Tohoku Freeride Tour
Get off the beaten path and ride at Japan’s little-known, stash-laden resorts in Tohoku with Swedish snowboarder Kevin Backstrom and our local guiding team. We base this tour in Morioka city, which gives us access to numerous resorts in the region. With a flexible tour itinerary, your guide will keep a sharp eye on the weather and snowfall and drive you to the best resort daily. Don’t expect lift lines where we’re going. You will be riding all these areas mid-week, which means you’ll virtually have the resort to yourself. To top it off, these resorts score some serious snowfall. We’re running these tours at the peak of the snow season, so you can expect boot to waist deep turns every day. Basing the tour in a lively city also offers a unique cultural experience. You’ll get to explore the city after hours with your guide and rub shoulders with the locals at the surrounding bars and restaurants.
Last winter we spent a week road tripping through Tohoku with Heikki Sorsa, Erika Vikander and Nick Hyne. Here’s a taste of what we found.
This is a powder hunter tour where you’ll get to chase the big winter storms in Japan. We keep the itinerary flexible so your guide can hunt down the best conditions all day, every day. Each day your guide will assess the conditions and decide which is the best place to ride based on weather and snowfall. Each day we’ll load up the van’s and drive to our chosen area. This flexibility ensures that we will find you the best snow and conditions all day, every day.
Local Guides & Local Experiences
Throughout the tour you will be hosted by our local Japanese snowboard guide, plus Kevin Backstrom and the Mint Team. We ensure that you’ll have a local guide on-hand to show you the best of each area, and his local knowledge will unlock many places that are beyond the reach of most visitors. You’ll get an authentic experience and cultural insights with visits to local towns, restaurants, and nightlife.
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 the Tohoku 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 Tohoku 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.
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 6 people per guide. This also makes for a more personal experience between our guests and guides.
We make sure all our guests stay in quality accommodation that’s in the best location. Throughout the tour you’ll stay in a 3 star hotel which has great facilities and is in the heart of Morioka’s nightlife district. Our comfortable twin share rooms are equipped with 2 single beds and each room has a great heating, private ensuite bathroom, TV, and free WiFi. Breakfasts are included throughout the tour.
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 bullet train to Morioka City. 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.
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.
Win a Spot on This Tour
We’re giving one lucky person the chance to win a spot on this tour. You could be getting off the beaten path and road-tripping Japan’s little-known, stash-laden resorts with Kevin Backstrom. Enter HERE
As this is a powder hunter tour we keep the itinerary flexible so we can ride at the best resort on the day. Here’s roughly what you can look forward to:
Day 1 – Arrival Day
You’ll be met at Morioka Station and transferred by bus to our city based hotel. After checking into your hotel, 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 you’ll meet our guides 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 to 6 – Guiding Days
You will spend 5 days exploring the surrounding resorts. Each day your guide will assess the weather and conditions and select the best place to ride. After riding, take the time to experience the onsen. Your legs will thank you for it! Each evening your guide will take you to one of great local restaurants in Morioka city. Here’s just some of the destinations you may get to experience.
This resort is often overlooked by many as a family resort, however we’ve got some secret spots here which are well worth checking out. Last season the resort underwent a terrain expansion and extended their gladed tree run zones from 7 hectares to 60 hectares! Follow your guides into the trees where you’ll find fresh lines, and virtually no competition.
Hachimantai Resort Shimokura
This secret little gem is great fun for a day. On first glance looks like every other semi-closed down ski resort in Japan. Don’t let this fool you though, this place often scores more snowfall than the nearby resorts and the mostly north facing slopes keeps the snow in pristine condition. The old school chairlifts gives you access to some short and steep terrain. When this place turns on it’s absolutely on!
Tazawako / Nyuto Onsen
To say that this place scores a lot of snow is a massive understatement. During winter Tazawako receives one of the highest snowfalls in the region. While some of the more popular resorts in the region might become tracked out by lunch time, great lines can still be found here even a day or two after snow, making it perfect for days without fresh snowfall. After ridingwe will stop at Nyuto Onsen and visit the famous Tsurunoyu Onsen, which dates back to the Edo Period (1603-1867). The large, mixed gender outdoor bath is iconic of the region, and there are single gender indoor baths available, as well.
Geto Kogen is another empty ski area thats’ high altitude keeps the snow in pristine condition. This area scores a serious amount of snowfall and best of all, mid-week there is no crowds. Follow your guides into the trees to find some of the best fall-line tree runs in the area.
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.
Your tour includes:
- Ride sessions with Kevin Backstrom
- Local English speaking snowboard guide on-hand throughout the tour
- Private transportation throughout the tour in 4WD vans
- 6 nights twin share accommodation, Morioka City
- Buffet Breakfast daily
- 5 days of on-snow guiding with professional guides
- Mint Tours guides on hand throughout the tour
- Safety briefings
- Visits to local restaurants
- Return scheduled transfers from Morioka Station to your hotel (arrival & departure day)
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 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. The accommodation for this tour is twin share i.e. 2 beds per room. If you are travelling solo, you will be paired with another guest to room with. If you’d prefer your own room please request a single room at time of booking.
Do you ever cancel a tour?
No! Once you’ve signed up for this tour, you’re going! We won’t ever cancel this trip due to low numbers, so you can go ahead and book your flights early and rest easy knowing you’re going.
How many people are on 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 4 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 the right tour for me?
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.
What happens if I need to cancel?
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.
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, so our returning guests will see many familiar faces.
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.
Do I need travel insurance?
Yes. All guests on tour need to be covered be 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, 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.
Please note that we don’t include lift tickets for this tour. As this is a powder hunter tour with a flexible itinerary, each day our guides will select a resort to ride at based on weather and conditions. Not including lift tickets allows us to have a flexible itinerary. Guests will be required to purchase lift tickets at each resort on the day. This offers a considerable cost saving to guests. You can expect to pay approximately $30 – $50 AUD per day for lift tickets.
If you would like some more information or a quote for the tour you can contact us by:
Send your enquiry and one of our tour specialists will be in touch asap!
2. Over the phone
Call us on (03) 8563 9437 (within Australia) or +61 (03) 8563 9437 (international) between 9:30 am and 5:00pm AEST Monday to Friday and speak to one of our tour specialists.
Drop in to our shop for a chat. We’re located at:
98 Surf Coast Hwy, Torquay, VIC 3228
You can book your spot one of two ways:
Once we receive your booking form, we’ll provide you with a quote, availability and further details about the tour.
2. Over the phone
Call us on (03) 8563 9437 (within Australia) or +61 (03) 8563 9437 (international) between 9:30 am and 5pm AEST Monday to Friday, and follow the prompts to speak to one of our tour specialists.
Please note that this is a small group tour that is subject to availability at time of booking.