JAPAN

15-26 JAN 2020

500 kilometres from Tokyo is Hokkaido - the northernmost island of Japan. In the colder months, Hokkaido becomes a winter wonderland where mystical stories from ancient Japan abound. There are volcano-shaped mountains, the unique smell of sulphur, the non-stop snowfall, classic Japanese streetscapes, and hot springs that boil under falling snow. These elements come together to create the kind of tranquillity that is totally unlike what you can find in Europe.

Japanese culture meets winter sports

Snow falls practically every day here. As a result, roads twist and turn between 4-meter snow walls. As the temperatures almost never creep above 0 degrees, the snow doesn’t become wet and heavy, and you’ll always find fresh, powdery snow. In fact, nearby Sapporo is actually one of the cities with the most snowfall in the world - in boasts even more than Helsinki or Oslo! In its snowiest years, Niseko can receive up to 17 meters of the white stuff.
If this is your first time skiing in Japan, you might have quite a few pleasant surprises. There’ll be plenty of ‘aha’ moments when you compare the Japanese to western ski resorts. For example, the care and precision the Japanese have when looking after the snow conditions.

Artistic elegance and care

This attention to detail is applied to everything, from the service you get in restaurants to the cleanliness and quality of the food. For example, at the bottom of each ski lift is a vending machine, but not those dirty ones that barely ever work, these are engineering feats! The soup offered in these vending machines is piping hot and surprisingly good! After a few hours on the slopes, a bowl of delicious, hot soup or a natural green tea is just what you need! And of course, in the ski lodges it’s not Austrian dumplings you’ll get, but ramen noodles and seafood. Don’t be afraid to dive in and enjoy with gusto - it’s polite to slurp your noodles!
Japanese culture is more closely related to the nature-loving style of old-world Japan rather than the more modern version of Japan that you’d find in Tokyo. Instead of sweating it out in saunas, we’ll take a hot soak in an onsen - Japanese-style hot springs and baths. There’s no better feeling after a hard day skiing than relaxing your muscles in 45-degree thermal water. Of course, it’s important to follow traditional Japanese rules while bathing. No shoes, tattoos, or swimsuits, but maximal cleanliness.
Ramen soupGERMKNÖDLBirchPINE TREESVolcanoes of hokkaidoPEAKS OF THE ALPSonsensauna
If you’re obsessed with skiing or snowboarding on powder snow, then this is your place! You can spend every day crisscrossing fresh snow, and unlike in Europe, skiing off-piste in Japan is safer as there aren’t glacier breaks and avalanches are rarer, too.
The atmosphere off-piste is different as well. Because the mountains aren’t as high - we’re on slopes that are at about the 1300 meter level - you’ll find forests of birch rather than pine trees. It’s a totally different vibe.
In Japan, there are loads of different words for ‘snow.’ But when in Hokkaido, it’s enough to simply remember the word for ‘powder,’ which is ‘kona yuki’.
WANNAJOIN?
THE TRIPINFOSCHEDULEBOOKINGQ & A
Japow– Powder Camp

15-26 jan 2020

€1590

Info

WHAT’S INCLUDED

accommodation, lift passes, mountain ski guiding, theoretical and practical avalanche/safety briefings, all the transfers and day trip transports

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

food, ski equipment, avalanche safety kit, visa (if needed), insurance, optional cat-skiing / heli-skiing

MEETING POINT

at the hotel in Niseko, Annupuri village / upon agreement in case of group travel

WEATHER

mountain winter weather, snowfall, -25 to +5 °C

HOW BIG IS THE GROUP?

maximum of 16 people in 2 groups

SKI/SNOWBOARD PACKAGE

lift passes, local knowledge, day trips, theoretical and practical avalanche/safety briefings

ACCOMMODATION

hostel style with 4 bedrooms

FREE TIME/NIGHTLIFE

onsens (hot thermal baths), culinary treats, and aprés ski parties

SKI/SNOWBOARD CONDITIONS

volcanoes and birch forest trails, lots of fresh powder

ABILITY LEVEL

Intermediate, advanced, expert

BEST SUITED FOR

couples, solo travellers, groups

APPLICATION DEADLINE

4 months prior to the trip

INSTALLMENT PAYMENT PLAN

40% upon application, 60% 2 month prior arrival

Schedule

SNOW SNOW SNOW

The most important thing for us is to ride the best, snowiest areas as much as possible! In addition to Annupuri, we will night ski in the forests of Hirafu, rip in Moiwa - known for its “nothing but powder” slogan as well as its famous and well-documented steep pillow lines, and check out Rusutsu for a day, from where we can enjoy a glimpse of the ocean. Our home resort, Annupuri, operates from 9 AM till 9 PM. Its floodlit pistes get filled with fresh powder snow nearly every evening and are left untracked.

ONSENS

Loving the Japanese snow won’t keep us from experiencing the compelling Japanese mentality and lifestyle to the fullest, which of course must include visits to the traditional hot spring baths (onsens), of which 3000 can be found throughout the country. After long days riding the slopes, we’ll unwind in various onsens, many of which have rooms where you can lay down for a nap, drink a tea or cold beer, or even enjoy a massage chair.

SAPPORO

On our last night before heading home, we can check out Sapporo and see what life is like in the biggest city of the northern island, where the locals go to work by bike, even in wintertime when they have to struggle with 10 metres of snowfall! We’ll also have the chance to enjoy Sapporo’s world-famous gastronomy and nightlife.

ACCOMMODATION

Our base is a proper ride house located only a 2 minute walk away from the Annupuri gondola. It is operated by a local snowboard fanatic and features a cosy public area, magazines, movies, a well-equipped public kitchen, wax room, and 4 person bedrooms with bunk beds. In addition to Annupuri, we will ride in the floodlit forests of Hirafu, Moiwa, known for its “nothing but powder snow” slogan and its steep pillow lines featured in many videos, and we will also check out Rusutsu for a day.

FOOD

Besides the amount and quality of snow, one of the biggest differences between a regular snow-trip and Japow is the food. Forget the wiener schnitzel-gulasch-germknödel trio and get yourself ready for steamy rich ramens, delicious dumplings, and fresh sushi. Sometimes we'll buy goods in the shop and cook together, other nights we'll go out to eat in the neighbourhood.
Send us your application! Once we receive your details, we will send you the booking information. To confirm your booking, a deposit of 40% of the price of the given trip (or the full balance if within two months of the departure date) is required. This can be done by bank transfer.

Questions before booking?
Get in touch, or just pick interested.

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Japow Q & A

IS IT A PROBLEM IF I WANT TO COME ALONE?

Not at all. Half of the group usually comes alone, so you can be sure you'll make new friends!

HOW CAN I DECIDE IF MY SKIING SKILLS ARE GOOD ENOUGH TO PARTICIPATE IN THE CAMP?

If you ride with confidence on stronger red slopes and you feel like going off-piste then this is your camp! There will be more guides, and groups will be divided according to different skill levels, so you don't need to be worried about waiting for others or others waiting for you. By the way, the mountains generally aren't steep and the freeriding is a lot safer in Japan compared to Europe.

WHAT WILL THE WEATHER BE LIKE, WHAT KIND OF CLOTHES SHOULD I TAKE?

We will stay in the northern part of Japan in the winter time. Be prepared for everything between -25 and +5 degrees, especially for heavy snowfall with strong wind. Lots of layers are always better than a super warm down jacket.

WHO WILL LEAD THE TOUR AND THE VARIOUS PROGRAMS?

Since local guides are extremely expensive and we are trying to organise the Japanese trip with the best price/value ratio, the tour will be led by our guides (Jano, Gaspar, David, or Dani), all of them backed up by local experience.

WHAT KIND OF EQUIPMENT WILL I NEED?

Powder skis, transceiver, probe, shovel, a good pair of goggles with clear or yellow lenses, spare gloves, and the usual stuff you would take for any ski trip.

HOW MUCH POCKET MONEY WILL I NEED?

With 500 eur you’ll have good times with some Kobe steak, daily onsens, and Japanese whiskey specialities included. +/ 250 eur based on your attitude. In case you fancy a snowcat day, count on another 400 eur.

WHAT KIND OF INSURANCE SHOULD I TAKE OUT?

You should choose an insurance which expands for going off-piste, and is valid in Japan. You should be aware that the blue EU health insurance card and the insurance of your bank card are not valid in most cases.

WHICH COUNTRIES WILL WE VISIT?

We’ll be staying in the northern part of Japan, close to Sapporo, on an island called Hokkaido.

WHAT ABOUT FOOD?

You should expect great, fresh, and healthy food. Few things are better than a huge steaming ramen bowl between two chest deep powder laps. Fruits and seafood are expensive though, and you won’t find the European kind of healthy bread.
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