Ski trip Japan: free ride skiers paradise!

Laila and her family love skiing. When they lived in Switzerland, they went up to the mountains every single weekend to enjoy their favorite sport. Since they live in the US, they visit every ski season another ski resort. This year, Laila went for a 10 days trip with her best friend Sophie to Japan.
“Hokkaido is the second largest island of Japan and is an absolute paradise for freeride skiers. The island benefits from a unique weather phenomenon that makes the snow extremely soft and powdery. Snowfalls occur on daily and can go up to 10m! This dreamy snow combined with Japanese traditions make it an unforgettable ski trip. Laila and her friends headed there for a 10-day ski trip perfect for experienced (or the very least skilled) skiers. There are no ski lifts because you are in the total wilderness, but not to worry, your appointed guide will know all the tricks and turns. If your kids are not up to it, there are great ski resorts located on Hokkaido island. That way, they can still enjoy the amazing snow and the incredible Japanese experience at their appropriate scale!”


« This is the wild backcountry where you have to get up the mountain under your own steam, and steamy you will become, just like the active volcano that you skin up! »
15 hours
570 km in 8 days
11 hours on the road 
4 stops
TOTAL  = $ 5200 /pp for 8 nights all included.
$ 3600 / pp for 8 nights – Ski touring Safari trip
including hotels, transfers, van rental, 2 days of ski lift, 2 ski guides during the whole stay, breakfast and dinner: (extra’s to be foreseen for single rooms) This price can vary in function of exchange rates.

$1100 /pp flight round trip
Expenses for lunch, massages, extra drinks = $ 500
The Onsen: Japanese Hoth Bath
Ski climbing of Mount Asahi Dake
Simple & Pure Japanese way of living
Lodging and activities

Japanese gourmet dinner
Kiroro ski resort
Kokusai ski resort


190 km / 1h20
  • A perfect introduction to Japan. A hotel located in Otaru, a city located on the ocean shore. You can smell the ocean, feel the mountain atmosphere, taste traditional Japanese cuisine and enjoy Japanese outdoor baths (Asarigawa Onsen,). We stayed in a typical Japanese room with tatami mat and futon bed (traditional Japanese style bedding consisting of both a mattress and a duvet. Both elements of a futon bedding set are pliable enough to be aired, folded and stored away in a large closet during the day allowing the room to serve for purposes other than as a bedroom.
    After a transfer of 1h30, we arrived to our hotel in Otaru, discovered our rooms, took our first Onsen bath and had a typical Japanese gourmet dinner.
    Day 1: The first day we skied in the resort of Kiroro, 40 min away from Otaru. 30 cm of fresh powder snow was waiting for us. Our guide organized our registration for off piste skiing in the backcountry area and guided us to really nice off piste slopes with untouched snow. An amazing ski day with fairy tale landscape and tree skiing like in the best James Bond movie.
    Day 2: The second day, we skied in the resort of Sapporo-Kokusai, 40 min from Otaru. We did a mix of ski lift and ski touring (earn your turns). We drove directly to Niseko at the end of the ski day.



80 km /1h30
  • We stayed in a modern hotel in the Niseko Ski resort area, combining Japanese and western style. As in the previous hotel , we could enjoy both outdoor and indoor Onsen,  A must  after a hard ski day. It has so many therapeutic effects on the mind and the body. We especially loved them to relax our muscles after a hard day of powder skiing.
  • Ski touring in the area of Nimi (from Niseko, 30 min drive (26 km)). We reached the summit of Mout Mekunnai. 

    We drove to our next stop Kami Furano , 5 hours drive, and we arrived late afternoon to our mountain lodge, in a very remote location.


250 km / 5h
  • We stayed in a typical mountain lodge located halfway up to Mt Tokachi. We enjoyed a fantastic view overlooking the Furano basin and the mountains from 1200 m above sea level. The Onsen was amazing, totally recovered with wood with one outdoor and indoor hot bath. The view from the outside hot spring was spectacular. We all slept in Japanese style rooms with tatami and futon bed. The food was excellent, Japanese mountain style. Small attentions made us feel special: free ice-cream after a hard ski day,, drying room for the ski equipment. The location is perfect to start many ski climbing trails of the area.
  • We ski toured the whole day in the area of Mt Tokachi. We went up and down the whole day.
    We climbed Mount Asahi Dake, the highest summit on the island of Hokkaido, 2200 m. Skiing Japan at its best! A Sunny day with fresh powder snow in a volcanic setting. We felt we were climbing the everest! The Asahi Dake area is essentially a backcountry ski area that has the luxury of being serviced by a cable car.
    More volcano skiing in the Tokashidake Ski area as best described by  
    We went back to the lodge early afternoon, took a last onset bath and headed back to Sapporo.


150 km – 2h40
  • We stayed in a hotel in the center of Sapporo, the largest city on the island of Hokkaido. Also known for having hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics. Winters in Sapporo are cold and very snowy, with an average snowfall of 5.96 m, one of the few metropolises in the world with such heavy snowfall.
  • We had dinner in a sushi restaurant in a typical Japanese dining area: seats closed to the floor –– and low-profile tables in the centre of an open space.
    Early wake up to drive to the New Chitose Airport (50 km -1h) and back to Switzerland.


  • Prepare or buy food in advance when ski touring outside of the ski resorts because there is nothing on hand or in the area
  • Bring very warm ski clothing an be prepared to wear several layers. You will be sweating and warm on the uphill part. Be prepared to encounter very cold and harsh conditions when you arrive to the top of the mountain. Therefore it is important to quickly change to warmer clothing. we recommend 4 layers: base, mid layer, light duvet jacket and on top a gore tex hardshell. we also brought a heavy duvet jacket to wear during longer breaks. Here are some buying advices for equipment.
  • It is easy to take out money in ATM’s No need to buy yen on before hand
  • Take some time to learn and ask about Japanese essential manner and etiquette. It’s important to show respect to their traditions to behave and to adapt to their culture. You are the one visiting them. Here are some tips.
  • We stopped very often in 7 to eleven shops You can buy Japanese snacks but you will also find western style snacks like snickers, twix, trail mix etc…
  • Do you like fish? If not you might have a food issue while visiting Japan as fish is the basis of their food preparation.
  • Are you new to backcountry skiing? Do you want to learn more about it? Here is a site that we recommend you to read.