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Niseko | Japan

Backcountry Skiing in Niseko, Japan

57hours Icon season

Season

December to early April

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Nearest city

Sapporo is just under two hours away

57hours Icon duration

Duration

1 day

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Skill level

Beginner to advanced

Lovers of deep powder will be in heaven at the Niseko powder factory

The Niseko area offers a unique cultural experience, as well as skiing that’s unlike anywhere else on the planet. It is one of the top destinations for powder lovers due to its abundant powdery snow. Always blanketed with powder — it gets an average of 12 meters of snow per season — Mount Annupuri’s four ski areas are a perfect jumping off point for all powder addicts! Join your guide in exploring the ski areas’ sidecountry or be guided into the lavish Niseko backcountry and you’ll be cutting through deep powder in no time!

Most Popular Itineraries

Private Intro to Backcountry Skiing

From $590 · Full-day

If you are new to the backcountry, learn the basics of backcountry skiing, and find out how to use your beacon, probe and shovel to perform a companion rescue. Niseko offers over 20 kilometers of beginner slopes and plenty of scenic lines that will make you understand why so many outdoor enthusiasts fall in love with this sport. Explore the Niseko backcountry and prepare for some more advanced skiing!

A Customized Day of Private Guided Backcountry Skiing

From $590 · Full-day

If you wish to explore the best locations Niseko offers, there are plenty of possibilities. Niseko offers over 1000 vertical metres and exciting backcountry for all skill levels, including technical tree glade skiing for the more skilled adventurers! Discover the best slopes and powder stashes with a private guide who will take you to the best locations Japan has to offer. Your guide will make sure you make the most of your day and customize it according to your needs and preferences! Are you ready to experience that world-renowned Japow?

Advanced Backcountry Ski Tours

From $590 · Full-day

If you are confident in your skiing skills, explore more of the Niseko backcountry! Where your guide will take you depends on what you would like to achieve, snow conditions and how much skinning up to ski down you want to do. For example, a Yotei day, when the weather conditions permit an ascent to the crater, requires about five hours of skinning to reach the crater rim. After a lap or two into the crater and an additional hour to get back, it can be an eight-hour day of vigorous climbing and skiing, finished with a relaxing soak in the onsen (famous Japanese hot spring) to soothe your body and soul.

Things you need to know

Covid measures in Niseko

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Niseko, please refer to the Town of Niseko or Niseko Tourism websites.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

Why should I book with 57hours?

With us, it’s all play and no work for you! 57hours is an open platform that connects you with trained and certified outdoor adventure professionals all over the world. Using our tech-savvy, we make it super easy to find and book adventures worth tackling, with guides worth booking, all gathered from the first-hand experiences of the locals who adventure in these amazing locations.

What can I expect from skiing with a guide?

A certified ski guide will take all of the guesswork out of your time in the backcountry. From tour planning to route selection, terrain management, avalanche safety, and gear knowledge, your guide’s expertise and backcountry experience will ensure you have an unforgettable ski touring adventure.

It doesn’t matter your skill level, whether you’ve never backcountry skied or you’re seasoned on the slopes, skiing with a guide has its advantages. Your techniques will sharpen, you’ll learn how to navigate terrain safely, make smart decisions, and most of all, you’ll remain safe in unfamiliar terrain.

What if I’ve never backcountry skied before?

Backcountry skiing isn’t just for pros looking for the ultimate thrill ride, it’s also beginner friendly, meaning anyone with blue level resort experience can have fun in the backcountry. If you’ve never backcountry skied before, heading out with a guide is your best bet. They’ll take care of the planning, introduce you to the basics, like skinning uphill, and teach you how to manage the terrain. They also have the experience and avalanche training to keep you safe.

What’s included?

What you get in this adventure:

    • An experienced, certified ski guide with extensive knowledge of the area
    • A full day of backcountry ski touring
    • Transportation from your accommodations to the skiing location and back

What’s not included:

    • Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
    • Trip insurance
    • Transportation to and from Niseko
    • Accommodation
    • Meals
    • Onsen (hot springs)
    • Lift tickets for accessing the backcountry from Niseko ski resorts

How fit do I need to be?

In order to enjoy this backcountry adventure, you need to have a moderate level of fitness. You will be on your feet for a full day. While there is terrain for all skill levels in Niseko, you will need to manage controlled descents in variable conditions. All participants should feel comfortable on blue level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain.

What equipment do I need to bring?

For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:

  • Alpine touring skis, telemark skis or splitboard with skins (can be rented)
  • Touring boots and poles (can be rented)
  • Avalanche safety equipment (can be rented):
    • Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
    • Lightweight snow shovel
    • Avalanche probe

For personal items, we recommend bringing:

  • Helmet
  • Sunglasses or ski goggles
  • Warm hat
  • Sun hat
  • Buff
  • Gloves
  • Ski socks
  • Lightweight base layer top
  • Lightweight fleece jacket
  • Softshell jacket with hood
  • Puffy jacket with hood
  • Hardshell jacket with hood
  • Lightweight baselayer bottoms
  • Softshell pants
  • Hardshell pants (worn over softshell pants for snowmobile)
  • One triple-action locking carabiner or two conventional locking carabiners
  • Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
  • Water bottle and 1L of water
  • Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
  • Food you can eat on-the-go
  • First-aid kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 30-40L backpack)
  • Camera — optional

Can I rent equipment?

All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent:

    • Avalanche safety pack, including backpack, beacon, shovel and probe can be rented from the resorts and ski areas or from Rhythm Japan
    • Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots and poles can be rented from the resorts and ski areas or from Rhythm Japan
    • Splitboards can be rented from the resorts and ski areas or from Rhythm Japan

Ski rental locations are in Niseko and should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.

What’s the itinerary?

Your backcountry ski tour will be fully customized to match your skill level and objectives. You and your guide will discuss route selection, skills development, and whatever else you’d like to focus on. From there, your guide will plan the perfect day tailored just for you taking into consideration factors such as weather and snow conditions.

Depending on your objectives, full days may start earlier and end later, but in general, your day will look like this:

  • 8:30 am: Meet your guide at the guide’s recommended location
  • 9:00 am: Head to the location of your backcountry ski tour
  • 9:30 am – 5:00 pm: Gear up, go over safety considerations, and spend the day backcountry skiing on routes selected to best suit your group, stopping for lunch and breaks as needed
  • 5:00 pm: Back to the cars for debriefing and high fives

What is the minimum age requirement?

  • Everybody over the age of 18 is welcome to book this backcountry skiing adventure.
  • Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis. If you plan to ski with anyone under the age of 18, please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

What about group sizes and pricing?

For this adventure, the max client to guide ratio is 4:1. The cost per person decreases as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to backcountry ski with friends and family.

Ski touring in Niseko can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

What about bad weather?

Mitigating avalanche risk is paramount for any excursion in the backcountry — that’s why it’s best to tour with a guide! Rest assured, your guide will set objectives that are attainable for the weather conditions on that particular day. Of course, inclement weather can always get in the way of backcountry skiing, but your guide will know the best course of action to take if the weather takes a turn.

On the rare occasion of truly bad weather, your guide will present you with suitable, safe alternatives. The most common practice is to move to a nearby location if it exists, or to reschedule your backcountry ski tour to a more favorable day.

If backcountry skiing is not possible on your scheduled day and no options presented are viable, you will be issued a full refund.

Do I need an insurance policy?

We highly recommended that you cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance. With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more.

As we’ve recently seen, travel plans can be abruptly halted, so it’s a good idea to purchase travel insurance that covers cancelled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans. For peace of mind, we suggest you consider both options of insurance.

If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

Cancellation policy

With 57hours, you benefit from both our own cancellation policy as well as that of the individual guiding service that delivers your adventure. All policies regarding cancellation will be clearly laid out by your guide after booking your adventure, but rest assured that our own cancellation policy will work on top of what is provided by your guide.

For this adventure, 57hours offers a Moderate Cancellation Policy, which states:
If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to thirty (30) calendar days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to a full refund. For cancellations fourteen (14) to twenty nine (29) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of the total amount paid when Booking. For cancellations zero (0) to thirteen (13) days in advance, the Client is not entitled to any refund.

For more information on terms and conditions, please visit our Terms of Service page.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to Niseko, you will have to make two flights. The first is to Narita International Airport, Tokyo, and then on to New Chitose Airport, Sapporo. To get to Niseko from Sapporo takes about 3 hours and your options are bus transfer, private transfer, the train or rent-a-car.

Your guide will pick you up at your accommodation and take you to the skiing location. From there, you’ll start your tour. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ski ability of the group.

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