Niseko Backcountry Resources

  • February 11, 2022

Maybe it has been a few days since our last storm, maybe you just like to earn your turns, maybe you’re looking to escape the crowds, or maybe you’ve been eying up a new peak objective on the horizon… Regardless of what motivates you, Niseko has a variety of zones and touring routes ideal for intermediate to advanced skiers and snowboarders. Here are a few resources to get you started:

Avalanche Reports

The moment one enters the backcountry, they take on new risks and assume responsibility for their safety (and for the safety of those around them). Determining the level of risk & making educated decisions is a crucial part of planning a tour.

Niseko has two resources for avalanche risk assessment:
Niseko Avalanche Information
Japan Avalanche Network

While both of these resources are helpful in understanding current conditions and risks, conditions in the backcountry can change quickly and can greatly vary depending on the zone you intend to tour in. If inexperienced or unsure of how to assess risk, consider hiring a guide.

Remnants of a large slide in the Niseko backcountry

Hiring Guides

If seeking local knowledge or if venturing out into the backcountry for the first time, consider hiring a guide. Outfits like Hanazono’s HPG (Hanazono Powder Guides) can be a great first step into developing skills through lift assisted access to Niseko's side country.

One of HPG's guides scoring turns

Niseko Gates

Venturing into Niseko’s sidecountry using one of the many access gates is a great way for intermediate-to-advanced skiers and boarders to access new zones & to get first tastes of backcountry riding. We advise all to ride with a partner or group & to carry avalanche safety tools (and to know how to use them!

Two riders dropping from Mt. Annupuri's peak, just a short hike through one of Niseko United's gates.

AST Training

A number of guide companies in the Niseko area offer Avalanche Safety Training (AST) courses. AST level 1 is often regarded as the bare minimum experience & training one should have before entering the backcountry. Here are a few local outfits that provide such training:
Hokkaido Backcountry Club
Black Diamond Tours
Rising Sun Guides

Local outfit Rising Sun Guides imparting a bit of backcountry knowledge through an AST (Avalanche Safety Training) course

Hokkaido Wilds

Hokkaido Wilds is an ever expanding resource for ski touring routes, summer hiking routes & more. Check out the wide variety of ski touring routes currently listed on their website

The Hokkaido Wilds scoring turns in the nearby Goshiki Onsen area


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