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Japan Powder Skiing


Hokkaido, Japan’s North island, is best known for its cold and deep snowpack which under ideal weather patterns brings continual and regular daily snowfalls of 1-2 feet each day. Our trip to Japan includes long days of skiing endless powder, soaking in onsens (Japanese hot springs), and learning from the locals. The apres onsen soak works wonders on your body and ski legs recovery. After the onsen, we will enjoy the local culture and cuisine and enjoy the various nightlife options ranging from Izakaya, sake or whiskey bars, finer dining, private karaoke bars, or classic apres ski hangouts.

$4,200 Per Person
6 Days

Trip Information

Price based on 3-4 skiers. Please contact us directly for private trips. 425-888-6397 x2 |

Niseko gets its snow from cold fronts coming out of Siberia, picking up moisture as they cross the Sea of Japan, then dumping it when it hits the mountains of Hokkaido and Honshu. The combination creates a huge amount of very dry snow, and you get to ski it over, and over, and over again. It snows relentlessly, but don't worry--when the avalanche hazard climbs too high, the birch forests are perfectly spaced for tree skiing. The backcountry terrain is easy to reach, easy to travel through and fantastic to ski. We have been guiding in the Niseko area for over a decade and are excited to guide together with Jun Horie, our Japanese guide. The week is designed as a ski touring week with some lift assisted skiing touring and possibly a snowmobile assisted day. The general character of the week consists of 1000' to 1200' ascents with amazing powder ski descents in relatively moderate terrain (up to 35 degrees).

TRAVEL: Keep in mind that you lose a day when you fly to Japan from the US because you cross the international date line. We recommend that you fly directly into Sapporo on Friday, most likely arriving at Chitose airport Saturday evening or Sunday morning. This allows time to take an evening or morning bus to the village of Niseko, which sits at the bottom of majestic Annupuri. Four massive ski areas - Niseko United - girdle the southern and south-eastern sides of the mountain. Remember you also gain a day on the journey home so you still have six days of skiing!

LODGING: We'll stay at the Moiwa Lodge, which resides only 30 meters away from the Moiwa ski area on the southwest arm of Annupuri. The lodge is not only conveniently located to access the ski area, it also offers great backcountry access. The lodging is simple, but very comfortable with wifi access and a cool bar inside the lodge.

We'll also have the option to visit any one of a number of local onsens (hot spring baths). One of our favorite days is to ski all day and slide right up to an onsen nearby, then have a short 15-minute climb and a final run down to the lodge in time for dinner. If you have time, consider spending a few extra days in Tokyo. It is an incredible experience. If you'd like help or advice with additional bookings, we're happy to assist. Rentals for powder skis, air bag packs, etc. can be arranged for you.

Duration: 6
Ratio: 4:1

Private Trips Available

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Day 1:  Let us help you with your bus reservation to get from Sapporo to Niseko. We will have a meet and greet in the early evening once everyone has arrived and make sure that we are ready for the first day.
Day 2:  After all that sitting, today is going to focus on the down. We'll pick up a single-trip or half-day ticket to ski the back bowl of Moiwa, the local hill only 100m away from the lodge. This backcountry basin separates Moiwa from Mt Annupri (1309m/4295'), and so we'll traverse over there and pick up a second ticket to reach the summit, a 20 minute bootpack outside of the ski area. A 1800-2500' runs exist on the west and north aspects. We'll ski what looks best before heading down to the Moiwa-Io onsen. After a good soak, we'll be fresh for a 15 minute climb back to Moiwa and a final run to dinner.
Day 3:   All right, now we're going to get after it. The north side of Mt Io (1090m/3576') features some great 1000' couloirs. From here we can explore north to Waisuhorun (1020m/3346'), which features incredible tree skiing and open glades on moderate slopes, and ends at the Hanazono onsen; or head east to climb the Chisenupuri (1130m/3707') before getting an 1800' ski descent to the Chisenupuri ski area for a pickup back to the lodge.
Day 4:  We'll drive back to the Chise ski hill to get one-trip lift tickets and a 800' leg up. Our goal today is simply to ski and traverse as many peaks as we can - or want to - westwards. From Chisenupuri there's Shakunagedake (1030m/3376'), Shirakabayama (930m/3051') and Zenmennaidake (970m/3182'). From the summit of Shiraka we'll have a 1400' ski descent to Niimi onsen, where we can soak while we wait for our ride.
Day 5:  We'll return to the Niimi onsen to continue the hunt for summits and snow. This time we'll climb the massive Mt Mekunnai (1190m/3904'), and Mt Raiden (1220m/4003') . Mt Raiden is particularly special - this massive mountain sits right on the edge of the Sea of Japan, and features descents up to 3000' - the longest in the area. We'll finish the day back at the Niimi onsen.
Day 6:  Mt Yotei (1898m/6227') is almost a perfectly symmetrical stratovolcano, towering over 6000' above the valley floor, and one of the 100 Famous Japanese Mountains (a list penned by climber and author Kuuka Fukada in 1964). We'll have a 4900-5200' climb, depending on where we start. From the summit, we'll get a one-of-a-kind summit, and a 1000' ski descent in the crater! A short climb back out will give us a 4600' descent back down to the car.
Day 7:  This will be a shorter day as we will need to pack up to leave our lodge...most folks arrange their bus for this evening back to Sapporo.
**Please be aware that this is a suggested itinerary. The Niseko area can receive some very stormy weather, which may provide for amazing storm skiing in the trees, but may make ascents up Mt Yotei difficult or impossible.

Private Trips

Pro Guiding Service proudly offers the most diverse ski touring and ski mountaineering programs of any guiding service in the Northwest. Smaller, more intimate custom itineraries or instructional tours are available for any of our destinations. Tell us what you want to do, and we can create a customized plan for you.
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per person
Price based on 3-4 skiers. Please contact us directly for private trips. 425-888-6397 x2 |
View Dates & Availability
What's Included In the Trip Price
  • Transportation during the week
  • Lodging at Moiwa Lodge for six nights
  • Breakfast at Moiwa Lodge for six mornings
  • Guides' daily wages
What's Not Included

• Transportation to and from Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan
• Lunches and dinners
• Onsen visits outside
• Lift tickets (which can range from $35-65 USD for a full day ticket, or as little as $4 for a single-trip ticket)
• Gratuity/tips for guides

Payment Policy
If booking a domestic trip that is over 60 days away or an international trip that is over 90 days away, you can book your trip by paying a 20% deposit.  View Full Policy
Cancellation Policy
If you cancel for any reason 60 or more days before domestic trips or 90 or more days before international and Alaska trips, we will refund everything you have paid minus half of your deposit. No refunds will be provided if you cancel your trip for ANY REASON (this includes but is not limited to illness including CoVid-19, injury, or work-related issues) within 60 days of the start of domestic trips or 90 days of international and Alaska based trips.  View Full Policy

Equipment List

Base Layer
  • Lightweight or midweight top (avoid cotton)
  • Lightweight or midweight long underwear bottoms, may omit depending on the warmth of your pants
  • Warm ski socks
Mid Layer
  • Fleece or wool or similar warmth layer
  • Wind shirt or soft shell jacket - wind & water resistant, breathable
  • Waterproof/breathable jacket with hood
  • Ski/snowboard pants - either softshell or waterproof/breathable pants depending on weather)
  • Down or synthetic puffy-type jacket
  • Warm hat - should cover ears
  • Sun hat - baseball type or visor
  • Lightweight gloves
  • Ski gloves or mittens
  • A 3rd pair of gloves - recommended for temps above freezing in case your gloves get wet (lightweight or midweight)
Personal Gear
  • Day pack – large enough to fit everything inside (around 30 liters) - dedicated shovel pocket preferred
  • Water bottles - enough for a full day - wide mouth best to prevent freezing shut, hydration systems are okay if the temps are going to be above freezing
  • Lunch and snacks - enough for a full day
  • Sunglasses - adequate for snow travel
  • Goggles
  • Sunscreen - SPF 25+, waterproof
  • Lip Balm - SPF 15+
  • Headlamp - lightweight LED recommended
  • Face mask/covering - for when close contact is unavoidable
Technical Gear

Snow Travel Gear

  • Snow travel equipment - alpine touring or telemark skis or splitboard
  • Boots - touring ski boots or snowboard boots
  • Poles - adjustable poles are ideal so you can adjust the length when going uphill/downhill
  • Climbing skins
  • Ski brakes or removable ski leashes
  • Ski or splitboard crampons - ensure they are compatible with your bindings and ski/board width

Safety Gear

  • Avalanche Beacon
  • Shovel - compact, lightweight, metal blade preferred
  • Probe - dedicated probe only (240cm or longer strongly recommended)


Optional Items
  • Basic snow study kit - dial stem thermometer(s), crystal card, magnifying loupe, ruler
  • Notebook and writing utensil
  • Thermos - with a hot drink
  • Compass - adjustable declination a must
  • Altimeter watch
  • Maps - contact guiding office for appropriate quadrangles
  • Map case - large Ziploc bags work well
  • Camera
  • Hand sanitizer
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