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Discover epic skiing into the crater of a volcano

Hokkaido offers many fantastic options for backcountry skiers. At 1898 meters (6227 feet), Yotei is one of its highest peaks, dominating the skyline of southwest Hokkaido The impressive Mount Yotei is definitely the best you can get for powder skiing in Japan! The huge volcanic crater might be a challenge to reach, but it offers a 150-meter-deep bowl and a unique and surreal ski descent — the longest vertical line on the island of 1500 meters (close to 5000 feet). The best skiing is found from around 1300 meters and lower (4265 feet) in altitude, while higher altitudes tend to be more affected by the prevailing winds. Mount Yotei is breathtaking, and it offers some of the best skiing in the world.

Available itineraries

A Customized Day of Private Guided Backcountry Skiing

The best powder skiing happens on Yotei, a volcano you cannot miss when visiting the Niseko Valley. The consistent and fresh powdery snow, as well as 30+ degree slopes and astonishing vistas make for the perfect terrain for intermediate and advanced skiers. Let your guide take you powder hunting for the best stashes and hidden gems of Yotei, and spend the day having some extreme fun on the untracked slopes!

Advanced Backcountry Ski Tours

Although there are only a handful of days when the summit itself is possible to conquer due to the weather conditions, the adventure is indeed unforgettable. Worry not, your guide will make sure that your safety comes first during the summit. While the best skiing happens below 1300m, crater skiing may be the greatest moment of your skiing career — both a surreal and epic experience! The inside of the crater is perfect for lapping!. End the day enjoying the longest vertical run in Hokkaido and relax afterwards in the soothing Japanese onsen!

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Meet your guides

Tracy Lenard
Tracy Lenard
Tracy is an AMGA Apprentice Ski, Rock and Alpine Guide and the owner of Niseko Mountain Guides. Japan has been home for over 20 years and in that time he has climbed, skied, and trekked all over Japan and never tires of sharing the natural elegance of the rugged landscape with residents and visitors alike. Tracy is also a Leave No Trace trainer and works with the American Alpine Institute in North America.
Niseko Mountain Guides
Niseko Mountain Guides
Niseko Mountain Guides
Niseko Mountain Guides is a small mountain guiding company based year-round out of Niseko, Japan. They offer private guided outdoor experiences in both Japan and North America. Risk management and quality of experience are the foundation upon which everything is built at Niseko Mountain Guides. Most guides are AMGA certified and have years of experience, and will show you the best places Niseko has to offer.

Things to know

  • 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 to and from your accommodations to the skiing location

    What’s not included:

    • Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
    • Trip insurance
    • Transportation to and from Niseko
    • Accommodation
    • Meals
    • Onsen (hot springs)
  • In order to enjoy this backcountry adventure, you need to have an excellent level of fitness. You will be on your feet for a full day — the ascent takes between 4 and 6 hours to make it to the top, and the altitude gain is of 1500m. The terrain on Yotei is for intermediate to advanced skiers, since you will need to manage steep descents over 30 degrees in variable conditions. Mount Yotei is dominated by slopes between 30 to 45 degrees, avalanche terrain, so all skiers should have at least an AAI Level 1 Avalanche course finished. All participants should feel comfortable on black level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain.

  • This backcountry adventure is for intermediate to advanced skiers only. It offers some of the steepest terrain in Hokkaido and there is no avalanche management, so the skiers should have finished at least an AAI Level 1 Avalanche course. If you’ve never backcountry skied before, we recommend you opt for a private intro to backcountry skiing in Niseko.

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

    • Alpine touring skis, telemark skis, snowboards with snowshoes (can be rented), or splitboard with skins and crampons for skis and splitboards
    • 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
    • Ski socks
    • Lightweight base layer top
    • Lightweight fleece jacket
    • Softshell jacket with hood
    • Puffy jacket with hood
    • Hardshell jacket with hood
    • Lightweight baselayer bottom
    • Softshell pants
    • Hardshell pants (worn over softshell pants for snowmobile)
    • Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
    • Water bottle and 1L of water
    • Thermos with 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

    Ski crampons may be needed for advanced tours, but your guide will let you know after booking.

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

    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.

  • 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:

    • Meet the night before for introductions and to double check gear
    • 6:00 am: Guide picks up guests from accommodations
    • 7:00 am: Departure from trailhead; gear up, go over safety considerations, and spend the day hiking and skiing on Mount Yotei, with plenty of food and drink breaks for maintaining energy levels while you take in the stunning views.
    • 11:00 am to 1:00 pm: On the rim of the summit crater; spend one to two hours of crater skiing, depending on conditions.
    • 3:00 pm: Back to the trailhead where the transportation is waiting; debrief and high fives
    • 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.
  • 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 on Mount Yotei can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • To get to Mount Yotei, you will have to make two flights. The first is to Narita International Airport, Tokyo, and then on to New Chitose Airport, Sapporo. For this adventure, it is best to stay in the Niseko area. You can get there from Sapporo in two to three hours and your options are bus transfer, private transfer, the train or rent-a-car. The Niseko area is a 20-minute drive from the trailhead.

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

  • Japan is not yet open to mass tourism. However, guided package tours are allowed for a highly restricted number of tourists. All passengers entering Japan from overseas are required to submit a certificate proving a negative test result for COVID-19 that was conducted within 72 hours of departure for Japan. Your guide also requires all of their clients to provide proof of vaccination or a valid negative PCR/antigen test result.

    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!

  • To book a trip, please pay the full amount at the checkout.

      • Fully refundable within the initial 48 hours from booking, unless the trip date is less than 7 days from the time of the booking.
      • Cancellations up to 7 days prior to the trip date are refundable 100%.
      • Cancellations within 7 days prior to the trip date are non-refundable.
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