Spending New Year in the Niseko Backcountry

Tom from Rhythm Snowsports shares his experience of Niseko backcountry touring from New Year's Eve 2015.

Tom Guide 7

All roads lead to powder in Niseko during the winter!

As summer draws to a close and the temperature starts to drop in Niseko, thoughts are quickly turning to Winter and in particular getting into the Niseko backcountry again.

Nothing beats the feeling of earning your turns and enjoying endless line choices without the crowds. Last winter I was accompanied by two good friends as they popped their ski touring cherries. Although they are both experienced skiers neither had used skins before so we met at Rhythm to get kitted out with touring skis, skins and avalanche packs. Its always best to use a guide when heading into the backcountry and so we made a plan with Niseko Photography and Guiding to head out the following morning.

Tom Guide 5

Surveying the landscape...powder as far as the eye can see!

Conditions were perfect with fresh snow overnight, sub-zero temperatures and the sun poking through, getting us all excited about the day ahead!

Our guide Krusty gave us a safety briefing along with some advice on setting up, before breaking trail into the first zone. With two of us on splitboards and the other two on touring skis we made quick progress to the top of the first drop in. During the changeover back to ski mode we had a quick bite to eat and a drink of still hot coffee from my trusty Zoj thermos before dropping into super light waist deep snow.

Tom Guide 6

Faceshots galore in the Niseko backcountry.

Its fair to say my friends were blown away with it not only being their first time touring but also their first time in Hokkaido. The day continued like that with short skins back to the top and more fresh turns every run back down. Krusty was on hand to show us the best spots and give advice, capturing all the smiles and faceshots the epic conditions provided.

New to Hirafu for this winter will be Rhythm Summit to cater for all your rental and retail backcountry needs. Top of the range touring skis with either tech or regular bindings, splitboards from Jones and Burton with Spark R and D bindings and all the necessary safety equipment and accessories will be available to rent.

Professional experienced staff will be on hand to offer comprehensive advice on the latest hardware and accessories.