NISEKO & OTARU, JAPAN POWDER EXPLORER SKI TOUR

Experience The Legendary Deep Snow of Niseko-Otaru Japan on our Powder Explorer Ski Tour. Ski The Deepest Snow of Your Life!

OVERVIEW

Trip #2 Dates: Jan 12-21, 2019
Location: Niseko Resort & Otaru, Japan
Duration: 10 days | 9 nights | 8 Ski Days
Skill Level: Strong Intermediate-Expert
Guide to Client Ratio: 4 to 1
Price: $3495 per person

Hokkaido, home to deep cold Japanese powder and some of the best snow in the world. Every day we lead guests on a guided exploration of the beautiful Niseko & Otaru area ski resorts such as Hirafu, Moiwa, Rusutsu, Kokusai, Kiroro, and dozens of untouched backcountry areas. Untracked powder awaits you after short lift lines, easy hikes, and spots our guests have skied the deepest snow of their lives. There is nothing like skiing or snowboarding in Japan and our team is ready to take you the goods! Experience slopeside lodging in Niseko & staying in the heart of the historical port town of Otaru which gives a rich cultural experience. We love skiing powder and with our private 4×4 vans for the group we can search for the deepest snow around. This is one of our favorite zones in Japan! A Japan powder trip to the areas of Niseko and Otaru with our hosted guides will let you focus on doing only one thing, skiing deep powder. From perfect birch tree glades to deep powder fields to the long backcountry runs, Japan has that magical powder run for everyone.

WHAT’S INCLUDED

Lift Tickets: All Lift Tickets to Ski around Niseko & Otaru
Guiding: 10 Hosted Days – including 8 Guided ski days at the surrounding resorts and backcountry. We go to the goods every day!
Coaching: Ski Technique & Backcountry Skills Sessions with Professional Skiers and Guides
Airport Transfers: Private Transfer To/From Chitose Airport
Daily Transportation:
 2 Private 4×4 Vans Every Day
Lodging: 
4 Nights in Niseko and 5 Nights in Otaru. *Based on 2 people per room (twin/double share). If you would like a room to yourself please contact us.
Meals: Breakfast Every Morning with traditional Japanese and Western Favorites, Welcome & Farewell Dinner
Onsen Hotspring Tour
LGA Welcome Gift Bag

OPTIONAL:
*Alpine Touring & AT Touring skis from Scott during the trip are available for $150 for the week
*Scott E1 Airbags, Avalanche Beacon, Shovel, Probe are available for $150 for the week


WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

  • Airfare
  • Lunches: Guests will be able to have lunch at local villages and ski resorts during the week
  • All Dinners (except 2) are left open for the group to explore town together or experience the local cuisine with new friends. Recommendations will be provided.
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Gratuities for Guides
  • Travel & Trip Insurance: We require trip insurance for all trips abroad.
    We recommend World Nomads as they are the ultimate in travel protection and global emergencies and evacuations.
  • Gear: Skis, Snowboards, Backpack, Avalanche beacon, Probe, Shovel, Skins, and Helmet. If you have your own equipment please bring it. Avalanche safety gear is required on all of our tours and is available to rent for $150 for the duration of the trip.

GEAR – SCOTT Sports Demos and Recommendations

We suggest you bring your own ski and backcountry gear if you have it. For the trip we do recommend a touring set up as this will allow the group to really ski a wide variety of areas. Having this as a daily set up allows us to find the best snow on the resort, quick laps in the sidecountry or going a little deeper into the backcountry. There are also options for ski touring days if the groups wants.

If rentals are needed, we can arrange snow equipment for the week through our partnership with Scott Sports. We will have a selection of powder skis with touring bindings to choose from. There will also be the brand new Scott E-1 Patrol Backpack and avalanche kits available for rent for guests during the trips. Both items can be rented for the duration of your trip to save you time and money. If you wish to rent ski/snowboard equipment please let us know so that we can coordinate your rental. Always bring layers, good gloves, 2 goggles if you have them or extra lenses, winter clothes for after skiing, and a down jacket.

THE RIDING EXPERIENCE

The Otaru area is well known for having some of the deepest snow on average every year and our guides know the area very well. There is always powder to be skied! From perfect birch tree glades to deep powder fields to the long backcountry runs, the Otaru area has something for everyone. Untracked powder awaits you after short lift lines, easy hikes, and secret spots only our guides know. Otaru has great access to 5 ski areas within a 30/45 minute drive such as; Kokusai, Kirroro, Teine, Asari which all offer some incredible deep consistent snow.

Niseko Annupuri is part of the Niseko-Shakotan-Otaru Kaigan Quasi-National Park and is the most eastern set park of the Niseko Volcanic Group. Seasonal winds from the Eurasian continent pick up moisture over the warm currents of the Sea of Japan to from snow clouds and in turn some of the driest, lightest powder in the world.

With an average snowfall of 15+ meters or 50+ feet per season, it’s no wonder that the Niseko and Otaru area are the perfect snow destination. Our guides have some secret spots that rarely ever see tracks and have been skiing these areas for over a decade.

This is an advanced guided tour where we spend the majority of our time off-piste in the lift accessed side/backcountry of each resort, skiing the birch trees of Japan and the open bowls. After skiing a full day of powder and a relaxing soak in the onsen, you’ll get to enjoy some of Hokkaido’s delicious food and lively bars. What makes our trips different- we ski powder every day and if it means we have a road trip to ski the best snow, we go! There is nothing like skiing or snowboarding in Japan and our team is ready to take you there!


THE CULINARY EXPERIENCE

Enjoy daily breakfasts at the hotel with a wide variety of food and traditional Japanese Breakfast items. Our welcome and farewell group dinners are one of our guests favorite times on the trip as we get to experience a couple of our favorite restaurants in the area. The last night is always a fun time to celebrate and enjoy one last cheer’s before the trip ends. The hotels have easy access to all of the nearby restaurants and bars during the week so you can taste the incredible cuisine the area offers. The growth of the area over the last couple of years provides ample selection of small independent coffee shops, restaurants, breweries and sake bars. Visitors have every chance to dive into the local cuisine like never before.

Japan, home of amazing fresh sushi, seafood, and delicacies from the sea as well as its traditional dishes of soba, udon, yakitori, curry and more. The seafood quality is known around the world but we bet after trying some of their local specialties you will leave with a whole new respect for Japanese cuisine. Sample a wide variety of local and regional cuisine, from Wagyu beef, Yakitori BBQ cooked on the table, Shabu-Shabu, Bakeries & Coffee Shops, incredible curries, and of course no trip to the Japanese isles is complete without a warm and hearty fresh made soba noodle bowl.


THE LODGING EXPERIENCE

Our hotel partners welcome you with friendly service and an unmatched experience that you will never forget. Our location is ideal to access several ski areas in the region with our private 4×4 vans so our groups are always skiing the best conditions that day. The hotel is walking distance to a wide variety of restaurants, shops, and bars. Free WiFi, daily breakfast, and comfortable twin rooms await you at our favorite hotel in the area. Enjoy easy access to soak in hot Japanese Onsens at our partner hotels and also natural onsens in the mountains that our guides can take you to. It’s a great way to relax after a day of skiing powder. The hot onsen water rises from deep underground and contains a blend of many different minerals that are nutrient rich. A long soak in an onsen is one of the best ways to relax one’s body after a day of skiing powder.

SAMPLE ITINERARY

Day 1 – Arrival Day

Fly into New Chitose Airport (CTS) by 1pm where the group will be there to transport you. In some cases, you may need to plan your arrival the day before. There are many hotels near the airport offering shuttle service so it is easy to meet the group back at the airport by 1pm. We suggest using Booking.com to find a nearby hotel.

Le Grand Adventure Tours welcomes you to Japan! Upon landing at New Chitose Airport (CTS) you will have a private 4×4 van transfer by our guides to your hotel. Settle into your comfortable room and prepare for the the ski week ahead. We will meet for a relaxing welcome reception to meet and get to know the new crew for the week. The evening offers your first chance to explore, dine or relax at the hotel with new friends. Relax, enjoy local cuisine, and get ready for a week of powder skiing!

If rentals are needed, we can arrange snow equipment for the week through our partnership with Scott Sports. We will have a selection of powder skis with touring bindings to choose from. There will also be the brand new Scott E-1 Patrol Backpack and avalanche kits available for rent for guests during the trips. Both items can be rented for the duration of your trip to save you time and money. If you wish to rent ski/snowboard equipment please let us know so that we can coordinate your rental.


Day 2 – 4: Niseko

One of the most consistent and deepest snowpacks anywhere on earth lies in Niseko. We have stayed here for many years and the Niseko zone gives us quick access to a dozen resorts, snowcat skiing, amazing sidecountry and some of the best backcountry skiing in Japan. Our first day of skiing will be around Niseko United and exploring this vast ski resort that sits on an old dormant volcano. If the weather is clear (it snows a lot!) the views over to Mount Yotei are incredible. Over the course of the day we’ll be hunting out some powder stashes and warming up for the week ahead. Lots of sidecountry/ backcountry opportunities to ski powder. Celebrate an awesome first day on the mountain with the Welcome Dinner and a great après with the group.

During our next few days skiing in Niseko, our team of guides will take you to some of our favorite spots that have consistently delivered deep powder over the years. The surrounding resorts of Moiwa, Rusutsu, and others within a short drive allows us to pick the best snow everyday. Our guides like to ski powder and want to make sure you get the best you can while you are there. All of the resorts we visit during the week offer a variety of inbounds skiing terrain, quick sidecountry laps, hikes to the peak for extra freshies (Niseko has amazing views to the ocean), and backcountry laps into the deepest back bowls of Japan. We have a backcountry zone nearby that is one of the deepest if not the deepest spots in Niseko. When it snows and it gets deep, this zone has made many powder dreams come true. We hope we get to share it with you!

Finish your days soaking in an onsen and head into town to try some of the local favorites. A bowl of Ramen or Sushi at the end of the day is always a great way to celebrate and get ready for the next day. Diners are open during the week for the groups to explore. Our guides are happy to show you around to the local hot spots in town so you get to experience the culture as well as the great food. There are dozens of great restaurants, bars, local eateries, coffee shops and areas to explore around Niseko.


Day 5 – 9: Otaru

Pack your powder snorkel as we head to Otaru for the rest of the trip. Our guides will transfer the group from Niseko early in the morning for a day at Kokusai. This powder gem has some of the best side country and backcountry terrain in Hokkaido.  With its close proximity to the ocean, this area receives some of the most consistent and deepest snow in Japan. After skiing, we have a short drive into the city of Otaru where the group will be staying in the center of town.  The hotel is close to all the restaurants, shops and nightlife and has an entire floor dedicated for the onsens. A perfect spot for our base as the city is known for its whiskey and sake distilleries as well as access to the epic terrain this area has to offer.

Day tours to Tiene, Kokusai, Kiroro, and other resorts near Niseko are possible. Our guides use their extensive knowledge of the area, storm tracks, and network to pick the best spots every day. These areas get loads of snow and are known for the quality of powder they receive. The options to ski off the resorts and into the backcountry are endless and on a clear day, the views out to the Sea of Japan are all time. If the group has a down day due to weather or just being tired from skiing too much powder, our guides know some great drives around the coast to check out some of the lesser visited temples and villages. A great opportunity to experience the culture, try new food and learn the history of the Ainu people that originally inhabited the area.

On the groups last day we will ski one of the surrounding areas and show the group a secret spot if conditions permit. Finish off the day with an onsen and a toast of some local sake with your fellow powder skiers. Tonight the LGA Guides will take you to a Farewell Dinner party along the canal in Otaru where you get to eat at one of our favorite restaurants. Tonight is your night to celebrate your Hokkaido powder experience!


Day 10 – Departure Day

Time to check out and say goodbye to your new friends and transfer to Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport for your flight home with memories to last a lifetime!


NOTE: This itinerary is an example. The tour may be altered to adjust for weather and conditions. Our guides will plan the tour around the conditions to make sure you have the best trip possible.

FAQ

Check out our General FAQs section. Here you will find answers to your general questions.


What is the Best Way to Get There?

Fly into New Chitose Airport (CTS) by 1pm where the group will be there to transport you. In some cases, you may need to plan your arrival the day before. There are many hotels near the airport offering shuttle service so it is easy to meet the group back at the airport by 1pm. We suggest using Booking.com to find a nearby hotel.


When Should I Make My Travel Arrangements?

Please wait until you receive confirmation from Le Grand Adventure Tours before making any travel arrangements. Our team is happy to assist you with any travel needs.


Hotels Before & After Your Trip

There are a lot of great hotels in the Chitose area close to the airport if you plan to arrive early, a day before the trip start, or if you plan to stay for an extra night before you leave. We suggest using online resources like Booking.com to check availability. We are always happy to help and offer recommendations for all of our guests.


Can I Reserve My Trip With a Deposit?

Yes, you can reserve your trip with a Deposit for all Multi-Day Tours lasting twenty-four hours or longer. If you seek to reserve a spot on the Tour more than 90 days prior to the Date of Departure. The Deposit amount is twenty percent (20%) of the Tour Price. For Private Group Tours the Deposit amount is fifty percent (50%) of the Tour Price. Within 89 days or less prior to the date of departure, the full amount is due at time of booking.


When is The Final Payment For This Tours Due?

Final payment is due no later than 90 days prior to departure, or 7 days from booking confirmation if booking is within 90 days.


What Is Your Cancellation Policy?

  • 90 days or more prior to Departure: LGA will retain the deposit as an “Adventure Deposit” for a future trip. A full refund will be given.
  • 89-60 days prior to Departure: LGA will retain 50% of the total Tour Price and the deposit will be held as an Adventure Deposit for a future trip.
  • 59 days or less prior to Departure: LGA will retain 100% of the total Tour Price.Le Grand Adventure Tours cannot be held responsible for snow and/or weather conditions. Trips cannot be cancelled or amended on the basis of snow and weather conditions.

What Is Your Refund Policy?

No refunds, reimbursements or discounts will be granted if, for any reason, Client misses the Tour, fails to join the Tour, leaves the Tour, is dismissed from the Tour, or cannot fully participate in the Tour. Any Refunds will be at the discretion of Le Grand Adventure Tours if you are involuntarily forced to leave a tour for any reason.


What is The Group Size?

Small group sizes that don’t exceed 10 guests.


Do We Need to Tip Our Guides?

Gratuities are not included. Tips are accepted at your discretion based on the overall trip experience provided by our team.


Do I Need Trip Insurance?

Trip Insurance is Not Included: We require trip insurance for all trips abroad. Protecting your trip & safety is our priority!
We recommend World Nomads as they are the ultimate in travel protection and global emergencies and evacuations.


What Type of Skis To Bring?

A ski with roughly a 100mm to 110mm is the best option. If you want to bring a wider pair of skis please feel free or we can rent these if needed.


Do I Need Ski Touring Equipment?

It is highly recommended but not mandatory. If you have a new pair of touring bindings (Dynafit, Plum, Marker, Salomon, etc) and are comfortable skiing a wide variety of terrain on them, please feel free to bring them.


Do I Need Backcountry Safety Gear?

Avalanche safety gear is required on all of our tours. If you have your own equipment please bring it. Ski backpacks including a beacon, shovel, and probe are available to rent for $150 for the duration of the trip. (Option available to add-on at checkout. If you wish to add later please feel free to contact us.)


Ski & Gear Rentals

If you wish to rent ski/snowboard equipment please let us know so that we can coordinate your rental. Please advise the LGA Team before the trip if you will need gear.


What Should I Bring With Me?

Ski/Snowboard Gear:
Skis/Snowboard, boots, poles
Goggles
Helmet – stay safe on the slopes!!

Misc/Recommended:
Backpack
Avalanche Transceiver
Shovel/Probe
Touring Gear and Skins
Packable Puffy
(We can assist with some gear, please feel free to contact us)

Après Clothing:
You will be in Japan for a week so please bring proper clothing for when you’re not on the slopes.

Travel Requirements:
Current Passport
Credit card, cash and/or traveler’s checks
ID or driver’s license
Medical insurance cards
Prescriptions or other medications
Important phone numbers
Proof of Travelers Insurance


What Is The Weather Going To Be Like?

For the most accurate weather please check the Niseko Weather Online a few days before your trip. If you want to experience the best snow in the world, you need to be prepared with good gear, as it can get cold. It’s not unusual to receive 30cm to 50cm+ (12 to 20″+) of snow overnight! Many storms will drop upward of 100cm’s plus or basically 3 feet every couple of days. We will be in the mountains so bring clothes that will keep you warm in a wide variety of conditions. We will guarantee you get the most out of your ski holiday as we have a wide range of activities that we can add to the trip in case there are down days due to snow storms or weather.


How Long Does It Take to Fly to Japan?

Flight time from the West Coast of the United States to Japan is approximately 10-16 hours depending on if you book a direct flight or a flight with stops.


Are There Any Rules/Traditions Pertaining To The Onsens (Hot Springs)?

Onsens are usually dedicated as either male or female baths. An onsen is a natural thermal hot spring. A word of warning – if you have tattoos you may not be allowed to enter. However, if you are a foreigner and the tattoos are not particularly obvious then you will generally be OK. Make sure you wash and rinse off your body before you get into the water. Note: Ritually these are full nudity baths, there are small towels to cover your ‘modesty’.


Can I Use My Credit Card in Japan?

Japan is mostly a cash based society. Most larger restaurants and bars will probably accept international credit cards (non-Japanese), a lot of smaller restaurants, bars, and convenience stores will only accept cash. As crime in Japan is one of the lowest in the world, most people carry plenty of cash with them. A lot of ATMs in Japan do not accept international cards.


Which Languages are Spoken in Japan?

Japanese is the native language of Japan. The amount of English that is spoken varies considerably in Japan. A good rule of thumb is that English is much more widely spoken in destinations that are popular with international tourists.


Is It Safe to Travel to Japan?

In general Japan is one of the safest countries in the world to travel around. This is due largely to one of the lowest crime rates in the world and the incredible hospitality of the Japanese people.


Why Does Japan Get so Much Snow?

The abundance of powder in Japan is a result of the Siberian snow stream, the largest example of lake-effect snow in the world. High pressure over Siberia and low pressure over the Western Pacific leads to a constant flow of cool air across Japan. As this chilled, dry air flows over the Japan Sea it attracts moisture and becomes overly-saturated. This air hits the mountain ranges of the Northern Alps and Japan is blanketed with powder snow. These cyclical weather patterns last for weeks, guaranteeing regular dumps of the lightest and fluffiest powder imaginable.


What Are The Japanese Mountains Like Compared to Europe and North America?

This varies somewhat between resorts and the different islands but generally the major Japanese resorts are not as high and steep as their counterparts in Europe and North America. Ultimately one must always understand the snowpack as it can change rapidly in the mountains and is safest to travel into the backcountry with a guide.

NISEKO-OTARU GALLERY

Niseko, Japan

Happy Customers.

Testimonials

Best Guides Ever!

These guys are as good as it gets. Full dedication to stoke as well as safety. We detoured our original location to chase the powder and it paid off in spades. Jeff & Jeff have the inside knowledge, contacts, and hunger for finding the best conditions and THEY DELIVER. Start to finish they were there for every need and want. I will truly never forget this adventure and highly recommend Le Grand Adventure Tours. A Huge thank you to their team! --James L.

The Holy Grail…

Jeff and Jeff are absolute all stars. These guys are not only technical masters of their trade, but they have the hunger desire and willingness to go hunt for POW that you’re looking for! All in all we couldn’t have asked for a better trip, because of the amazing snow of course and the incredible country, food and culture of Japan, but most of all because of these two legends. Thanks a ton guys, can’t wait till the next go around! -- Nick P.

Simply the best!

I have been fortunate enough to travel all over the world and I find that the location is important but not as important as the people you meet. We were blessed enough to have both with our trip to Japan and it is for one simple reason, Le Grand Adventure. Our guides went above and beyond to make our experience a memorable one. We had the most fun and rode the best POW. Thank you, Le Grand for showing us a country you love so much. --Reid H.

Unreal!

This is an absolute unbelievable adventure. If you want to ski big pow and are also looking for an incredible cultural experience, this is the trip for you. I’ve skied my entire life (last 18 years in Colorado as well as 3 years in Switzerland / Austria) and this was by far the best ski adventure I have ever taken. Some of the most memorable and best runs of my life. In addition to the incredible snow and terrain, Jeff and Crystal are true professionals both on the Mountain and off. This trip was butter smooth thanks to Le Grand Adventure Tours. A bucket list item for sure! --Ryan P.

The Japan trip with Le Grand Adventure Tours was absolutely amazing and blew us away!!!!

Special thanks to Jeff and Crystal for making all of the necessary arrangements that allowed us to explore the many different areas on Hokkaido and, most importantly, chase the incredible powder (on some days this was literally over our heads!), which is simply amazing! LGAT provides the very best in guide service, with the primary focus on safety and skiing quality terrain! We would have been totally lost without them! We will be back in 2017 and beyond! --Spencer N.

I will be using them again!

I wanted to go ski the legendary deep powder of Hokkaido, Japan. It wasn’t one of the banner years on record but we still managed some incredible skiing by doing a little storm chasing. It added some extra adventure to the trip and gave us a chance to see another part of the island. The guides are top notch, incredibly accommodating and on their game. I would highly recommend using Le Grand. They provide a more intimate and personalized experience than many guide outfits. --Darren C.

ImageQuest Japan Trip was out of this World.

The snow in insanely deep and the culture is wicked cool all over Hokkaido. The guides are extremely intelligent and some of the coolest dudes you’ll ever meet (Jeff Roberson and Jeff Easter). It was a blast taking photos of all the action as well. I couldn’t recommend this trip enough to anyone out their looking to have the best ski trip of their lifetime. Do it! -- Ryan L.

The pictures and videos do not do it justice.

Jeff and his team took care of us everyday and made sure we experienced as much as we could on our trip. We had a mix of conditions from sunny days to one of the deepest days skiing-ever! They know a lot of spots that are on the mountain, off the mountain, and in the backcountry. We did some touring everyday and we were rewarded with incredible views, deep snow, and no crowds all day. Fresh powder every day! Will be going back to explore more areas with them. --Todd A.

Second year in a row working with Jeff

He is knowledgeable, caring, and a great mountaineer. Went this year and last to Hokkaido Japan. aka land of ‘Japow’. was as good as it gets and made even better by Jeff and company. They dealt with challenges with grit and an even keeled approach. Always honest and forthcoming, they were excellent. I will use them again and recommend them highly. --Gil A.

Deepest snow of my life!

We searched for deep powder everyday and the guides did a great job of finding the best snow for us. Japan never disappoints and the private vans add a nice touch which allows us to travel to ski the best snow in the area. --James E.

The best trip I have ever been on.

The entire trip was dialed in from the minute we landed to the time we left. 10 days of exploring Japan, finding the deepest snow everyday, the cultural sights, and food were incredible. Can’t wait to go back! --Dan M.

An LGA team member will be in contact with you to discuss the trip to ensure a proper fit!
Please note: You will not be confirmed to book a trip until speaking with a trip consultant.