One things for sure, if you love snowsports you’ve probably heard about the island of Hokkaido, Japan; If you haven’t, then get on google now and seek it out. With an average winter snowfall of 17m (compare that to an average European resort snowfall of 4-7m) of the driest, lightest, champagne snow you could ever imagine, it’s no wonder Japan is on so many snowboarders bucket list as well as #japow being a popular Instagram hashtag!
In January 2019 our mountain guide David Gladwin took a feverish pack of snowboarders armed with their riding weapons for a 10 day powder chasing tour of the two main areas on this epic little island, namely Niseko and Furano. The plan of attack was to ride as many resorts as possible in each area, deciding each night where to ride the following day based on the local snow and weather conditions.
During the 10 days of snowboarding the group battled their way through waist deep fresh virgin powder between leafless birch trees, hiked into powder field descents, Cat boarded an untracked mountain and snowshoed up the highest peak in Hokkaido (Asahidaki, which is an active volcano) then rode down and out through the steaming caldera.
But visiting Japan isn’t just about the epic snow, Japanese life, food and culture is as much a part of the adventure as the snowboarding. Time off the snow was spent warming up and feasting on steaming bowls of Ramen, drooling over handcrafted Gentemstick snowboards in Niseko, gorging on Sushi and Sashimi until stomachs felt like an overinflated balloon, relaxing mind and body in natural hot spring Onsens, being lucky enough to see ‘Diamond Dust’ phenomena and beating the Japanese at their own game singing Karaoke in a backstreet bar.
MINT Snowboarding are going back to Japan for even more adventures in 2020! Click here to find out more about this epic snowboard trip of a lifetime to Japan which will be running 5th to 16th January 2020. There are a total of just 12 spaces so you will need to get signed up quick!
Why does Japan get so much epic champagne snow? Have a read of this article from Powderlife magazine ‘The Niseko Powder Machine’