JAPOW! Ski Furano
JAPOW! Prepare yourself for the bucket-list ski adventure of a lifetime! Spend a week in Central Hokkaido in search of the best powder skiing in Japan, minus the crowds. Furano is a lesser known area compared to Niseko to the west and areas on the mainland such as Nagano and Hakuba, which allows us to score fresh lines and give you the trip of a lifetime. WIth an average of 9m of snowfall per season, there is plenty of powder. Additionally, Furano averages more sunny days than other areas of Hokkaido, giving you the best opportunity for big backcountry days in the surrounding mountains.
Furano is centrally located on the island of Hokkaido with easy access to several ski areas for sidecountry storm days as well as extensive options for human-powered touring and ski-mountaineering objectives. Over your six days of guided skiing, prepare to enjoy everything from deep pow laps to backcountry skiing on the high peaks and volcanoes of the area.
Beyond being a mecca for the best powder on Earth, Hokkaido is revered for its cuisine – fresh sushi and seafood, wagyu beef, local cheeses, and the regional “Furano Curry” to name a few, not to mention the whiskey distilleries and sake breweries, some walking distance from your accommodation. Traditional Japanese breakfast will be served daily and dinners are curated so that you can experience the diversity of offerings in the area. We will explore nearby onsens (Japanese hot spring baths) after skiing as is a common tradition in Japan.
*San Juan Mountain Guides is pleased to offer this trip in partnership with Third Eye Backcountry LLC.
Skiing in Furano, Japan Itinerary
Fly to Tokyo, Japan from the United States.
Day 1 (Saturday)
Arrive in Asahikawa, Hokkaido. You will be picked up at the airport and transported to our lodge in downtown Furano. We will host a trip overview and gear check at the lodge. Get settled, rested, and ready for a week of JAPOW!!
Days 2 – 7 (Sunday – Friday)
Morning will begin with a traditional Japanese breakfast hosted in a neighbor’s home. Enjoy coffee or tea while we review skiing options for the day.
Touring days are largely dependent on the conditions, forecast, and preferences. Options include on-piste, side country from one of the half dozen resorts in the area, human powered backcountry, or summit missions. Given the central location of Furano, we have numerous options within an hour.
After a full day of snow, we will transport you to one of the onsens (traditional Japanese hot spring) where you can relax, soak, and bathe. You will have the opportunity to visit a few favorite onsens in the area over the course of the week.
Dinner will vary each night so that you can experience a breadth of Japanese cuisines – shabu shabu, Hokkaido style ramen, Furano’s special curry, local Hokkaido wagyu beef, and of course sushi.
Additional activities include whiskey tasting, local wine and cheese tasting, shopping, art galleries, and snow / ice sculptures.
Day 8 (Saturday)
Travel back to Tokyo via Asahikawa airport or the bullet train out of Furano. Either way, we can arrange to have your duffels and skis shipped to Narita or Haneda if desired.
*San Juan Mountain Guides is pleased to offer this trip in partnership with Third Eye Backcountry LLC.
Backcountry Skiing Equipment List
|Duffel Bag||Description||Guide's Pick|
|1 - 2 Large, durable bags for oragnizing and transporting your gear during airline travel etc.|
|Ski Backpack||Description||Guide's Pick|
|The Kamber ABS® compatible 22+10 give you the option to add an inflatable airbag system to a technical ski pack designed to carry everything for a full day in the backcountry. We highly recommend a specific ski touring pack for all of our backcountry ski and avalanche programs.|
|Coffee is the lifeblood of champions. We highly encourage the consumption of coffee on our programs. The darker the better.|
|Water Bottles||Description||Guide's Pick|
|We recommend wide mouth Nalgene (or similar) water bottles for the majority of our programs. Two 1 liter bottles is the standard for days in the mountains.|
|Bottle Insulators||Description||Guide's Pick|
|Insulating water bottle parkas are recommended in the winter months, for ice climbing or cold weather alpine trips.|
|Stuff Sacks||Description||Guide's Pick|
|Stuff sacks are a great way to organize your gear in your pack and help to keep things tidy in a variety of ways. A great addition to any of our programs.|
|Personal Food||Description||Guide's Pick|
|Lunch begins when breakfast ends and ends when dinner begins. Bring what you like to eat and consider the length, relative difficulty, weight, and other factors when deciding what to bring in the mountains with you. A variety is always best. Don't be afraid of Mr. T.|
|A good pair of wrap around sunglasses are an essential item for all of our trips. When the sun shines brightly on fresh snow in the mountains your eyes will thank you for a quality pair of shades. Looking good is important too.|
|Essential for all of our programs. SPF 30 would be our minimum recommendation. Typically a 4 oz. bottle will suffice but consider trip length when deciding how much to pack.|
|Lip Balm||Description||Guide's Pick|
|Lip balm is important to bring on all trips. SPF 15 or higher is recommended.|
|A headlamp is recommended for all of our programs and is an essential piece of equipment you will use in a variety of circumstances. Most LED type headlamps will do but we recommend the Black Diamond Storm for its versatility.|
|First Aid Kit||Description||Guide's Pick|
|An excellent investment for all of our programs. Our guides always carry a comprehensive medical kit but it's nice to have your own as well.|
|Small Knife||Description||Guide's Pick|
|A small knife is an indispensable tool to carry with you in the mountains. We like the Spatha knife for its size, weight, versatility, and ability to clip onto a harness.|
|Digital Camera||Description||Guide's Pick|
|While phones these days offer excellent quality, nothing beats the reliability of a dedicated digital camera. You'll be glad you brought it and your guide will make sure to help capture the moment of you being awesome.|
|Hand Warmers||Description||Guide's Pick|
|An optional item, but nice to have on cold weather climbs and courses. Consider having a few stowed away in your pack and you can break them out if you feel you need them.|
|Ski Goggles||Description||Guide's Pick|
|From the sweeping peripheral in the Optimum lens, to the horizon-inspired frame structure, FARGO proves sometimes a quick stop in a small place leads to more than you would have ever expected. Goggles are mandatory on all ski programs and cold weather alpine objectives.|
|Synthetic socks area must for all outdoor activities. Select a pair that fits well, is warm, and is comfortable. Bring 2-3 pairs depending on the type of trip.|
|Base Layer Top||Description||Guide's Pick|
|Choosing the right base layer really makes a difference in comfort, moisture-wicking, and the balance between cool and warm at the right time and in the right places. The Outdoor Research Echo Hoody also offers good sun protection.|
|Base Layer Bottom||Description||Guide's Pick|
|Similar to the base layer top. These are wear all the time in all conditions base layer pants. A must have for alpine and ice climbing trips and objectives.|
|Mid Weight Top||Description||Guide's Pick|
|A midlayer for anything from ski tours to alpine ascents, the CoEfficient Hoody features Polartec Power Dry High Efficiency fleece with a gridded interior for increased wicking performance and added breathability. The under-the-helmet hood and full-length zipper let you regulate temperature on the go, so you don’t find yourself overheating a half hour into the day. A slim cut helps the CoEfficient Hoody fit comfortably under your shell, and with a redsigned, trim fit, this layer takes up little space in your pack.|
|Ski Touring Jacket||Description||Guide's Pick|
|Sweating one minute and freezing the next is only fun when you’re jumping from a hot tub into the snow and back—not while you’re skiing. If the words “ski season” make you think about moving uphill as much as downhill, the Skyward Jacket speaks your language. Air-permeable AscentShell technology keeps you cool and dry while skinning up, and keeps the speed-generated windchill out after you peel off your skins and drop in for the descent.|
|Ski Touring Pants||Description||Guide's Pick|
|Traverse the Rockies’ rugged ridgelines in the Trailbreaker Pants. This highly breathable soft shell pant provides the perfect amount of weather protection and breathable warmth. Pertex® Shield+ lower legs offer complete waterproof protection when you’re breaking trail in the front of the pack.|
|Ski Touring Puffy||Description||Guide's Pick|
|Perfect for aerobic climbs and ski tours, this backcountry chameleon provides the warmth of a synthetic puffy one moment and the breathability and quick-dry performance of a fleece the next, all without forcing you to add, remove or adjust your layers.|
|Insulated Vest||Description||Guide's Pick|
|Same spirit, same guts, and same award-winning hybrid-mapped design of the Cathode Hooded Jacket, minus the sleeves and hood. An insulated vest is an optional item on our programs but we do think vests offer excellent flexible layering options in a variety of circumstances, weather conditions, and trip types.|
|Shell Jacket||Description||Guide's Pick|
|Our Outside Magazine and Men’s Journal “Gear of the Year” award-winning storm shell is engineered for fast-and-light alpine climbs and all-day backcountry tours. You need at minimum either a soft shell jacket or hard shell jacket for local Ouray based winter courses and programs.|
|Ski Touring Hat||Description||Guide's Pick|
|Get out and get after early mornings with fresh powder. The Delegate Beanie is made with a merino wool blend and a warm micro fleece polyester earband. A chunky knit beanie with a knit-in logo, the contrast pom adds a nice funky touch.|
|Baseball Cap||Description||Guide's Pick|
|A required item on the majority of our programs, a baseball cap helps to keep harmful sun off your face. The Radar Pocket cap is packable, durable, and looks great!|
|Lightweight Gloves||Description||Guide's Pick|
|Updated for touchscreen compatibility, the StormTracker Sensor Gloves are equally at home alpine climbing, ski touring or ice climbing. Low-profile GORE® WINDSTOPPER®. Soft Shell fabric deflects biting gusts, and a tricot lining retains valuable heat.|
|Midweight Gloves||Description||Guide's Pick|
|Built to handle cold mornings on the up-track and powder turns all the way back down, these versatile gloves feature a new stretch nylon shell outer, a goat leather palm with textured fingertips, and a warm, quick-drying wool blend lining.|
|Heavy Gloves||Description||Guide's Pick|
|Made with a water-resistant and breathable two-layer GORE® WINDSTOPPER® fabric, these mitts are filled with warm 600-fill power RDS goose down. Water-resistant synthetic suede palms with a fleece backer add extra durability and protection to these warm, compressible, wind-proof gloves.|
|Balaclava or Buff||Description||Guide's Pick|
|Simple, effective and infinitely adaptable, Original BUFF® headwear is the product that started the multifunctional headwear revolution. At its core is a moisture-managing microfiber fabric that is wind resistant and able to control odor. We recommend the BUFF for all of our programs as a multi-purpose insulation piece and trendy headgear!|
|Touring Skis||Description||Guide's Pick|
|Touring skis with touring bindings are required for all of our ski programs. We have these skis to rent an our shop in Ouray if you do not have your own. If purchasing your own skis, make sure to select a touring binding that is compatible with your boots.|
|Climbing Skins||Description||Guide's Pick|
|Climbing Skins are a required item for all of our backcountry ski and avalanche programs. We offer these to rent at our office in Ouray if you do not have your own for your skis. Many ski companies now make climbing skins specifically cut to your skis.|
|Ski Touring Boots||Description||Guide's Pick|
|Refined for 2016, the Spectre 2.0 is now 5% stiffer while retaining the largest range of cuff rotation in its class. The patented design allows for a full 60˚ of ankle movement, while the vertebra construction provides support on downhill descents. The Spectre 2.0 now works with all tech, tr2 and step-in at bindings, for more versatility and compatibility.|
|Ski Poles||Description||Guide's Pick|
|Our classic ski touring poles with a pro-level feature set, the all-aluminum Traverse Pro poles feature FlickLock Pro adjustability and an innovative SwitchRelease wrist strap with a lockable release function.|
|Avalanche Transceiver||Description||Guide's Pick|
|The PIEPS DSP Sport Avalanche Beacon is the go-to beacon for the everyday backcountry traveler, offering circular range, a smart transmitter, and three-antenna accuracy in an easy-to-use package.|
|Avalanche Shovel||Description||Guide's Pick|
|With a redesigned blade construction for cleaner snow study and easier stomping through hard avy debris, the Transfer is our workhorse shovel with a removable, extendable shaft for working in deep pits.|
|Avalanche Probe||Description||Guide's Pick|
|Built for daily snow study, snow professionals and deeper snowpacks, the Tour Probe 320 features a durable, all-aluminum construction.|
|Snow Study Kit||Description||Guide's Pick|
|A snow study kit is optional for Backcountry Ski programs, but it is a great item to carry regardless. For Avalanche Courses please consider purchasing a kit to have with you on the course. Level 2 Course participants should choose the Digital Pro Kit.|
|Ski Repair Kit||Description||Guide's Pick|
|A backcountry ski repair kit is well worth the time to put together. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it!|
Training & Follow Up Programs
As always, being in excellent physical shape is an important component of our our programs. A good mixture of cardiovascular fitness, muscular fitness, and especially core strength will help you to maximize the potential rewards that are possible on a great skiing trip.
We work with and recommend Uphill Athlete. They provide a wide range of resources, coaching, and training plans for all types of outdoor athletes. A sample training regimen for this program would be something like their 8 Week Ski Hut-to-Hut Training Program, but many other custom training options exist.
Before Your Trip
Strengthening your core is one of the best investments you can make for your overall fitness level. Cardiovascular activities such as running, swimming, and cycling arealso great to build heart and lung endurance. Taking day hikes with your loaded backpack at a local park will help train your legs for the mileage you will do in the mountains.
Follow Up Ski Programs
- AIARE Level 1 Hut-Based Avalanche Course
- Backcountry Skiing Leadership
- Private Backcountry Ski Guiding
- Ski Mountaineering Camp
Furano, Japan: Getting There
Furano is known as the “belly button of Hokkaido” due to its central location in Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. The most direct travel is a flight from Tokyo’s Haneda airport to Asahikawa, which is one hour drive away from the lodge. Another option from Tokyo to Furano is the bullet train, which is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
Note: Tokyo has 2 airports, Narita and Haneda. Direct flights to Asahikawa are offered out of Haneda airport. Haneda is also closer to Tokyo city center.
The best option for flying to the area is to fly into Tokyo, Japan and the Haneda Airport. Many airline options exist, and most connections originate from Los Angeles, CA. Once in Tokyo, you will get a connecting flight to Asahikawa, Hokkaido where we will pick you up and transport you to our lodge in downtown Furano.
Lodging is provided in Furano, but depending on your flight itinerary and connection to Asahikawa, Hokkaido from Tokyo, Japan, you may want to consider getting a hotel for the night in Tokyo.
Registration & Cancellation
Advance Registration is required for this program. You have the option to either call our office and register via phone or utilize our secure Online Reservation System. All participants must read and sign an Assumption of Risks/Liability Waiver and agree to our Reservations and Cancellations Policies.
- 7 nights lodging in Furano in a private Japanese Lodge
- 6 days of Private Ski Guiding
- Traditional Japanese Breakfast each day
- Welcome Dinner in Furano
- Local Transportation
- Lift Tickets
- International Airfare
- Transport to Asahikawa, Hokkaido
- Guide gratuity
- Lunch, Dinner, Alcoholic Beverages
- Personal ski clothing
- Trip Cancellation Insurance (recommended)
- Costs associated with delays or other variables beyond the control of San Juan Mountain Guides
Book This Trip!
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