I’ve never been skiing in Japan. But when I close my eyes and think about it, it looks unlike any experience I’ve had attached to two planks. I’m conquering some of the deepest, untracked tree runs of my life. The bottomless powder splashes me in the face after every turn. A few hours after I’m done skiing, I have a sake buzz. It re-energizes me. I want to get back to the trees. Instead, I try another sushi roll. The flavors are sharp—fresher than any sushi I’ve had in the states. But my mind is still on skiing. I’m finally at ease when I look outside and see it’s dumping. There will be plenty of fresh tracks tomorrow.
Welcome to Niseko, a ski resort on Japan’s North island of Hokkaido. This is the location of H20 Guides’, an Alaska-based guiding company, new powder skiing camp. Pro big-mountain skier Dean Cummings developed H20 Guides, and also runs powder camps at Snowbird.
“H20 chose Niseko based on its consistent and quality snowfall and an après ski scene every skier must experience,” says H20’s Aaron Karitis.
Every winter northwest to southeast Siberian storm fronts sweep across the Sea of Japan and pound Niseko. Translation? This place averages 595 inches of annual snowfall and consistently offers some of the best powder skiing in the world, Karitis says.
The camp will cover powder skiing technique, route selection, tree skiing, and backcountry safety. It’s a week-long trip taking place January 9-17. In addition to skiing instruction, the $4,995 price tag gets you seven nights of lodging with breakfast, six lift tickets, six days of skiing with the H2O guide team, and traditional sushi and nabe dinners. [alaskahelicopterskiing.com; 541-390-4910]