Hanazono Powder GuidesBook Now
Hanazono Powder Guides
Experience the legendary Niseko powder ahead of the crowds and find those secret stashes with our experienced team. Our private tours cater for everyone from riders hoping to try their first powder run to backcountry fanatics. With a small guide to guest ratio of just 1:4, our team of highly trained guides are able to tailor the tour to your ability and give you the best Niseko experience possible. Each tour includes our exclusive ''First Tracks'' service, allowing you to ride Hanazono's lifts 1 full hour before the public. This means first tracks through Strawberry Fields, Blueberry Fields, the Hanazono bowls - the resort is your playground! From then on stay ahead of the crowds as your guide leads you through the best pockets that only the experienced locals know about.
HPG provides a pick up and drop off service for all of our tours to and from your accommodation. All avalanche safety equipment is provided free of charge and our guides will start the tour with a safety briefing.
Dates of Operation: December 5, 2020 - April 11, 2021
Book Your Hanazono Powder Guides Tour Now!
HANAZONO Powder Guides (HPG) is the only official resort-operated backcountry guiding company in Niseko. Working alongside ski patrol, lift operators, and groomers give us a unique advantage to provide the best equipped and safest guiding service in Niseko.
First Tracks... Guaranteed!
Our guides don't make light promises of first tracks on untracked slopes, we GUARANTEE them! Our “First Tracks" service opens the lifts exclusively for you at 7:30am, letting you be first on the untracked powder slopes of HANAZONO. This service includes a pick-up from your accommodation.
True Local Guides
Hanazono Powder Guides all have experience living in Niseko, unlike many other guiding companies' staff in the area. Who better to show you the secrets of the mountain than a true local that has been living here? Choose HPG for an authentic Japanese powder experience.
HANAZONO POWDER GUIDES PARTNERS
Book Your Hanazono Powder Guides Tour Now!
- What do I need to bring?
- Backpack - We supply backpacks free of charge for every guest. If you bring your own backpack, please ensure you are familiar with strapping on and off your skis/snowboard before the tour.
- Avalanche Beacon - We ask all participants to carry a digital avalanche beacon. If you do not have one we will provide you with one free of charge. If you have one, please ensure that your battery is fully charged. If your beacon is analog, please use one of our newer models.
- Snow Probe & Shovel - We ask all our guests to carry a probe and shovel. If you don’t have them, we will provide them free of charge.
- Ski Poles - For skiers, ski poles with powder baskets are recommended. For advanced snowboarders, telescopic or fold down poles will be useful as we may ask you to traverse to find untracked snow. We have a limited number of fold-down poles available free of charge.
- Skiwear - Regular ski/snowboard wear and spare inner-layers are recommended. Temperatures can drop to below minus 15C in midwinter. Windchill can see these temperatures drop even further, beyond minus 20C. We strongly recommend that you bring extra inner-layers of clothing.
- Facemask & Neckwarmer - We recommend that you wear or carry a facemask and neck warmer.
- Gloves - Please choose warm and well fitting gloves.
- Helmet - Please wear a helmet. With so many accessible free runs, helmets are highly recommended in Niseko. They can prevent injury from falling, crashing, or even a wayward tree branch. We request all children wear helmets.
- Goggles & Sunglasses - Outside of spring season, a bright colored lens is recommended as we have very few sunny days during high season. Goggles must be good condition, especially the ventilation cover. Niseko is very snowy! We have a variety of goggles and spare lens choices suitable for Niseko at Niseko Sports shops in Hirafu and Hanazono.
- Do I need powder specific skis or snowboard?
Regular skis or snowboards are fine for exploring, but if you have come exclusively for the backcountry in Niseko, we recommend a powder ski/snowboard.
- SKIERS: 80mm waist and over all-around ski is fine, but why not try a set of rocker skis? Rocker skis provide improved flotation on Niseko's deep powder, they turn quickly (handy when in trees) and stop swiftly.
- SNOWBOARDERS: We recommend powder specific snowboard here in Niseko. You will struggle if your snowboard has a regular camber and a freestyle stance setup. Similar to skis, if you are here for powder snow, why not try powder board?
- NISEKO SPORTS EQUIPMENT HIRE: Talk to our friendly staff at Niseko Sports Equipment Hire at Hanazono 308, Hirafu or The Vale Snowsports for advice and more information on powder skis/snowboards. Niseko Sports has a wide variety of skis/snowboards, including BURTON, Ride, K2, Line, Rossignol, Faction and more which all have a range of popular powder skis/snowboards. Niseko Sports offers the convenient option to switch your ski/snowboards, or even skis to snowboard or vice versa as many times as you like.
- When is the best time for powder in Niseko?
Niseko's winter season runs from late November to Early May, the peak powder period is typically from late December through February, although this varies every season. An annual average 4 meter snow base ensures great Spring conditions from March onwards.
- Start of Season: The first snowfalls of the year in Niseko are usually in late October through to Early November. As temperatures drop and storm cells intensify throughout November, the snow begins to fall to lower elevations, blanketing the entire mountain white with snow. As snowfalls increase, and a base is formed the upper part of the resort becomes skiable - the beginning of the ski season. Winter storms pushing out of Siberia become more frequent from early December, covering small bushes and Sasa grass, this is a surprisingly good time to visit Niseko; with relatively few skiers/riders you will find powder stashes almost everywhere within the resort boundary.
- High Season: Most backcountry gates open around the Christmas period. This time through February is the absolute best time of the season for light & dry powder. If you wish to ski/snowboard deep and dry powder like you see in magazines or DVDs, we assure you, this is the best time of year. Family visitors leave Niseko around mid-January and in their place, powder enthusiasts from all over the world flood into Niseko. This time of year, although snow quality is particularly good, the lifts can be frequently affected by the weather. When upper mountain areas are closed due to weather conditions, you still can enjoy Niseko's powder line riding lower lifts. After mid-February, bottomless dry powder gradually changes to creamy, slightly heavier powder snow.
- Spring Season: The weather usually starts to become stable in March, offering good conditions for backcountry, with more sunny days and better visibility, hiking up to the peak is a joy. In April, snow fall decreases but the snow base is still very high. Skiing / riding down through corn snow on a warm spring day is exceptional. Gates will close if there is a high risk of a slab avalanche.
- What level of skill is required?
We do not recommend HPG for beginners, you should at least be confident on black slopes & have experience in deep powder and trees. For more information check our off-piste ability chart below.
- Is it safe?
Many people equate HANAZONO with epic backcountry runs and they're right; the backcountry that surrounds the ski area is some of the best you'll find. It's also potentially dangerous. It is important to read the Niseko Rules and avalanche information prior to entry and pay attention to signage in the area.
Current avalanche information is available every day at lift stations and ticketing counters in all ski areas as well as the Avalanche Information website.
Off-piste and backcountry areas are outside the jurisdiction of the ski area, it is prohibited to enter such areas by passing ropes, nets or bamboo poles.
In the event of an accident, parties concerned are liable to cover expenses relating to search and rescue activities.
Advanced Bookings Required
*If there is availability, participation on the day is also possible.
Simply book online clicking the BOOK NOW button, call us or visit our activity desks for bookings!
Find the contact details and hours HERE.
Brad, United States
This is my second year with HPG and I wouldn't go anywhere else. The guides are great (I always use Teru) and the operation first rate. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to get in the backcountry and bump up their skills.
Judy, Hong Kong
Our guide was so knowledgeable about the area and took us to some amazing spots. We will definitely come back!
We joined an HPG tour after one morning after a big storm in Niseko. The snow was incredible, truly bottomless. We rode the lifts for one hour before the public was allowed to join. I felt like a VIP at the resort. It was THE BEST DAY OF SKIING IN MY LIFE!