When going into the backcountry it is best to be prepared for a variety of situations.
It can be a lot colder and harsher conditions than on the resort so extra clothing is a must. Also a selection of backcountry equipment is required. If you don’t have all the gear please ask us and we can help you with rental gear.
If you are brining your own gear make sure you check that everything is in good working condition before coming on the tour. Check your beacons batteries, probes wire and all gears functionality.
At JSA we have a stock of quality rental equipment for backcountry. On ALL tours we provide the following inclusive in the tour cost:
An avalanche beacon can both send and receive signals to/from other beacons. A must have for all travel in backcountry terrain.
If someone is buried in an avalanche, a probe is the tool you need to pinpoint them.
If someone is burried then you will need a shovel to dig them out. A collapsable shovel that fits in your pack is necessary.
Depending on whether you are a skier or snow boarder you may also need some of the items below:
- Backpack 1000 yen
- Snowshoes and poles 1000 yen
- Poles 1000 yen
To get through the deep snow to our start points you will need either a pair of snowshoes or skins. If you do not have touring ski bindings (or telemark) then snowshoes are the go. Our rental snowshoes are top quality MSR.
Large basket poles are the go for deep snow. Rental poles are Black Diamond.
You will need about a 25-30L pack for your gear and it must have a fastening system for your skis or snowboard. Renatl packs are Deuter.
Powder skis, powder boards and touring rentals
To make the most of your backcountry experience we highly recommend using powder skis and snowboards to cope with the DEEP snow that Japan can deal out. If you do not have your own then there are plenty of local rental shops with the latest powder and touring equipment:
Nozawa Ski School have a limited supply of touring skis and split boards available for rent. Please contact them for more information.
Mt Dock 070-1403-0303 Good selection of powder skis/snowboards and touring gear.
Shirakaba 0269-85-2519 Good selection of powder skis/snowboards and touring gear.
What to wear
Layering is the most important technique for keeping warm during winter in the mountains. It is best if you have mutliple layers that are easily removed or added to. When you start walking you will get very warm so less layers are good, but when you stop you will become cold very quickly so the ability to add more layers is a must.
Your base layer should wick sweat away from your body to keep your skin dry. Cotton should not be used – save your t-shirts for other purposes. Good long underwear pieces are appropriate made from fabrics such as Thermion, polypropylene, Thermax, Thinsulate, and silk.
This layer will keep you warm and can be shed once you warm up. Wool, fleece, pile, down in a jacket, shirt or vest.
A waterproof and breathable shell to protect you from the elements. (i.e. Goretex) Best if it has a hood.
The extremities can get cold in harsh conditions so a good pair of ski/snowboard gloves is recommended. An optional extra is to wear a thin pair of inner gloves.
You can loose up to 50% of your body heat from your head so a warm hat is essential.
On a sunny day sunglasses are a must for the hike up as much of the sun is reflected off the snow. Goggles are also a must. A spare pair of goggles is always a good thing to carry in your pack.
Skis, Telemarks skis or snowboards are all ok. Short skis and crosscountry skis are not allowed. If you are normally an on piste rider it is best to set your bindings back further for the powder.
Travel in the backcountry can be hard work so you will need plenty of liquids to keep hydrated in the dry winter air.
For days when the weather is not so good, carrying some extra clothes is a good idea. The most useful item is a compact down jacket. Other items such as neck warmers, extra socks or thin gloves are all good things to have in you backpack. Spare goggles and gloves are also a great idea.