HAKUBA MOUNTAINLIFE | Backcountry Guides, Avalanche Courses and Magazine

Ryokan Roadtrip Backcountry Week

Includes lodging, food, guiding... all you have to do is get to Hakuba! This tour is a classic. After meeting in Hakuba, we will relocate to a traditional Japanese Ryokan, a style of very authentic Japanese accommodation with volcanic hot spring baths and very authentic Japanese cuisine. We will not ski near any resorts at all, no lifts, lots of hiking. Lots of Japanese food. Lots of hot onsen baths.

Where we go depends on conditions, but each of the possible venues is about 2 hours drive from Hakuba, off the beaten path, and has very good ski touring. To be clear, this is a road trip, and you will stay at a location well away from the growing Hakuba crowds.

We will ski reasonably long days which start and end with incredibly good Japanese cuisine and volcanic hot spring baths (onsen). Please understand that this is not a party tour. The experience will suit mature-minded people.

Private Groups

If you would like to book this week exclusively for your private group of friends or family please ask about this premium service. A private booking opens up the opportunity to customise the week of backcountry skiing and snowboarding to suit your group.

More fun & Greater Safety

This makes our backcountry guiding better than others:

  1. Massive local backcountry knowledge, and far more professional guide training, advanced avalanche, and first aid certification, than most other foreign guides operating in Japan.
  2. Very small group sizes limited to only 4 people, which is highly desirable in the backcountry for enhanced fun and safety.
  3. We always use a tail guide to ensure your well-being in any eventuality. Imagine if your guide had an accident, leaving you stranded and alone in the unfamiliar Japanese backcountry? It isn't good enough, and we won't expose you to that risk.


January 21-27, 2018.


214,000 yen for your place in a very small group. Includes 5 days of professionally guided backcountry, 6 nights accommodation and most meals. All you have to do is get to Hakuba.

Please note that solo travellers will likely share a room in the Ryokan with each other.

Not Included

Travel to and from Hakuba. Compulsory rescue insurance. Special dietary requirements. Alcohol.

Group Size

Strictly limited to 4 people. A minimum of 3 is required to run the tour. We welcome bookings from solo travelers.

Accommodation and Cuisine

Japanese accommodation is traditionally in shared rooms, perhaps 2-4 people per room. You sleep on futons mattresses placed directly on tatami mats. Couples will get their own room. Solo travellers will be grouped. If you prefer private room and/or a western style bed, please discuss the options with us.

Japanese Ryokan accommodation includes set menu meals. They are very Japanese and to be honest, not so adaptable to strict dietary requirements. If you have serious allergies, please discuss this with us before booking. As for fussy eaters - you may not enjoy the food experience as much as the rest of us. Traditional Japanese cuisine is an important experience on this tour. Please consider this before booking.

Skill and Fitness Level

Strong intermediate skills allowing you to confidently control changes in speed and direction in most off-piste snow type on challenging terrain with trees and other obstacles. Please do not overestimate your ability level, particularly if you have limited tree and powder experience. You will also have to be fit enough to take part in 5 days of genuine backcountry touring with daily climbs of 1000m being manageable if the opportunity presents itself. This usually means that you already have an athletic backcountry lifestyle.

Rescue Insurance

All customers MUST have their own mountain rescue insurance which covers mountain helicopter rescue, hospitalization and repatriation to their home country. This is your responsibility. You will be required to provide proof of insurance before attending this tour.

Required Equipment

AT, telemark or splitboard with skins. You can not use snowshoes
Backcountry-specific backpack. Minimum 35L is strongly recommended
Avalanche transceiver (digital 3-antenna is mandatory)
Avalanche probe
Avalanche shovel
Backcountry ski wear, warm hat, warm gloves, light gloves, goggles
Sunglasses for hiking (goggles get very sweaty when hiking)
Warm puffy jacket (important for first aid and also cold days when we are stationary)
Sunscreen and sunhat
Personal blister kit and repair kit
Spare transceiver batteries

Ryokan Road Trip Bookings & Enquiries

Booking and Cancellation

To secure a booking you will need to pay in full in advance. We fill availability on a first-to-pay basis.

We will give a 100% refund if cancellation is made with notice of 12 weeks or more. Cancellation within 12 weeks will receive a 45% refund. If we are able to find a replacement booking for your cancellation we will provide a 100% refund (all refunds are minus transaction costs).

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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.


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