• Duration

    6 days, 5 nights
    January 22-27, 2022

  • Location

    Tokachidake-Daisetsuzan National Park and Furano
    Hokkaido, Japan

  • Maximum participants

    6

  • Price

    $ 500 (reservation deposit)
    $ 2250 (second payment)

 Central Hokkaido is known for its extremely light, dry, snow, remoteness, and excellent touring possibilities. While the volume of snow closer to the coast is a bit more, the quality of central Hokkaido snow is (astoundingly) even better. Join us on a small group Japow extension and take advantage of that long flight you took to arrive in Japan for another 5 days/5 nights of superb skiing, onsens, and food. IFMGA certified Ski Guide and Avalanche forecaster Victor McNeil, will be taking us on fantastic tours in the Daisetsuzan National Park (translates as “Mountains of big snow”). In good weather we can access the high alpine area with impressive bowls and steeps that lead into old growth forests. If the visibility is low we can do laps in the trees in the wonderfully light snow. There are no lifts here so all of our turns will be earned.

***Saveur the Journey takes the COVID-19 pandemic very seriously and participation in this trip requires guests and guides to be vaccinated with one of the FDA approved emergency use authorization COVID-19 vaccines. Guests may also be required to provide a negative PCR test less than 72 hours prior to the start of the trip. Guests and guides will adhere to current COVID-19 guidelines as set forth by the CDC and WHO. Please see our COVID-19 Policies for more information.***

We will spend 2 nights at a traditional Japanese Ryokan (Inn) minutes from several trailheads for a multitude of touring possibilities. Ryokans, which originated in the 8th century A.D. are known for their onsens, exquisite food, excellent service, and that you get to dress in a yukata (robe) and generally stroll around like a Samurai. This is a very remote area, away from everything so we will take our meals at the Ryokan after long soaks in their outdoor onsen and even a visit to a “wild onsen.”

After a few days of touring from Tokachidake we will relocate to Furano, a modest sized town that is not overly westernized with a truly excellent ski resort. Here we will have the option of various backcountry tours, sidecountry forays, or if there is lots of fresh snow (which there often is), running as many lift served laps though the fantastic terrain and super light snow that Furano Ski resort has to offer. Furano also has night skiing so if you can’t get enough skiing in, you might be able to do a tour in the morning and then ski under the lights at the resort in the evening. 

While in Furano we will stay at a pension run by a charming couple, with comfortable rooms and very close to the Furano resort. We will eat breakfast at the pension and can have dinner there as well if we choose. We can also explore the culinary scene in Furano, perhaps pulling up seats at an Izakaya to enjoy Japanese “tapas” washed down with the local beers, sakes, and whiskey or indulging in ramen, soba, sushi, or okonomiyaki. 

For effective ski/split touring you must have alpine touring bindings (“pin-tech” recommended but frame bindings are okay) or telemark bindings or splitboard setup with skins. You must know how to use your gear, maintain your skins, and be an efficient tourer with good kick turns, form, and stamina. Avalanche safety gear (beacon, shovel, and probe) are mandatory for everyone and you must know how to use your equipment and preferably have completed an avalanche safety course. For the descents you must be an Advanced/Expert level rider, comfortable making dynamic turns in steep and varied terrain and in low visibility/difficult weather if necessary. You must understand how to keep yourself warm (proper layering), fed, hydrated, and healthy while being out all day.

This trip is for you if you like earning your turns under grey, snowy skies with excellent terrain and deep un-tracked snow. You like delicious food, cold dry snow, and soaking in an onsen after a day out skiing. You are an experienced ski/split tourer who knows the value of an excellent ski guide to find the best snow in the best terrain while keeping you safe. You enjoy a lift-serviced day if conditions are right but prefer to chase wildsnow.

Sample Itinerary- subject to change

Day 1 – Saturday

Drive by van from Niseko to Ryokan Kamihoroso via Sapporo
Lunch (included)
Shop for packed lunches
Check into Kamihoroso Ryokan (traditional Japanese Inn)
Onsen soak (included)
Multi-course dinner at Kamihoroso (included)

Day 2 -Sunday

Breakfast at Kamihoroso (included)
Short drive to trailhead for touring around Tokachidake. If weather is good we can get above tree line and explore the incredible terrain on Mt. Tokachi, if low visibility then we can do laps in the trees.
Packed lunch (not included)
More ski touring
Return to Kamihoroso for onsen and multi-course dinner (included)

Day 3 -Monday

Breakfast at Kamihoroso (included)
Backcountry touring around Tokachidake, Furano Great Ridge.
Packed Lunch (not included)
Wild Onsen
Drive to Furano and check into Pension Itsuka Furano
Dinner at Pension Itsuka Furano (included)

Day 4 - Tuesday

Breakfast at Pension Itsuka Furano
Ski touring or Ski at Furano Resort (lift ticket included)
Lunch at Furano resort
Night skiing?
Onsen at Furano Prince hotel
Dinner out in Furano (not included)

Day 5 - Wednesday

Breakfast at Pension Itsuka Furano
Ski touring or Ski at Furano Resort (lift ticket included)
Lunch at Furano resort or packed (not included)
Onsen at Furano Prince Hotel
Night Skiing?
Dinner at Pension Itsuka Furano (included)

Day 6 - Thursday

Breakfast at Pension Itsuka Furano (included)
Drive back to New Chitose Airport for afternoon flights

TRIP PACKAGE INCLUDES

  • Accommodations (double occupancy) in Ryokan (traditional Japanese Inn) and Pension
  • 4 Days of Guided Ski/Split touring in amazing terrain
  • 2 Lift tickets to Furano
  • Gourmet meals: 4 dinners, 1 lunch, 5 breakfasts
  • Onsen after Skiing/Boarding
  • Fully Certified IFMGA guide, tail guide
  • Transportation by Van

NOT INCLUDED

FAQ Japan Ski Trip

Do you have to be an experienced skier/snowboarder to go on this trip?

You must be an ADVANCED/EXPERT skier/snowboarder with extensive experience in deep POWDER. You must be in good physical shape, be able to and have skied in all conditions (including whiteout, wind, very cold). You must be able to ski/ride in control on all types of terrain and should be very comfortable on black and double black slopes. Ideally you should have some avalanche safety training and should be familiar with using an avalanche beacon, shovel and probe. You should have (or plan to rent) suitable all mountain (105+mm underfoot) or powder skis (115mm underfoot or wider) or powder specific snowboard. You must have Alpine touring bindings and skins or a splitboard and skins (snowshoes are not recommended).

Do I need to speak Japanese?

No! Speaking Japanese is definitely an asset but not at all required. We will provide translation, organize logistics, get us to the interesting spots, and help you enjoy your experience.

What if I don’t like Sushi?

Sushi is only one part of the amazing Japanese cuisine.  If you don’t like raw fish never fear!  Japan is known for delicious and varied cuisine including yakitori (meat grilled on skewers), Tempura, yakisoba (stir-fried buckwheat noodles), seared fish, regional ramens, grilled and roasted meats, simmered vegetables, and much more.

What will the weather be like?

Central Hokkaido has some of the lightest, driest, snow on the planet which means that it stays cold. Temperatures in January are generally in the high teens and low 20’s Fahrenheit but can be much colder. Dressing with layers is important to stay warm. To get so much snow there has to be storms so expect stormy days with lots of snow falling!

What are the accommodations like?

We will stay in a Ryokan (traditional Japanese Inn) high in the mountains. The rooms are small but comfortable and feature tatami (traditional woven rice straw floors) with either futon mattresses or cots. Single rooms are available for a supplement. There is a drying room in the basement, onsen on site, excellent food, and a small gift shop that sells some food and drinks. In Furano we will stay at a Pension run by a charming couple. The rooms are comfortable and large by Japanese standards.

Can I share a room, is it possible to have my own room?

Yes it is possible to share a room, either with someone you already know (please let us know) or with someone else on the trip who is willing to share. It may be possible to have your own room for a supplemental charge.

Should I bring my own gear or are there rentals available?

We recommend that you bring your own gear, providing that you have suitable powder snowboard or skis (all mountain skis in the 105-110mm width or powder skis 115mm or wider). There are high quality rentals available in Furano for powder specific skis and boards with touring bindings. If you don’t have your own powder skis with touring bindings or splitboard you should think about at least bringing your own boots (though they must be touring boots that will work with the bindings the shops have available). Avalanche safety equipment is required for backcountry riding and rentals are available as well.

I have dietary restrictions, can you accommodate me?

Please contact us to let us know about your dietary restrictions to see if you can be accommodated.

I don’t know how to use chopsticks and I am worried I will injure myself if I try to learn. Will I still be able to eat?

While chopsticks are used for much of the eating we will do in Japan, forks will be available, so no one will go hungry.  We will happily help train you in the ways of chopsticks if you so desire!

What if I need to cancel my trip?

Please see our Terms and Conditions

Do I need to tip our Guides?

Gratuities for guides are not included in the price of you trip and are much appreciated. Tipping is at your discretion. Normally average tips for excellent service are around 10%-20% of the trip cost. Tips are pooled together and shared equally among the guides.

Our team

Aaron Schorsch

Owner- Saveur the Journey

Aaron Schorsch is the owner of Saveur the Journey where he combines his passions of food, travel, outdoor adventures, and culture. He grew up in rural New Hampshire and has lived and traveled extensively in the US and abroad. Aaron learned to snowboard while teaching English in the French Alps but later took up Telemark Skiing. While he still likes to drop a knee on occasion you are more likely to find him with fixed heels shredding the backcountry or resort in a style he likes to call “joyful abandon.” Aaron is a student of food who has worked throughout the food system from growing seed and farming of vegetables, fruits, and livestock to cooking in high end restaurants and managing farmer’s markets. He loves to talk about, think about, dream about and especially, cook and eat food. He is a member of Slow Food international and has been a US delegate at Terra Madre in Turin, Italy.

Victor McNeil

AMGA Certified Ski Guide

Victor McNeil is a native of the Pacific Northwest and currently lives in Northeast Oregon with his wife and two golden retrievers. You will find Victor working and recreating in the mountains year around, from guiding three week expeditions on Denali to ski guiding in his home mountain range the Wallowas. Victor has a passion for travel and exploration and has skied around the world. In 2016 he became the third certified Splitboard Mountaineering Guide through the American Mountain Guides Association in the country. Victor now “splits” his time between split boarding and skiing. When not ski guiding, he also runs a non-profit avalanche forecasting center in the Wallowas. Victor loves sliding on snow and can’t wait to share some turns with you.

COVID-19 important information and cancellation policy

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