We’ll begin and end this expedition visiting some lesser known sidecountry areas of Hokkaido. Expect to bookend the Rishiri mission with secret tours around Furano (and group dependent) a crack at Tokachidake. Our team’s main focus will be the remote and elusive Rishiri volcano. Working with my local partners at Stealth Backcountry allows us to hit the goods from the moment we land!
Floating the Volcano
Rishiri Island is a backcountry skiing haven with a huge variety of ski and snowboard terrain for those willing to earn their turns. Mount Rishiri is a dormant cone-shaped volcano at the center of the remote Rishiri Island. In the native Ainu language, “Rishiri” means “island with a high peak”, which pretty much sums it up! Others call Rishiri the “floating island”, possibly because you’ll gain a lot of pleasure from floating in the deep powder!
Skiing Rishiri Island is on the bucket list for many Japan backcountry skiing aficionados. Powder on Hokkaido is world renowned because of the abundant, light, fluffy, amazing cold smoke that results from the weather systems that blow down from Siberia. Compared to most Hokkaido ski areas, Rishiri Island is much further north (and closer) to Siberia so the powder there is even better than amazing!
And if devouring all that Japanese powder isn’t enough for you, there’s also an abundance of local seafood to satisfy your appetite. A Rishiri ski trip provides a delightfully unadulterated Japanese experience.
Where is Rishiri Island?
Rishiri Island (Rishiritō) is a small island in the Sea of Japan, about 20 kilometers off the northwest coast of Hokkaido. The Oshidomari Port on Rishiri Island can be accessed via ferry from Otaru or Wakkanai (Hokkaido’s northernmost town). Wakkanai is a 5.5 hour train trip from Sapporo.
Mount Rishiri has an elevation of 1,721 metres. Depending on weather conditions, the backcountry terrain we’ll access will include a combination of ATL alpine zones and NTL/BTL tree skiing. Mt Rishiri has many ridges, gullies, and bowls- some of which are super steep, and there are several peaks to tackle. BUT, there is also a reasonable amount of mellow terrain below treeline for us to explore.
We will utilize a snowmobile to cover the long and flat distances at the base of the mountain before committing to human-power. No worries if you’re not a seasoned sled-neck!
Rishiri Ski Season
In late winter and early spring there’s a greater chance for clear days, although the main, year-round weather inhibitor to summiting Mt Rishiri is the wind. Rishiri is renowned for its oft-gusty conditions! Our expedition will run from 2/22/20 to 3/1/20.
Happy Thanksgiving I’m grateful and appreciative you found your way here. It’s been snowing off an on in the San Juans above 12k since September.As we enter the 2018 backcountry season, I wanted to take a moment to reflect upon proper preparations for snowier times.
Now is the time to ready yourself for winter! I've trying to consolidate past/present/future reflections into this new blog. Folks have enjoyed these resources and there's a lot to add with all the "unpublished"
Durango Based Level One Avalanche Course- Community Format San Juan Mountain Guides pioneered 3-day Hut Based Level Ones and the incredibly popular, 4-day Level One Advanced Course (formerly know as 4 day L1 Pro Course) SJMG is always looking for new ways to refine our avalanche education programs and offer more learning and value for participants. This season, San Juan Mountain Guides is considering a new type of Level One Course: The Community Format (an L1 that adopts the
Lots of terrific stuff coming up in Late November and Early December! Remember, a complete list of avalanche courses and ski adventures offered by San Juan Mountain Guides can be found here! Weekday private instruction an guided backcountry tours with me are now booked through mid-Jan. (Sorry for those of you who had historic dates snatched up by early reservations) If you are a returning guest, I'd love to get you on the calendar soon! I promise lots of snow. Please get in t
Hey Turkeys- I was lucky enough to be with the family over in Pagosa Springs for the Thanksgiving holiday. With elk and grouse in the rear view, I turned my attention back to some late season fishing. I had had some good luck on the Animas earlier in November and was frequently hooking up with hungry slobs. But two weeks later, everything has slowed down and so must I. It took a bit of adjustment and refinement but I eventually matched my presentation to the cold water te
With leaves gone, temps dropping and snow on the north faces, it's time to get your head in the game for the upcoming snow season. The following suggestions have helped me wrap my brain around the logistics and mental preparations needed to ensure a solid start to my winter. Get Stoked Now is the time to reach out to your adventure partners and get together with backcountry friends new and old. Here's some ideas on Getting Stoked: * Trade stories about epic powder days over a
I've listed my go to weather sites before. NOAA, Weather Underground, Intellicast and the CAIC all play an important role in creating a localized forecast for the San Juan Mountains. But another critical source of weather information can be found on Facebook at the page Durango Snow Lovers. "Four years ago, Jeff Givens, a local real estate agent and amateur weather guy created the Facebook page Durango Snow Lovers as a forum to track weather patterns in the San Juan Mountains
The Joe Philpott and Peter Carver Avalanche Scholarship aims to bring awareness and education to the backcountry skiing setting. As Durango natives Joe and Peter grew up around the San Juans Moutains and they were both adept and well traveled backcountry skiers. In 2013 in two separate, tragic events, Joe and Peter lost their lives to avalanches. Their families want to continue these young men's passion for snow safety and skiing through the scholarship. We offer scholarships
After supporting FOSJ since its inception and serving as a volunteer advisor, I joined trustees Aaron Ball, Andrew Klotz, Daisy Matthews, Jeremy Dakan, John Strand and Rob Lloyd on the Board of Directors. This season, I'm specifically focused on refining and expanding FOSJ's education and outreach efforts. It's an honor to be helping with such an important an impactful organization! Grab a membership and learn more at thesanjuans.org __________________________________________
This year, I will be facilitating a number of Know Before You Go Avalanche Awareness Trainings. I've been around a fair bit of awareness curriculum over the years and KBYG is by far the best template out there. From Know Before You Go http://kbyg.org/ Avalanches kill an average of 42 people each year in North America. Hundreds more are injured. Avalanches don't just happen to extreme athletes - they can happen to those skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, hiking, driving, hu