Japan # 5: Tokachidake: Beautiful Alpine Views

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | February 19, 2015      

(Check out our previous trip reports.)

After a few days skiing at Asahidake the snow was getting tracked out, so we made plans to make tracks elsewhere. The area of Tokachidake is one of the highest areas you can ski in Hokkaido, and consequently gets large amounts of light snow.

The first day we arrived around noon, and decided to go for a short tour up from the lodge toward the beautiful alpine of the Tokachidake mountains, in Diatsu National Park. We hiked through low-angled trees and made it up into the highground. These were the first “real peaks” we’d seen in Japan, and they were breathtaking. After enjoying the view for a bit, we managed to find a slot of powder between the wind-blown snow. The run down was rad, especially in the evening light. We were psyched to check out more of the alpine in the area, although the weather wasn’t supposed to be quite as sunny the next few days. On the other hand, there was a slight hope for pow in the forecast.

Hayden checking out the alpine above Tokachidake on our first day in the area.

Hayden checking out the alpine above Tokachidake on our first day in the area.

The alpine snow wasn't exactly blower pow, but it sure was pretty.

The alpine snow wasn’t exactly blower pow, but it sure was pretty.

We found some softer snow in between the wind crust on the way down.

We found some softer snow in between the wind crust on the way down.

The lower trees even held some pow.

The lower trees even held some powder.

The next day we toured high, and found more rime and frozen bushes.

The next day we ski toured high, and found more rime and frozen bushes.

After our brief foray into the alpine, we retreated to the trees and found some nice snow.

After our brief foray into the alpine, we retreated to the trees and found some nice snow.

Mako serving up tasty curry.

Mako serving up tasty curry.

We might not have found the neck-deep pow, but you can always get neck deep in an onsen.

We might not have found the neck-deep pow, but you can always get neck deep in an onsen.

The next day we again tried to hike up into the alpine, but only found wind-blown ice and rime. We turned around, and hacked our way down rime and wind-crust back into the trees. The trees proved to have nice backcountry skiing, so we made a few laps before heading back to our lodge. The lodge where we were staying was one of the coolest of the trip, with a great onsen. It was a fairly large lodge, but had a nice kitchen, and hostel-style sleeping. The kitchen in the lodge was perfect (especially compared to communal kitchens in many other lodges and hostels I’ve visited); it was spotless, with a large variety of high quality cooking stuff. Several big commercial-style stoves rounded out the amenities. Mako, among his other skills, is a great chef. He made us an incredible chicken curry.

Snow piled up outside as we ate dinner. Perhaps we’d experience the mythical “japow” powder tomorrow?

(Check out our previous trip reports.)


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2 Responses to “Japan # 5: Tokachidake: Beautiful Alpine Views”

  1. Going Up February 19th, 2015 9:30 am

    WOOHOO, I have been following these blogs religiously. I am moving to Japan in June and I am excited to find legitimate BC skiing available!

    thanks for the info!

  2. DavidB February 19th, 2015 3:51 pm

    Wow what a shame you haven’t been blessed with standard conditions. I’ve skied Tokachidake many times and never had conditions like that.
    Normally, it’s blower.
    Sweet spot isn’t it.

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