Ski-touring and Freeride in Hokkaido

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Mont of the year: december - march
Duration: 10 days or more
Scheduled departure: consult Avalco Travel
Trip code: EX11023
Country: JAPAN

The ski resorts on the island of Hokkaido are a world mecca for powder lovers. It is an area unique in the world for the amount of snow, on average from 8 to 15 meters per year, an absolute powder snow due to the low temperatures. The mountains are not high, between 1200 and 2200 m a.s.l., but you can ski from altitudes of only 300-400 m, often at a short distance from the sea.
The descent lines develop from the open spaces of the peaks to the birch woods a little further down, generally not steep, except some nice couloirs and gullies for those who want to look for more challenge…
The proposed program includes 7-8 net days of off-piste skiing or snowboarding in two main areas,  Niseko – Sapporo, near the sea, and  Furano in the inland.
We will choose the places to visit and the itineraries according to the local weather and snow conditions. Accomodation will be in small lodges or hostels and a 4 × 4 vehicle is used  for all transfers.
In early February there is the chance to attend the Yuki Matsuri snow festival, the biggest ice sculpture competition in the world.

**** ON REQUEST ****
-> Mixed programs of  freeride and ski-touring, including the ascent of  Ashai-dake 2290 m, the highest elevation in Hokkaido, in the Daisetsu-zan National Park.
-> Multi-day extensions to other resorts in Hokkaido.
-> Tourist extensions: Sapporo, Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, other locations on request.

For powder enthusiasts, we organize freeride and/or ski-touring tours in the Nagano area, just 200 km west of Tokyo in the Honshu island. In the heart of the Japanese Alps, resorts such as Myoko, Nozawa, Hakuba, Shiga Kogen, Yudenaka, Norikura, Zao Onsen, offer plenty of powder snow, almost alpine-like gradients, and excellent onsen (hot springs in natural pools).


Accomodation: lodge or (opt.) hotel
Local transfers: car 4WD of minivan
Services included: airport transfers from/to Sapporo-Chitose airport; all other transfer by private car or minivan, as per programme; accomodation in lodge or hostel in multiple rooms with breakfast included.
Optional services: flights; insurance; single room (where available); assistance of Avalco tour leader or local guide; rental of skis and snowboard; any trip extension; tourist extensions.
Special notes: In some resorts skiing off-piste is formally prohibited; it is recommended to follow the rules, otherwise some penalties apply such as a ticket or the forfaiting of the skipass.


day 1
Arrival by international plus domestic flight to Sapporo Chitose. Transfer by minivan to Niseko area.
days 2-3-4-5
Niseko is the resort that offers the largest amount of off-piste trails in Hokkaido, and one of the world’s top powder destinations. It was also one of the first locations to equip itself with modern facilities.
Here we would mostly have freeride days, possibky utilizing the lifts of Niseko Annapuri but, according to the mountain conditions and the team’s requirements, we may decide to attempt the ascent of  Mount Yotei 1898 m, a large volcano, dominating the Niseko plateau and offering   a long and steep descent, to be tackled only in favorable weather.
days 5-6 Excursions to peaks at 1300 – 1600 m altitude, on the north coast between Otaru and Mashike. These are little-frequented slopes where beautiful descents in virgin snow are guaranteed, overlooking the ocean.
days 7-8-9 Excursions to the most interesting peaks of the Daisetsu-san range, east of Furano, including Asahi-dake 2290 m, the highest elevation of the island. This area has several active volcanoes and offers beautiful open slopes, but the climate is often severe.
day 10 Return to Chitose and boarding for the return flight.

NOTE: Upon the team’s whishes, the mix between freeride and ski-touring days may vary. We can also organize a 100% freeride or 100% ski-touring week.

We may arrange for a number of variations or extensions to the basic programme, such as:
> lake Skikotsu region , south  of  Sapporo, offers great ski-touring itineraries  including Mount Eniwa 1320 m;
> the south-west sector of Hokkaido (Oshima region);
> east sector of Hokkaido: many peaks above 1000 m altitude but not all of skiing interest; the most attractive objectives are the volcanoes of Akan National Park and the  Shiretoko Hanto peninsula;
> Wakkanai peninsula (north-east): various peaks around 1000 m altitude, and the spectacular Rishiri island;
> the Hidaka Range, south of Furano, is seldom visited in winter and has no ski resorts.

-> Freeride and/or ski-touring in  Honshu + (opt.)  Fuji-san (Mount Fuji, the highest peak of Japan).


Contact us to request a customized programme.

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Ski-touring and Freeride in Hokkaido
Trip code: EX11023

Key Definitions

Trip dates, Duration, Departure

The period of time given in the trip description sheet is indicatively the most recommended for optimun conditions for the planned activities. Different periods are possible, especially during season with special climate situations.
Duration is referred to the “standard” programme as per description sheet, however it could change according to the local conditions and/or the team’s requirements.
If the trip is included in the Scheduled Trips list (yearly planner), the departure date is the one given in the planner; otherwise it will be decided according to the requests we have received. In any case we suggest to contact us for more precise information.
In customized trips, departure date and duration are established according to customer’s request

Challenge scoring

By means of the scores given in the trip decsription sheet we wish to provide an indicative assessment of the challenges to be expected, divided in the following three categories:
Grade 1: adult performing a minimum sport activity (4-8 hours/week), or teenager in medium fitness conditions
Grade 2: adult performing sport activity (8-16 hours/week) or teenager in good fitness conditions
Grade 3: adult performing regular sport activity (16-20 hours/week) or teenager in very good fitness conditions
Grade 4: adult only, regularly performing sport activity and intense training (more than 20 hours/week)
Grade1: no prior experience in the activity is required, just a natural predisposition
Grade 2: prior experience in the activity as beginner to medium level
Grade 3: prior experience in the activity at medium to high level, with regular practice since min. 3-5 years
Grade 4: excellent technical skills with long experience in the activity (more than 5 years)
Grade 1: no prior experience in adventure travel id required, just a positive attitude to adapt
Grade 2: prior, yet limited, experience in adventure travel, with a strong attitude to adapt and determination
Grade 3: prior experience in adventure travel including remote area and wilderness, or extreme wheather, or uncertainty in route finding
Grade 4: prior experience in adventure travel including remote area and wilderness, or extreme wheather, or uncertainty in route finding, strong determination to overcome unforeseen events


The type of accomodation as planned is indicated in the trip sheet (hotel, lodge, tents, etc..).


The means of local transfers are indicated as planned (flight, bus, 4WD vehicle, ferry, etc.). Some changes are possible in relation to the actual availability on site and/or the terrain and wheather conditions.

Service included and Prices

We do not have a price list. Quotes are sent on request only.
Details of services included, excluded, or optionally available, will be specified in the quote and confirmed at the time of booking.
Prices depend on number of participants and on the specific requirements of the group. They will be definitely set at the time of booking after definiton of all trip details and confirmation of dates.
Special prices can be granted according to number of participants, and/or for pre-established groups, clubs and associations, guides with own clients, active athletes, tour operators and travel agents, journalists, physicians, rescue operators, schools, staff of organization running an humanitarian or research project.