The House of Powder, based at Chisenupuri, will introduce a ¥2,000 (US$18) cat skiing service in 2017/18.

Niseko-based skiers face an exciting prospect. As of next season, The House of Powder (THoP) will offer a ¥2,000 (US$18) cat skiing service to the top of Chisenupuri ski area, facilitating backcountry access to Chisenupuri and Shakunagedake peaks.

Chisenupuri (“Chise”) is just 20 km from Hirafu, Niseko’s bustling hub. Until recently, Chisenupuri had operated as a one-lift ski resort but shut shop in 2013, unable to compete with nearby mega-resort Niseko United. THoP snapped up the lease rights in 2016 and has since transformed the resort into a specialist cat skiing operation.

THoP’s shuttle service will whisk skiers to the top of Chisenupuri ski area in just 8 minutes, as opposed to the hour-long hike that is currently required. The service will operate between 8:30 and 9 am in the hour before THoP begins its tours. Skiers who use this service will be asked not to enter resort bounds (reserved for tour guests).

THoP is based at Chisenupuri but also runs tours at Kurodake (“Black Peak”), located in Daisetsuzan National Park, central Hokkaido. The company caters to skiers of all abilities—anyone looking to experience Hokkaido’s famed powder away from the crowds of Niseko.

Two programs are on offer: “Learn to Ski Japow” and “Snowcat Powder Experience”. The introductory course (¥55,000) offers a full day of instruction and includes lunch and refreshments. It runs from 10 am to 3 pm, five days per week, with class sizes limited to four participants.

More experienced skiers can opt for the “Snowcat Powder Experience” (¥35,000), allowing unlimited access to THoP’s cat skiing service. Only 30 passes are handed out per day, guaranteeing fresh powder for everyone involved.

Featured image by Robert Thomson