Skill Level Overview
This is an important consideration as no one wants to be in over their head, holding up a group or conversely spend their day standing around waiting for others to make it down the mountain. In general guests at an advanced or expert level will get the most out of our trips and please note that we do not accept group trip booking requests if you are not at this level. Intermediate and advanced intermediate skiers and riders should consider private trips to ensure that we are able to tailor our terrain choices to your level. Through the booking process, we will work with you to find out more about your skill level and get you booked on the right trips but it begins with you making an honest assessment of your abilities.
Important Group Trip booking Disclaimer:
BDTours reserves the right to direct guests to on-piste terrain if your guide determines that your skill level is insufficient to safely navigate off piste terrain and natural hazards on any group trip. BDTours guides will NOT provide on piste guiding for the weaker skier / rider but rather focus on skiing more challenging off-piste terrain with those that are capable. Refunds will not be offered in the event of this occurrence.
First timers & beginner level
First timers and beginner level skiers and riders. Unfortunately we don`t offer any tours catering this ability level and recommend that you contact one of the excellent lesson providers in Niseko.
Intermediate level skiers and riders that are confident in on piste terrain and are ready to start exploring off piste powder. If you are in this category, you are getting close to the level needed to make the most of BDT trips but we still recommend working with a powder instructor to develop your off piste skills before booking a BDT trip. You could consider powder lessons at the start of your holiday followed by BDT trips closer to the end of your stay. We recommend private trips for guests in this skill level range to ensure that we are able to tailor the day to your ability level.
Advanced intermediate skiers and riders that have mastered inbounds terrain and have some off piste experience. You should be confident in variable snow conditions and able to ski in gladed terrain and on steeper slopes. We recommend private trips for this ability level to ensure that we are able to tailor your tour to your ability level.
Advanced skiers and riders that are confident on all inbounds terrain and have extensive off piste experience. You don’t necessarily have to have the best form or style but do need to be capable of efficiently making your way down most slopes. Guests at this level are a good fit for most of our trips. Included below are some critical skills that you should have mastered before booking a trip with BDT.
For skiers, the biggest challenge typically comes with skiing through deep snow and through trees. Most of Hokkaido’s best skiable terrain occurs below treeline so its important that you are able to consistently turn where the terrain dictates. Managing this in deep snow is of particular importance. A great tool to help improve your ability is a good set of fat skis and we highly recommend upgrading with a rental ski for your trip with us if conditions are deep and you aren’t skiing a fat ski.
For snowboarders, critical skills are the ability to hold a strong edge allowing for good high traverses without losing too much elevation (particularly important to make the most of the back bowls trip) and the ability to read terrain effectively – you have to be just a bit smarter than the average skier (hopefully the skiers aren’t reading this 🙂 to avoid the pitfalls of deep pow and flat spots. Also many runs will end with winding, bumpy trails through the forest that you will need to be able to navigate.
Please note that this level is the minimum required level to join any of our group trips (powderhunter, backcountry or multi-day trips). If you are uncertain we highly recommend private trips that we can tailor to your ability level.
Expert / Extreme / Pro / Insane...
Expert / Extreme / Pro / Insane… insert the appropriate adjective here. If you`re at this level, you likely spend your days looking for the biggest hits, steepest couloirs and most challenging terrain you can find… you also may not have a job because you spend too much time on snow! The Mushroom trip is one trip that we have specifically designed for skiers and riders at this level.
We can tailor any private trip to get you to the most challenging terrain and you`ll also likely fit in well on our group trips as our guides look for optional lines, pillows and chutes for you while accommodating the rest of your advanced level group with suitable alternatives.