Overall Rating

Frontier Explorer

Frontier Explorer5/529
Frontier Explorer5 out of 5 based on 29 reviews
  • Recommend
    97%
  • Would Revisit
    97%
Cheap Flights
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.