After an epic start to our Japan program in 2016, we are back with an improved tour for 2017. Hokkaido is an amazing place. If you want to experience some of the best powder in the world, then this is the trip for you. Throw in a healthy dose of Japanese culture, then you have an epic trip in the making. What does that look like, then read on…
We will be exploring 2 distinctive zones in Hokkaido that are renowned for their abundant powder. Our first zone is around Otaru, an old town and port on the west coast of Hokkaido, is an old port on Ishikari Bay. There are several resorts in close proximity to Otaru that get a ton of snow and are relatively unheard of. If you want deep, untouched powder, then this is the place to look. Our final zone is further north in middle of the Hokkaido powder triangle. Furano is one of the largest ski areas in Hokkaido, but it is still relatively quiet and gets plenty of snow which is even lighter than the snow found at the resorts near the coast. Furano has great skiing, with some great hike-to terrain, but makes a great base to explore other resorts close by. We have our own private transportation and so we can choose the best resort to ride at each day. That gives us the flexibility to ride only the best snow on offer. This is a unique opportunity! You get to explore up to 9 resorts during the trip and expect immerse yourself in the amazing local Japanese culture. This will be a trip like no other!
Read on for more detailed information.
Click on the icon to book your Japan Powder Sessions adventure!
Session 1: Saturday 13th January – Wednesday 24th January 2018 (max 18 guests).
Session 2: Friday 26th January – Tuesday 6th February 2018 (max 18 guests).
Session 3: Thursday 8th February – Monday 19th February 2018 (max 18 guests).
Prices are based on the number of people in the group and differ for each session. The more people in the group, the lower the price.
Session 1: 6 pax – $3,785 5 pax – $3,905 4 pax – $4,095
Session 2: 6 pax – $3,805 5 pax – $3,935 4 pax – $4,115
Session 3: 6 pax – $3,795 5 pax – $3,925 4 pax – $4,105
(Cost is in $USD per person, twin-share and is based on number of people in the group)
(Please also note that these prices are subject to change and are not guaranteed until final payment on the 30th November, 2017). Please see “terms and conditions” at the end of the article for full details.
Double Room Supplement – Please add $120 USD per person to the above rates.
(The New Furano Prince Hotel charges a supplement for a double room, due to their double rooms being larger in size than the regular twin rooms; 33m2 as opposed to the 28m2 for a twin room).
Single Room Supplement – $650 USD per person on top of the above rates.
Extra Person Buyout (NEW option for 2018):
For small groups that don’t want to have any additional members added to them, there is the option of buying out the remaining group places. Extra person buyout for this trip will be $1,800 USD per place. (Remember group size is limited to 6) For example, there was a group of 4 friends who wanted their own private group, they can buy out the remaining two places (2 x $1,800 = $3,600) and then they have their own private, guaranteed group with only 4 people in it. For smaller groups who want to ensure no one else is added to their group, this is a new option.
Here at The Adventure Project, we want to try and make compatible groups as much as possible, but it is a challenge. We try and assemble groups based primarily on ability level, but we also factor in level of motivation, fitness, age, etc. We can never guarantee the complete compatibility of assigned group members, especially when working with new group members that we have never ridden with before.
We ask a lot of questions when ascertaining the potential group member’s level, but sometimes people overestimate their abilities and sometimes people underestimate their abilities. It happens unfortunately and is one of the major challenges we face when putting groups together. If you already have a small group of friends and don’t want to face the potential risk of having a person who isn’t the best fit for your group, then we urge you to consider buying out the remaining places for your group, then you will have a guaranteed compatible group!
Early Bird Discount:
If you book before June 30th 2017 with a $500 deposit down, then there is a $450 USD discount on offer. That means you can reduce the above prices by that amount. You must complete the booking form and submit your $500 deposit before the deadline to qualify for the discount.
$500 USD per person, per trip and is non-refundable, unless The Adventure Project cancels the trip. Payment can be made by check, bank transfer or PayPal. Our preferred method of payment (for the deposit or final balance) is either by check or bank transfer (when you book, we will send you an information sheet with full payment details on it). If you choose to pay via PayPal, please add any additional fees that PayPal charges on top of the amount owing, so that The Adventure Project receives the full required amount. By paying your deposit, then you agree to our terms and conditions (see end of page).
Final balance must be paid into our account before November 30th, 2018. Payment can be made by check, bank transfer or PayPal. Our preferred method of payment (for the deposit or final balance) is either by check or bank transfer (when you book, we will send you an information sheet with full payment details on it). If you choose to pay via PayPal, please add any additional fees that PayPal charges on top of the amount owing, so that The Adventure Project receives the full required amount.
The main goal is to explore the island of Hokkaido for 12 days, trying to ride as many resorts as we can and riding as much deep powder as possible. We will also be immersing ourselves in local Japanese culture and enjoying the many culinary delights Japanese cuisine has to offer.
Education is the other vital component of our program. Our focus is on avalanche safety and education and we will constantly reinforce these principles out on the mountain. Our program starts with a mandatory, comprehensive avalanche safety training session which includes (but is not limited to): theory; single/multiple burial training; probing; strategic shoveling and snowpack testing and analysis.
Any skiers looking to improve their freeride technique can be given regular feedback on the mountain and we can get out the video camera for some video analysis sessions (weather permitting). All in all, our program is very detailed and potentially rewarding on many different levels. You’ll have fun, see a lot of Hokkaido and will hopefully learn a lot too.
There is a maximum of 6 guests per group, led by 1 guide from The Adventure Project. We can have a maximum of 3 groups per session. It is strongly encouraged to book early, if you want to go on one of our Japan Powder Sessions trips. We face a lot of competition for accommodation and the good hotels get booked up early. It is never too early book your accommodation in Hokkaido!
Minimum Ability Level:
Advanced to expert skiers and boarders. You should be comfortable riding in tighter trees and in deep powder (the powder is nice and light though, with an average water content of only 8%). You should be comfortable riding double diamond terrain in variable snow conditions.
Guests must have an avalanche beacon, shovel and probe (plus pack) and uphill capability (skis with touring bindings/skins or a splitboard/skins/collapsible touring poles or powder board with snowshoes/collapsible poles). If you’ve not used any of this gear before, then no problem, you will be given comprehensive training in their use.
How to get there:
Your ultimate destination is to get to Sapporo for the start of each session. Your international carrier will fly you to either Tokyo Haneda (HND) or Tokyo Narita (NRT). From there, you will take a flight to Sapporo, New Chitose Airport (CTS).
Now, here are a couple of important points to consider when organizing your flights. Be careful when booking your domestic flight. Please be aware that Haneda and Narita airports are not close to each other, they are more than an hour apart, on different sides of the city. So, if your international flight arrives in Haneda, but your flight to Sapporo flies out of Narita, then allow yourself plenty of time to get across the city. It is recommended to find a flight that departs for Sapporo in the same place that it arrives from overseas, unless you are planning on staying overnight in Tokyo. Relatively few international carriers outside of Asia fly direct to Sapporo. Please check with your travel agent if you have any questions on this.
Also know that the Sapporo airport (CTS) is not actually in Sapporo, it’s in a town called Chitose, 55 minutes outside of Sapporo. Anyone not able to make it to our suggested pick up time at the start of the trip or at end of the trip, will need to make their own way to or from the New Chitose Airport (not included in the trip price).
Guests will be expected to arrive at the Sapporo International Airport (CTS) for scheduled pickup. We will normally meet you at the arrival gate for your airline. Please note that there are multiple airline arrival gates in the domestic arrival hall at the Sapporo Airport so we will need to know your flight number and exact flight arrival time so we can meet you there. The airport is in Chitose, nearly an hour away from Sapporo. There will be one scheduled pickup and then we will be driving to the hotel (either in Otaru or Furano, depending on the session). If you cannot make the scheduled pickup, then you will need to make your own way to Otaru or Furano. We can give advice on how to travel to these locations. Any additional transportation fees are the responsibility of the guest.
Hokkaido in Japan. We will be exploring the powder capital of Japan for 12 days, using our own private transportation to explore 2 distinct zones in Hokkaido: the Otaru/Sapporo area for 5 nights and the Furano area for 5 nights (depending on the session). We will use these locations as our bases to explore the surrounding ski areas. There are up to 9 different resorts close to our accommodation that we can explore. We try to keep it flexible, if you are enjoying the riding at a particular resort, then we can definitely session it for multiple days, or we can keep moving forward, it’s up to the guests ultimately. We need to keep the resorts that we are going to somewhat secret though….. Mysterious I know! When you sign up for the trip, you will be given the full itinerary with all of the potential locations listed.
We have selected some of the best hotels and lodges in our 2 zones, based on price, quality and location. Otaru is a very Japanese experience, culturally speaking. It’s not a ski town, it’s a port. We love the old canal district area in particular, with it’s old converted warehouses that are now awesome restaurants and shops. Our favorite spot is the Otaru Brewery, their beer is amazing! Furano is a nice blend of Japanese and Western cultural experience, so we think you get a nice and varied cultural experience here. It is a ski town that still has plenty of charm and hasn’t been overun by Western visitors. Here is a quick rundown of some of the properties we have chosen.
Otaru is a beautiful port city in the west of Hokkaido on Ishikari Bay. It is famous for it’s canal that runs through the center of the city, lined by many shops, restaurants and converted warehouses. It is the ideal location for exploring the ski areas closer to Sapporo and getting a really traditional Japanese experience. It is an easy drive to the ski areas that we will be visiting in the area (20 minutes to 1 hour).
We will be staying at the Otaru Grand Park Hotel which is right on the bay. You have ocean views in front and mountain views behind. Our guests will enjoy spacious twin-share rooms, with free wi-fi. The hotel has 296 rooms and suites and has several restaurants including the all day dining Terrace Brasserie, the Bay Lounge and the Marina Bar and Restaurant. The buffet breakfast is a sight to behold!
Furano is the ideal base for our exploration of northern Hokkaido and is considered to be the capital of the Hokkaido Powder Belt. Furano has amazing skiing and it’s worth spending several days exploring the resort. Furano boasts long runs with decent vertical (959m 0r 3,146ft) and has some great terrain. There’s plenty of fun tree skiing and secret stashes in the resort but our favorite area has to be the “Premium Zone”, an awesome area of open bowls and trees accessed by a quick 25 minute hike. The powder stays fresh in this zone for days and we’ve had some epic turns in this area in the past (see video above). Furano is a nice blend of traditional Japanese culture and a Western ski resort feel. We also have great skiing nearby at the resorts of Kamui Ski Links, Tomamu, not to mention some other under the radar resorts that we know of…… Our hotel of choice in Furano is the New Furano Prince Hotel.
The New Furano Prince Hotel is close to the bottom of the Furano Ropeway in the Furano Zone and features ski in and ski out access. The hotel is well-appointed with 4 restaurants, 2 bars, 3 cafes and a bakery. There is a hot spring complex in the hotel that includes an indoor bath, outdoor bath and a sauna. You can get a massage and use the relaxation lounge. We are excited about working with the New Furano Prince Hotel for the first time in 2017.
End of Trip
We will be staying at an agreed upon hotel in Chitose, close to the airport, on the last night of the trip (night 11). We will advise on which hotel to book at a later date. On the last day of the program (day 12), we will drop off all guests at the domestic departures, unless guests have made alternate arrangements. There will be one scheduled departure time. Anyone needing an alternate time can use either the hotel’s airport shuttle bus service or a taxi (at their own cost).
Day 1 – Arrive Sapporo, New Chitose Airport (CTS). Pickup by The Adventure Project. Drive to Furano (125 km – 1 hr 55 min drive) Stay 6 nights @ New Prince Furano Hotel. Twin-share rooms, with breakfast included.
Day 2 – Furano – AM Avalanche safety training and then PM skiing.
Day 3 – Furano area skiing.
Day 4 – Furano area skiing.
Day 5 – Furano area skiing.
Day 6 – Furano area skiing.
Day 7 – Transfer to Otaru (150 km – 2hr 33 min drive). Potential to ski a resort on the way to Otaru. 4 nights @ Grand Park Hotel Otaru. Double share rooms, with breakfast included.
Day 8 – Otaru area skiing.
Day 9 – Otaru area skiing.
Day 10 – Otaru area skiing.
Day 11 – Potential 1/2 day skiing. Transfer to Sapporo for final night (35 km – 37 min). Suggested Sapporo hotel – Sapporo Ekimae Nest Hotel @ approximately $40 per person per night, twin-share.
Day 12 – Transfer (58 km – 51 min) to New Chitose Airport (CTS) for return home.
* This schedule is subject to change and revision and you will be sent a specific itinerary for your trip, before departure. There are many different resorts that we can ski during the trip. We will choose the best resort for the conditions of the day, based on the motivations of the group and the conditions of the day. Having our own transportation will allow us to be as flexible as possible.
Terms and Conditions
- By sending us your deposit, you agree to the following terms and conditions:
- Minimum standard for the trip is advanced. You need to be comfortable riding in black diamond terrain, in the trees and in deep powder. You should have powder-centric skis or snowboards that will give you extra floatation in deep snow.
- If you cannot keep up with the majority of the group, then for your own safety, you might be asked to stay out of the off-piste areas. That could also mean riding by yourself in the resort if you cannot keep up with the group.
- The Adventure Project does not guarantee complete compatibility of all group members. Whilst we try our best to put the right level of people together in our groups, if we have not ridden with a guest before, then we cannot guarantee that that person will be a definite fit with the rest of the group. The Adventure Project is not responsible for any mismatches therefore.
- There is only 1 guide per group. There is no tail gunner (2nd guide) at the back of the group to help people get up after falling. You must be able to get up by yourself after a fall.
- Final price will be set by the due date of the final balance payment (30th November 2017). If more people are added to the group after the final payment is made, then no refund will be issued for any differences in subsequent final price. If additional group member sign up in the final month preceding the trip, then a credit will be issued for a future trip (for the following season only) with The Adventure Project. Within the final month of the trip start date, no credit will be issued.