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Morioka Freeride Tour

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Morioka Freeride Tour Enquire

GUIDED FREERIDE TOUR
7 Days | 6 Nights | 5 Days Riding

Location: Japan | Tour Focus: Guided | Terrain Focus: Off-Piste, On-Piste, Sidecountry
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Advanced
Price p/p
USD 2,150
Stay in the city of Morioka in Northern Tohoku & explore restaurants & bars by night. By day get guided to powder stashes at nearby ski areas within the off-piste and lift-accessed backcountry zones.
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Morioka Freeride Tour Japan

The Morioka Freeride Tour is all about exploring the little-known, stash-laden resorts just outside the city of Morioka, with insider knowledge from the local Japanese guiding team. This is a small group lift-accessed powder hunting tour, so you don't need to go ski touring or split boarding. There may be times when a short boot pack is necessary (typically up to 5 minutes) to get to the goods.

This region in northern Tohoku is covered in deep snow during winter and is surprisingly home to over 15 ski resorts. To the northwest, Appi is the most well-known ski area due to its Hokkaido-like dry powder and great tree riding. Geto Kogen in the west, is a real gem that scores some seriously heavy snowfall, and has a relaxed off-piste riding policy and fewer crowds compared to the rest of Honshu. Then in between, there are some hidden gems. You will be visiting the resorts mid-week, so the slopes will be very quiet.
 
This tour is all about powder hunting. There is no set itinerary and your guides will monitor overnight snowfall to find you the best conditions that next morning.  You can expect to ride a range of resorts throughout the week, and your guides will ensure that you are in the right place at the right time. Drive times from Morioka range from 20 minutes to an hour.

Basing the tour in the regional city of Morioka offers a unique cultural experience because you'll get to explore the city after dark. There are lots of authentic restaurants, bars and izakaya near the hotel, all at considerably lower prices than eating and drinking within a ski resort.

If you have any questions or want to check availability you can make a booking request.

Highlights

  • Powder hunting - the tour itinerary is flexible so as to pick the best conditions each day
  • Off the beaten path - explore little known gems around the northern Tohoku region with fewer crowds
  • Local knowledge - your local guides have an in-depth knowledge of the resorts, terrain & local businesses, so you'll go to places not easily accessible to other foreigners
  • Easy access - there are regular shinkansen (bullet trains) that run between Tokyo & Morioka that take just over 2 hours
  • Private transport - the guides will drive you to the ski areas in a modern 4WD van and get you ahead of the pack so you'll arrive for first lifts
  • Evenings - your guide will help you explore many dining and drinking establishments in Morioka
  • Premium lodging - you will stay in a private single room (1 person per room) with ensuite in a great location

Ability Level

This tour is suitable for strong intermediate (off-piste) to advanced snowboarders and skiers. You should be comfortable on black diamond runs, be able to ride/ski off-piste at a resort, can confidently navigate alpine and treed terrain, and maintain a continuous rhythm and pace, even through traverses and flat sections.

The more accurately you’re able to self-assess your on-snow abilities, the more you (and others in your group) will be able to relax and enjoy your tour. Or you can book a private tour for you and up to 5 friends, so you're assured you'll be riding with like-minded people. You can make a booking request for more information.

Other Activities

The plan for each day differs due to a number of factors, but there is time for an onsen visit or two throughout the trip. There's no better way to recover than to soak in the mineral rich, geothermal waters of an onsen. Some of the other local activities that are popular are a visit to the sake brewery for a tasting or dining at a traditional 'wanko-soba' restaurant.

Snow

From late January to early February is the ideal time of year to ride in Tohoku. What you can expect is light dry, fresh snow, perfect for riding powder. Temps will be cold, with temperatures ranging from -5 to -15°C / 23 to 5°F. Northern Tohoku is one of the most consistent regions for snowfall in Japan so you never need to worry about lack of snow.



The Mint Tours in Japan are 6 nights and run from Sunday to Saturday. You’ll ride each resort mid-week to avoid the weekend day-trippers and maximise your time on-snow. If 6 nights isn’t enough, then you can combine it with another tour. For example you could head to Asahikawa and start a new tour.

Itinerary

The itinerary is kept flexible so as to find the best conditions and terrain on the day. Each day your guide will assess the conditions and decide which is the best place to ride based on weather and snowfall. Each day the group will depart in the van after breakfast and drive to the chosen area.

Getting to Morioka

From Tokyo or other Honshu locations

The easiest way to reach Morioka is to take the Tohoku Shinkansen (bullet train) to Morioka Station. Your guides will meet you on arrival day at Morioka Station. The easiest way to plan your train travel is by using Google Maps. The trip from Tokyo to Morioka takes over 2 hours. If you are catching trains from Haneda or Narita airports the trip will take longer.

To assist planning your train travel or to book tickets, you can visit a JR EAST Travel Service Centre. You can purchase a train ticket with a credit card at any of these centres.

Sunday - Arrival Day

Make your way to Morioka Station by 3:00pm where your guide will meet you and transfer you by bus to the hotel. Once you arrive, your guide will be on hand to check you in. After checking into your hotel, you’ll have the afternoon free to settle in before a regroup at 5:00pm.

For the first night, dinner is included, and your guides will take you to a nearby izakaya. During the evening, your guides will run you through the plan for the tour, weather, equipment and answer any questions you have. It’s a great opportunity to get to know the guests and guides over a few beers or a sake.

Monday to Friday - Ride / Ski Days

Each day will follow a similar format. You'll spend 5 days riding the surrounding Morioka ski resorts. Here's roughly what you can look forward to.

Mornings

Enjoy breakfast at your leisure, then get ready to depart. Your guides will brief you the evening before regarding departure time from the hotel and what to pack i.e. extra equipment, shoes, extra layers, onsen gear etc. Each morning the group will load the 4WD vans and drive to the resort. The drive can range from 25 minutes to 1 hour depending on weather and snowfall. Once at the resort, your guides will brief you on the location and the days plan.

At the Resort

Your guides are on hand throughout the day to show you the resort. The aim is to ride and ski a lot of powder, glades and trees so please be prepared to ride and ski in the trees for 5 days straight. Of course weather and conditions are impossible to predict so you must be prepared to ride or ski anything. You are welcome to join the guiding session or explore the resort unguided.

Afternoons

After riding, the group may opt to visit a local cultural attraction before returning to the hotel. This can include a sake brewery, onsen, sushi train and/or a stop at the local 7-Eleven to grab necessities such as apres ski drinks. You've got free time once back at the hotel.

Evenings

Each evening, join your group for dinner at one of the many restaurants surrounding the hotel.

Saturday - Departure Day

All good things must come to come to an end, and after an epic week riding deep Japanese powder, your guide will transfer you back to Morioka Station and say goodbye.

Lodging

We make sure that you stay in quality accommodation that's in the best location. Throughout the tour you will stay at the . The hotel has modern, western-style rooms.  Each day you’ve got a simple buffet breakfast included with western and Japanese dishes.

Throughout the tour you'll stay at the Daiwa Roynet Hotel in central Morioka, a modern, 3 star city hotel. The comfortable rooms are equipped with a single bed (154x203cm), great heating, private ensuite bathroom, TV, and free WiFi.

Buffet breakfast is included throughout your tour.

The hotel is well positioned and each night you can explore the the surrounding area's local ramen shops, sushi and countless izakaya.


Rates, Inclusions & Add-Ons

2024 Rates

USD 2,150

About Rates:

  • base/invoice currency is in USD
  • rates are per person
  • based on private room
Inclusions
  • 6 nights in a single ensuite room, 3* hotel (1 person per room)
  • 5 days of on-snow guiding
  • 5 days of lift tickets
  • 5 days of private transfers to and from resorts
  • 6 buffet breakfasts
  • 1 group dinner (arrival night)
  • Arrival and departure day transfers from Morioka Station (1 departure time)
  • Fully-escorted tour, Japanese guide on hand throughout the tour
Add-ons
No optional extras to display
Not Included
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • All lunches – expect to pay USD $10 – $15 per meal
  • 5 dinners – expect to pay USD $20 – $40 per meal
  • Onsen entry fee – expect to pay between USD $5 – $10 per visit
  • Any meals, drinks, snacks not listed

Mint Tours Booking Terms & Conditions

DEPOSIT PAYMENTS

A deposit of 50% per person is payable within 3 days of confirmation of booking, unless otherwise stated. Deposit amounts may vary for selected trips and special campaigns that may be run by us from time to time and will be set out in special conditions upon booking.

BALANCE PAYMENTS

For FIT package bookings, the balance (or final payment) is due in full 60 days (Australia, New Zealand) or 90 days (USA, Canada, Europe, Japan) prior to departure. Bookings made within this period must be fully paid upon confirmation.

For tour bookings, the balance (or final payment) is due in full 60 days (Australia, New Zealand) or 90 days (rest of world) prior to departure. Bookings made within this period must be fully paid upon confirmation.

Mint Tours reserves the right to charge late booking fees for any booking made inside of 30 days of departure.

STANDARD CANCELLATION FEES

For FIT package bookings, a cancellation made outside of 90 days will incur a minimum fee of 10% (of total package) per person plus any charges levied by ground operators, hotels, airlines or lift companies. A cancellation made within 90 days before departure will incur a 100% cancellation fee of the total booking amount.

For Tour bookings, a cancellation made outside of 60 days (Australia, New Zealand) or 90 days (rest of world) will incur a minimum fee of 10% (or total tour price) per person plus any charges levied by ground operators, hotels, airlines or lift companies. A cancellation made within 60 days (Australia, New Zealand) or 90 days (rest of world) before departure will incur a 100% cancellation fee of the total booking amount.

Airfares are subject to up to 100% cancellation fee once tickets are issued. Any refunds due cannot be processed until the relevant funds have been returned by suppliers to Mint Tours and Mint Tours cannot be responsible for supplier delays in issuing refunds. Note that airlines can take up to 90 days to process refunds.

Insurance covering cancellation is strongly advised as some cancellation penalties are strict. Refunds will not be given for unused guiding, accommodation, car rental, transfers, ski passes, rentals, lessons and activities.

AMENDMENT FEE

A charge of $50 will apply for each and every amendment after booking instructions have been received. The charge is in addition to any cancellation fees that may apply.

CREDIT CARD CHARGES

All credit cards incur a 3% surcharge. If cancellations are made, the merchant fee will not be refunded.