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News
Great last tour for 2016-2017
We had a really outstanding two nights and three days in Tateyama, the big Alpine area that's long been a Dancing Snow favorite. We got in midday on Friday, just enough to get to our lodging at Raicho-so and then get out for a hike up Raicho-sawa.

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The second day saw some pretty bad weather, but while the rain and wind were howling and pounding we enjoyed a quiet coffee, extra soaks in the onsen (with the amazing views out over the mountains), then got out during a two hour break from 2 for another hike up among the raicho (ptarmigans) all over Raicho-sawa and a really fun slide down. Then on day three — with blue skies and warm sun — we headed up toward Ichi-no-okoshi, depot'ed our gear and climbed up the back of Mt. Yodo. Super fun steep slopes, soft snow, first tracks....

Take a look at our Facebook page, and be sure to join us next season! We'll be adding firm dates for May 2018 soon, and maybe even for November 2017 (always fun to see if we get enough snow before the mountain closes down in the third week of the month).

Exterior Welcome to the new Dancing Snow World Headquarters!

We're very happy to have a new home to welcome our tour guests, and to provide more backcountry gear, rentals, and even sales of some great Myoko products! Dancing Snow is now located just below the Myoko Sky Cable at Akakan. We have:

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• Tour and telemark ski, skins, snowshoe and pole rentals
• Avalanche gear rentals, including BCA transceivers, BCA airbags and cylinders for BCA airbags (don't bother bringing one from overseas!)
• BCA Beacon Park: practice using your avalanche gear in a realistic and fun way
• Sales of BCA and K2 equipment
• Sales of unique Myoko items
• And much more—come see us!


Dancing Snow is a BCA Snow Safety Center
  BCA logo Dancing Snow provides sales and rental of beacons, airbags and air cylinders from BCA, the premier manufacturer of snow safety goods. Float 32 airbag

The air cylinders for Japan are different than those for Europe and North America, meaning they can't be filled in the country—so just rent a cylinder, or a complete Float airbag system, for your stay in Myoko. Let us know well ahead on the airbags, though, so we can be sure and have one ready for you.


Day-tour Menu:
One-Day Tours
We tour regularly to peaks accessible from all the major ski areas in Myoko. We'll take the area lift as high as we can, then hike up to the summit—at 1,935 to 2,100 meters. This means a climb of about 1.5 to 2.5 hours, depending on the group and the destination.

Some courses are easier than others; if you think you're ready to try moving off the groomed courses, we have a plan for you (let's talk!). And if you're experienced and want something longer, steeper and (hopefully) deeper, we have that, too. Take a closer look at the courses here. You can also see the courses we're thinking about each week here.

We feature small groups and a high ratio of guides to guests. Normally one guide will be with up to five people maximum, and we often add a second guide with five. No groups will be more than about ten in total.

You will need some basic equipment (rentals are available) and proper clothing—see this list for more information.

Ready to go into the Myoko backcountry? Just make your reservation right here, or email us at info@dancingsnow.com

Tour schedule
Come to our center in Hotel Windsor as early as possible (hopefully by 9!). Those coming by car may park in the lot. There we'll go over the day's tour, weather and snow, talk a bit about safety, make sure everyone has everything they need, and answer any questions you have. We'll hand out lunches at this time as well. We'll go by van to the departure point, usually one of local lifts.

Your day tour fee includes:
• Guide fee
• Insurance
• Lift tickets
• Lunch
• Transportation

For some tours we may need to depart early; we'll let you know ahead of time in this case.


Powder introduction
You've skied a bit and you're getting confident: you're ready to get better in the powder, or maybe even hike up a bit—but maybe not yet ready to head way off just yet. On a good, snowy day, our hike up in a secret local location is a great way to get used to skiing in the really deep stuff, with the possibility of hiking up above the ski area on skins or snowshoes to get a sense of what the backcountry is all about.

This is a full day course, including transportation to the day's location, lift tickets, a hot lunch at the base of the ski area, and your guide/coach to help work on the skills needed to really enjoy the fun of Myoko powder and backcountry skiing.


Private tours
We are always ready to create special tours for an individual or group, to meet your specific needs and interests. Just let us know what you'd like to do, and special requests for terrain, activities, or even food, and we'll be very happy to develop a package for you.


Fees
One-day tours ¥15,000 per person.
Includes everything: guide fee, insurance, lift tickets, lunch*, and transportation (not including sales tax). Rentals extra.
Seki Onsen tour¥15,000 per person. Minimum of two people (normally; please ask!).
Includes round-trip transportation, guide/instruction fee, insurance, lift tickets, lunch on the hill (not including sales tax). Introduction to friendly locals no extra charge.
 *One-day tour lunches are simple (but filling) Japanese-style bentos; vegetarian and other alternatives are available.

 

What you'll need
If you don't have a lot of backcountry equipment, rentals are available at Dancing Snow for many basic items—backpacks, snowshoes, avalanche gear, folding poles, etc. There are some things, though, that you'll need to prepare:

Required Tour Equipment
Musts:
Ski equipment (skis, board, boots, poles; some rentals available); skins/snowshoes (for skiers, please use skins for your own skis, and ones which you have tested prior to taking part in the tour); a waterproof/breathable jacket and pants; full layered wear: under and middle layers of wool or synthetic material (for all your wear, NO COTTON please!), gloves (with spare pair highly suggested), hat(s), goggles, sunglass; lunch (normally we will provide); plenty of water or other drinks; emergency food; shovel, avalanche beacon and probe (we'll make sure you have these).
Suggested:
Thermos with warm drink/water; compass; 1/25,000 scale map (we have the two main topographic maps, with English key, available at just ¥500 each—you'll learn a lot). Rental is available for some items. When in doubt, just ask!

The Peaks

Maeyama (1932m)
Our home course, accessed from the top of the Akakura Kanko Ski Area. A 400-meter hike up (and it's pretty steep on the main slope!), lunch at the top, then more than 1,000 meters down through spectacular beech forest.
Mt. Mitahara (2300m)
The longest course in the area; a descent of more than 10km, through fantastically varied terrain including open slopes, beech, birch and pine forests, and a winding mountain road.

Akakura-yama (2141m)
A great tree run, above Ikenotaira Ski Area. We usually approach from the Suginohara Ski Area on a beautiful hike through the woods, or from Ikenotaira for newer climbers. This is also a safe alternative when snow conditions elsewhere are questionable. Depending on the snow, we may ski all the way back to Dancing Snow.

Kanna-san (1909m)
A totally natural tour—no lifts and no crowds. Challenging for the approach, the hard work is rewarded by a big view, open slopes at the top and great tree runs all the way down.
Kurohime-yama (2053m)
Another solid climb on this course; 900 meters from the top of Kurohime Ski Area. The slopes can be moderately steep, but often with some of the finest powder that falls in the area. Tours to Sadoyama continue to the secondary peak within Kurohime.
  Other destinations:
For complete beginners—even those with no ski experience—we use light telemark gear and head off into the woods nearby for snow hiking. Other courses include Sasagamine, a vast, open area behind Myoko-san surrounded by mountains; the famous shrine and spectacular peaks of Togakushi (see more on the hiking page)
Spring and Fall multi-day tours

Mt. Hiuchi (2462m)
The highest peak within Niigata Prefecture, located just to the north of Mt Myoko. We tour up to the hut at the base several times in the spring. Skiing is from the peak back down to the southwest, or to the north all the way to Sasakura Onsen.
Tateyama (2300m and up)
This huge Alpine area is a playground for hundreds of people in late November, and through the spring. A little hike, though, and suddenly it feels like the mountains are all yours. Plus a real onsen mountain lodge experience at the end of the day, and always a party around the fireplace. A favorite of the whole Dancing Snow team!
Dancing Snow Tour Schedule
About backcountry activities
Please read and understand the following before taking part in a tour:

1. Depending on weather and snow conditions, tour destinations may be changed, or the tour cancelled.

2. Backcountry skiing and snowboarding involves the risk of injury or death. For that reason, we require all guests to sign a waiver before taking part in backcountry activities (a pdf version can be found here). At the same time, our guides have training in first aid, avalanche forecasting and rescue, and are dedicated to providing the most enjoyable, well-planned experience possible

3. Every Dancing Snow client is automatically included in our group insurance policy at no additional charge (please contact us if you would like more details on coverage). We also strongly suggest that all those taking part in backcountry tours have their own active insurance policy which covers outdoor activities.

4. If you do have a chronic health condition, we appreciate your letting us know. We know that many people can take part in outdoor activities despite some conditions, and we respect your ability to judge if a tour will be within your abilities. Your information will be kept strictly secret, but will be very useful in helping us respond should anything happen during the day.

Note on personal information
To ensure the safety of our guests, we do ask for personal information including telephone numbers, emergency contacts, etc., as part of registration for lessons and tours. We will not use this information for anything other than this purpose, nor will we release any personal information to any third parties.
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