Ski 4 Volcanoes in 4 Days in Japan
Ski tour dormant lava domes in Hokkaido’s unchartered backcountry
Get off the beaten track in Niseko, explore its neighbouring volcanoes on skis and discover a more authentic side to this popular resort.
One of the most unique and rewarding ski adventures on the planet. Your private guide will introduce you to Hokkaido's backcountry like a local, whilst experiencing some of the best tree skiing and snowboarding in the world. Hiking dormant volcanoes, tackling the steep open faces and skinning up the iconic Mt Yotei, the tallest of Niseko’s volcanoes. If the weather permits, you’ll even get to ride into its crater – the ultimate bucket list ski experience.
Based in powder mecca Niseko, Japan – famous for the quality and quantity of champagne powder, tree skiing and the vibrant nightlife – you'll get to ski a different volcano each day, and unwind in traditional mountainside onsens at the end of the day.
Athletic backcountry skiers and boarders, looking for more of a local experience in Japan. Ski touring and split-boarding experience is preferred, but being fit and adventurous is more important. Private groups, up to 4 people per guide.
This adventure can run anytime between January and March. Whilst the snow is typically deeper in "Japanuary", the weather is more favourable towards the end of February / beginning of March (if skiing into a volcano crater is on your list).
A DAY IN THE LIFE
At the crack of dawn you make your way down to The Barn — Niseko’s authentic alpine bistro which happens to connnect to your boutique hotel, Kimamaya. You’re greeted by an overflowing buffet with champagne on ice and an a la carte menu that puts your decision-making to the test. Those looking for more of a local taste can pre-order a traditional Japanese breakfast of salmon, rice and nori.
After fueling up, your private guide will meet you outside the boot room and drive you to the base of the volcano. Packed lunches are distributed and brownies loaded into pockets, whilst your guide runs you through the plan for the day. After an avalanche safety briefing and transceiver check, it’s time to click into your bindings and begin the journey up.
Click-shuffle-click-shuffle, as the sunrise erupts through the Japanese birch trees. Steam radiates off the snow, like rice sizzling on a teppanyaki hot plate. It’s time to de-layer before continuing the uphill zigzag. Your guide shares stories of their extreme adventures across the globe, whilst you take in the stunning surroundings over onigiri (Japanese rice balls).
Stripping layers as you climb, the summit is almost in sight — though the slope has become too steep for kick-turns. You hitch your skis to your bag and bootback the remaining 300 metres to the crater. Exhaustion meets utter elation as the gradient finally begins to plateau and solid ground levels out underneath your boots. You take your final steps to the crater’s edge looking out to the magnified china tea-cup, triumphant.
Before you have a chance to cool down, you’re clicking in, dropping in, and carving lines through the crater’s sparkling surface. It’s the most-perfect 200 metres of fluffy powder imaginable, floating like feathers, turning side to side until you land in the centre. You take in the 360-degree crater walls towering above you before anticipating the climb out.
With legs like jelly, you start making your first turns down the volcano face. Japow at its finest — fluffy and deep! By the time you reach the treeline, technique is out the window. As the birch trees appear to merge, you finally reach the base and wobble towards the van, before cracking open a bottle of Asahi. Cheers!
En route to Niseko, you stop off at the local onsen (Japanese hot spring) to soak your spent muscles as the snow falls around you. There really is no better feeling in the world right now.
You arrive back at Kimamaya, swap your ski boots for slippers and kick back in the cozy lounge with a glass of wine by the fire. Finish the day at a local izakaya seating just 8 people, or continue to unwind with an in-house massage.
Starting at US$11,200 (US$2,800 per person based on 4 people, double occupancy) plus 5% tax.
Included for this price:
- Private ski guide for 5 days
- Ski tour up 4 volcanoes
- 6 nights at Kimamaya Boutique Hotel, with full breakfast included
- Private airport transfers to and from Sapporo New Chitose Airport
- Daily packed lunches on the mountain
- Daily transport to and from the mountains
- 2 x Onsen excursions
- Lift pass for first day of side-country skiing/riding
- Touring and avalanche safety briefing
Option to add on ski touring gear and avalanche packs.