Frontier Explorer Tour Overview
The Frontier Explorer Tour is a ski and snowboard safari in Northern Honshu (i.e. way north of Tokyo) that chases the storms to get the best powder conditions, whilst incorporating cultural experiences, and authentic restaurants with the assistance of professional bilingual guides. The tour heads to far away Tohoku ski resorts
that are not well known so there are plenty of fresh tracks!
For the first part of the tour you'll stay around the Morioka area chasing the best powder each day at up to 5 different ski hills (plus a day of cat skiing at an abandoned ski hill) where you will have little to no competition for the fresh POW. Ski areas visited might include: Geto Kogen
, Amahari or Iwate Snowpark.
After smashing the powder in the Morioka area, you will travel up to Hakkoda
(right at the top-end of Honshu near the city of Aomori) which is Honshu's answer to Asahidake. Hakkoda has 8 peaks serviced by a single ropeway (cable car) and gets an insane amount of deep dry powder.
At the end of the day, you can soak in natural hot springs
, treat yourself to delicious Japanese food
, and think about how life couldn't get much better! Oh and post your brag photos on social media :)
- Storm-chase the best powder & conditions each day
- Stay in 3-star hotels in real Japanese towns not populated by western tourists
- Soak your powder-tired muscles in outdoor natural hot springs (onsens)
- Travel at 320kph/200mph as you take the bullet train (shinkansen) between locations
- Into the après-ski scene? An endless supply of nightlife from izakayas to craft-beer establishments offering local brews
- Cat skiing for one day at an abandoned ski resort - freshies galore!
- Food is key - optional dinner reservations with highlights including a dinner/dance performance and a noodle eating competition
Maximize the quality of your skiing and snowboarding by getting the scoop on powder stashes and get resort orientation from your native English speaking bilingual guide
- For advanced riders with avalanche gear, the guide will also go off-piste and side country to show you the best kept powder secrets
- Explore resorts that most gaijin don't get to (so lots of fresh powder)
Skier/Boarder AbilityYour guide will be taking guests to off-piste/side-country areas about 70% of the time. The other 30% of the time, you'll be riding groomers to access the off-piste (weather/conditions permitting). If you are interested in going with the guide, you must be an advanced-expert skier/rider capable of riding deep powder and have the necessary avalanche equipment which can also be rented.
Strong intermediates are also welcome on the but some of places the guide will take guests may be above your level, in which case you'll be asked to stay to the groomers and meet at lunch or the end of the day.
|Unlimited fresh powder turns
Great ski areas with now crowds
|A day of cat skiing included
Day 1: NRT Airport meet and greet, transport to Morioka
The meeting time at Narita Airport is 2pm on day 1 of your tour. The meeting location is at the Terminal 1 South Wing "Meeting Point". The Meeting Point is located on the first floor and is denoted by a big orange sign that says "Meeting Point" in English.
If you're already in Tokyo you can also meet the guides at 4pm at the JR East Travel Service Center "View Plaza" located at the Marunouchi North Exit of Tokyo Station.
Note that transportation to Morioka isn't included in this tour although the tour operators are happy to make arrangements for you.
Day 2-5: Storm chase in the Iwate region
The area surrounding Morioka explodes with ski hills in every direction. Depending on the conditions, you'll hit Geto Kogen, Tazawako, Hachimantai Panorama, Shizukuishi, Appi Kogen or Hachimantai Shimokura, Amihari or Iwate Snowpark ski hills. With so many options sometimes it can be hard to choose!
One of the days your group will have its own private snowcat to go cat skiing at an abandoned ski hill.
One thing's for sure though, there will be negligible foreigners there and there'll be very little competition for our pow, if any.
This section of the trip does involve a fair amount of driving. Every day you can expect to travel 45 minutes to 1.5 hours to a ski hill in one of the adventure vans.
Each night you'll be heading back to the vibrant city of Morioka where you'll see a traditional dance performance, have reservations to the best local cuisine, and have an abundance of nightlife options, if that's what you're into.
On the evening of day 5 you'll pack up and head 2 hours north to Aomori (near Hakkoda).
Day 6-7: Ski Hakkoda in Aomori
|Excitement of the bullet train
Staying in great Japanese cities
|And food to die for!
is one of best undiscovered gems left to be found in the Japow universe. In the same fashion as Asahidake in Hokkaido, Hakkoda is a single ropeway (tram) that opens up incredible backcountry terrain. Depending on where you want to go, one run can take 30 minutes or 1.5 hours. At Hakkoda, it's all about the quality. However, because of its location it often shuts down due to bad weather. In this case we've got some exciting backup options in the area that will still leave you satiated.
More than just skiing and snowboarding, Aomori is a unique and interesting culture with its own traditions, dialect and yes - amazing local food. In this town you'll be feasting on sushi, seeing a musical performance, and can even learn some traditional dances (if you're in the mood).
Day 8: The end of the tour
If you opt to buy the Tohoku JR East Rail Pass, you can take the bullet train on the morning of the last day and be back at Tokyo by noon or Narita Airport (NRT) by 1:30pm. Or you might choose to catch a train up to Hokkaido.
If you're planning on staying in Tokyo for a few days at the end of the trip, note that you can mail your ski bag for about 2,000yen straight to the NRT or HND airports. That way you won't have to lug it around!
More information on this is in the Logistics section.
2018 Rates & Inclusions
Full Price: 290,000 JPY per person
- Based on twin share
- Base / invoice price is in Japanese Yen
- Does not include 8% Japanese consumption tax
- TRANSPORT: All transportation beginning at Morioka Station and ending at Aomori. You'll need to either: 1) arrange your own transportation to Morioka or 2) buy the JR East Tohoku Pass and we'll meet you in Tokyo!
- LODGING: All 3-star lodging. Our lodging is based on shared twin rooms with ensuite bathroom, but there is an upgrade option to a single room if available.
- BREAKFAST: Huge daily breakfast buffet
- DINNER: Daily dinner reservations at restaurants that serve different types of Japanese cuisine (participation optional but highly recommended!). These restaurants have been personally selected for their authenticity and deliciousness and include cuisine such as sushi, yakiniku, yakitori, ramen, soba, etc.
- WELCOME DINNER: Welcome dinner on the first night with a traditional Iwate-style food eating competition! (optional but highly recommended!)
- LIFT PASSES: All lift tickets at 6 different resorts
- HOSTING: Native English speaking bilingual guide
- GUIDING: Find the best pow with guided off-piste tours for advanced riders with avalanche safety gear. Guided resort orientation minimizes the learning curve and maximizes off-groomer pow time.
- SNOWCAT SKIING: One day of snowcat skiing at an abandoned ski hill (one of many in this region!)
- HOT SPRINGS: Admission to three hot springs throughout the trip. Two of the hot springs are over 250 years old!
- FLIGHTS: International flights in/out of Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT) - book flights here
- TRAINS: or other transport to Morioka and from Aomori
TRIP INSURANCE: Highly recommended, as all subsisting costs will be charged in case of absence. Payment by credit card, Visa Premier or Gold MasterCard, may provide cancellation insurance. Check your contract.
LUNCHES, DINNERS & DRINKS: only those meals stated above are included in the price.
POWDER SKIS & POWDER BOARDS: It is highly recommended for maximum enjoyment that you have appropriate skis and snowboards for deep, deep powder.
AVALANCHE SAFETY GEAR: Beacon, shovel and probe etc.
- BACKCOUNTRY GUIDING: Guided backcountry isn't included in this trip. If you would like a day of guided backcountry, they can recommend a company that specializes in this service
- ADDITIONAL LIFT PASSES - any additional lift passes required beyond the 6 days.
Japan Ski Tours Terms & Conditions
Deposit and Full Payment
- Deposit is 50% of the trip cost
- The remaining balance is due one month before trip departure
- Credit card payments may be made via Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express
- 30% cancellation fee for cancellations made more then 3 months before the start of your trip
- 50% cancellation fee for cancellations made between 1-3 months before trip departure
- No refund for any cancellations made less than one month before trip departure
Cancellation by Japan Ski Tours
Japan Ski Tours reserves the right to cancel any program due to weather or route conditions. If a tour is canceled before commencing, due to weather or route conditions, then a full refund will be given; however, JSA is not responsible for any additional expenses incurred in preparing for the program (i.e., airline tickets, equipment purchase or rental, hotel reservations).