Apr
9th

Ski Safaris in Canada, Japan and Europe

Categories: Ski Safaris |

Ski Safari

Every year we go on safari – ski safari! On these trips we may chase deep powder, attempt a high ski mountaineering objective, or traverse a remote mountain range. The common theme is exciting, exceptional and often exotic!

The past few years have seen us go to Japan and the Caucasus Mountains in Russia, as well as exploring the great ranges of western Canada. In January and February 2016 we are headed back to the Japanese Alps for more of that famous deep, dry powder that dumps down in the mystical forests above the town of Hakuba.

Keep an eye on this space or email me for details of the Haute Route and other ski trips in the Alps for spring 2017.

We also offer classic Canadian ski traverses in the Rockies, Columbia Mountains and the Coast Range.

Apr
9th

Guided Powder Skiing in Japan – January 2016

Categories: Japan Skiing, Ski Safaris | Tags: , , ,
Japow!

Japow!

Sold out! Email me if you want to get on our wait list.

Deep, cold powder; mystical forests; high ridges and summits: the Hida Mountains of Japan have some of the finest powder skiing in the world, all with easy access. The backcountry is uncrowded and the skiing is outstanding, all wrapped up in a unique cultural experience.

In 2016 we are returning to Hakuba for another season of “Japow”. Hakuba is in  in a valley that runs north-south with low hills to the east and a high ridge of peaks (3000 m) to the west. The Sea of Japan is about 30 km to the west on the other side of the mountains.

It is set up in a similar manner to Chamonix, one long town (actually a few small towns creating the larger one) running along valley bottom with a series of ski areas above on the west side of the valley. We move around the valley a fair bit, usually starting the day by riding the lifts at the various ski areas to get into the backcountry. There are also a couple of tours we can start from the roadside.

There is a skier in there...

There is a skier in there…

The defining feature of Japanese skiing is the forest. The trees are nothing like you find in western Canada. It is open deciduous forest, tree density is far less than here and combined with no limbs on the lower part of the trunk it has a very open feel. It is truly beautiful to float through the powder in this mystical forest. There is also open alpine terrain at higher elevations that also give great runs.

I have never seen it snow anywhere like I have seen in Japan. If the weather systems set up right (a low pressure sitting NE of Hokkaido and a high pressure sitting over Siberia creating a N or NW flow coming over the Sea of Japan), we will get 5-50 cm (or more…) of cold blower pow every day (the first night I ever spent in Hakuba it snowed 65 cm in town overnight).

Heading to the lifts for another day of skiing!

Heading to the lifts for another day of skiing!

We stay at the Motoi Lodge, which is situated outside the main town and surrounded by forest. It is very close to Tsugaikekogen ski area. It is a mix of traditional Japanese and western styles. Our chef Kobiyashi-san provides both traditional Japanese and a fusion of Japanese and western style cooking – the food is outstanding!

This trip could be a good opportunity to combine some ski touring with resort skiing or a vacation with the family afterward!

Contact me for more details.

When?

Dates: January 23-29, 2016 (7 days skiing).

Ski terrain above Tsugaikie

Skiing above Tsugaikie

How Much Will it Cost?

Price: $2700 (no GST tax) – This includes guiding, accommodation, local transport, lift passes, breakfasts and dinners, and logistical support to get you to Hakuba. It does not include your airfare to Japan or ground transport from Tokyo to Hakuba.

Most of your landed costs will be covered by our fee.

Airfares: You are responsible for your flight costs. Expect about C$1000-1250, but fares can be a few hundred dollars more or a bit less, depending on when you purchase and where you transit through. It is worth waiting for a seat sale. Or fly on points.

Tokyo-Hakuba travel: There are a variety of ways to travel within Japan. We can help with these logistics. Expect C$200-300 return Tokyo-Hakuba.

Food: Breakfast and dinner are included in your trip price. You will be responsible for your lunches.

Other costs: Contrary to popular belief Japan is not that much more expensive than Canada. For example, I stayed in a single room in a nice downtown hotel in Tokyo for C$150/night.

Apr
8th

Guided Powder Skiing in Japan – February, 2016

Categories: Japan Skiing, Ski Safaris | Tags: , , ,
Hakuba Powder

Hakuba Powder

Sold out! Email me if you want to get on our wait list.

Deep, cold powder; mystical forests; high ridges and summits: the Hida Mountains of Japan have some of the finest powder skiing in the world, all with easy access. The backcountry is uncrowded and the skiing is outstanding, all wrapped up in a unique cultural experience.

In 2016 we are returning to Hakuba for another season of “Japow”. Hakuba is in  in a valley that runs north-south with low hills to the east and a high ridge of peaks (3000 m) to the west. The Sea of Japan is about 30 km to the west on the other side of the mountains.

It is set up in a similar manner to Chamonix, one long town (actually a few small towns creating the larger one) running along valley bottom with a series of ski areas above on the west side of the valley. We move around the valley a fair bit, usually starting the day by riding the lifts at the various ski areas to get into the backcountry. There are also a couple of tours we can start from the roadside.

David ripping in Japan

David ripping in Japan

The defining feature of Japanese skiing is the forest. The trees are nothing like you find in western Canada. It is open deciduous forest, tree density is far less than here and combined with no limbs on the lower part of the trunk it has a very open feel. It is truly beautiful to float through the powder in this mystical forest. There is also open alpine terrain at higher elevations that also give great runs.

I have never seen it snow anywhere like I have seen in Japan. If the weather systems set up right (a low pressure sitting NE of Hokkaido and a high pressure sitting over Siberia creating a N or NW flow coming over the Sea of Japan), we will get 5-50 cm (or more…) of cold blower pow every day (the first night I ever spent in Hakuba it snowed 65 cm in town overnight).

We stay at the Motoi Lodge, which is situated outside the main town and surrounded by forest. It is very close to Tsugaikekogen ski area. It is a mix of traditional Japanese and western styles. Our chef Kobiyashi-san provides both traditional Japanese and a fusion of Japanese and western style cooking – the food is outstanding!

This trip could be a good opportunity to combine some ski touring with resort skiing or a vacation with the family afterward!

Contact me for more details.

Powder and trees

Powder and trees

When?

Dates: January 31-February 6, 2016 (7 days skiing).

How Much Will it Cost?

Price: $2700 (no GST tax) – This includes guiding, accommodation, local transport, lift passes, breakfasts and dinners, and logistical support to get you to Hakuba. It does not include your airfare to Japan or ground transport from Tokyo to Hakuba.

Most of your landed costs will be covered by our fee.

Airfares: You are responsible for your flight costs. Expect about C$1000-1250, but fares can be a few hundred dollars more or a bit less, depending on when you purchase and where you transit through. It is worth waiting for a seat sale. Or fly on points.

Tokyo-Hakuba travel: There are a variety of ways to travel within Japan. We can help with these logistics. Expect C$200-300 return Tokyo-Hakuba.

Food: Breakfast and dinner are included in your trip price. You will be responsible for your lunches.

Other costs: Contrary to popular belief Japan is not that much more expensive than Canada. For example, I stayed in a single room in a nice downtown hotel in Tokyo for C$150/night.