Niseko Ski Tours, Activities

Niseko Ski Tours, Activities

Niseko Ski Tours/Snowboard Trips - Single Day/s

There are lots of Niseko guided ski tours on offer. Most of the Niseko ski tours are in a private format whereby you have to pull your own group together or pay a premium if it's just you that wants Niseko guiding.

Niseko Off-Piste Tours

Niseko off-piste ski and snowboard tours stay within the Niseko resort boundaries and offer insider knowledge to find the best off-piste skiing Niseko has to offer. WhiteRoom Tours offer day private off-piste tours that are suitable for strong intermediate riders and above.

Niseko Sidecountry Tours

Side-country tours access some of the backcountry areas just outside the Niseko resort boundaries (sidecountry aka slackcountry). The tours may involve a tiny bit of hiking but primarily use the lifts to access all that fabulous powder.

Black Diamond Tours offer private sidecountry tours of Niseko, and also have the flexibility to visit other ski area areas if the Niseko gates are closed, or weather or snow conditions are not conducive to visiting the Niseko sidecountry. The Powderhounds have been on one of these tours and can highly recommend it. It was awesome!

Likewise Whiteroom Tours offer private Niseko sidecountry tours as well as tours to nearby ski resorts, and backcountry ski touring and split-boarding.

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Niseko Backcountry Tours

There are various areas for Niseko backcountry skiing and snowboarding where you can score guaranteed fresh tracks. With these private guided tours you’ll generally need human steam to get up the mountain ie earn your turns.

Rising Sun Guides offer private tours from Niseko for 1-5 people, to access a variety of backcountry areas including Mt Yotei on fine days.

Black Diamond Tours offer a variety of single day backcountry tours, the location of which are dependent on the weather and snowpack. The Powderhounds have been on a tour to the Nito backcountry with BDT, and we were impressed! For those with superhuman fitness, BDTs offer trips to the summit of the massive Mt Yotei, although these can only occur on fine days, which are somewhat rare in the peak of winter.

Heli Skiing Niseko

Niseko Heli Skiing is ichi-ban because it offers the perfect combination of the best powder in the world and the ultimate lift, a helicopter! Unlike a couple of other Japan heli skiing outfits that offer very lame helicopter accessed skiing, Hokkaido Backcountry Club offers “real” heli skiing that includes qualified backcountry guides and some fabulously steep terrain and long runs. The heli skiing is on Shiribetsu-dake adjacent to Rusutsu Resort and only half an hour drive from Niseko (transfers between your accommodation and the staging area are included). Check out the information, video and reviews on the HBC Heli Skiing.

As all that abundant powder doesn’t fall from clear skies, it comes as no great surprise that the heli skiing has to work around the windows of fine weather when the helicopter can fly.

Niseko Cat Skiing

If you’re not even sure what this cat skiing caper is all about, you can find out more on our snowcat skiing overview page. Niseko has a handful of tour operators that offer cat skiing and cat boarding and you can check out the Niseko cat skiing page for some comparisons.

Weiss Cat Skiing is located at the former ski resort of Weisshorn next to Hanazono. The snowcat skiing is absolutely perfect for intermediate and low-end advanced riders or those fairly new to the joys of powder. The terrain has lots of wide open runs where you can let it rip as well as some generously spaced trees! This provides a great opportunity to practise the art of powder riding in fresh snow and without pressure.

Chisenupuri Cat Skiing operates at the former ski resort of Chisenupuri and is ideal for those learning to ski or ride powder in the trees or more open spaces. For any apprentice powder hound heading to Niseko, Chisenupuri cat skiing is a lust-do! As the cat skiing is unguided, it's also great for advanced riders who want to explore and rip at their own pace.

The main target market of Weiss and Chisenupuri are not the advanced or expert rider who is looking for steeps and leaps. Advanced and expert riders should check out the Rising Sun Cat Skiing outfit, that offers steeper runs (with some pillows and mushrooms) in real backcountry terrain rather than on an abandoned ski resort (as with Weiss cat skiing). The day cat skiing packages include transport to and from your Niseko accommodation.

Or Iwanai Cat Skiing at the Iwanai Resort near the coast offers long runs and views of the ocean when it's not dumping with snow! Iwanai cat skiing is a great all-rounder outfit, particularly for advanced riders. Transfers from your Niseko accommodation are included as part of the package.

Shimamaki Snowcat Adventures offer 2 day cat skiing trips. The terrain includes some steeps and a combination of trees and alpine, and plenty of Hokkaido powder. The cat skiing is 2 hours south of Niseko and transport from your Niseko accommodation is included as part of the package. More information here….

Tours to Nearby Resorts

There are various ski resorts nearby that don’t receive as much skier traffic as Niseko, so they’re great to visit for a day trip to chase the powder. Nearby resorts include Rusutsu, Kiroro, Moiwa, Sapporo Teine and Sapporo Kokusai. If you want to get the most out of these resorts, it’s best to go on a day tour with a Niseko guide who can provide transport and show you all the best powder stashes.

Propeak offer private guided tours to Kiroro, Rusutsu, Moiwa and Sapporo Kokusai for up to 6 people. You can have guiding or include some powder tuition.

Rising Sun Guides offer private guided trips from Niseko to nearby ski resorts to ride the sidecountry. 

WRTs also offer various private Niseko guided day ski tours to nearby resorts. Get together a group of like-minded riders.

Black Diamond Tours offer the Powder Hunter program which are for PRIVATE groups that goes to the most ideal location each day depending on the snow, avalanche and weather conditions. Potential tour locations include the Niseko Back Bowls as well as Rusutsu, Kiroro, Sapporo Teine or Sapporo Kokusai. The guided tours include off-piste and sidecountry terrain.

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Adventure Activities

There are a few companies that offer snowmobiling and snow biking which is like a cross between a dirt bike and snowmobile (but a lot more fun than either) or other adventure activities include indoor rock climbing.

Niseko Kids Activities

Beyond snowball throwing, Niseko has lots of kids’ activities on offer. Lucky, because often the powder is too dry at Niseko to make a snowball!

Niseko has a few dedicated snow parks (Annupuri, Hanazono and Hirafu) that have kids’ toys and tobogganing and tubing. Other options include snow rafting or zip lining (for the big kids too!).

Day Trips

In early February a visit to the Sapporo Snow Festival is a highlight to see the huge statues and sculptures created in ice. It’s possible to catch a train from Kutchan to Sapporo – see the Navitime Japan Travel website for fares and schedules. Or check in with the Niseko Tourism office for bus timetables, or you can get a private charter transfer to Sapporo

A train trip to the seaside town of Otaru is also interesting. It’s novel to see snow at sea level, but it’s also nice to look at the historic canals, the seafood market, the glass crafts, the wacky Japanese shops, and indulge in some Japanese culture. A train from Kutchan to Otaru takes about 1 hour to 1:20 hours, and from there, Otaru is easy enough to explore on foot. The information centre at Otaru station can provide English maps that outline the various tourist attractions.

A day trip to Lake Toya (about 45 mins from Niseko) is also very worthwhile. Lake Toya is a volcanic caldera lake, and the associated Mount Usu is a very active volcano which last erupted in 2000. There is a museum that outlines lots of fascinating information about this geothermal region, and not surprisingly, the area also features various hot springs (onsens).

Relaxing Activities

Niseko Onsen

A soak in a hot spring bath (onsen) is the perfect remedy for aching muscles, and it’s also a quintessential activity whilst at a Japanese ski resort.

Some of the Hirafu hotels have onsen that are only open to hotel guests (e.g. Chalet Ivy, Ki Niseko), whilst a few other hotels allow non-guests to use the onsen for a fee. One Hirafu hotel with onsen available to non-guests is the Niseko Prince Hotel Hirafutei, whilst the onsen at the Green Leaf Hotel in Niseko Village is also rather popular.

There is a large concentration of onsens in the An’nupuri and Konbu Onsen area, with various shuttle options to get there.

The An’nupuri onsen (Niseko Grand Hotel – Konbu onsen area) can be a bit of fun but it’s more of a touristy onsen. The bathing area is mixed (ie males and females), and this is quite fortunate or unfortunate depending upon your view of things. The change rooms are segregated thankfully, and if you’re still a bit shy, make sure you visit the onsen at night time, grab multiple modesty towels, or purchase one of the funny little dresses to “cover” yourself!

The Ikoino Yuyado Iroha near the base of Annupuri is another ryokan where the onsen is open to the public.

Nearby at the Hotel Kanronomori in Moiwa, the lovely onsen is open to non-hotel guests. 

Slightly further afield is Goshiki Onsen, which is over the back of Niseko Ski Resort, so it’s popular with backcountry skiers who ski there for a soak. The outdoor baths have high walls that are usually caked in snow.

Our favourite onsen in Niseko is the Yukichichibu at the base of Chisenupuri ski area, which is now the home of Chisenupuri cat skiing. The outdoor baths are large and offer nice views up the mountain. The water is particularly sulphurous so you might need to bathe multiple times afterwards to get the smell off!

Of course remember that visiting an onsen requires some etiquette and respect for local customs. Snow angels in the nuddy are probably not good manners! See our onsen overview page for tips on how to use an onsen.

Massage Services

Niseko has various day spa facilities and lots of massage services.