What do you do if you find yourself in Japan’s powder capital, but you don’t ski?
Yesterday you tried lessons with the Canadian snowboard instructor and have now mastered the art of sliding on your knees and falling backward without smacking your head on the snow. You have perfected nonchalantly sitting in the middle of the slope pretending you are taking in the view of Mt. Yotei as people zip by, ever-so-slightly spraying dust on your colorful rental pants.
Today is a new day, and you’re ready for an adventure but not quite ready to go back in the frozen water.
Luckily, Niseko offers a variety of activities away from the lift lines. There are backcountry tours, cross-country tours and snowshoe tours. But if you want to crank it up a notch, look up the guys at Niseko Snowmobile Adventures. NSA guides fun-filled adventures into Niseko’s awesome backcountry from December through March.
No experience is necessary and NSA’s well-trained guides will give you a comprehensive orientation before any tour, no matter if you have been on a snowmobile tour before or it’s your first time. Five is the maximum number of people on a tour (plus a lead and trail guide) and one-on-one tours are also available.
The Aussie/Kiwi tandem of Scott Bowman and Nick Gutry are heading into their fourth season leading tours, although they’ve been in Niseko six and 11 years respectively. Both originally came for the snow but have stayed because they enjoy the Hokkaido lifestyle. In the off-season they do carpentry and landscaping work while they wait for the snow to fall.
Safety is a top priority and all guides are Advanced First Aid, Level 1 Avalanche Management and Outdoor Risk Management certified. In fact, Scott says the biggest danger is “you might want to sell your skis and buy a sled. We think it’s the ultimate Niseko experience.”
The town has changed a bit since they first arrived. “There’s now a Mexican bar and grill, Irish pub and Wazza's meat pies; it’s all pretty cool.” They say.
According to Scott, what keeps them in Niseko is “riding with friends in some amazing backcountry right in our backyard.” Most of their customers come from Australia, but they say that’s changing as people from all over the world are discovering Niseko. Tours are available upon request, and they suggest booking early.
"Nick and I are accessing more and more terrain each winter, we constantly are blown away by the backcountry in the Niseko Region." Scott adds.
If the snowmobile adventures are not enough, they also run snowcat tours to a backcountry terrain park, and lead snowmobile tours in the Yamanashi mountain range near Kutchan. Whether you are a skier or not, there’s really no excuse to be sitting around Niseko this winter.
Niseko Snowmobile Adventures
Address: 34-103 Aza Yamada, Kutchan-cho, Abuta- gun, Hokkaido 044-0081
Tel: (0136) 21-5001 (office), 090-9757-4083 (mobile)