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:

Avalanche Beacon/Transceiver
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.

Snow shovel
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.

Snow poles
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

We strongly recommend using touring skis or a splitboard, as this makes the hike much easier and gives you more time for extra turns! Alternatively you may need to rent powder skis or a powder snowboard, it can get quite deep here in Japan! Please contact us for advice on which rentals you will need and where to get them.

Nozawa Rental Options

Nozawa Ski School have a limited supply of touring skis and split boards available for rent. Please contact them for more information. nozawaskischool@gmail.com

Mt Dock have a good selection of powder skis/snowboards and touring gear. Call: 070-1403-0303 https://mtdock-nozawa.com/

Shirakaba have a good selection of powder skis/snowboards and touring gear. Call: 0269-85-2519 http://www.shirakaba8.com/rental/english/

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.

Base layer
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.

Mid layer
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.

Down jacket
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.