S’No Queen has noticed skiing in Japan is becoming more and more popular with more and more people heading out to the land of the rising sun to be able to enjoy everything it has to offer. This ranges from ski resorts, to hot springs to simply exploring the Japanese wilderness and mountains to take in the beautiful scenery. Here is a quick guide to exploring the snow-capped mountains of Japan this winter.
The main ski resorts in Japan are usually all located on the northern island of Hokkaido, which sits as the northern most island of Japan and sits just over a small stretch of water from the cold Russian polar deserts. The island is very accessible from around the world with people being able to fly to New Chitose Airport if they are heading to the popular Niseko resort or to fly to Asahikawa Airport if they are looking for a quieter resort. The flights to Japan can take between 18 -15 hours depending on where it is you transfer but once you reach the country it all becomes worth it.
Due to the islands location, it received many cold winds from the Arctic whilst receiving blizzard like conditions from the Siberian wastes, in turn creating an amazing amount of powder, which is perfect for skiing on during the winter.
The temperature of Japans ski resorts varies dramatically during the peak of ski season, either way you will need your S’No Queens however with temperatures ranging from minus 4 degrees to minus 12. The snow in the region can even reach up to 11 metres in some areas due to the light weight powder like characteristic allowing it to pile up and in turn you’ll need to be careful if you’re planning back country skiing.
What is Available?
The islands climate gives the born skier an amazing range of activities to choose from due to its powder full mountain ranges and slopes. This makes it effect for everything from carving to doing tricks and even back country skiing, take a look!
Back country skiing it amazing in Japan due to its huge range of pine tree forests, amazing views of the mountain ranges and soft powder snow, which is very fine and very easy to tread through. In turn making everything about backcountry skiing in Japan an amazing experience.
Then there’s the downhill skiing which is usually easier in Japan due to its powder nature and allows you to get a better carve and make yourself faster on the slopes. Japan’s biggest resorts such as niseko have a huge range of slopes and runs available to both the novice and the intermediate skier which makes it perfect for just about anybody.
Terrain Park skiing it also a huge sport in Japan with more and more people heading to the country to take part in its many events each year, near enough all of the resorts in Japan seem to have a Terrain Park of some description with the largest being in Ishiuchi Maruyama. This is a terrain park on the Japanese mainland, away from Hokkaido Island but still offering all of the benefits that Hokkaido will usually give to the intrepid skier.
There is a huge range of other activities in Japan, however only a few are widely available on number of ski resorts. For example, the majority of ski resorts usually have some form of hot spring pool for people to enjoy or a spa within the village or hotel complex for guests. This allows you to be able to relax properly after a long day on the slopes and in turn be ready and relived for the next day with no aches or pains.
There is also usually a huge range of gourmet Japanese cuisine on offer to the visitor with Japanese food being infamous for its high quality and unique characteristics.
What You Should Take Extra
When it comes to skiing in Japan, you should take a few things regardless of resort or location. These things are usually overlooked in your more tamed European resorts, but in Japan, the resorts are left top their devices to be able to give the most authentic experience possible.
Gator – You will need a good quality gator when you ski in Japan. Heading to the European or American resorts this can often be over looked as wind-chill is nothing to be concerned about there. However, in Japan, wind chill can be very unforgiving with it being near the ocean and the temperatures being a lot colder. Then taking into account the fine nature of the snow, it can easily stick to your face and give you hypothermia, so gators are necessary.
Spare Goggles – skiing in Japans powder like snow means that the snow can get everywhere and it will not be long until you need to leave your googles to dry out. Taking a spare pair of googles in your bag or ski coat pocket to swap could be a great idea. By about half way through the day you’ll notice your googles getting steamed up a lot faster and this is simply due to the moisture from your breath warming up the fine pieces of snow that have made it into your googles. Swapping your googles rids this problem and saves you a lot of hassle.
Transceiver and Probe – With Japan receiving snow levels up to an excess of 11 metres. It is important to be able to prepare for the worst, especially when avalanches are common pay, even on the resorts. A transceiver and probe allow you to be able to signal for help if you ever to succumb to an avalanche, remember however to keep them somewhere you can reach handy if they are needed.
S’No Queen Thermals – S’No Queens are a must out on the Japanese slopes, the cold weather can take hold very quickly and in turn its important to be able to keep yourself warm out on the slopes. Due to the material of the thermals, the poly-cotton blend prevents wind chill and stops cold penetrating allowing you to have a more comfortable experience
Need to Know
Japan is an amazing country when it comes to technology and has just about anything available to just about anybody. However, for some reason the technological country in the world seems to not use card anywhere and in turn if you do not get your Japanese Yen before you go you will really struggle out there. Always buy your currency in advance before you travel to this country.
Another huge part of Japanese society you should always bare in mind is not to leave a tip, it may seem a little strange not leaving a tip but in Japan it can be seen as very offensive so it’s best to simply not leave one.