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NAGANO & NIIGATA FREERIDE

7 DAY GUIDED TOUR

Spend a week exploring Niigata and Nagano’s best resorts for powder-riding with our head freeride guide, Chuck Morin. This is a small group tour with a maximum of 6 riders, so you’ll be ahead of the pack and into the waist deep stuff with a dedicated guide and private transport. Here’s what you can expect:

Day 1 – Arrival Day
You’ll be met at Myoko-Kogen Station and transferred by bus to our lodge. After checking in, you’ll have the afternoon free to explore the surrounding area, head to the onsen, or just relax. In the evening, we’ll regroup and run a Welcome Session where our guide who will run you through the tour, weather, equipment and answer any questions you have. Join the group for dinner at the hotel.

Day 2 – Lotte Arai Resort
After breakfast at the lodge, we’ll load up the van and drive 30 minutes away to 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 that receives on average 21 metres of snowfall. 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. 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. In the evening, join the group back at the lodge for dinner and drinks.

Day 3 – Madarao & Tangram
After breakfast at the lodge, we’ll load up the van and drive across the valley to the interlinked resorts, Madarao and Tangram. Riding here is always a crowd pleaser. When you score Madarao and Tangram on a powder day, it’s one of the best. We love it for it’s great fall line tree runs to suit every level of rider. They also leave many wide-open, un-groomed areas which is the perfect way to improve your powder riding skills. In the evening, join the group back at the lodge for dinner and drinks.

Day 4 – Seki Onsen
After breakfast at the lodge, we’ll load up the van and make the short drive to the nearby resort, Seki Onsen. On first glance this resort looks like every other semi-closed down ski resort in Japan. Don’t let this fool you though, this place often scores 70% more snowfall than the surrounding resorts and as an added bonus, it’s a lot quieter than the surrounding resorts as you need your own transport to get here which largely keep the holiday-makers away. Most people attribute their best days riding in Japan to Seki Onsen, when this place turns on it’s absolutely amazing! In the evening, join the group back at the lodge for dinner and drinks.

Day 5 – Suginohara
After breakfast at the lodge, we’ll load up the van and make the short drive to our local resort, Myoko Suginohara. This is our favourite of all the Myoko resorts. It receives plenty of snow and the top of the resort typically has great snow quality during winter thanks to its high elevation. Sugi is about 350 metres higher than the other Myoko resorts. We’ll spend the day exploring the tree runs, plus you’ll get to stretch the legs riding Japan’s longest run. In the evening, join the group back at the lodge for dinner and drinks.

Day 6 – Togakushi
After breakfast at the lodge, we’ll load up the van and drive to a very local resort in Nagano, Togakushi. It’s a small resort but it’s worth the trip for a good mix of riding powder with virtually zero competition for fresh lines and also for the culture. We’ll ride here mid-week, which means we’ll have this powder paradise to ourselves. After riding we’ll head into the local village to sample the soba noodles and visit the Togakushi Shrine which is situated in an ancient cedar forest.

Day 7 – Departure Day
All good things must come to come to an end, and after an epic week riding deep, Japanese powder we will transfer you back to the train station and say goodbye.

SNOW & CONDITIONS

This tour is running at the peak of Japan’s snow season, so be prepared. The consistent storms bring massive quantities of light, dry powder snow to this region. Your guides have an in depth knowledge of the local area and will be able to find any type of terrain to suit your ability – whether that be riding mellow tree runs or chasing some of the deep powder that Nagano and Niigata is renowned for. Most days you can expect to ride powder that’s anywhere from boot to waist deep. Even if we don’t get fresh snow overnight, the cold temperatures and our local knowledge will ensure you’ll be able to ride light dry snow days after a storm.

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 maximum group size is 6 people. This also makes for a more personal experience between our guests and guides.

TRADITIONAL ACCOMMODATION

We make sure all our guests stay in comfortable accommodation that’s in the best location. Throughout the tour you’ll stay in a traditional Japanese lodge. Our comfortable single share rooms are equipped with a single bed and offer glimpses of Myoko-san that will have you feeling zen in no time. Each room has heating, TV, and free WiFi. Every morning you’ve got a hot breakfast to enjoy in the restaurant and each night you’ll enjoy a home cooked Japanese dinner, plus you’ve got access to the in-house bar which has ice cold Asahi on tap.

EASY TRANSFERS

We take the hassle out of travel and make it a stress-free trip, especially if you’re travelling solo or it’s your first time to Japan. Once your flight arrives in Tokyo, grab your bags and get the train to Myoko. This is the quickest and easiest option to reach the resort. Here our guides are on-hand to meet you. We’ll make a short door-to-door trip, from the station straight to our hotel. Grab a seat in our 4WD van and we’ll take you to our hotel, check you in, and make sure you’re set up for the adventure ahead. Alternatively you can upgrade to door-to-door bus transfers from Tokyo Narita or Haneda Airport.

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.

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.

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