Skip to Content

“The Best Snow in the World”: Ski Japan with Isaac Laredo

A snowy canal in Japan with dark water and short buildings during a guided Japan ski trip with Alpenglow Expeditions.

“There’s a common myth that people believe Utah boasts the best snow in the world. I don’t think those people have been to Japan.”

Alpenglow’s AMGA-certified Ski Guide Isaac Laredo thinks that Japan might just offer the best comprehensive skiing experience in the world. So, we connected with him to chat about his time spent in Hokkaido, home to Alpenglow’s newest expedition, the Japan Backcountry Ski:

Unparalleled Snow Conditions

There’s a common myth that people believe Utah boasts the best snow in the world. I don’t think those people have been to Japan. Hokkaido, in particular, receives some of the finest snow due to a unique phenomenon. Cold winds from Siberia sweep across the Sea of Japan, producing dramatic snowfall events upon reaching the land. This “lake effect” (from the sea) snow results in incredibly dry and pristine powder, the kind that locals clear off their cars with leaf blowers. Click HERE to read more about why the skiing in Japan is so good.

Culinary Adventures

Beyond the slopes, Hokkaido offers a robust culinary scene that rivals its ski conditions. The food here is a significant part of the experience. Imagine savoring some of the best sushi in the world, exceeding most anything you might find in the States. The quality and simplicity of the cuisine, coupled with its elegance, create unforgettable dining experiences.

Cultural Immersion

The people of Japan are hardworking, inspiring, and welcoming. Each visit teaches me something new about their admirable work ethic and pride. This trip isn’t just about skiing; it’s an opportunity to engage with and observe the rich cultural tapestry of Japan. Click HERE to read more about the history of skiing in Japan.

Exploring Hokkaido

Our journey typically begins in Otaru, a charming small port town known for its exceptional sushi and lift-accessed backcountry skiing. Utilizing the local resort infrastructure, we enjoy a blend of convenience and adventure before returning to Otaru to explore its culinary delights.

From Otaru, we travel through Sapporo to Furano. A highlight of Sapporo is Ramen Alley, the birthplace of miso ramen, home to 15 distinct and delicious ramen shops. Skiing in the morning and indulging in delicious ramen by afternoon makes for a perfect day.

As we move towards Furano, the landscape becomes increasingly dramatic, with towering mountains and active volcanoes. Here, in Daisetsuzan National Park, also known as the Mountains of Great Snow, we experience some of the deepest, highest quality powder imaginable. Both lift-accessed and human-powered backcountry skiing opportunities abound in this stunning region.

The Complete Experience

For me, Japan represents the ultimate ski destination, offering more than just incredible skiing. The combination of exhilarating days on the slopes, relaxing soaks in onsens, and unforgettable dining experiences creates a holistic and memorable adventure. Each aspect of Hokkaido, from the snow to the food to the culture, has a special place in my heart.

The allure of skiing initially drew me to Japan, but it’s the comprehensive experience—an immersive blend of adventure, relaxation, and culinary delight—that keeps me coming back. Hokkaido is not just a ski destination; it’s a place where you can embrace the big picture and create lasting memories.

Interested to join Alpenglow’s newest expedition? Click HERE to take the first step by connecting with Griffin Mims, Alpenglow’s International Client Manager.

Ski Expeditions

Ski Abroad with Alpenglow