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.
Brian Lazar shared some excellent points in this AM's Avalanche Discussion for the North San Juan Mountains. From the Discussion: We dropped the avalanche danger to Moderate (Level 2) today, but this by no means implies the backcountry is safe. Natural avalanche activity is pretty much over, but on specific slopes it will be easy to trigger an avalanche. The most worrisome slopes face the north side of the compass, are steeper than around 35 degrees, and have a soft slab on t
Please join me at these upcoming events- Click on individual posting for link to more information. FRIENDS of the SAN JUANS Upcoming AIARE Rec Level 1 and 2 Programs, Hut Based Courses and Backcountry Trainings Jan 26-28 Hut Based Rec Level One w/ SJMG Feb 2-4 Durango Based Rec Level One w/ SJMG Feb 9-11 Venture Snowboards Splitboard Rec Level One w/ SAS Feb 16th Durango Based Avalanche Rescue (1 day) Course w/ SJMG (TBD) Feb 17-18 Avalanche Technician Rec Lev
It was one of those days where if you didn’t love powder so much, there’d be really no reason to leave your couch. The weather was raw and up on red Mountain Pass, the weekend’s storm stubbornly persisted into Sunday afternoon. I was working with my FLC students who are taking an upper division Avalanche Technician Course- a cool mix of Level 2, Avy Rescue, Leadership, Forecasting and AE Field instruction. It’s the type of class you probably wanted to take in college but it d
I stood on the saddle and looked down at the obviously fresh debris. My gut sunk. My guest was still a minute out on the skin track and I used the time to assess the options in front of me. First, there was a set of tracks entering the sneak. Were they evidence of a skier triggered release? Was that skier still down there? I quickly threw my beacon to search trying to find a signal. I heard nothing until I picked up my client on the final pitch- Second, what did this mean for
2017-2018 Winter Storm Reports Non-Storm Report #3: December Recap, January 2, 2018 Greetings from Silverton, December 2017 is now behind us and we are still waiting for winter to begin in most of the Colorado high country. Colorado (AZ, NM, and UT) experienced their warmest November on record and one of the driest for many SNOTEL stations around Colorado. December continued the trend of being exceptionally warm – particular in the mountains – and exceptionally dry.
Heartbreak Ridge- the massive ridge of high pressure positioned over the Western US was forecast to weaken last week. With this, winter was expected to nudge it's way into the mountains. I knew the alpine was poised to get dumped on and I was expecting a few inches in-town in DGO....I packed a light bag for some early morning skin laps on Chapman Hill. But when I awoke at 4am and peaked outside, it was clear that Sunday would be another day of mountain biking. Nothing happene
Unclear, but we're hopeful....Looks like Heartbreak Rdige is finally breaking down and we'll see some moisture penetrate the range this weekend.... From the NWS- "Dry and mild weather will persist across eastern Utah and western Colorado today before precipitation chances increase this weekend as the next storm arrives from the Pacific Northwest. Valley rain and mountain snow look to begin Saturday afternoon with a changeover to snow Saturday night as the cold front passes th