Sample Itinerary and quote for John, Peiper & Friends Hokkaido Adventure 2020
Feb. 7: Arrive at Tokyo’s Narita Airport (NRT) at 4:55pm.
Send your ski gear from the NRT airport to the Westin Rusutsu Hotel on Hokkaido.
Catch the Narita Express train or Skyliner train from the NRT airport to downtown Tokyo and transfer to your hotel.
Feb. 7 - 10: Explore Tokyo (lodging or details not included in SnowLocals guiding package or price quote)
Feb 10: Return to either one of Tokyo’s two airports (HND or NRT) for a flight to Sapporo's New Chitose Airport (CTS)
We will be waiting for you in the arrivals hall and we will have 4WD van(s) for the group.
We will drive to downtown Sapporo after meeting at CTS airport so we can catch the end of the Sapporo Snow Festival (ends on Feb. 11th).
Feb. 10 - 11: (1 night) We will stay in the downtown Sapporo area, eat ramen, explore the city and admire the snow sculptures and Snow Festival craziness. Sapporo is an awesome city.
Feb. 11: We will drive 90 minutes to Rusutsu Resort.
Feb. 11 - 14: Stay 3 nights at the ski in ski out Rusutsu Resort in the Westin Tower Hotel, in double occupancy rooms, including breakfast.
Ski at Rusutsu, with options to drive to Niseko, Kiroro, or to add on a heli skiing day.
About Rusutsu Resort:
Rusutsu Resort is a large ski resort complex on Hokkaido that is made up of 2 hotels and 3 lift-serviced peaks. The Rusutsu Resort North and South Wing hotel is connected by a monorail to the Westin Rusutsu Tower hotel. Both hotels were originally owned by Kamori Kanko until the Westin purchased the all-suite tower hotel in 2015 and rebranded the rooms in 2016.
Rusutsu itself is located an easy 90 minutes from Sapporo, the population hub of Hokkaido and scene of the 1972 Winter Olympics. Rusutsu is easy to get to and it is large and modern, but it lacks the international reputation or the village layout of neighboring Niseko. This keeps the crowds down and the snow pristine. In traditional Japanese style, there is a lot happening at Rusutsu and it's impossible to feel bored there.
Rusutsu Resort was one of the first Japanese ski areas we visited in 2011, and we have returned every year since. Below is a video series we made for them a few years ago but still gives you a great idea of what the place is like:
Activity Options - The Rusutsu campus is filled with activities and if you have any energy leftover following your day skiing. Or for some weird reason it didn't snow a few feet overnight then you can have your pick from: dog-sledding, snowmobiling, snow rafting, snowshoeing, sledding or exploring the snow-covered amusement park. If you prefer an indoor activity, you can tour the bars, restaurants, shops, sensory overload arcade, merry-go-round (within an indoor village), onsen (Japanese hot bath), pool, water slide, wave pool, gym, more restaurants, another onsen, singing wax tree, and whatever else you happen to find inside this sprawling complex. Then retreat to your room and wait for the snow to fall again because it's never long between storms.
Feb. 14: Drive 45 minutes to the onsen town of Jozankei and stay in the traditional Japanese Shogetsu Grand Hotel. We can stay and ski at Rusutsu this day and then head to Jozankei in the afternoon or we can leave in the morning and ski at a local ski area 30 minutes from Jozankei.
Feb. 14 - 16: Stay 2 nights at the Shogetsu Grand Hotel in either traditional Japanese style rooms with tatami mats or in Japanese/western style rooms with raised beds. A very Japanese breakfast is included.
Ski the local and lesser-known Kokusai ski area (30 minute drive).
Feb. 16: Drive close to the CTS airport. Either Yubari Resort or the town of Chitose. This day will depend heavily on snow conditions.
Feb. 16- 17: Stay one night within an hour drive from the CTS airport so it is easy to get to your flight the next morning.
About Yubari Resort:
Yubari is the closest ski area to the Hokkaido's main New Chitose Airport (CTS). It is still an hour away, but this undiscovered little mountain has some Japanese charm and is in a town with a story to tell. Yubari was once Japan's coal capital and a city of 120,000. Today, Yubari has a population of 8,000 and the uncrowded ski area hopes to bring some life back to the region.
Yubari Resort is one of those places that you just happen across while traveling and then keep returning to every year. It is easy to get to and just plain relaxing. The hotel is connected to the gondola via a covered bridge, and you will never feel the pressure to get first chair and first tracks because well... all of your tracks will be first tracks. Once you have had your fill of powdery tree skiing, then spend a few runs ripping the GS course, the mogul zipper line, or the surprisingly well-maintained terrain park. Don't forget to hone your turning skills on a smooth groomer run in true Japanese fashion and then snack on some famous Yubari Melon bread. Eat some dinner, marvel at the amazing assortment of melon bear (the Yubari mascot) merchandise, ski a few laps under the lights at night and then finish the day in an open air onsen.
Below is a video we made for Yubari Resort last winter. This is their famous Melon Kuma mascot, and pretty much sums up any trip to Japan - Strange, fun, and very snowy:
Feb. 17: Drive back to CTS airport to catch your flights home.
This itinerary includes all of the lodging, lift tickets, transportation, gas, and road tolls while you are on the island of Hokkaido. Breakfast is also included everywhere we go, and dinners are included at Rusutsu and in Jozankei. We are on our own for lunch each day and there are plenty of food options on the ski areas where we will be.
The SnowLocals crew (Charlie, Jake, and possibly George) will be your guides throughout this trip. We will show you more than just our favorite places to ski. We are there to share what we love about Japan and have a great time on another Hokkaido adventure!
Based on a group of 2 guests - The above itinerary will cost US$ 16,940 total.
And includes: lodging, lift tickets, transportation, gas, road tolls, all breakfasts, onsen entry fees, and private guiding.
We took a group of journalists on a similar trip to Hokkaido and you can read about their experiences in the links below:
SKI MAGAZINE (or in print in the Nov. 2018 Issue)