Lift Assisted Backcountry Trips – Powder Hunters

¥ 75,000 Private Group + lift tickets (up to 5 people) Additional Person: 17,900yen

The island of Hokkaido is battered with relentless light, dry snow from December to March every year; the challenge is knowing where to go each day. Factors like variable weather, strong winds, poor visibility and distinct micro-climates mean that KNOWLEDGE IS POWDER!

The Powder Hunter trip offers you direct access to our unrivaled experience in Hokkaido and removes the need to decide months in advance where the best snow will be when you arrive. If the weather and snow are stable our first option is to get into the Niseko Back Bowls but, if the winds are strong we’ll head to Rusutsu, Kiroro or Moiwa for incredible gladed powder skiing. If it is not snowing in the Niseko area and we need to take advantage of another weather pattern we’ll go a little further afield and over a mountain pass to Sapporo Kokusai. Other options include some of our secret lift accessed, or backcountry stashes at places we can’t name online. See below for descriptions for most of the areas that we may visit on your Powder Hunter day trip.

A combination of different day trips is possible.

Avalanche Safety Equipment: Provided at no extra charge for all guests on all Powder Hunter day trips. Please let us know in advance if you do not have your own!!

Lift Tickets: At the time of booking, we will charge for lift tickets for all Powder Hunter trips; however if on the trip date you already have a ticket for the area we decide to visit (or access to a better deal than Black Diamond Tours is able obtain) then Black Diamond Tours will refund in full the amount paid in advance for tickets (¥ 5,000/ticket).

Uphill Travel: Although we use the lifts to access the backcountry, our lift assisted backcountry trips involve touring with either AT skis or splitboards including skins to access the best powder on that day. Hiking will be kept to a minimum.

Flexibility: In addition to total flexibility to head to any ski area within reach of Niseko on the day of your trip, we can usually even change your trip to a backcountry tour if weather conditions are better suited to that. If we are able to make this adjustment, there may be some cost difference but BDT will refund / charge on site as necessary to make the change.

Tour Details

All tours begin with your guide picking you up directly from your accommodation and taking you to your destination in one of our comfortable 4WD drive vehicles (feel free to bring music along for the ride).
Once at the hill, we will arrange lift tickets (Niseko excluded) and get straight down to business. With our guides leading the way you can expect to stay ahead of the curve all day long and not drop into any dead-end gullies.
Japan is particularly suited to guided trips as there is no off-piste signage and many of the best runs end on narrow trails that weave their way back to the main courses but there are also plenty of places where a mistaken turn will leave you with a long walk out.

Destinations

Included below is a brief description of some (but not all) of our options on Powder Hunter trips. Please note we do not accept bookings for specific resorts on mixed-group trips; this allows us to let the weather dictate where we go on the day of your trip. However, we do accept requests and on private trips the decision is ultimately up to you so if there is somewhere in particular that your group would like to visit then we will be happy to accommodate.

*Requested destination must be within day trip reach of Niseko ie. maximum 2 hours travel time each way.

Niseko Back Bowls

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If a tour of Niseko’s legendary back bowls is what you’re looking for our professional guides will take you beyond the ropes to the best backcountry skiing on the mountain. We’ll make sure that conditions are right, outfit you with the appropriate safety equipment (if you don’t already have your own) and take care of the directions. Most of the runs visited on this tour require short hikes to access but legwork is kept to a minimum with all runs skiing back to chairlifts. Weather permitting, we’ll finish the day by dropping off of the back side of the mountain down to the secluded Goshiki hot springs. After a relaxing dip and refreshing beverage, our shuttle vehicle will take care of the return journey.

If you would prefer to get deeper into the backcountry and don’t mind putting in the extra effort to tour please visit our backcountry tours section.

*Please bring cash for on mountain lunch and onsen at the end of the day. (A small towel is great to bring as well but towels are also available at the onsen)

Rusutsu Off Piste

Nearby Rusutsu resort boasts an extensive network of high speed lifts accessing some of the best gladed powder skiing in Hokkaido. Your guide will show you the best powder stashes on the mountains and take you in and out of the hidden terrain to maximize your turns. Black Diamond Tours will pick you up from your accommodation bright and early to make the short half hour drive to Rusutsu in time to catch first lifts and then drop you off again at the end of the day.

Sapporo Kokusai Off Piste

A favorite of Sapporo locals, Kokusai is a small resort with the entire resort accessed from one 8 passenger gondola. Despite its size, Kokusai has a surprising amount of varied terrain and a laid back attitude to off piste skiing allowing us to ride fresh powder all day long.

As an added bonus, Kokusai sees a different weather pattern than the Niseko range and often offers great conditions when Niseko and Rusutsu are tracked out so if you are already in Niseko and conditions aren’t perfect give us a call and we will let you know if things are in better shape on the Sapporo side.

This trip ends with a relaxing soak in the renowned hot springs of nearby Jozankei town on our way home.

Kiroro Resort Off Piste

Powder Hunter Trip

Located a stone’s throw from Niseko (about 45 minutes) Kiroro is a relatively unknown Hokkaido resort that is blessed with some of the most consistent powder conditions on the island. Positioned just off Hokkaido’s west coast Kiroro is the first resort to catch the good stuff arriving from Siberian storms and it is renowned for the great selection of off-piste terrain.