There are two skiing & snowboarding destinations in Japan which get the most international attention. Nagano is one; Niseko is the other. Niseko is a little bit snowier... but Nagano is a bit more exciting.

The mountains themselves can tell you why. Located in a huge range that's commonly known as the
Japanese Alps, the peaks around Nagano stretch into massive craggy cliffs that receive more than 12 meters (475 inches) of annual snowfall. Eleven ski resorts wind through the Hakuba Valley, inviting skiers and riders who can leave Tokyo on a bullet train in the morning and be on the slopes by early afternoon.

After two sold-out trips to Hokkaido, we can't wait to bring you to the site of the
1998 Olympic Winter Games. You'll spread out in our luxury chalets in Hakuba, and take in the breathtaking views at the Park Hyatt Tokyo. Prepare for a life-changing cultural experience that's full of delicious cuisine, awe-inspiring vistas and a group of fun-loving skiers and riders who are certain to make your trip truly unforgettable.

Space on this trip is very limited, and it will sell out.

Sign up now for our trip to Japan >
Thursday January 21 through Saturday January 30, 2022
5 -- Monday through Friday
In Tokyo: Shinjuku | In Nagano: Hakuba Village
Recommended for intermediate through advanced skiers & riders
$4199 per person
We reserve the right to cancel, reschedule, or make changes in the trip itinerary as a result of weather or safety considerations or as otherwise deemed necessary or advisable. If your trip is cancelled or rescheduled due to weather, snow, or mountain conditions, or circumstances beyond our control, you will receive a full credit for a future trip. All trip credits may be applied to any trip in the SKI BUMS future. There is no expiration date.

SKI BUMS is not responsible for the cost of any additional expenses that you may incur as a result of trip rescheduling or cancellation (airline ticketing fees, etc.).

To use a credit for a future deposit or payment, please
contact us directly.
Through October 1, you may cancel your spot at any time and receive a full refund. After October 1, the following cancellation fees apply:

For cancellations received from October 2 - October 31, $500 fee. After November 1st, 2015: no refund.

In order to obtain our bulk group discounts, we must agree to a very strict cancellation policy. It's the nature of group travel. Think of your SKI BUMS booking as you would an airline reservation; even we find someone to take your place,
the cancellation fees still apply.

If you buy travel insurance, you can still receive a refund for a cancelled SKI BUMS trip.

To cancel your SKI BUMS trip, click here >
Buy travel insurance. It's affordable and easy.

A travel insurer can provide a refund even when SKI BUMS cannot. In the circumstance that you need to cancel your trip because of work or health reasons, you should purchase travel insurance within 30 days of your initial trip deposit.

Even if you purchase travel insurance after this date, some coverage is much better than no coverage at all. Our cancellation policy is strict, and after cancellation fees kick in, a travel insurer may be your only chance for a full refund.

There are many travel insurers, and policies are very affordable. We especially recommend, and suggest you add the sports package to cover skiing & snowboarding activity.
$4199 USD per person

additional options:

-- $1000 supplement to upgrade to a single occupancy room in both hotels

-- $300 supplement to upgrade to the premium chalet in Hakuba

-- $300 discount for bunk bed accommodations in Hakuba
$1199 deposit due at sign up

$1000 payment due October 1 |
Make a balance payment here >

Balance due November 1 |
Make a balance payment here >

These are the dates for those who sign up today. Pricing and payment dates may change for those who sign up at a later date, if space remains. Late payments are subject to a 5% late-payment fee. It is up to you to submit your payments on time. You may always pay early.
You may pay with any major credit card, cash or check.

We use PayPal to process online credit card payments. PayPal is the internet's most trusted online payment portal, and you do not need to be a PayPal member to submit a payment.

If you would ever like to use PayPal to send a manual payment (from a smartphone, for example), our account address is: payments (at)

PayPal mobile apps: iPhone / iPad / iPod TouchAndroid

Your trip includes a five day lift ticket for the entire Hakuba Valley.

In general, it's impossible to ski or ride from one resort area to another. SKI BUMS trip leaders will name specific resorts for the first few days and invite everyone to ski and ride there -- but you'll always be free to do your own thing if you prefer.

Note: If you or your travel partner do not ski or snowboard -- we can remove the lift tickets from our package; contact us to make arrangements. (See "non-skiers," below.)
In Tokyo: We'll have group dinner reservations on Thursday and Friday night at some of Tokyo's best restaurants. Friday night's dinner will be prepaid; you'll just get your own drinks. Saturday night is a "free night" for you to dine wherever you wish.

In Hakuba: Our hotel's restaurant, Mimi's, is one of the very best in the area (read the raves), and we're excited to dine on their delicious cuisine for three of our evenings here: Sunday, Tuesday and Friday.

Most of our lunches will be at on-mountain cafeterias and cafes; in general, we'll meet as a group each day for lunch. For our free evenings, you'll be free to sample some of
the area's tasty restaurants; if you prefer to dine at the hotel restaurant or cook in our full-size kitchens, that's also an easy option. The hotel is happy to offer shuttle service to nearby restaurants and grocery stores.

Planning for food & drink: as you might not expect, food in Japan is wonderfully affordable. Prepare to be wowed, as you see how much further Japanese cuisine can go beyond sushi and ramen. Japan's cuisine is very easy for omnivores and pescatarians, but vegetarians or strict vegans may struggle when eating out. Here's some great advice.
We are happy to arrange roommates for you. Typically, half of our participants ask us to match them up with a roommate. About a month before the trip, we assign roommates and condo mates -- based on your requests. We'll ask a few easy questions and accommodate your preferences. (Those who sign up together will be placed together, unless you specifically request otherwise.)

Please note: there are a very small number of single occupancy slots available. We collect the single occupancy supplement when you sign up (View "Pricing & Payment" below).

At the
Park Hyatt Tokyo we've got standard hotel rooms for single or double occupancy.

At the
Phoenix Chalets, all participants will be guaranteed his or her own bed. Most bedrooms have one or two beds*. You may opt to share a bedroom with a roommate or upgrade to your own individual room within the chalet. Those who are traveling together may request to share a bed in a master bedroom with a private bathroom.

Participants in 2 BR chalets will have from 1 to 3 condo mates; participants in 3 BR chalets will have 3 - 5 condo mates. Those who upgrade to the premium chalet will have 6 - 8 condo mates. About a month before the trip, we'll collect requests for those with whom you might like to share a condo and place you accordingly.

*Bunk Beds: select bedrooms have bunk bed configurations. They're full-size, western twin beds with top-notch mattresses, and they sleep four adults per room. If you sign up for bunk bed quad occupancy, you'll receive a $300 trip discount**. View the bunk bed bedroom >

**The Premium Chalet has a bedroom with four bunk beds, so if you request both the Premium Chalet and also request a bunk bed, there's no additional cost.

About half of our participants rent skis or snowboards -- in part to avoid traveling with extra bags. Rentals are not included in our trip price; you should budget about $300 USD for a 5-day rental. No advance reservations are needed; you can pick up rentals upon arrival in Hakuba. The shop here is well stocked with the same top-of-the-line brands that you'll find at North American ski resorts; we love the gear and the crew at Rhythm Sports Hakuba.
SKI BUMS designs our season for all levels of skiers and snowboarders, but we make specific recommendations for each trip. On ALL SKI BUMS trips, we begin by dividing into skill level groups so you can identify those who enjoy the same terrain that you do.

See how our groups work >

We recommend this trip for intermediate, advanced and expert skiers and riders.

Hakuba is notably steeper and more challenging than the Hokkaido resorts like Niseko. There are a good number of mellow groomers, but gnarly, tough terrain here is also easy to access... and it's really, really fun. On our previous Japan trips, most participants are strong intermediate to expert skiers and snowboarders. (We expect about an equal number of strong intermediates and experts on this trip.) If you're a beginner, please contact us before signing up.
If this is your first and only trip to Japan, we strongly encourage you to extend your trip. SKI BUMS trip leaders are happy to offer advice, but we cannot book additional nights for you, and we will not be on hand to offer travel assistance beyond the official dates of our itinerary.

TOKYO: Before and after Tokyo, there are countless options. You may want to consider purchasing the Japan Rail Pass; it gives you unlimited train travel on the entire nation's JR Train lines for 7, 14 or 21 days. Beyond our trains to / from Nagano, you could use it to visit common destinations like Kyoto, Hiroshima / Nagasaki and Osaka.

NAGANO: There are many other ski areas in the Nagano prefecture; Shiga Kogen and Nozawa Onsen are the other areas we recommend most highly. Learn more about nearby ski areas >

For more discussion about trip extensions, and to see if others would like to join you...

join the discussion on our Facebook group >
Air transportation is not included in the trip price. Read these recommendations closely before buying airfare. This trip only requires international airfare to Tokyo.

Tokyo has two major airports, and you can fly into whichever one is most convenient for you. Narita (NRT) welcomes more international flights than Haneda (HND) does, but Haneda is considerably closer to our hotel.

HEAD'S UP: You'll want to be smart and cautious about buying your airfare, so you can attend our meet & greet on the first evening. For the return, you should allow for a 3-hour train ride (with transfers) from Nagano to Tokyo's airports.


ARRIVAL: Plan to arrive anytime before 5 PM on Thursday Jan 21; our itinerary officially begins with a cocktail meet & greet reception in the bar of our hotel at 6:30 PM, followed by dinner at the hotel at 8 PM. After landing, allow about 2 hours to get through customs, get your luggage and check in at the hotel. IMPORTANT: those traveling from North America will lose a day while flying over the international dateline. Select a departure date of Wednesday, Jan 20.

We do not recommend scheduling an international departure from Tokyo before 5 PM on Saturday the 30th. Our ground transfer will bring us to Nagano train station in time to catch shinkansen trains at 10:45 AM or later. You'll probably make it to Narita or Haneda no earlier than 2 PM, and you'll need to arrive at least 2.5 hours before your flight departs. For a more relaxed itinerary, you may want to fly home on Sunday the 31st instead (see "trip extensions," below). View the train timetables from Nagano >

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Connect with the other BUMS on Facebook if you'd like to coordinate travel with others.
Train transportation is not included in the trip price. After arriving in Japan, you'll purchase your own train ticket for train travel between Tokyo and Nagano.

You should budget about $75 USD for a round-trip ticket, and it's much easier to wait to purchase this ticket until after you've arrived in Japan. The trains don't sell out. We'll provide specific train recommendations to all participants, and we'll travel together as a group. Travel time is about 100 minutes from Nagano to Tokyo.

Japan's primary train system, the JR Trains, are an extensive series of trains which include metro, commuter, regional and bullet trains, or
shinkansen. The system is efficient and very easy to use.

While in Tokyo, we'll rely on the JR Trains & Tokyo Metro. We'll email everyone specific advice before we depart.
Learn more about Tokyo's trains >

The Hakuba Valley is part of the "Japanese Alps," and if you've ever been to the Alps, you'll easily understand why. It's got incredible terrain both above and below the tree line, with wide open bowls, beautiful glades, challenging tree runs, exciting steeps and mellow groomers. Not unlike the layout of Chamonix, this long, undulating valley features eleven ski resorts, side-by-side. One combined lift pass covers the entire area.

If you're comparing it to other global ski areas, a few things stand out. For one, the snowfall. The area gets
more snow than the Alps -- on par with America's snowiest resorts (Alta / Snowbird). The snow that falls here travels from Siberia in dry, cool waves; powder days are plentiful, especially in January. The challenge here is notable; it's easy to find white-knuckle steeps and leg-burning tree runs if you want them. A big exception: the altitude. The top elevation is only about 6,000 feet (1830 meters) -- giving you more than enough oxygen for deep breathing and a good night's sleep.

Additionally, the lift infrastructure and mountain operations are top-notch; very similar to what you'd expect in North America. As you'll find in
Niseko, English is widely used. There's a large contingent of Australians who are visiting and working here, giving the whole atmosphere a global village feel with an fun-filled jolt of enthusiastic, fun-filled energy.
This trip probably isn't the best choice for non-skiers / non-boarders, but if you or your travel partner do not ski or snowboard, there are a lot of other fun things to do here. If you don't mind having your own fun while everyone else is on the mountain during the day, go for it! Contact us to remove lift tickets.
Who's coming on the trip? Find out by joining our special SKI BUMS Nagano Facebook Group.

Whether you're simply curious about signing up or you're already on board, everyone's welcome to join this Facebook group. Feel free to invite friends, too -- it's a cool way to begin learning names of the skiers and boarders who you'll meet when we're in Argentina!

Request to join the Nagano Facebook group >

Of course, weather is impossible to predict, but SKI BUMS plans our trips with an eye on weather history. The season in Hakuba generally follows that of North America and Europe, with the snowiest period occurring from late December through early March. January's storms tend to be big and powdery. Wind and avalanche protection can sometimes temporarily close the upper areas of the mountain when a new storm blows in, but there are ample glades and tree skiing areas in the lower elevations to provide more than enough fun. And when the upper areas open again, the sheer amount of fresh powder usually provides fresh tracks for days on end.
Upon arrival at Hakuba's Phoenix hotel and chalets, we'll check in, relax, then enjoy a delicious dinner at their on-site restaurant.

The fun begins early Monday morning!
Happo One (pronounced Happo OH-nay) resort is about ten minutes from our hotel, and we'll take time pick up equipment rentals before the day's adventure begins.

As with every SKI BUMS trip, we begin by dividing into skill level groups that help you identify the other skiers and snowboarders who enjoy the same terrain -- at the same pace -- as you do.

Learn about our skill level groups. >

In general, you'll spend most of the day in a smallish group of four or five skiers or boarders -- but that's up to you. The BUMS are a social crowd, so it's always easy to mix it up. Each day, we meet as a group for
lunches and après-ski. You and your group will set your own pace, and it's common to mix it up with a few different groups throughout the week. As the week progresses, some groups will opt for full days, while others might take a half-day off to relax. This is your vacation, so you're always free to break away and do your own thing.

Learn more about how SKI BUMS trips work >
Our rooms are guaranteed after 1 PM on Thursday the 21st. When you arrive, you'll simply check in at the hotel under your name. Most participants will arrive in the afternoon or early evening hours.
Our trip officially begins with meet & greet cocktails at 6:30 PM. In our hotel lobby bar, you'll meet the SKI BUMS trip leaders and the other participants -- and then we'll sit down for a relaxing dinner at 8 PM.
While in Hakuba, we'll rely on shuttle buses which serve the Hakuba Valley resorts. Additionally, our hotel offers a free shuttle van for quick trips to the rental shop, grocery store, etc. If you'd like to take side trips in the evenings, taxis are affordable and easy to arrange.
This trip has a minimum of 20 participants and a maximum of 40 participants. If we fail to meet our minimum number of registered participants by 60 days before the trip, the trip may be cancelled. In that event, those who have signed up for the trip will receive a full refund.

Update, August 2015: we have reached our minimum number of participants. This trip is nearly sold out.
+ Three night stay in Tokyo, six night stay in Hakuba
+ Nine breakfasts and four dinners
+ Five day lift pass for the Hakuba Valley resorts
+ Guided tour to Matsumoto Castle and the Jigokudani Monkey Park
+ Two ground transfers between Hakuba and the Nagano area train stations
+ Complimentary hotel shuttle in Hakuba, complimentary public bus service in Hakuba
+ Trip organization, guidance and assistance from two SKI BUMS professional trip leaders
+ Air transportation
+ Taxi, bus and train transportation (Tokyo and Nagano)
+ Ski and snowboard equipment rental
+ Backcountry tour guides (optional)
+ Lunches, some dinners, alcoholic drinks
+ Entry fees or visa fees
(if applicable)
+ Travel insurance
(very highly recommended)
Here a few quick steps to help you prepare for our trip!

EDIT YOUR GMAIL SETTINGS | Gmail users won't get important info emails from us unless you follow these steps.

| Most of the participants on this trip will be ready for a hard-charging series of back-to-back days on the mountain. Be sure to stay active so you can have fun without getting too spent.

NEED NEW GEAR? | SKI BUMS members get excellent discounts at 30%-50% off!

LEARN SOME BASIC POLITE JAPANESE | Although those who work in hospitality (especially at our hotels) will speak fluent English, Japan is an exceptionally polite culture, and you'll want to know how to say please and thank you, hello and goodbye, and exchange other common pleasantries. Duolingo is a whole lot of fun, and it's free.

SET UP YOUR CELL PHONE PLAN | Don't wait until the last minute to set up your international data, voice and SMS messaging. We do NOT recommend renting a SIM card upon arrival in-country; it nearly always causes more problems than it solves. Learn more >
Upon arrival, check into the iconic Park Hyatt Tokyo, made famous in the film Lost in Translation. It's undeniably one of the world's top hotels, winning consistent praise from Travel & Leisure, Fodor's and Conde Nast Traveler -- but you might be surprised at how unstuffy and friendly it is. From the moment you arrive, you'll love the attention to detail and eager-to-please attitude of the incredible staff. The views from the bars, restaurants and indoor pool really must be seen to be believed. Our standard rooms can be prepared for single or double occupancy -- it's your choice.

Our hotel is located in Shinjuku, a neighborhood that's full of cool restaurants, shops and nightlife, not far from the vibrant gay bars of Shinjuku Ni-chōme. It's also conveniently located near Shinjuku Station, where you can catch a convenient train to Matsumoto (see "train transportation," below).
+ Thursday, January 21: Arrive in Tokyo -- most will arrive late afternoon / early evening

+ Fri Jan 22 - Saturday Jan 23: Spend two days exploring the excitement of Tokyo

+ Sun Jan 24: Transfer to Nagano prefecture, with a visit to Matsumoto & Jigokudani snow monkeys

+ Mon Jan 25 - Fri Jan 29: Ski & ride the Hakuba Valley resorts

+ Sat Jan 30: Transfer back to Tokyo for flights home (or optional trip extension)
Thursday night through Saturday evening, the SKI BUMS trip leaders will design a fun-filled itinerary with group outings to famous sights and extra time to explore the city on your own. Highlights include historic temples and shrines in Asakusa, the whimsical fashion of Takeshita street, the stores of Ginza and the Edo-Tokyo museum. We'll visit the gay bars, too. They're fascinating.

The SKI BUMS approach toward city exploration isn't like your standard tour group -- no one's going to hold a flag aloft, saying "we're walking... we're walking"-- rather, we'll divide up into smaller groups, based on what sights you'd like to see, and trust that you're savvy enough to navigate one of the world's most popular tourist destinations without a lot of hand-holding. Of course, if you ever need assistance, our trip leaders are very familiar with Japan, and very happy to help you explore this vibrant city. We'll distribute a suggested itinerary for sightseeing, along with helpful tips and suggestions to make sure you have fun, stay safe, and see the best that Tokyo has to offer.
On Sunday, we'll all board at train at the Shinjuku station (near our hotel), bound for Matsumoto in Nagano prefecture. It's about a 2-hour train ride. Upon arrival, we'll transfer to a touring bus. We'll visit Matsumoto Castle, have lunch together, and journey to the world-famous snow monkeys of Jigokudani Park. Your Facebook friends will all be terribly jealous.
You must have a cell phone that will work while we are in-country. It will need to be able to receive domestic SMS text messages, even when you are not on Wifi.

Trip leaders send up-to-the-minute text message alerts with itinerary information, transportation pickup times, lunch locations, weather advisories, and more. Additionally, the other trip participants text one another to coordinate their plans on the mountain. You should set up an international plan that includes voice, data and SMS messaging.

View our communications guide for important information >
FOR HAKUBA: You should arrive in-country with all your skiing & snowboarding apparel. SKI BUMS requires our trip participants to wear helmets while skiing & riding. See our helpful guide, How to Dress for the Mountain, for suggestions. Additionally, you'll need to pack a pair of snow-proof shoes with a good tread; the roads in Hakuba tend to be snowy and slippery, and the path to the snow monkeys is notoriously icy. It would be smart to pack a pair of crampons.

In addition to Rhythm Sports, Tokyo has a few
great gear shops, but larger sizes and availability will be very limited. NOTE: it's nearly impossible to find larger-sized shoes, gloves or goggles in Tokyo.

FOR TOKYO: If you've taken trips with the BUMS before, you know that we're not a showy kinda crowd. All events on the SKI BUMS itinerary will be casual dress. Be comfortable, first and foremost. That said, the Park Hyatt probably isn't the kind of the place where you'd want to show up for breakfast (or at the famous top-floor bar) in sweatpants and a baseball cap; smart casual city style is probably the best way to blend in here. We'll email everyone smart packing tips.
SKI BUMS detailed trip itineraries are distributed upon arrival, and they're designed to be viewed on any smart phone. More importantly, our trip leaders send up-to-the-minute alerts that you'll receive on your phone via SMS text messaging.

For this reason, you must have a cell phone that will work while we're in Japan.

View our communications guide >
Space is limited, and this trip will sell out.

Signing up is simple. You'll simply provide your information, then proceed to payment. You may sign up individually or as a couple.

After we've received your signup & payment, you'll receive an
confirmation via email that you're registered for the trip.

IMPORTANT NOTICE for GMAIL users: we send important confirmation & information emails that you won't receive unless you take special steps to see them.

Learn how to adjust Gmail's filters >
We've booked the most stylin' digs in Hakuba -- the fantastic Phoenix Chalets. This gay-friendly, Australian-run property welcomed our trip leader for a short visit in 2015; it's a perfect fit for us.

Our multi-bedroom, multi-level chalets feature full-size kitchens, great beds, flat-screen TV's, free WiFi, washers & dryers, and gear storage. Each was built within the last few years, they're chic, modern and cool
, and all within easy walking distance of one another. The adjoining hotel features an award-winning restaurant, spa, sauna, hot onsen bath and more. The Phoenix is located in Hakuba Village, the central lodging area for the Hakuba Valley resorts. Each ski resort is just a short shuttle bus ride away.

Read our hotel's glowing TripAdvisor reviews >

Premium Chalet: one of our chalets is larger and even more luxurious than the others. Named Phoenix One, it's got its own private sauna, exercise room, sunken granite bath, game room, and gorgeous private views into a snowy forest. It's seriously fabulous. You may upgrade to the Premium Chalet for a $300 supplement. View the stunning pics of Phoenix One >

Most bus transportation IS included in our trip price.*

SKI BUMS will provide bus transfers for the entire group on January 24 and 30, to get between the train stations and our hotel in Hakuba. On the 24th, this bus will include sightseeing -- Matsumoto Temple and the famous Jigokudani Snow Monkeys -- before bringing us to Hakuba (see "Sightseeing," above.) Additionally, buses in Hakbua which serve the ski resorts are free for skiers and snowboarders. SKI BUMS may provide additional shuttle vans, if necessary, to accommodate the group's skiing & snowboarding itinerary.

*The Friendly Airport Limousine Bus, which will transfer you from the airport to our hotel, is not prepaid. Advance reservations are unnecessary; you'll simply purchase your ticket upon arrival at the airport (about $40 USD). This is a clean, efficient, easy service -- and it's much more affordable than a private taxi, which can cost more than $200 USD. View the timetable here >

Relax, you're in good hands. Although the thought of getting around Japan on public transportation might seem a bit intimidating from afar, in truth, the systems here are more efficient, modern and relaxing than what you're probably used to back home. With a little help from the trip leaders, you'll wish that it was always this easy to get around.

Here's a quick overview of how you'll get from here to there. A few weeks before the trip, we'll email all our participants with helpful and informative transportation details.

Jan 21: Friendly Airport Limousine Bus from airport to the hotel
Jan 21 - 24: Public trains, taxis and walking to get around Tokyo
Jan 24: Taxi from the hotel to the Shinjuku JR Train Station | JR Train from Shinjuku to Matsumoto | Ground transfer & sightseeing tour from Matsumoto to our hotel in Hakuba
Jan 24 - 30: public shuttle buses, hotel shuttle van, taxis to get around Hakuba
Jan 30: Ground transfer bus to Nagano | JR train from Nagano to Tokyo (city station or airports)
Our trip includes 2 full days in Tokyo -- you can enjoy more if you schedule your flights accordingly. We plan a very light itinerary with recommended sights that you can easily opt-out of, in part, to give you time to adjust to the new time zone. The first few days can feel a bit like you're walking through a dream; unless you live in Asia, you'll need a few days before morning feels like morning.

Tokyo's recommended sights include
Meiji Shrine, shopping in Harajuku and Takeshita Street, Asakusa's Sensoji Temple, the Edo-Tokyo Museum, and the gay nightlife of Shinjuku Ni-Chome. This is the largest city in the world; there's an endless list of cool things to do.

View pics from the SKI BUMS 2015 weekend in Tokyo >

On Sunday the 24th, after leaving Tokyo, our itinerary includes two exciting sights:
Matsumoto Castle, one of the oldest castles in Japan, and a trip to the world famous snow monkeys of Jigokudani Park. We'll visit each of these sites while taking our bus transfer from the train station in Matsumoto to our hotel in Hakuba.
We highly recommend this trip for backcountry and off-piste skiers and riders.

The Hakuba area has some of the most challenging, exhilarating tree skiing anywhere in Japan, with incredible pillow lines, huckable cliffs, powder-filled gullies and steeps that aren't easily found in Japan's other ski areas. The rules and regulations around backcountry skiing & riding are a bit odd here; some of Hakuba's resorts allow it, others explicitly forbid it, while yet others simply let it happen, as long as you know what you're doing.

SKI BUMS will invite experienced backcountry skiers and snowboarders to join pre-arranged tours with experienced guides; these costs are additional.
If you sign up to participate, you must bring backcountry touring equipment into the country with you -- beacons, probes, and shovels are mandatory. ABS air-bags are optional. We will email specific requirements to all those who sign up to participate in backcountry touring.

Here's a quick geography lesson: Tokyo is our arrival and departure point. People generally break it down into large neighborhoods, with names like Shinjuku, Ginza, Roppongi, Ueno and Chiyoda-ku.

View a map Tokyo's main neighborhoods >

Nagano is the name of the prefecture (like a province / state) where the Hakuba Valley is located. We'll pass through the small city of Matsumoto, on our way to in the popular ski town of Hakuba (pronounced HOCK-oo-bah). Hakuba is cool; lots of bars, restaurants, spas and shops.
We'll also pass through the capital city of Nagano prefecture, which is simply called