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Skiing in Japan - advice, tips

FayGoneAstray

Certified Ski Diva
Hi
Has anyone skied in Japan? Considering a possible trip over Xmas to see friends living in Tokyo - and if we go wondering if we tack on some skiiing in early January. Family of 4. We would be on Epic pass. Does anyone know of any reputable companies that organize guided ski groups in Japan (Epic resort) which I guess is Habuka. This could just be meet to ski (day tour) or something more packaged and organized from Tokyo to a resort for a few days.


We are of various abilities but husband and 12 year old (advanced skiers - they do double Whistler blacks for example) would likely want to do off piste, steeps and get the most out of such a trip and I'd want them with an experienced English speaking guide (safe, reputable, experienced guides -doesn't need to be private they could join a small group of other English speakers for example).

I (cautious, slow, low intermediate, nervous disposition) probably would want a lesson on skiing powder and maybe join a english speaking guide around the mountain (do they have free mountain guides?). My youngest would be 9 and is a higher intermediate (was starting Whistler blacks this past season with her ski group) - she's faster than me I guess we'd ski together but she's out skiing me).

We ski Whistler in terms of terrain and conditions we are used to. Do we need powder skis? How expensive is it? I don't know where to start to look into this to see if it is possible at all in terms of $$$ either this year if we do travel or else a trip to plan in future years.
 

scandium

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I've only been to Madarao, which will probably be too tame for your family unless they go backcountry - it is more of an intermediate area overall, and the tree skiing is through gladed areas. It does have the bonus of having official tree skiing though, and we had no problem finding a great Aussie instructor when we were there.
 

Mudgirl630

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Hi
Has anyone skied in Japan? Considering a possible trip over Xmas to see friends living in Tokyo - and if we go wondering if we tack on some skiiing in early January. Family of 4. We would be on Epic pass. Does anyone know of any reputable companies that organize guided ski groups in Japan (Epic resort) which I guess is Habuka. This could just be meet to ski (day tour) or something more packaged and organized from Tokyo to a resort for a few days.


We are of various abilities but husband and 12 year old (advanced skiers - they do double Whistler blacks for example) would likely want to do off piste, steeps and get the most out of such a trip and I'd want them with an experienced English speaking guide (safe, reputable, experienced guides -doesn't need to be private they could join a small group of other English speakers for example).

I (cautious, slow, low intermediate, nervous disposition) probably would want a lesson on skiing powder and maybe join a english speaking guide around the mountain (do they have free mountain guides?). My youngest would be 9 and is a higher intermediate (was starting Whistler blacks this past season with her ski group) - she's faster than me I guess we'd ski together but she's out skiing me).

We ski Whistler in terms of terrain and conditions we are used to. Do we need powder skis? How expensive is it? I don't know where to start to look into this to see if it is possible at all in terms of $$$ either this year if we do travel or else a trip to plan in future years.
I grew up in Japan. Learned the basics as a kid there. I was in Nagano.
As for Niseko, there are more than 40% Australians there, so no language gap. But to me, to experience true Japan, not great because of that. Then again, that was pre-pandemic.
Hakuba in Nagano is the most luxury ski area in Japan but not as well known as Niseko. You can find a lot more steep area.
Niseko is not steep in general, but they get the most powder. But there is another area, east of Niseko, that get even more powder. The name escaped me. The town is rural and small. Not well known. A bit more challenging to get to it.
We have MANY ski areas in Japan. Just not well know like these two areas.
 

elemmac

Angel Diva
I went to Japan in 2020 (right before Covid shut everything down), but visited Hokkaido and had very different objectives than what you describe. So, I’m not sure I could be much help for your trip, at least directly. However, I will attest to the wealth of knowledge that the website/forums @marzNC posted above can provide.

I created a two week itinerary for me, my husband and 5 of our friends…it was an amazing trip and I owe so much of that to the Australian ski forum linked. I highly recommend checking it out and asking questions.

If you happen to change course and visit the north island, I’d be more than happy to share some insight on the places I visited.
 

Mudgirl630

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Hi
Has anyone skied in Japan? Considering a possible trip over Xmas to see friends living in Tokyo - and if we go wondering if we tack on some skiiing in early January. Family of 4. We would be on Epic pass. Does anyone know of any reputable companies that organize guided ski groups in Japan (Epic resort) which I guess is Habuka. This could just be meet to ski (day tour) or something more packaged and organized from Tokyo to a resort for a few days.


We are of various abilities but husband and 12 year old (advanced skiers - they do double Whistler blacks for example) would likely want to do off piste, steeps and get the most out of such a trip and I'd want them with an experienced English speaking guide (safe, reputable, experienced guides -doesn't need to be private they could join a small group of other English speakers for example).

I (cautious, slow, low intermediate, nervous disposition) probably would want a lesson on skiing powder and maybe join a english speaking guide around the mountain (do they have free mountain guides?). My youngest would be 9 and is a higher intermediate (was starting Whistler blacks this past season with her ski group) - she's faster than me I guess we'd ski together but she's out skiing me).

We ski Whistler in terms of terrain and conditions we are used to. Do we need powder skis? How expensive is it? I don't know where to start to look into this to see if it is possible at all in terms of $$$ either this year if we do travel or else a trip to plan in future years.
I forgot to mention that I know someone who can be very helpful to get a trip to Japan together. She is going to have plan ski touring Japan. If you would like to get in touch with her, please let me know.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Here's an example of advice that experienced Aussies provide to a newbie working on plans for a ski trip to Japan in 2022-23. In this case, the travel group is two families with young kids.

 

FayGoneAstray

Certified Ski Diva
How is it skiing all that powder? I don't have much powder experience - the little I do it's west coast powder which is not that really true light fluffy stuff! How fat skis do you need??
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
How is it skiing all that powder? I don't have much powder experience - the little I do it's west coast powder which is not that really true light fluffy stuff! How fat skis do you need??
Just as in the Rockies, there are also groomers at mountains that get deep powder storms. Fair to say that people who have only skied in Australia have very little powder skiing experience. From what I've read, they still have a good time in Japan.

For what it's worth, my Alta ski instructor (over 20 years experience at Alta, plus 10+ years before that) doesn't want anyone taking a powder lesson with him to be on skis more than about 100 underfoot. That applied to me as a petite woman with some powder skiing experience 5-6 years ago, as well as my friend who is a man over 6 feet and had little powder skiing experience.
 

Chuyi

Certified Ski Diva
Lift tickets in Japan are cheap $50-60/day. Make sure you get some sort of travel insurance that includes skiing if you ski off piste even in resort. The resort will send u a bill if they have to rescue you off piste.
I have only been to Hokkaido. I have skied quite a few resorts. I don't like Niseko (it's Aussie land). The resorts are linked on the top but the top is closed when it snows. So all the time. If you have to choose in Niseko Annapuri.
Rusutsu is my favorite ski in & out. Direct bus from chitose airport.
Furano also has a direct bus from CTS. Most hotels have a little shuttle that's takes u to resort if you want cheaper accommodations.
For your family club med may be best option as it includes everything. Tomamu is a nice resort.
Book in August otherwise there will be no availability.
 

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