Japan in January
Japan in January
This Trip runs Saturday to Saturday January 19-26, 2019. We base out of the Myoko Vista Lodge in the small town of Akakura Onsen situated 100 meters from lifts accessing massive Mount Myoko.
After assessing the days current conditions and avalanche hazard we plan each day's tour and decide which combination of surface lifts, quads, and trams to use to get near the alpine. Given the snowy nature of this region we tend to spend most of our time touring and skiing in the beautiful Beech tree forests of Honshu. These beautiful pastel barked trees provide the backdrop and visual reference required when skiing in Japan's signature bottomless storm snow. When weather and avalanche hazard allow we can get incredibly long runs, around 3500-4000' of downhill, with relatively little uphill input due to the lift infrastructure surrounding our zone.
Some days avalanche hazard prohibits us from venturing into the more committing terrain of the Myoko massif. On these days we may ski shorter laps and utilize the lifts to ski on piste. The goal is to cross as few tracks as possible and utilize skis, splitboards, and skins, to stay off the beaten track. Again, the deciduous forests are our ally in accessing the backcountry during these higher hazard stormy days with snowfall rates exceeding 5-10cm per hour.
Last year we received 17 feet of snow in 14 days and saw one sunny day. On these rare sunny days without new snow, we can venture higher into the alpine above the lift structure and explore the summit crater and find some of the steeper terrain reminiscent of the Washington Cascades and SE Alaska.
Our lodge is situated as a ski in ski/out style just out of the main "hustle" of Akaura Onsen. Delicious food and moderate nightlife abounds with mostly local owned restaurants and a surprising variety of food and drink options.
No day is complete without a relaxing soak in the local onsen. In addition to soaking the sore muscles from thousands of vertical feet of skiing, the mineral waters of the onsen provide a chance to silently debrief the day... something we don't often make time for here at home. We have our favorite spring but we leave it up to you to explore the many mineral hot springs available in and just out of town.
After a few days of this, we settle into the rhythm of the trip. Wake, eat, ski, soak, eat, sleep, repeat. Ease of access, nonstop smiles, and perfect snow are the hallmarks of this trip.
We stay here:
Lodge is comfy, Japanese style but with some things we've found that really stand out compared to other accommodations including easy lift access, western style beds spacious drying room for gear, in house onsen (hotspring), solid wifi, and warm central heating compared to the smelly kerosene heat that many lodges use. In addition our hosts are super friendly folks dedicated to our enjoyment of the trip.
Mostly we eat hearty western breakfasts at the lodge so power up for the day. Mid day lunch on the mountain at any number of noodle shops and we eat out at night to take advantage of the small local restaurants that have everything from sushi, kebabs, omelets, to the best pork cutlets and wagyu beef ever.
We will have a shuttle from Tokyo to Myoko and then our own vehicle once we arrive in Myoko for getting to/from the resorts. Most Onsen and restaurant options are within walking distance of our lodge in the evenings. Travel time from Tokyo to Akakura Onsen where we stay is about 3 hours.
Style of Trip:
We keep our group small(6 people) to allow for flexibility of finding good snow and adapting quickly to the crazy amounts of snow that tends to blanket the region. We work as a team to get out in the morning... Often times last year we would have over a meter fall in 24 hours... sometimes hard to even open the lodge door in the morning. The focus is on skiing and we plan to ski all day, hit an Onsen for a soak in the evening, grab dinner, rinse and repeat.
We require that you have skis with a touring binding and comfortable boots or splitboard.
You are welcome to treat it as a working vacation if needed we have good wifi and office access at the lodge.
Cost is $4250 which includes 5-6 days of skiing and lift tickets, lodging with a shared room, meals, on mountain transportation, and guiding. We don't include the airfare to/from Tokyo, shuttle/train to Myoko, or the alcohol and onsen fees.