Skiing in Japan 2024: An Unforgettable Powder Adventure

Written by: Jere Burrell



Time to read min

Japan 2024: A Ski Season for the Ages

As the El Niño forecast hinted at a below-average winter for the North Cascades, snow enthusiasts began looking abroad to satisfy their appetite for powder. When Mount Baker's snow levels seemed destined to disappoint, Japan emerged as a prime destination for the 2024 ski season. Despite an initially slow start, Japan's winter quickly turned epic, especially on the island of Hokkaido.

Early season rains in Japan gave way to heavy snowfalls driven by cold Siberian winds crossing the Sea of Japan. By late December, Hokkaido was blanketed in snow, with totals and snowpack depth exceeding expectations. By the time we arrived in late January, conditions were perfect for a month of unforgettable skiing adventures.

Welcoming Our First Guests

By the last week of January, we welcomed our first group of guests. We had been enjoying cold, deep powder across various regions, from the Yubari Range to Teine, Hidaka, and Ishikari. Each day was a quest for the deepest snow, the best visibility, and the most unique adventures to share with our guests. Nearly every day concluded with a hot soak in an onsen and a feast of local cuisine, including noodles, sushi, tempura, okonomiyaki, shabu-shabu, and an array of delicious options at izakayas.

A lady skiing in the sun at furano japan with Guided Exposure
A long stride while splitboard skinning up hill with snow frosted trees in central hokkaido japan

Exploring Furano: The Heart of Hokkaido Skiing

Our central hub in Furano, Japan, offered unparalleled access to a wide range of skiing experiences. Within a two-hour radius, we could reach everything from small single-lift areas to high-speed quads, world-famous trailheads, and untouched backcountry skiing. Off the beaten path, it often felt like we had the mountain to ourselves.

Furano's charming town and surrounding villages offered unique coners and alleys with family-run noodle shops to hidden izakayas where the local matriarchs gathered to socialize. These small establishments provided a warm cozy setting with authentic Japanese culture, far from the tourist traps.

A sushi chef in Furano prepare rice and fish for guests black and white photo
A tempura chef prepares fried food during dinner service at Hotel Naturwald in Furano Japan

Overcoming Weather Challenges

The first two weeks were filled with consistent deep snow. However, a warm front from the south temporarily brought rain, dampening our powder dreams. This brief interruption allowed us to explore Japan's rich cultural heritage, including temples that line the countryside, art galleries from national treasure Goto Sumio, and authentic restaurants that fill the dark side streets in Kitanomine.

The cold weather soon returned, and with it, the relentless snowfall. Despite the occasional cold windstorms and vehicle maintenance challenges, we continued to enjoy some of the best skiing conditions imaginable.

A Season to Remember

By the end of our third week with guests, we had hosted three groups, each spending 9 days, 8 nights, and 7 skiing days. Over 27 days, we explored central Hokkaido, seeking out mind-altering shred experiences. Each guest left Hokkaido in a powder haze, drunk on the best snow on Earth and the incredible experiences we shared.

Japan 2024 proved to be a ski season for the ages. From the deep powder and diverse terrain to the rich cultural experiences, skiing in Hokkaido offered an unforgettable adventure that left us all eager to return. If you're looking for the ultimate skiing destination, Japan should be at the top of your list.

Snowboarding deep powder spraying in Furano Japan with Guided Exposure