If you’ve never been into backcountry before - we thought we’d
give you an insight into what it’s all about. And why we love it so much. Particularly in Japan's Northern-most island,
the off-piste skiing in Hokkaido really is something special.
Once you’ve tasted the backcountry,
you’ll never look at a groomer the
same way again. Ever.
Backcountry is away from the hustle and bustle of groomed runs, far away from the chair lifts and holidays makers, queueing up for another gondola ride. Backcountry is only accessible by hiking.
Whether you go for Niseko guiding or elsewhere around Hokkaido, you’ll experience a whole new world of diverse terrain, fun tree-skiing, and spectacular views too. In order to get to the top of the mountain or volcano, you’ve got to hike.
With the use of skins, a splitboard or snowshoes, you’ll make your way up to the top. It can be hard work! But the rewards are ten-fold. Then you’ve got the whole, pristine mountain to yourself, getting first tracks every time on the way back down!
Japan is located in a fortuitous position, so that all the winds carrying moisture, travelling down from Siberia, just dump straight onto the first thing it hits, being the mountains and volcanoes of Northern Japan. So this ‘wherever’ will always change.
Our guides’ unique understanding and insider's knowledge of the island will determine where you’ll end up, so you’ll experience the best off-piste skiing and snowboarding of you life, and the best that Hokkaido has to offer.
In our Niseko guiding and our road trips around the island, we let the snow decide where we go.
Basically it is wherever the powder is the deepest and fluffiest.
**THE SMALL PRINT**
Please be aware of avalanche precautions and reports, notices by the resort staff, and consult weather maps before you venture into the sidecountry or backcountry. It is paramount you carry an avalanche kit (transceiver, probe and shovel), as routine, going off the main piste in any resort. And make sure you learn how to use them too.
We strongly advise to get travel insurance that covers Niseko guiding, sidecountry skiing/snowboarding, and splitboarding/ski touring in Hokkaido (if you’re heading deep into the backcountry, away from the resorts). Rescues off-piste are very expensive - make sure you’re covered. Out the bounds of the main piste make sure you are with at least one other person.
If you have never been off-piste before, make sure you are with someone who knows the area well, and you feel confident with, if a sticky situation should arise. If you are unsure, book a qualified guide, who will help you understand the risks and decisions to be made in the backcountry or sidecountry.
Go out there, shred, and be safe!