Japan Powder Skiing

Our Trip to Japan includes long days of skiing endless powder, soaking in onsen's (Japanese Hot Springs) and learning from the locals. We work with a local guide, Jun Horie, to show us all of the secret spots throughout the Niseko area. Join us to find out why Japan is known for some of the best skiing in the world!


January 27, 2020 - February 1, 2020

Difficulty rating and Skill requirements

Difficulty Rating System Explained

Overall Difficulty Level: Moderate to difficult

Skills Required: Advanced skiing ability and prior ski touring experience and powder skiing experience

Fitness Level: Moderately strenuous

  • Category: Ski
  • Type: Guided
  • Ratio: 4:1,8:2

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 there several times since 2008 and are excited to guide together with Jun Horie, our Japanese guide.
A short bootpack from the highest chair gains the summit, and some fantastic ski descents on the northern and western aspects make the "side country experience" very special.The range runs on to the west, and its possible to ride one chair, exit the areas, and link summits. Every day will feature 5000-7000' of ski descents, more if we stay close to the resorts. All in all it is important to point out, that while we will take advantage of the lifts, this week should be considered a ski touring week and solid fitness is a prerequisite. The general character of the week consists of 1000' to 1200' ascents with amazing powdeer ski descents in relatively moderate terrain up to 35 degrees. 
TRAVEL: Keep in mind that you loose a day when you fly to Japan from the US because you cross the international date line.  We recommend that 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.

Costs included in the trip:
• Transportation during the week
• Lodging at Moiwa Lodge for six nights
• Breakfast at Moiwa Lodge for seven nights
• Guides' daily wages
Costs not included in the trip:
• Transportation to and from Sapporo, 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
Suggested Itinerary:
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's 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. An 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 stratocolcano, 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 make ascents up Mt Yotei difficult or impossible. 


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Pro Ski and Mountain Service is our retail specialty store. It has been located in North Bend, WA since 1999. The past trips and courses have had a large influence on what we sell. Many of our Pro Guiding customers come on trips and courses with gear they purchased from our store. Not only do we want our clients to have the right gear for the job; we also receive direct feedback from them while they are using it in the field. Trust us - if the gear does not work - we won't sell it.

If you are in need of any of these items, please visit our online retail shop, Pro Ski and Mountain Service

BASE LAYER: Men's, Women's
• 1 Bottom - Midweight or Lightweight
• Non-Cotton Underwear
• 1-2 Tops - Midweight or Lightweight
• 2-3 Pair Sock Liners
• 2 Pair Ski Socks
MID LAYERMen'sWomen's
• Soft Shell, Windshirt, Fleece - only one of these is necessary
• Soft Shell Ski Touring Pants
OUTERWEAR: Men's, Women's
• Waterproof/Breathable Jacket
• Waterproof/Breathable Ski Pants
• Warm Hat
• Sun Hat (baseball or visor)
• Ski Gloves
• Down or Synthetic Jacket
Day Pack (~30L)
Headlamp (Lightweight LED recommended)
• Water Bottles (1-2 L, wide mouth)
• Sunglasses (adequate for snow travel)
• Goggles
• Sunscreen (SPF>25, Waterproof)
• Lip Balm (SPF 15+)
• Personal Toiletries
• Small Personal 1st Aid Kit: Blister Repair (Compeed™), Aspirin, Ibuprofen, etc.)
• Goggles
Skis with touring binding: Alpine Touring or Telemark (we recommend a fatter ski (at least 100mm of waist width)
Ski Boots (we recommend a touring boot that has good downhill performace such as Scarpa Maestrale RD)
Ski Poles (recommend telescopic poles, but not required)
Climbing Skins
Ski Crampons
• Ski Brakes
Transceiver (w/ new batteries at the start of the trip)
Shovel (compact, lightweight, metal blade preferred) 
Probe (dedivated probe only, ski poles do not suffice)
Airbag Pack such as BCA Float Pack (**This is optional, but recommended. We have the option to provide customers with air canisters at the resort)
 OPTIONAL ITEMS *We highly recommend these items, but do not require them*
• Camera
• Skin Wax
• Thermos - vacuum type
• Compass
• Altimeter (Suunto watch works well)
• Groups 1st Aid Kit



Should I tip my guide? And how much should I tip them? Although tipping is not a requirement it is considered standard practice in the guiding industry and is appreciated by our guides. We generally recommend roughly 10%-15% of your course or trip cost or flat price tip that you are comfortable with.