Lift Assisted Backcountry Skiing

Brian Muller going through powder. Photo by Sea and Summit Photography

Our lift-assisted backcountry trips utilize ski area lift systems to access off-piste or “sidecountry” terrain.  The island of Hokkaido is battered with relentless light, dry snow from December to March every year; the challenge is knowing where to go each day. Factors like variable weather, strong winds, poor visibility and distinct micro-climates mean that KNOWLEDGE IS POWDER!

Avalanche Safety Equipment: Provided at no extra charge for all guests on all Lift Assisted Backcountry day trips. Please let us know in advance if you do not have your own!!

Lift Tickets: At the time of booking, we will charge for lift tickets for all lift assisted backcountry trips; however if on the trip date you already have a ticket for the area we decide to visit (or access to a better deal than Hokkaido Backcountry Club is able obtain) then HBC will refund in full the amount paid in advance for tickets (¥ 8,000/ticket).

Uphill Travel: Although we use the lifts to access the backcountry, our lift assisted backcountry trips often involve touring with either AT skis or splitboards including skins to access the best powder on that day. Please contact our sister company Niseko Basecamp for touring gear rentals.

Flexibility: In addition to total flexibility to head to any ski area within reach of Niseko on the day of your trip, we can usually even change your trip to a backcountry tour if weather conditions are better suited to that. If we are able to make this adjustment, HBC will refund the lift tickets.


Private Tour: 100,000yen  + lift ticket 7,273 yen  per person + 10% tax (up to 5 people), additional 100,000 yen + 10% tax + lift tickets for groups of 6 – 10.

Price Includes

  • Guide and transportation
  • Avalanche safety equipment (beacon, shovel, probe, and appropriate backpack) are required. If you do not have your own please let us know when booking so we can provide equipment as necessary
  • Guest to guide ratio: max 5:1
  • Touring gear is required but not included in trip price. Please contact our sister company Niseko Basecamp for touring gear rentals.

Tour Details

All tours begin with your guide picking you up directly from your accommodation and taking you to your destination in one of our comfortable 4WD drive vehicles (feel free to bring music along for the ride). Once at the hill, we will arrange lift tickets (Niseko excluded) and get straight down to business. With our guides leading the way you can expect to stay ahead of the curve all day long and not drop into any dead-end gullies. Japan is particularly suited to guided trips as there is no off-piste signage and many of the best runs end on narrow trails that weave their way back to the main courses but there are also plenty of places where a mistaken turn will leave you with a long walk out.


Included below is a brief description of some (but not all) of our options on lift-assisted backcountry trips. Please note we do not accept bookings for specific resorts on mixed-group trips; this allows us to let the weather dictate where we go on the day of your trip. However, we do accept requests and on private trips.

*Requested destination must be within day trip reach of Niseko ie. maximum 2 hours travel time each way.

Nearby Rusutsu resort boasts an extensive network of high speed lifts accessing some of the best gladed powder skiing in Hokkaido. Your guide will show you the best powder stashes on the mountains and take you in and out of the hidden terrain to maximize your turns. Black Diamond Tours will pick you up from your accommodation bright and early to make the short half hour drive to Rusutsu in time to catch first lifts and then drop you off again at the end of the day.

A favorite of Sapporo locals, Kokusai is a small resort with the entire resort accessed from one 8 passenger gondola. Despite its size, Kokusai has a surprising amount of varied terrain and a laid back attitude to off piste skiing allowing us to ride fresh powder all day long.

As an added bonus, Kokusai sees a different weather pattern than the Niseko range and often offers great conditions when Niseko and Rusutsu are tracked out so if you are already in Niseko and conditions aren’t perfect give us a call and we will let you know if things are in better shape on the Sapporo side.

This trip ends with a relaxing soak in the renowned hot springs of nearby Jozankei town on our way home.

Powder Hunter Trip

Located a stone’s throw from Niseko (about 45 minutes) Kiroro is a relatively unknown Hokkaido resort that is blessed with some of the most consistent powder conditions on the island. Positioned just off Hokkaido’s west coast Kiroro is the first resort to catch the good stuff arriving from Siberian storms and it is renowned for the great selection of off-piste terrain.