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Gassan Cat & Zao Tour

Gassan Cat & Zao Tour5/51
Gassan Cat & Zao Tour5 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
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Gassan Cat & Zao Tour Enquire
Price p/p Sample price is based on 3-night package, twin-share (2 in group).
Base/invoice currency is JPY
Displayed price might vary slightly due to exchange rate fluctuations.
USD 1,536

Customizable From 2 Nights

Location: Japan | Tour Focus: Guided | Terrain Focus: Off-Piste, On-Piste, Backcountry, Sidecountry
Ability: Intermediate to Advanced
Price p/p Sample price is based on 3-night package, twin-share (2 in group).
Base/invoice currency is JPY
Displayed price might vary slightly due to exchange rate fluctuations.
USD 1,536
This short adventure tour incorporates a day of guided resort skiing at Zao Onsen & a day of snowcat backcountry access skiing/riding plus night skiing at a secret local resort that only opens at night! You will be guided by local English speaking Japanese guides who will provide an authentic cultural experience.
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Custom Booking Period
Min Days
Custom Booking Period: Dec 01 - Mar 31, 2025
Min Days: From 2
Price: Enquire
Availability: Enquire

Gassan, Zao & Night Ski Tour

If you are up for an adventure and looking for something different, this tour ticks those boxes.

After the first night staying at Zao Onsen, the tour kicks off with a guided day of in-resort and off-piste skiing at the Zao Onsen ski resort. Your local guides will show you the secret powder stashes around the resort as well as the best place for lunch.

Then it's off to Gassan ski resort. Gassan is one of the snowiest places in Japan, with over 30 metres of snow falling annually. So much snow falls here, they don't open the ski resort until April! So the only way to access the goods here during Jan to March is via snowcat or ski touring. You and your group will have exclusive access to the snowcat where you will do up to 3 runs (only 1 included in price) of around 400m of vertical per run, skiing/riding the deep powder in the trees. At the end of each lap you can traverse back to the cat for the next run. For the more adventurous groups who have touring gear, there are opportunities to combine the cat with some hiking to gain longer vertical descents. There is also the opportunity to do some touring runs without the cat. Ultimately the decision will be up to your group as to how adventurous you want to get!

In the evening of this day you have the option to do some night powder skiing at a local ski area.

Group Type

These tours are for private groups only i.e. you cannot join a group as a solo traveller. However the good news is that the minimum group size is just 2 so you and a friend can have this whole experience to yourselves. But why not share it with up to 9 other friends because it becomes more affordable with a larger group, particularly the snowcat skiing component of the trip. You can make a booking request to get a quote for your desired trip duration, group size and number of cat runs.


Whilst at Zao Onsen you will stay at an old-style traditional Japanese ryokan or at Yamagata if you would prefer more of a modern-style hotel.

At Gassan Ski Resort you will stay at Gassan Pole Pole Farm Villa. All villas have a living room, 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, and a kitchen. The villas have plenty of western comforts.

Sample Itinerary

The following itinerary is a sample of a 3-day tour however as these tours are for private groups only, they can be customized as desired.

Day 1

  • Mid afternoon arrival at Yamagata airport or station. You will either be picked up by your guides or take a shuttle to your accommodation in Zao Onsen or Yamagata.
  • 17:30 Check-in at the hotel
  • 18:00 Dinner

Day 2

  • 9:00 Full day of guided skiing / snowboarding at Zao ski resort.
  • 16:00 After skiing/snowboarding, your guide will take you to an open-air hot springs / onsen.
  • 17:30 Check-in to  your cozy snow villa at Gassan Pole Pole Farm Villa.
  • 18:00 Dinner will be at a Japanese Wagyu beef shabu shabu restaurant which is what Yamagata is famous for.

Day 3

  • 8:00  Mt. Gassan - today you will gain access to the Gassan backcountry via snowcat. You will either lap the 400 vertical metres of tree skiing terrain from the snowcat (single ride included but can purchase up to 3 for the day) with little to no walking or you will have the choice of hiking a little further up to gain more vertical. Either way you will ski/ride untracked powder all day!
  • 16:00 After skiing/riding,  you will head back to Gassan Pole Pole Farm Villa for an early dinner. 
  • 18:00 After dinner, you will be treated to a memorable night of skiing at a local resort that only opens at night which is said to be great for powder freaks!

Day 4

  • After breakfast you will be dropped off at the airport or train station for your departure.

Rates, Inclusions & Add-Ons

2024 Rates

 Room Type  Guests   Price p.p.
 Twin Room  2  240,000
 Triple Room  3  222,000
 Quad Room  4  202,000

Notes about prices:
  • sample prices above are based on 3-night package (1 night Zao + 2 nights Gassan)
  • prices are per person in Japanese Yen
  • as the snowcat is a private cat, having more people in your group will make the per person price significantly less - please make a booking request for a quote for your group size, trip duration and other requirements
  • excludes 10% tax
  • 3 nights lodging
  • 3 breakfasts & 3 dinners
  • Transport around Yamagata to/from resorts
  • Guiding by qualified Japanese (English speaking) guides
  • Lift tickets
  • Cat assisted backcountry access at Gassan (single ride)
  • Extra guided resort days (Zao or other nearby resort)
  • Extra guided days at Gassan and Miyagi Zao (cat access or touring)
  • Avi gear rental - JPY 8,000 per day
  • Snow shoe rental - JPY 4,000 per day
  • Extra cat assisted backcountry rides at Gassan (up to 3 per day)
Not Included
  • Flights
  • Travel & medical insurance
  • Ski rental or avy equipment
  • Personal expenses
  • 10% tax