The Ultimate Season – Six Countries in Six Months


January - Japan

Tyler Chorlton in Hokkaido, Japan. Chortling to himself obviously. Photo: Matt Georges

Now the spiritual home of powder snowboarding, at least according to all who’ve been lucky enough to go. Guaranteed freshies, no argument. Cold, dry Siberian winds hungry for moisture hit the Sea of Japan, sucking most of it up in the process before dumping all of it over the west coast, creating some of the best conditions imaginable.

Probably your best bet would be to head to Niseko on the north island, the mecca for all powder hounds, to try and get acclimatised in what can be a daunting and baffling country.

Just an average day in Hokkaido. Photo: Antti Autti by Matt Georges

After you’ve had a bit of practice clearing your car every morning and digging yourself out of neck deep snow you should probably start exploring. Micro resorts like Moiwa are only short bus journeys away from Niseko but can hold unbelievable powder stashes, plus bigger areas likeĀ Rusutsu are also nearby.

However, if you’re anywhere in Japan in January, you’re already winning. It’s still cold enough so that the coastal snow isn’t sticky but even in the early season conditions will be snorkel deep.


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