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Why is the Skiing in Japan So Good?

A skier slashes powder snow in the backcountry of Japan with trees and sky in the background during a guided Japan ski trip with Alpenglow Expeditions.
Excited skiers raise their arms in the air while enjoying backcountry skiing in the woods of Japan.
A backcountry skier slashes powder in a cloudy forest during a guided Japan ski trip with Alpenglow Expeditions.

Why Skiing in Hokkaido is Unparalleled

Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, is celebrated for offering some of the best skiing conditions in the world. The secret lies primarily in its snow quality and snowpack, which are ideal for both avid skiers and those new to the sport. For over 100 years, skiing has been quietly growing in Japan until becoming what it is today: a central hub for powderhounds and backcountry athletes. Read more about the history of skiing in Japan. 

Exceptional Snow Quality

Hokkaido’s snow is famously light and powdery, thanks to cold Siberian winds that pick up moisture as they pass over Kamchatka and the Sea of Japan, depositing fresh snow that is dry and fluffy. This type of snow, often referred to as ‘Japow,’ is highly sought after because it provides a soft, deep base that is perfect for skiing.

Even better? Our experienced guides here at Alpenglow Expeditions know exactly how and where to find the best of the best on any given day. Click HERE for an expedition overview.

Consistent Snowfall

The island receives consistent heavy snowfall throughout the winter months, typically from late November to early April, ensuring a long skiing season. This regular snowfall replenishes the slopes frequently, maintaining excellent conditions and allowing resorts to operate with thick, reliable snowpacks. Although we can’t say for sure where the phrase came from, it’s totally possible that the idea of free refills began in Hokkaido…

Geographical Advantages

Hokkaido’s mountainous terrain and northern latitude contribute to its ideal skiing conditions. The mountains provide varied runs suitable for all levels of skiers, from gentle slopes for beginners to challenging routes for the experienced both in the accessible sidecountry and backcountry. The cold climate ensures that the snow remains in optimal condition, rarely becoming icy or slushy even in strong solar conditions.

Integrated Experience

Beyond just the physical conditions, Hokkaido offers an integrated skiing experience that includes access to onsen (natural hot springs), delicious local cuisine, and the opportunity to explore Japanese culture. This combination of perfect snow, beautiful landscapes, and cultural richness makes skiing in Hokkaido a comprehensive experience in terms of world-class skiing and cultural immersion.

Interested to join us to ski Japan? Click HERE to schedule a call with our team and secure your spot.

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