HAKUBA MOUNTAINLIFE | Backcountry Guides, Avalanche Courses and Magazine

Guided backcountry tours and avalanche courses in Hakuba, Japan. We strive for unsurpassed professionalism and quality in everything we do.

Backcountry Guiding

The highest quality professional backcountry guiding in Hakuba. Group sizes limited to 4 people. Our valued customers come to Japan for the backcountry, and book months in advance.

Private Guiding

4 and 5 day backcountry experiences for as little as 65,000 yen:

Affordable 4-day tour, Jan 7-10

Skiers Only Classic Week, Jan 14-20

Ryokan Roadtrip, Jan 21-27

Explorer Week, Feb 4-10

Beginners Week, Feb 11-17

Avalanche Courses

Well known as the best value and highest quality in town.

2018 AST1 Courses...

AST2 Jan 1-5, 2018


There is nothing like a helicopter to enhance your backcountry experiences. Join us outside Japan for that.


Our Magazine

Hakuba MountainLife magazine is a reflection of our passion and focus on quality.

Read past issues online

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About Hakuba MountainLife

11 seasons in Hakuba! We like pure backcountry guiding with no resort skiing for powder. We strive for unsurpassed safety, professionalism and quality. To achieve this goal, we do certain things: we remain a well organized and thoughtful small family business - we do not grow for the sake of growth, and we put customer safety and experience before profit. We pursue continued training and professional development every year, no matter the expense or inconvenience. We work with people who are better than us and learn from them. We seek and act on customer feedback. We recognize our limitations and act within them. We keep things simple. If it isn't fun, we don't do it. We forget our ego, pride and greed and we never use fluff and hype in our marketing. Most of all, we love backcountry skiing, but safety comes first.


Hi, I'm damian. I guide backcountry tours, instruct avalanche courses, and am the editor of Hakuba MountainLife Magazine. Professional training and affiliations:
- Apprentice Ski Guide member of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG).
- CAA Avalanche Operations Level 2
- Member of the Canadian Avalanche Association.
- Licensed by Avalanche Canada to instruct AST Level 1 and 2 avalanche courses.
- Every 3 years I re-certify my 80 hour Wilderness First Aid training.

I also have postgraduate education in Economics, along with previous work experience in a competitive professional risk industry, and was once a commissioned officer in the military. In the Japan off-season I work as a ski guide and heliski guide in New Zealand. See www.mountainlife.nz


Yuki Ito is our smart and friendly tail-guide and general helper in the backcountry. He runs our snow/weather study plot and participates as an important team member in AM/PM guide meetings. Our customers always like having him on their tours (when he isn't injured). Yuki is working towards a career as a mountain guide in Japan, and we are happy to help with that process. He has wilderness first aid training, CAA Avalanche Operations Level 1, and is about to undertake JMGA ski guide training. His formal university education is in aerospace engineering.


Mio arranges logistics for the courses, and works on layout, design and translation of our own Hakuba MountainLife Magazine. The magazine would be impossible without her enormous effort, energy and enthusiasm. She skis every weekend during the season, and enjoys backcountry skiing in spring. Mio also has extensive graduate and postgraduate education in science and business, and professional work experience with highly demanding technologies.

Latest MountainLife Blog Post

Where To Get Started in Hakuba's Backcountry. Part 1.

I am converting a few of our Hakuba MountainLife Magazine articles into blog posts to make them accessible to a wider audience. This post has the "Where to Get Started" articles from our 2012 and 2013 issues. There are a few more from the series that I'll post later. They are all aimed at helping less experienced people get going in Hakuba's backcountry, however they should not be used like a guide book. Many people use our professional backcountry guiding service in Hakuba to take them into this terrain safely. Others like to adventure themselves.... read more