding in Niseko/Rusutsu/Kiroro/Sapporo Kokusai/Sapporo Teine/Otaru Tenguyama etc.
- 5 days of private bus transfers to and from resorts
- Return airport transfers, New Chitose Airport to Hirafu Welcome Centre
- Return transfers from Hirafu Welcome Centre to accommodation (arrival & departure day)
- Fully-escorted tour, guide on hand throughout the tour
- Discount codes from our partners
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 Niseko, then start a new tour in a different destination the following day. Ask us about tour combo ideas.
Register your interest for winter 2024
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.
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 HAPPENS IF TRAVEL IS IMPACTED TO CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)?
The global health crisis has impacted everyone enormously, so we want to make sure your future travel plans are safe and reassure you that we are committed to supporting our customers in the best way that we can. You can view our latest Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates HERE
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. 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. Your group will be made up mostly of solo travellers. Our groups generally mix well due to a shared interest in snowsports and an eagerness to explore all that Japan has to offer.
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. We have a maximum of 6 people on this tour. 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. There are lots of glades and trees – please be prepared to ride and ski in the trees.
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. Incredibly, Niseko has over 12 ski resorts we can access within easy reach of our centrally located hotel.
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.
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 be comprehensive snow specific 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 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 which contains further tour information.
HOW CAN 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 NISEKO?
We’ll provide you with a guide with details on how to get to Niseko. 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?
We are ski and snowboard friendly. Please note that the majority of our tours are led by snowboard guides.
ARE LIFT TICKETS INCLUDED?
We don’t include lift tickets for two reasons. Firstly, for guests who hold a valid IKON Pass or EPIC Pass, these can be used at Niseko United Resorts and Rusutsu Resort which offers a significant cost saving. Secondly, we want you to be riding the best snow each day which is why we have a flexible itinerary. There is no single lift ticket that covers all the resorts we ride; and we don’t want to lock you in to pre-purchasing lift tickets so you have to ride certain resorts. You can just purchase a lift ticket on the day, wherever we may end up. This means we can travel far and wide to score you the best snow; from the major resorts, to the smaller hidden gems.
CAN I RENT EQUIPMENT?
Yes. We can arrange rental equipment for this tour including powder boards, ski’s, avalanche safety equipment and backcountry touring equipment.
WHAT EQUIPMENT SHOULD I BRING?
We will provide guests with a packing list. If it’s your first time to Japan it’s important to know that Hokkaido can be a cold place in winter, with temperatures typically ranging from 0 to -20. 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 and beanie. All guests participating in backcountry activities will be required to carry avalanche safety equipment including a transceiver, shovel, probe and a pack with a snowboard/ski carrier and wear a helmet. We recommend that all guests bring their own ski or snowboarding equipment for the tour. 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.
PRICE PER PERSON
Register your interest for winter 2024
RESERVATION AND DEPOSIT
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.
If you would like some more information or a quote for the tour you can contact us by:
Click on ‘Enquire’ 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.
2. OVER THE PHONE
Call us and follow the prompts to speak to one of our Japan Tour specialists.
Within Australia (03) 5296 0314
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.