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We skied in Japan as a family back in 2012, and we did the usual first-time-visit Niseko variation. We have quite a bit of skiing experience under our belt, but skiing in Japan was unlike anything else—it’s the closest you can get to surfing on snow. Since then, we’ve been dreaming of going back but with a little bit more planning. We even have a special pair of skis—the Pescado by Line—waiting in the garage for our next trip to Japan. Luckily, in the meantime, we became friends with two seasoned ski guides Rob and Pawel who have been guiding backcountry skiing in Japan for over two decades. They know all the secret spots to ski, eat and relax like a local. It’s going to be a trip to remember for the rest of our lives.

  • Ski plenty of Ja-Pow

    Thanks to Japan’s “ocean effect” we glide on fresh powder known for its dry and light texture on varied terrain

  • Local and fresh food

    Taste local delicacies from one of the most popular cuisines in the world

  • Daily visits to onsens

    After long days of touring, we will unwind in traditional Japanese bath houses—onsens


57Hours founder, Viktor, and his daughter have teamed up with ski guides Rob and Pawel who have more than two decades of expertise in navigating Japan's secret skiing spots to create a journey through the northernmost island of Japan. Over the course of 7 days, we will float on fresh powder, eat local food, and relax in bathhouses.

  • Fly into Japan a day before your ski trip, and meet your backcountry skiing guide at the New Chitose Airport near Sapporo. Once you get to your accommodation, get to know your guide and group, make yourself comfortable and get ready for a quintessential ski touring adventure in Japan!

    A couple eating dinner consisting of meat and vegetables and drinking sake.

  • Your Japan ski trip itinerary starts off with a bang in Otaru! You’ll find fantastic terrain for all ski levels here, with easy sidecountry access, tons of secret pow stashes, and some of the best snow on Hokkaido. The soaring views of the sea and the city will serve as an epic backdrop. Spend your evening admiring Otaru’s traditional architecture, sampling the excellent local sushi (Otaru is a port city, after all), or hanging out at one of the local whiskey or sake bars. If you’re visiting in February, make sure to stop by the colorful Otaru Snow Light Path festival!

    A canal in Japan at night light up by street lights.

  • Your ski trip in Japan continues in Niseko, with graduated terrain perfect for leveling up your backcountry skills. Choose between mellow groomers, tougher non-groomed runs, or even 1,500-ft vertical lines in avalanche control areas! Once you’re off the slopes, why not pay a visit to a traditional hot spring, a.k.a. Onsen? The hot water is perfect for resting your ski muscles and recuperating for the days ahead!

    A ski resort with a gondola and a volcano shape mountain in the background.

  • The next stop on your Hokkaido ski trip is Asahikawa, the access point to the island’s tallest mountain and its finest advanced ski runs. You’ll shred perfectly light, dry powder here, with everything from wide-open slopes to fantastic treeline tracks. Ready to ski in the eroded crater of a Volcano? Asahikawa is Hokkaido’s second-largest city and the closest thing to Tokyo outside of Tokyo itself — there’s plenty to do in your free time. Visit the Onsens, stop by the Snow Museum, do some souvenir shopping, or try a regional delicacy, the soy-based noodle soup.

    Skier going up a snowy hill in Niseko.

  • Spend the final three days of your Japan ski trip in Furano, renowned for its long runs, panoramic views of Hokkaido’s central ranges, and 8 meters of snowfall per season. The runs are steep and fast — you’ll really end your ski trip with a bang! Spend your final few evenings in Japan exploring Furano’s parks, gardens, and ancient stone houses! If you’re looking to taste some local specialties, pay a visit to the Furano Winery or the town’s famous Cheese Factory.

    A skier in a cloud of snow with mountains and the sun in the background.

  • Like all good things, your ski trip in Japan has come to an end. Say “sayonara” to the Land of the Rising Sun and head back home with a JaPow addiction and plenty of good memories. See you soon!

    A view of the volcano through tree branches at sunset.

Meet your hosts

Tom Wolfe
Tom Wolfe
IFMGA/ACMG Certified Guide
Tom Wolfe is an ACMG/IFMGA-certified mountain guide who’s been guiding since moving to Canmore in 1995, the place he calls home. His winters consist of a mix of ski guiding at lodges, heli-ski operations, and remote backcountry destinations throughout western Canada. During the warmer months, Tom spends his days on water. He is a certified Paddle Canada Moving Water Canoe Instructor and Wilderness Canoe Guide.
Pawel Kunachowicz
Pawel Kunachowicz
IFMGA Certified Guide
Ever since he discovered Hokkaido's perfect powder in 2012, Pawel has spent many winter months showing it to skiers from Europe and the States. With his English language skills, flexibility, adventurous sensibilities of a European alpine skier, and terrain familiarity to rival the locals, he provides Western skiers with the best possible backcountry experience in Japan.
Rob Coppolillo
Rob Coppolillo
IFMGA/AMGA Certified Guide

Rob is a AMGA/IFMGA guide who runs ski and climbing trips all over the world — from the Rockies to the Dolomites. We tour at least once a year with him because he always brings out the best in us wherever we go and whatever the objective. Rob is the owner of Vetta Mountain Guides, based out of Boulder, Colorado.

Viktor and Karmen Marohnić
Viktor and Karmen Marohnić
Viktor and Karmen Marohnić
As the heart of the 57hours team, Viktor and Karmen are always ready to test out new locations for their favorite spots. From backcountry skiing in British Columbia, to kitesurfing in Peru and mountain biking in France, they are always looking for the next adventure.
Nika Marohnić
Nika Marohnić
Nika Marohnić is an amateur backcountry skier and mountaineer based in Brooklyn, NYC. There's not much that Nika hasn't accomplished. She's climbed Grand Teton when she was just 14 years old, skied on several continents, and has more than a handful of overnight backpacking and mountain hut trips to her credit! She's always looking for the next adventure and can't wait to get outdoors.

Things to know

  • What you get in this adventure:

      • An experienced, certified English-speaking ski guide with extensive knowledge of the area
      • 9-day backcountry skiing trip in Japan (7 days of skiing)
      • Private car transportation for the duration of the tour
      • Accommodation
      • Most meals

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to Japan
      • Technical backcountry ski touring equipment (can be rented)
      • Lift tickets at resorts
  • While this skiing trip in Japan does require some experience with backcountry skiing in variable conditions, the difficulty scale isn’t that high. Most of the ski touring terrain in Japan is mellow, the slopes aren’t that steep, and the altitudes are pretty low.

    You will be skiing in the 1300-1500 m (4,265-4,9230 ft) range, downing mostly intermediate runs with the occasional advanced pitch, and doing plenty of treeline skiing. You have to be comfortable with multiple hours of skinning, diving into deep powder, and navigating between trees to fully enjoy the terrain.

  • In order to join this backcountry skiing tour in Japan, you need to have previous backcountry skiing experience.

  • Clothing list

      • Wool or synthetic socks and liner socks
      • Long underwear top — synthetic or wool
      • Light fleece or wool sweater
      • Wind shell — nylon or ‘Schoeller’ type jacket
      • Waterproof breathable jacket
      • Warm insulated jacket — down or synthetic
      • Long underwear bottoms — synthetic or wool
      • Multipurpose stretch nylon or ‘Schoeller’ type pants
      • Waterproof breathable pants
      • Warm hat — wool or synthetic
      • Brimmed cap for sun protection
      • Face warmer — scarf, neck tube or balaclava (optional)
      • Light gloves — wool, synthetic or leather
      • Insulated gloves or mitts with waterproof outer shell
      • Spare gloves or mitts

    Snow Safety Equipment — can be rented

      • Avalanche beacon with good batteries (and spares)
      • Shovel
      • Probe (2.4m or longer preferred)

    Gear — can be rented

      • Ski helmet
      • Skis or split board — wider, powder skis, minimum width 108mm are recommended
      • Lightweight, touring bindings (Dynafit or ATK are best)
      • Ski strap
      • Ski or snowboard boots and ski crampons
      • Poles
      • Climbing skins
      • Skin wax (or a candle)
      • Binding repair kit to fix your personal travel setup

    Personal equipment

      • Day pack large enough to carry things you might need throughout the day (25-40L)
      • Durable duffel bag, preferably just one (approx. 60L)
      • Sunglasses (both orange and dark lenses help a lot for travel in all conditions)
      • Goggles (orange lenses)
      • Sunscreen and lip cream (SPF 30+)
      • Head lamp with good batteries
      • Insulated water bottle or thermos (1-2 L)
      • Lunch bag or container
      • Personal blister kit (i.e: Leukotape-P and Compeed/Second Skin blister pads)
      • Pocket knife — optional
      • Camera — optional, but recommended
  • All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. There are numerous rental shops in Sapporo, some of which are Sapporo Kokusai and Sapporo Teine, who have the following gear:

      • Avalanche safety pack, including backpack, beacon, shovel, and probe
      • Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots and poles
      • Splitboards

    Ski rental locations are in Sapporo 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.

  • Group sizes and prices:

      • For this premium skiing tour in Japan, there will be two guides. The maximum group size is 12.
      • The cost does not decrease as the group grows.
  • A 15% deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 3 months (90 days) prior to departure.

  • To start this tour, most people fly into New Chitose Airport (CTS) 45 minutes from Sapporo, Japan. Your skiing guide will meet you at the airport upon your arrival in Japan and arrange your transportation to Otaru, the starting point of the tour.

  • 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, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Japan, please refer to Japan’s COVID-19 travel information.

    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!

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