Overall Rating

Frontier Explorer

Frontier Explorer5/525
Frontier Explorer5 out of 5 based on 25 reviews
  • Recommend
    96%
  • Would Revisit
    96%
World Nomads Travel Insurance

Frontier Explorer - Reviews

Frontier Explorer - Reviews

They say roll the dice, it's real

Sheri
09/02/2020
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Age
    18-35
  • Ability
    Advanced
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Country
    USA
  • Month:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    3

They say roll the dice, it's real

Sheri
09/02/2020
It's a low snow year in Japan, everybody knows it. So I'm mainly writing this review, so people know that when weather is bad, there's not much the guides can do. Majority of the trip turns into an Onsen tour.

It rained the day before I started the tour (or near-freezing-level snow, I don't remember which), and made everything below 1000m complete garbage snow. Depending on the resort choice, sometimes even above 1000m can be heavy and wet too. For example, on the day of the cat tour, only the first 200m is skiable off piste. For the rest of it, we take an icy groomer down (video linked). The last day at Hakkoda was amazing because the ropeway ran, and Hakkoda didn't get rained on like Iwate region.

The guides are super nice, and they try their best to make everybody happy. But when the weather doesn't cooperate, this is challenging. Two additional catch:
1) The resorts in the region are very small, so when the off piste isn't skiable, the guides just ask everybody to ski groomers. There aren't many groomed runs available, and there certainly isn't interesting moguls to practice on. So skiing becomes very boring.
2) The guides don't guide you into backcountry, unless it's the last two days at Hakkoda which is backcountry only. That means, if the guides bring you to a resort at a lower elevation, and you must hike up to find good snow, you're out of luck - go at your own risk.

I mainly say I don't recommend this tour, because I'm not willing to roll the dice anymore after this experience. But if you're willing to roll the dice, then I would certainly recommend this tour, because I'm sure they are amazing when snow isn't destroyed by rain (based on the past reviews anyway). Or, if your main purpose is Japanese culture, and skiing is secondary, then I also recommend the tour.

There were multiple other issues during the tour, which the group had discussed with Brent and the guides in person. Many people were frustrated. The purpose of this review isn't to point fingers; rather it's to inform people that bad weather can exist in Japan which can lead to negative experience, especially if your sole purpose is skiing.

Awesome!!!

Evan White
25/01/2020
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Age
    51-70
  • Ability
    Expert
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Country
    Canada
  • Month:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    4

Awesome!!!

Evan White
25/01/2020
This was my 3rd ski trip to Japan and arguably the best!

We signed on to the frontier explorer because the traditional Storm Chasers tour was full in Hakkaido.

I had never heard of this part of Japan and really did not even read the itinerary until we arrived.

There was no snow this year, but somehow Brent Nailed it!!! We hiked , we ‘onsen-ed’ , we skied, we ate, drank, and sang!!! We even met the famous Powderhounds

Every part of the trip was perfect and every day was a great new adventure.

A couple of points:

1) there is absolutely no down time!!! Most days you wake at 6 am, eat at 6.30, on the van chasing powder at 7.15 to 7.30, on the hill at 8.30, ski all day, onsen at 3.30, back at hotel at 6.15, and head to amazing dinners at 6.30, and fall into bed at 10!!! Awesome!!!!!!!

2) Brent’s disclaimers at the start of the booking process will frighten off most skiers so you will be guaranteed to hang out with great skiers who are awesome to hang out with!

3) the guides were awesome and are really flexible to what the group wants to do!!!

4) nobody speaks English, there are nobody on the hills, you may see 1 or 2 foreigners per day, bullet trains were awesome, food was exceptional, sumo wrestling is wild!

Thank you for everything and we are definitely coming back!!!!!!!

In search of POW in Northern Honshu

23/01/2020

Gregory Downey

Powder Puppy
Powder Puppy

Gregory Downey

Powder Puppy
Powder Puppy
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Age
    51-70
  • Ability
    Expert
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Country
    United States
  • Month:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    4

In search of POW in Northern Honshu

23/01/2020
A group of 8 skiers participated in a Frontier Explorer 8-day ski Trip run by Japan Ski Tours in January 2020. What a great experience! The guides found us great powder off-piste accessed from lift served ski resorts as well as in the true back country. The guides (Brent, David, Toru, ) were all expert skiers and were so much fun to ski with. They steered us clear of obstacles and always got us back to the Piste or base area safely. The terrain ranged from wide open bowls or slopes on the side of mountains to tree skiing in beautiful gladed areas accessible from lift-served resort with short hikes/boot packing. They always were patient with us no matter how deeply buried in snow we managed to get ourselves! Dinners were in beautiful Japanese-style restaurants that always included some fresh sashimi/sushi or various types of noodles as well as plenty of beer and sake. The hotels were clean and comfortable and convenient to the high-speed train stations. All in all, this was a fantastic experience and one that I would highly recommend to any avid skiers wanting a unique experience.

Japan Ski Tours, Frontier Explorer

23/01/2020

Jeff Rubinstein

Powder Puppy
Powder Puppy

Jeff Rubinstein

Powder Puppy
Powder Puppy
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Age
    51-70
  • Ability
    Expert
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Country
    USA
  • Month:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    3

Japan Ski Tours, Frontier Explorer

23/01/2020
This trip provided an excellent mix of skiing, touring and general entertainment. Planning was flawless especially for a relatively snow-meager year, taking advantage of stashes of superb terrain which I certainly could not have found on my own. Admittedly I often focus too much on the sliding aspects of my ski travels. This tour exposed me to other realms such as foreign culture and culinary adventures which greatly enhanced the total experience. I was also fortunate to have a great crew of fun people joining me on this trip.
I would sign up for a repeat trip with JST with absolutely no hesitation.

Fantastic week in Japan

Darryl Mackie
22/01/2020
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Age
    51-70
  • Ability
    Expert
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Country
    Canada
  • Month:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    5

Fantastic week in Japan

Darryl Mackie
22/01/2020
Hakkoda skin or snowshoe up
I have never been to Japan before and have longed to ski the fabled japow with my wife. The week before the trip I started checking the Japan forecasts for Tohoku; none of which seemed very promising. We arrived in Morioka and Brent woefully explained that this was an unusually low snow year. He was practically apologizing to us. Yet, he and our other guides Eric and Taro managed to find ski lines with fresh tracks every day. The bluebird day at Hakkoda was nothing short of back country bliss, the kind of day that reminds us all why the "great outdoors" carries its name.
What makes this trip special though is the exposure to real Japanese culture that JST provides. The onsen experience can't be matched anywhere and the selected restaurants each offered truly memorable immersion into Japanese culture. The morning stops at the Lawson "convi" for coffee, beer and snacks and the ride up to the mountains with some new best mates all made for a great trip. Can't wait to book again.

Japan Ski Tours

G Bradley Moore
21/01/2020
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Age
    51-70
  • Ability
    Expert
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Country
    Canada
  • Month:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    5

Japan Ski Tours

G Bradley Moore
21/01/2020
Powder
Onsen with a floating sake ‘bar’
My best friend and I arrived in Japan to the least amount of snowfall Japan has experienced in 35 years!!
Amazingly JST was able to organize a week of fantastic skiing - including some epic powder and a magical day of backcountry in Hakkoda with their snow monsters... and several fantastic onsen experiences - including a pulse bath. Then in the evenings Brent showed us an unparalleled cultural experience which included live entertainment, dancing, great food, soba noodle eating contests. just to mention a few. The accommodations, transportation, logistics and guides were all first rate.
Job well done, JST.

The most amazing snow trip I've ever been on. Eeeeeever.

Matt W
17/12/2019
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Age
    36-50
  • Ability
    Advanced
  • Rider Type
    Snow Boarder
  • Country
    Japan
  • Month:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    3

The most amazing snow trip I've ever been on. Eeeeeever.

Matt W
17/12/2019
From the moment we stepped out of the cat into knee deep pow on the very first run of the tour, to the final moment we called stumps at 6.30pm under lights at a hidden, empty, powder-filled, lift accessed resort, this was the trip to end all trips. Our guides, led by the formidable Doug-e-san, took us on an adventure through the cultural, culinary, and untracked back country we had been dreaming of.

If you can ski deep pow, love Japanese food, are keen to duck a couple of cheeky ropes here and there and have a question in mind, then the answer is yes. Jump on any free spot this tour has. And don't forget to request a last hurrah at the 'Hills night ski venue, especially when its dumping.

Insane. Absolutely insane.

David Heath
09/04/2019
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Age
    18-35
  • Ability
    Expert
  • Rider Type
    Snow Boarder
  • Country
    USA
  • Month:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    2

Insane. Absolutely insane.

David Heath
09/04/2019
Words cannot describe it. Snow is lived up the Japan hype. These guys run an unbelievable program -from the food to the local knowledge of the hills, everything far exceeded expectations.

Even the hotel accommodations were great. I'll be back again for sure.

Frontier For Life - Frontier Explorer

Alex Cohen
22/03/2019
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Age
    18-35
  • Ability
    Expert
  • Rider Type
    Snow Boarder
  • Country
    United States
  • Month:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    2

Frontier For Life - Frontier Explorer

Alex Cohen
22/03/2019
If you're looking for the best snow, and unbelievable culture, and guides that know what they are talking about Japan Ski Tours is the way to go. These guys know what they're doing. Knowledge about the terrain, and which mountains to go to. Great food, nightlife, and onsens. These guys have a place to crash if they ever need one stateside.

Highly reccomended

Kevin Makinson
05/03/2019
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Age
    18-35
  • Ability
    Expert
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Country
    USA
  • Month:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    2

Highly reccomended

Kevin Makinson
05/03/2019
We had so much fun 2 years ago on the Storm Chaser trip that we came back this year for the Frontier Explorer trip! Once again, we were blown away by the experience. Daniel and Brent were excellent guides, both on and off mountain. So much fun and hilarity exploring the small ski resorts and the quirky parts of Japanese culture. Can't recommend highly enough!
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