I’ve been wanting to go mountain snowmobiling in Japan for years. I’ve had many friends go on ski and snowboard trips to Niseko—a little town on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido—and they have all said that the powder and the culture are amazing. The problem has always been that there are no sled rental places or commercial guides there.
Well, it took me two years to put it together, but I lined up sleds, lodging, guides and transportation into one ‘Ride Japan’ package. I already knew everyone who signed up for the maiden voyage (except Greg), so it was like a bunch of buddies going on a sled trip. Greg turned out to be a good dude and fit right in with the rest of our crew. We were all really amped for this trip!
Photos by Chris Brown, Aaron Bernasconi and Brian Hull
Konnichiwa! Snowmobiling in Japan
We found some pretty challenging terrain and had a blast pushing each other. Even though it was the “worst” snow year in 30 years, they still had a 2-2.5 meter base (usually 5-6m) and we were rewarded with some fresh JAPOW.
Even though the snow and terrain were unreal, it was the Japanese culture that really topped it all off. On one of our riding days we met up with about 30 Japanese riders who had heard we were in Japan. They took us to a really cool cabin just outside Sapporo.
Tomo (the Honeybadger) shows us how they load sleds in Japan.
No selfies in Japan?! Ummm…I’m pretty sure Japanese people are the Selfie Masters.
This is Clayton’s sled rig with my pink Axys on it. Another solid sled hauler.
When in Japan, you have to wear dust masks…right??
Aaron popping pillows in some of the most fun trees we have ever ridden.
We did find one sled rental and guiding company while we were there. They didn’t quite have what we were looking for. Although, we really did want to have a race with those old buggies!
Konnichiwa! Mountain Snowmobiling in Japan
7-11 is where you get everything! Beer, sushi and whatever weird Japanese stuff you can imagine. Aaron especially loved the 7-11 squid.
Our guide, Lincoln, said, “Nobody ever goes down those drainages.” So we did…
Our buddy Clayton owns Black Diamond Lodge in Niseko where we stayed. He’s a solid Canadian and might be the hardest working dude I’ve ever met!
You can get coffee and other hot beverages our of vending machines in Japan! Even outside in winter!
Toilets with so many options, so you never leave with a dirty bum!
Did I mention there were NO TRACKS? Unreal terrain and snow with zero tracks…everyday! Imagine endless open tree riding with awesome drainages…and nobody else there.
Our local friend, Aaron, and I after a wicked day shredding just off the highway. This dude and his son are awesome riders. I ended up sending him one of my TOBE jackets as a gift! The Japanese are so happy and so friendly everyday!
Chris Brown is the man behind Ride Whistler and its offerings—including riding clinics, sledding adventures with the pros and destination snowmobiling trips.