Powder Perfect: Japan Ski Tours 2017

Club Med_1_HB

Powder is the name of the game, as this year’s Japan ski tours shape up to offer you the most powder-tastic skiing experience of your life - with a side of fantastic Japanese food and culture thrown in for good measure.

Why ski in Japan? Japan has a reputation for being pricey, but resort prices are actually often much more affordable than at many top resorts in Europe and America. You will be surprised by the very reasonable costs of meals and lift passes - a one-day lift pass usually costs around 4000-5000 yen (£28-35), while hearty lunches by the slopes can be had for as little as 1000 yen (£7).

If that’s not enough to tempt you away from your usual stay at Chamonix or St. Moritz, then consider that skiing in Japan also offers comparatively uncongested lifts and slopes compared to Europe, as well as unusual opportunities such as night and tree skiing. That’s in addition to the fantastic food, revitalizing hot springs, warm-hearted hospitality, and amazing cultural experiences. 

And with ANA currently offering flights to Japan from £528 via Europe, getting there doesn’t have to break the bank either! (Other airlines are currently offering similar prices with a short stopover in Europe - see our Latest Offers page for more information).

Take a look at our list of suggested ski tours this season that’ll soon see you making the most of Japan’s world-renowned powder before relaxing in a natural hot spring bath for an out-of-this-world apres-ski. 

1. Tomamu Hokkaido, Club Med Tomamu - from £1,232 pp

Relax at Club Med

Club Med’s brand new hotel, Club Med Tomamu, is the place to be seen on the slopes this ski season. Book Club Med’s all-inclusive tour, and soft powder snow, hot springs with panoramic forest views, ice slides and an ice bar, delectable yakiniku BBQ, and Japan’s largest wave pool will all await you in Tomamu Ski Resort on Hokkaido. 

Departure on 15th March 2018, with 7 nights in a Club Room for 2 adults (not including international flights) starting from £1,232 per person. For that price, you’ll get ski pass and lessons, full-board gourmet cuisine, open bar, kids club for children aged 4-17 years old, and day and night entertainment. Tomamu has a total of 29 ski runs, five lifts and one gondola. See Club Med’s website for more information and to book.

2. Earlybird Discount with JTB Europe - Offer Ends on 15 September!

Warren Smith Ski Academy Japan Powder Camp
 
JTB Europe is currently offering an early bird discount of 20% off all 4 of their existing flight-inclusive winter sports packages on bookings made by 15 September 2017:
 - 9 nights including ski in Nozawa Onsen from £2,043
 - 9 nights including ski in Furano from £1,779
 - 9 nights including ski in Niseko from £1,958
 - 11 nights including ski in Hakuba from £2,228
 
Prices are per person based on sharing a twin room. The 20% discount is off the above "from" price or the tailor-made price, depending on availability of flights and accommodation. For more information and to take advantage of this discount, see JTB’s website.

 

New Japan Group Trips from Ski Safari

Ski Safari is holding two new powder-based group trips to Japan this ski season - read on for more details of these two unmissable, special tours...

3. Japan Powder Safari with The Telegraph, from £3,750 pp 

Warren Smith Ski Academy Japan Powder Camp

The Telegraph’s powder safari will allow you to ski or board at a whopping 5 of Japan’s best resorts in Hokkaido, each offering its own unique attractions -  ski down an active volcano, snorkel your way through Japan's snowiest resort, and glide atop soft powder by moonlight. Hosted by a Hokkaido local who will introduce you to his favourite secret local powder stashes and including 3 days of professional guiding, this tour is not be missed by all the powder hounds out there. 

Departing on 24th January, 2018, the trip is timed for the peak of the snow season, so you can expect multiple fresh powder days. The level is aimed at intermediate and above skiers and snowboarders with previous powder experience. The trip is expected to sell out quickly, so call 01273 224067 or email andrea@skisafari.com to secure your place, or see their website for more details.

4. Warren Smith Ski Academy Japan Powder Camp, from £3,079 pp

Warren Smith Ski Academy Japan Powder Camp
 
Spend a week honing your powder technique at this legendary camp in the deep snow capital of the world. The camp is based in Furano, Hokkaido, home to some of the highest snowfall and best tree skiing in the world. The camp caters for advanced intermediate to expert skiers, and is designed to improve your skiing on all terrain but especially on powder. You’ll spend a total of 8 days on the mountain, with 5 days of consecutive powder-specific coaching and 3 free-ski days - 1 at the start to find your ski legs, 2 at the end to put your newfound skills into practice.

You’ll have access to Furano’s fantastic tree runs and untracked powder through the new gate system, including the memory-making “Sacred Trees”, a top to bottom descent through perfectly spaced silver birch trees. Your accommodation with be the 3*+ New Furano Prince Hotel, a large, resort-style ski-in ski-out hotel in a great location at the bottom of the Furano Ropeway lift. All facilities and services are on-site, including restaurants, bars, cafes and bakery - as well as that all-important onsen and spa to relax and rejuvenate your tired limbs.
 
The price includes 5 days of coaching with the Warren Smith Ski Academy, flights and transfers, 8 nights at New Furano Prince Hotel (B&B), 1 night at Sapporo Chitose Airport Hotel (B&B) and 8-day Furano Lift Pass. While the first camp for 2018 is now sold out, there is still room on the second camp, dates: 31 January to 10 February 2018. Call Andrea on 01273 224067 or email andrea@skisafari.com to get your place while there’s still room. Or see their website to request a quote or speak to a specialist.
 

5. Japan Ski Trip, The Dragon Trip - from £884 (flights not included)

Hakuba
 
The Dragon Trip have launched new ski trips in Japan which give travellers the chance to experience the magic of skiing in Japan on an affordable package tour. Get your transport from Tokyo, 6 nights in a well-located hotel and your ski pass all for under £900 on this Japan ski trip with The Dragon Trip.

This 7-day, 6-night tour whisks you from the bustling, lantern-lit alleyways of Tokyo to powder-perfect Hakuba in Nagano for 5 full-on days of skiing. With 9 resorts and 200 runs, there are more than enough off-piste experiences for the hardened adrenaline junkies out there, while there are also calmer slopes for novice snow sport fans to build up their confidence and skill on. 

The Dragon Trip’s ski tour also allows you to add on additional cultural experiences such as an up-close-and-personal meeting with Japan’s adorable snow monkeys, which soak themselves adorably in the hot springs each winter to stay warm. Find out more by visiting Dragon Trip's website.

 

6. Japan Powder Adventure, Ski Club Freshtracks - from £2,499 (flights not included)

Ski Club Freshtracks

Depart on 4th February 2018 and spend a total of 13 nights skiing your heart out in the Japanese Alps, home to some of the more challenging skiing in Japan with a variety of terrain including some impressive vertical descents. This tour blends the best of both worlds, offering two very different - but equally authentic - Japanese ski experiences at two very different resorts: Hakuba and Nozawa Onsen resorts in Nagano, Japan. 

You’ll first spend time at large-scale, bustling Hakuba, home to 10 ski resorts and a variety of challenging terrain including steep tree skiing, vertical drops and open faces with peaks rising to 3,000m. You’ll then transfer a short way to small, charming Nozawa Onsen, home to numerous hot springs plus more exciting terrain to explore both in the resort and in the easily accessed backcountry. You will split your time at both locations between exploring the resorts with your Club Leader and venturing out to discover the amazing variety of backcountry terrain with local guides.

The price includes: 12 nights B&B (twin share), private minibus, bullet train, 5 days with mountain guides, Ski Club Leader (lift price information TBC). Places are still available, so see the website for information, or to book email hols@skiclub.co.uk or call 020 8410 2022.

7. Best of Japan Hokkaido and Honshu, Mountain Tracks - £3,795 pp

Warren Smith Ski Academy Japan Powder Camp

Discover the best of Japanese skiing whilst immersing yourself in Japan’s fascinating culture on this 12-day tour. There will be 8 days of guided skiing and 3 days of travel/sightseeing, with a local Japanese coordinator assigned to the group for the duration of the trip to ensure that you don't miss out on any must-see or must-do highlights.

You’ll need to fly to Sapporo and meet up with the group there before transferring to Niseko for the start of the tour proper. You’ll then spend 4 days skiing in Niseko, Hokkaido before transferring to Honshu for 4 more days of skiing and sightseeing in Hakuba, Nozawa and Shirakawago. You’ll end with a temple stay at Zenkoji Temple in Nagano before transferring back to Tokyo for your flights home.

This tour has skills and stamina requirements of roughly Intermediate level - see their website for more information, and for how to book. The price includes accommodation in shared twin rooms, all breakfasts and 9 evening meals, lift passes, internal transportation, and guide and coordinator fees and expenses. See the website for more information or to make an enquiry.

8. Japan Powder Pilgrimage, Mountain Tracks - £2,800

Warren Smith Ski Academy Japan Powder Camp

Experience the fascinating cultural traditions of Japan, from the tranquillity of a mountain hot spring village to the neon-soaked nightlife district of Tokyo, on this 9-day tour accompanied by local Japanese guides. On the way, you’ll get to experience some of the best lift-accessed off-piste and backcountry skiing that Japan has to offer with sublime powder, back bowls and tree-skiing in Niseko, the powder skiing capital of Japan - averaging around 15 metres of snow each winter! There will also be options for sneaky side-trips to nearby slopes such as Rusutsu, Kiroro, and Chisenuppuri.

You’ll spend 5 days in Niseko before heading across for 2 days backcountry skiing amidst the fumaroles and boiling ponds of the volcanoes at Mt Asahidake, and finish off the trip with a night in vibrant Tokyo. Extensions either side can also be arranged, allowing you to squeeze in an early-morning visit to the world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market.

Departures  are scheduled for Sat 20 Jan 18 - Mon 29 Jan 18 and Sat 27 Jan 18 - Mon 05 Feb 18 (both 7 days skiing, 8 nights). The price includes guide fees and expenses, lift passes, local transfers and transport, 8 nights accommodation (twin rooms) with breakfasts, and 7 dinners. This tour has skills and stamina requirements of roughly Intermediate level - see their website for more information, and for how to book. 

9. Hakuba Powder Package, STA - from £687 (not including flights)

Hakuba
 
STA are offering new winter Japan packages for ski and snowboarders. On this tour, you’ll be able to explore the neon wonderland of Tokyo before heading off to the Japanese Alps, which become blanketed deep in snow between December and March each year, for all the powder you can shake a stick at and more. The tour price includes lift passes, return transfers from Tokyo airport and accommodation. For more information visit their website.
 

10. Ski Dine Tour Japan with Kaluma Travel - poa

Furano Bluebird Powder Day
 
Kaluma Travel offer private guided ski and food tours to Niseko and Central Hokkaido, enabling you to experience the ultimate in powder skiing combined with the gastronomic delights of Japanese cuisine - a match made in heaven. All tours are fully hosted, with private or limousine transfers, all lift passes, 6 days guiding including transportation in comfy 4WD vans, and of course, Japanese dining experiences. There are also options to add on unique Japanese cultural experiences on your down days, as well as optional Heli ski or Cat ski days.

The Central Hokkaido Experience will take you to Furano resort in the bellybutton of Hokkaido for a backcountry powder experience, while the Niseko Experience will you transport you to Niseko, the powder capital of Hokkaido, with options to ski at a choice of several resorts including Niseko, Rusutsu, Kiroro and Moiwa, and plentiful options for cultural experiences on your down days, including trips to the Nikka Whiskey Distillery, canal town Otaru, and even a tofu factory. Meanwhile, the Hokkaido Powder Explorer combines the best of both tours, with additional nights in Sapporo during the Snow Festival, Lake Toya and its surrounding national park, and Shimamaki, home to the best cat skiing in Hokkaido.

Accommodation on all tours is at The Vale Niseko 5*, The Green Leaf Hotel, Niseko 4.5*, and Kimayama Boutique Hotel 4*. Contact one of Kaluma’s travel consultants to tailor-make your Hokkaido powder experience: T: +44(0)1730 260 263, E: enquiries@kalumatravel.co.uk, or see their website for detailed information.
 
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