Intro to Backcountry Skiing
First time backcountry skiing? If you have never applied a set of skins to your skis/splitboard (or snowshoes to feet), please book our Intro to Backcountry Skiing tour. Potential destinations and prices are the same as for experienced backcountry skiers however our guides will spend more time teaching you how to use your gear properly and travel efficiently in the backcountry.
Please note that all guests must still be at an advanced to expert level on the descent in order to participate in these trips.
We offer backcountry skiing tours to a variety of destinations and will ultimately allow the weather to decide where to go on the day of your trip. We have included brief descriptions of some of our more popular backcountry destinations below please through these to get an idea of some of the areas we visit. If you have a destination preference please let us know; you will also be able to discuss this again with your guide on the day of your trip.
A combination of different day trips is possible.
For a full day experience in the backcountry sign up for our 1 day trip. We will start the day by driving to Goshiki onsen before setting out on foot. Goshiki onsen is located at an elevation of 750 meters meaning that it does not take long to get above tree line. Expect to spend most of the day in open alpine terrain with incredible views of both the Sea of Japan & Pacific Ocean, along with the Niseko range, Mount Yotei and surrounding valleys.
There is a wide selection of great terrain in this area and peaks within reach include Iwaonupurri, Nihonupurri, and Chisenupurri. If you are up to it we can even traverse the range bagging all 3 of these summits in one day.
Regardless of what we ski, we will finish the day with a run down to the beautiful Goshiki onsen. At the onsen you can grab a beer from the nearest vending machine and relax your tired legs in the natural hot spring.
Another twist on this trip is to start the day using the Niseko lift network then climbing the Annapuri peak and descending towards Goshiki onsen. From here you will strap on your touring gear to full earn your turns under human powder for the rest of the day. This option does require a one ride Niseko lift pass but permits one top to bottom run with minimal effort before we get into the backcountry.
Note: As the best skiing terrain in this area is above tree line, it is best suited for travel on clear, sunny days. In less favorable conditions we may adjust the destination to suit weather conditions.
Adjacent to nearby Rusutsu resort, Shiribetsu-dake (Mount Shiribetsu) offers a formidable backcountry challenge and some immaculate fall line skiing. Our day begins on the Western slopes of Shiribetsu (opposite side of the mountain from Rusutsu resort) as we ascend through the low angle slopes at the base of this extinct volcano.
After a relaxing opening the climb steepens but you will be rewarded with spectacular ridgeline views of the surrounding peaks including Mount Yotei and Niseko Annupurri throughout. In general we spend about 2-3 hours on the first ascent before reaching the peak. We will lap up 2-3 (or more if you’re up to it!!) runs on the upper mountain before beginning our final top to bottom descent offering a consistent pitch for the first 300+ meters before slowly mellowing out into a cruiser powder bowl. The run finishes in typical Hokkaido style as we wind through the trees back to civilization.
Due to Hokkaido’s relentless snowstorms there are only a handful of days through the winter months when a summit attempt of Mount Yotei is possible. However, the lower slopes of Yotei offer reliably good snow, great gladed backcountry skiing, and seemingly endless terrain.
We can typically climb to at least 1200 meters elevation after starting at around 400m. From here we start skiing and will lap several great volcano lines pushing as high on the mountain as visibility permits before our final, long descent.
Also to note that while the summit is not the objective with this trip (top quality pow skiing is!!) if the group is moving well and the weather cooperates we will consider heading for the top.
- Trip Includes: guide, transportation, and necessary avalanche safety kit
- Touring gear required but not included in trip price. Please inquire for rental rates if you do not have your own touring equipment.
- Avalanche safety equipment (beacon, shovel, probe, and appropriate backpack) are required. If you do not have your own please let us know when booking so we can provide equipment as necessary.
- Guest to guide ratio: max 5:1
After booking your tour, please click here for information on the appropriate gear to bring for you backcountry trip.