Hokkaido Japan Powder skiing

Hokkaido, Japan | Powder Skiing

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Hokkaido Is A Winter Adventure Wonderland

(2021 Dates coming soon. Sign up for our newsletter for the latest in course updates.)

powder skiing in hokkaido

Skiing in Hokkaido, Japan where our guide, Norie Kizaki, always finds the best powder.

Powder skiing in Japan is magical. Just south of Siberia, Hokkaido catches the cold, moisture-rich air coming in from the Siberian Sea.

This sea effect dumps 12 to 16 feet of snow on Hokkaido each season––it’s the deepest, driest powder skiing on earth.

Awesome. It was such a unique experience being out with a group of women. I was pleasantly surprised by all’s skiing ability and the group’s cohesiveness.”
––Jill M., 2016 Chicks Japan Powder Skiing participant

“The high point was giggling on skis in fresh powder.
––Gretchen H., 2016 Chicks Japan Powder Skiing participant

Ski Hokkaido with the best.

Our mission is to empower women through mountain experiences.

This trip will be led by Angela Hawse and Norie Kizaki.

“What I love most about skiing is that that it requires digging deeply. From just getting started, all the way to ski mountaineering, backcountry skiing encompasses big picture stuff like weather, avalanche hazard, communication, and technical skill. It requires homework. You don’t just show up when you go skiing,“–Angela Hawse, Co-Owner of Chicks Climbing and Skiing

Angela stands as America’s leading mountain guide as the president of the American Mountain Guides Association.

Norie Kizaki in Hokkaido where the snow banks reach over her head

Norie Kizaki in Hokkaido where the snowpack reaches over her head.

Norie Kizaki is an American-Japanese ski guide born in rural western Japan.

Norie adds a unique cultural bonus as both a highly accomplished American guide and a Japanese woman. Norie knows Hokkaido’s secret stashes. For the best snow, culture, and food on the island, follow Norie!

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Learn more about top-of-the-line guides at Chicks Guides.

Both guides were outstanding. They were excellent leaders, listeners, teachers and supporters.”
––Carol B., 2016 Chicks Japan Powder Skiing participant

So seamless. Incredibly warm and very involved in the group. I love them.
––Candi C., 2016 Chicks Japan Powder Skiing participant

 

Experience the beauty of nature, summit an active volcano, spend all day outside skiing deep Japow.

The Furano region is in the center of Hokkaido. We’ll ski three, world-class, powder skiing destinations. With Norie leading us, we’ll ski previously scouted terrain that’s not overrun by other skiers.

Powder skiing in Japan

Heading to the summit. Photo: Angela Hawse

  • Daisetsuzan National Park
  • Asahidake
  • Off-Piste close to Furano

On Hokkaido, there are good skiing options in any weather. Beautiful Japanese Birch trees help with visibility on stormy days. On blue-sky days, we can ski tour up live volcanoes to see beautiful views and volcanic fumes. Some days, we will use a tram to lift access off-piste skiing. Other days we’ll ski up with our skins to earn our turns.

Chicks makes skiing in Hokkaido extra special.

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Fresh fish for dinner in Hokkdaido.

While the secret might be out about Hokkaido’s powder, we offer an immersive experience in true Japanese culture, away from the crowds. 

For the first half of the trip, we’ll base in Furano and travel to wherever the weather makes the most snow.

For the second half of the trip, we’ll stay in Daisetsuzan National Park Lodge, which has a natural hot springs. We’ll ski the park and nearby areas such as Asahidake. 

“I loved the national park the best.”
––Gretchen H., 2016 Chicks Japan Powder Skiing participant

“The lodge was an awesome cultural experience, as was the dinning in Furano.”
––
Jill M., 2016 Chicks Japan Powder Skiing participant

Hokkaido, Japan Powder Skiing Is A True Chicks Experience.

Onsen, Hokkaido, Japan

Onsen, Hokkaido, Japan

You’ll get so much more than powder skiing: friendship, camaraderie, new skills, powder technique, face shots, smiles and deeply lasting memories. 

Our group will be small and nimble. We maximize the personal nature of the experience both culturally and in the mountains with a 2:1 guest/guide ratio.

Our first goal is to ski. This is followed closely by the goal of fun. We’re committed to finding the best snow every day. 

On top of it all, you’ll get to know a lot about Japanese culture, with one of your guides being a native Japanese who has guided in Hokkaido for many years.

“Fabulous!”––Gretchen H., 2016 Chicks Japan Powder Skiing participant

“I can ski forever, so 7 days on snow was perf! I liked the off piste side country day in the middle as a rest day.”––Jill M., 2016 Chicks Japan Powder Skiing participant

 

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Prerequisite Experience:

You must be a Level 2 skier for this In Deep Powder Skiing in Japan Trip (or be a Level 1 with 2-3 days of backcountry experience before the program starts).

Hokkaido, Japan

In Deep Powder Skiing. Hokkaido, Japan

Hokkaido Dates:

January 30-February 7, 2020 (includes travel days to/from the US)

Includes:

  • 5 and a half guided powder skiing days
  • 2 Professional ski guides and their expenses
  • All transportation in Japan, starting at Sapporo airport and ending at Sapporo airport
  • All lodging and breakfasts
  • Dinners for 6 nights (You are on your own on the first night at Air Terminal Hotel)

Not Included:

  • Airfare from the US. (Airfare from the U.S. to Sapporo ranges from $1000.00 to $1500.00 economy class.)

    Adamants

    Photo: Angela Hawse

  • Personal backcountry skiing and avalanche-rescue equipment
  • Lift tickets if used (average between $45-60 USD)
  • Lunches, alcohol, and dinner on the first night at Air Terminal Hotel
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance (required)

Hokkaido Pricing: $ 3600

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You can break this into two payments of $1800 or pay in full at time of registration. We will email you the full equipment list upon registration. This trip will run with a minimum of 4 guests.

Travel Insurance Requirements: (Not Included)

For an international trip with Chicks, LLC, we require that you purchase travel insurance including a global rescue policy. This is necessary to cover your evacuation costs in case of an emergency, trip cancellation, airline delays, and lost baggage. We work with an agent to help you get set up with the required policy. Please contact Erin Rountree at (208) 788-2870. http://www.travelguard.com


PROPOSED ITINERARY*:

Days 1 & 2: JANUARY 30–31

International Travel from the U.S. to Chitose Sapporo Airport.  Arrive late in the afternoon or early evening at Chitose Airport.

Day 3: FEBRUARY 1

Transport from Sapporo to Furano. Half-day of Resort Skiing. Equipment check and avalanche transceiver practice. Stay in Furano

Day 4: FEBRUARY 2

Powder Skiing. Off-piste or ski touring. Stay in Furano.

Day 5: FEBRUARY 3

Powder Skiing. Off-piste or ski touring. Stay in Furano.

Day 6: FEBRUARY 4

Skiing in the Daisetsuzan National Park. Check out from Furano lodging and check into Daisetsuzan National Park lodging.

Day 7: FEBRUARY 5

Skiing in the Daisetsuzan National Park. Stay in Daisetsuzan National Park.

Day 9: FEBRUARY 6

Skiing in Asahidake. Stay in Daisetsuzan National Park.

Day 8: FEBRUARY 7

Check out from National Park lodge and drive 3-4 hours to Chitose airport. Guests fly out in the afternoon!  Because of the time change, you will arrive in US on the same day you depart Japan.

*Actual daily schedule will be based on finding the best powder skiing conditions each day.

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Chicks Climbing and Skiing PAYMENT REFUND policy:

We require a registration deposit at time of booking. The deposit will hold your spot, with the remaining balance due 60 days prior to start date. You are also welcome to pay in full!

Please submit all refund requests in writing. 

We issue full refunds, transfer to another course or credit towards a future course according to the following schedule:

  • More than 60 days prior to start date – full refund minus 10% administration fee
  • 30-60 days prior to start date – 50% refund minus 10% administration fee
  • Less than 30 days prior to the start date – no refund!

Travel insurance is required for all international trips. We also strongly recommended travel insurance for US programs. Contact Erin Rountree at 208-788-2870. Erin is a travel agent familiar with Chicks programs and travel insurance needs.

intro to backcountry skiing and splitboarding

Intro to Backcountry Skiing and Splitboarding Hut Clinic

silverton avalanche school

(2021 Dates coming soon. Sign up for our newsletter for the latest in course updates.)

Join Chicks and the Silverton Avalanche School on Red Mountain Pass for our 5-day Intro to Backcountry Skiing and Riding Hut Clinic. We will spend two nights at the easily accessible St. Paul Lodge. Under the guidance of an IFMGA/AMGA guide, PSIA and Avalanche Instructor you’ll learn the ups and downs of backcountry skiing in a setting that is perfect for anyone that can ski blue runs on-piste. You’ll gain a solid foundation of basic winter travel skills and avalanche rescue fundamentals as well as tips and coaching to ski well in a variety of backcountry conditions.

This clinic is ideal for women who love to ski, are curious about venturing into the backcountry and want to get a feel for it in a supportive, fun environment. The St. Paul Lodge is a comfortable backcountry ski hut with great lighting and views, a wood-burning stove, BBQ grill on the deck and all the essentials to kick back after a day out in the mountains. Your guides will prepare breakfasts and dinners giving you ample time to chill and enjoy each other’s company. Access to the hut is a moderate mile of skinning up a snow-covered jeep road with breathtaking views. We use a snowmobile to tote in and out all the food, supplies and overnight equipment so your packs won’t be a burden.

The terrain we use is moderate but fun and includes both alpine slopes above tree-line with open glades and moderate tree skiing below. There are no requirements for previous avalanche education for this clinic simply because we’ll avoid avalanche-prone slopes. However, this area is one of the best classrooms anywhere to learn about avalanches with some of the most impressive avalanche paths in the country that will be visible in the distance. For women interested in taking a Level 1 avalanche course this clinic is the perfect warm-up. We’ll discuss how to find and interpret an avalanche forecast, the basics of using avalanche rescue equipment as well as how to perform daily transceiver checks and carry out a basic companion rescue.

If you are an intermediate or even an expert skier or rider and curious about exploring the beauty and endless potential for untracked terrain, you’ll learn the skills in this clinic to help you do so. We’ll cover a wide range of topics including how a mountain snowpack forms, how to recognize and avoid avalanche terrain, navigating with a map and compass, decision-making and traveling in groups as well as how to manage clothing, temperature, and equipment in winter conditions. We’ll teach you how to skin uphill, make an efficient skin track and set a pace that you can maintain for any length of time. You’ll also learn a number of different kick turns for the up, give you tips on how to conserve energy and make transitions from up to down more efficient. Backcountry conditions are typically variable and call for a wide range of tactics to ski or ride confidently and in control. You’ll come away from our clinic with tools to negotiate tricky conditions, both increasing your fun factor and reducing your risk of injury in the backcountry.

This course will equip you with the skills and knowledge to be more self-reliant in the backcountry and be a good companion on basic backcountry tours.  Our goal is to help you become more confident so you can enjoy a day out in the backcountry and have the tools to recognize and avoid hazardous terrain. For those that take the time to go through these first steps and first tracks, the magic of the backcountry is accessible for a lifetime.

intro to backcountry skiing and riding hut clinic participants

Day three of Intro to Backcountry Skiing. The Chicks head out for a tour in the Red Mountain Pass area of the San Juan Mountains, Colorado. Photo: Louis Aravelo

 

Prerequisite Experience:

You should be an intermediate to expert skier or rider with that ability to ski blue runs on-piste confidently and in control.  No previous backcountry experience is required. For those that would like to delve more into backcountry skills who already have a few days under their belts, this clinic will take your skills to the next level. Avalanche training or certification is not required for this entry-level course.


PRICE: $849

REGISTER NOW

When you click on the REGISTER NOW button for the dates you’re interested in registering for, you will be re-directed to the Silverton Avalanche School website to complete the booking process.

Includes:

  • 3 days guided instruction with a Chicks IFMGA/AMGA Ski Guide
  • 1 nights lodging at the Ouray Chalet Inn
  • 2 nights lodging at the St Paul Lodge
  • All Breakfasts and Dinners
  • Avalanche Rescue Gear (Transceiver, Shovel, and Probe)
  • Chicks Welcome Bag from our Sponsors
  • Transportation to and from Red Mountain Pass
  • Small duffle (10-15lbs) of personal equipment transported to and from the hut via snowmobile

Not included:

  • Travel to and from the clinic starts in Ouray, Colorado
  • Personal ski equipment (AT skis, AT ski boots skins, and splitboards available for rent at a reasonable cost)
  • Lunches and Snacks
  • Personal protective outerwear*
  • Warm clothing*
  • Personal or trip insurance
  • Gratuities

*Demos from our Sponsors are available including outerwear, warm layers, and gloves.  Please contact us if you would like to check out some of the latest and greatest.


TRAVEL & LOGISTICS:

What to Bring

Travel Logistics


SCHEDULE:

Day 1: FEBRUARY 13, 2020

Arrive and get settled into your room at the Ouray Chalet Inn. Evening introductions and equipment checks.

Day 2: FEBRUARY 14, 2020
Meet at the Ouray Chalet Inn lobby for light breakfast and coffee. After welcome and introductions we’ll discuss the clinic schedule, have a safety briefing, cover what you need to bring, check your equipment and provide any demo gear you’d like to use. We’ll demonstrate how to pack your backpack, cover what small personal items to pack for the snowmobile and what you should wear for the skin into St Paul Lodge. After getting ourselves organized and ready to go we’ll take a van shuttle up to RMP for the short skin, 30-minute into St Paul Lodge. Prior to leaving the trailhead, we’ll cover standard avalanche transceiver checks, function, and use.

After checking into the Lodge, we’ll venture out for an afternoon tour covering skinning, touring basics and backcountry skiing skills as well as pacing and managing temperature and layers. We’ll do a thorough transceiver search (mock burial), that includes probing and shovel technique. After getting the lay of the land, some turns and reviewing these skills we’ll head back to the lodge for hot drinks, dinner, and some R&R. After dinner, we’ll have a discussion on the basics of avalanche awareness and the mountain snowpack before reviewing the next day’s plan.

Day 3: FEBRUARY 15, 2020
After a hearty breakfast at Saint Paul Lodge, we’ll learn how to read an avalanche forecast bulletin and talk about how to plan a backcountry tour.  Then we’ll head out and do our standard transceiver checks before skinning up for the day’s tour. We’ll cover more terrain today and have the opportunity to really dive into some of the techniques for skinning, route finding, managing comfort in the winter environment and looking at the snowpack more closely.  We’ll get into the meat of how to ski in control in the backcountry, managing variable conditions and find some freshies while we’re at it. We have the option of returning to the hut for lunch or staying out all day for a longer tour. After a hearty dinner, we’ll have a lesson on Map and Compass Navigation and review where we toured before discussing tomorrow’s plan and tucking in for the night.

Day 4: FEBRUARY 16, 2020
After another hearty breakfast at the Lodge, we’ll read the avalanche forecast bulletin and have a group tour planning exercise for the day’s outing. Again we can choose to stay out all day or return for lunch at the lodge. Mid-afternoon we’ll return to the lodge and pack up and ski back down to Red Mountain Pass for our van shuttle back down to Ouray, CO. Pack up and head home at the end of the day.

 


CANCELLATION POLICY:

A $35.00 fee is charged for course date transfers. 60% of the course cost can be refunded up to 30 days prior to the course start.  No refunds are provided for cancellations made less than 30 days prior to the start of the course for which you are registered. Unfortunately, we cannot give refunds, rainchecks or cancellations if passes are closed (best arrive early if the weather forecast is big).

Intro to Backcountry Skills – 2021 Dates TBD

silverton avalanche school

Join Chicks and the Silverton Avalanche School for our 1-day intro to backcountry skiing skills clinic focused on learning the ups and downs of backcountry skiing and splitboarding.  This day out is designed for both newcomers to the backcountry and seasoned skiers and riders looking for a tune-up on technique to make backcountry travel more efficient and enjoyable.

We’ll focus more on the technical aspects of backcountry touring but also delve into terrain assessment and avalanche awareness. We’ll meet you where you’re at with your current skill level but cover the basics of how to use avalanche rescue equipment, how to perform transceiver checks at the trailhead, how to recognize avalanche terrain and how to travel conservatively with a group through avalanche terrain.

Red Mountain Pass provides an outstanding classroom for us to spend a full day out in the field in moderate terrain. Starting at 11,300 feet we step onto our boards close to the tree line with both fair and foul weather options to choose from throughout the day. With some of the most stunning scenery and largest avalanche paths visible anywhere this venue is a goldmine of a classroom for beginners and seasoned veterans alike.

Our uphill focus will be on setting a good skin track, establishing a sustainable all-day pace, methods for efficient skinning and the subtleties of different kick turn techniques.  We’ll seek out fresh tracks for the down but teach you how to ski typical backcountry crud that is variable and challenging. Armed with these skills you’ll have more confidence and be less prone to injury.

Our Chicks Guide will share their decision-making process with you from the day’s start to finish, giving you insight into how to find “the goods”, how to stay comfortable in the backcountry, how to manage clothing and equipment in adverse conditions and tips for keeping your energy up and calories in.  They’ll be your coach, instructor and champion to get you out in front, making fresh tracks up and down. And true to all Chicks programs the fun factor and supportive nature of our trips puts everyone at ease and ensures a good time.

We meet at 7:00 a.m. in Ouray at the Guide Garage for coffee, get our equipment sized up and sorted out before our van shuttle picks us up for the stunning drive up Hwy 550 to Red Mountain Pass.  We’ll end the day with a van shuttle back down to the Guide Garage where we’ll celebrate and high five over Happy Hour hors-d’oeuvres and a beverage.

Who would benefit from taking this Program?

  • Anyone with no previous backcountry AT or Splitboarding experience
  • Or Any backcountry skiers and riders with a few days under their belts and have interest in learning best practices.

Prerequisite Experience:

  • A level of fitness and ability to move uphill at altitude with a moderate pace
  • You should be an Intermediate to Expert Alpine Skier/Rider with the ability to skiing “blue” runs at on-piste
  • Avalanche training/certification is NOT required for this program

PRICE: $200 per person with a minimum of four

Includes:

  • 1-day of guided instruction by a Chicks Guide
  • Avalanche Rescue Equipment including Transceiver, Shovel, and Probe
  • Transportation from Ouray to Red Mountain Pass
  • Chicks Welcome Bag

Not Included:

  • Personal protective outerwear*
  • Warm clothing*
  • Food and Water
  • Transportation
  • Personal or Trip Insurance
  • Lodging

*Demos from our Sponsors are available including outerwear, warm layers, and gloves.  Please contact us if you would like to check out some of the latest and greatest.


DATES, LOCATION & REGISTRATION:

Click on the date you’d like to register for and you will be re-directed to the Silverton Avalanche School website to complete the process.

 CLICK TO REGISTER


TRAVEL & LOGISTICS:

What to Bring

Travel Logistics


SCHEDULE:

  • 7:00 am: Meet at the Ouray Chalet, CO. Coffee, Intros, Welcome Bags, and Equipment Check, Know Before You Go video
  • 8:00 am: Van shuttle to Red Mountain Pass, All-day Ski Tour
  • 4:00 pm: Van shuttle to Ouray Chalet in Ouray, CO, Happy Hour and Appetizers

CANCELLATION POLICY:

A $35.00 fee is charged for course date transfers. 60% of the course cost can be refunded up to 30 days prior to the course start.  No refunds are provided for cancellations made less than 30 days prior to the start of the course for which you are registered. Unfortunately, we cannot give refunds, rainchecks or cancellations if passes into Silverton are closed.