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SASS JAPAN – Kiroro, Hokkaido

SASS Japan is a full service guided backcountry experience created to put you into the deepest snow imaginable. We are the only private guided operation based at Kiroro, a resort that lacks the crowds of other more known Hokkaido resorts. Perfect for the solo traveler, groups or couples this trip was designed to bring like-minded travelers to Hokkaido during the best time of year to be there to provide a platform to take your skiing or riding into the deepest of the deep.

NEW FOR 2020: Japan’s most unique ski lodging, the SASS Castle at the Evurando Club. Available in January exclusively through SASS.

THE SASS JAPAN EXPERIENCE

SASS Japan is an experience specifically designed to give you access to as many faceshots and as much time in the white room as physically possible. We take advantage of the legendary snowfall on Hokkaido during the snowiest months of the season. We take over an entire wing of a 4-star hotel, a two-minute shuttle ride from the base of Kiroro. Every morning you will have the ability to choose how you want to spend your day on the mountain. Your guide will help you accomplish your goals while shredding with a small group that is on the same page in terms of both skill level and desired terrain. Let us show you to the goods, whether that means crushing lift-served laps through our secret stashes in-bounds and beyond the gates or pushing out into the backcountry for steeper and deeper lines that will replay in your consciousness for the rest of your life.

IS THIS THE RIGHT TRIP FOR YOU? - YOUR SKILL LEVEL

SASS Japan is right for you if:

    • You are an advanced to expert level skier or snowboarder who is capable of making consistent confident turns in trees, steep terrain, variable snow and deep powder conditions.

    • You want to experience Hokkaido with pro guides, coaches, and clients of all ages.

    • You have a desire to build backcountry skills.

    • You have a desire to step out of your comfort zone and push your limits with guidance.

    • You want to experience the Japanese culture with respect and patience.

  • You are in good physical and mental health and can enjoy skiing or riding in a group.

OUR PHILOSOPHY - EDUCATION AT SASS JAPAN

Our goal is not just to show you to the goods, but also seamlessly integrate the education necessary to find those goods on your own upon your return home. We want every single person leaving SASS Japan a better backcountry skier or snowboarder. Whether you are a seasoned veteran of the backcountry or someone looking to push into bigger off-piste terrain for the first time, this experience will teach you new things, help you to explore new terrain, and guide you through the mountains of Hokkaido. All of our clients go through an orientation process in which we provide an avalanche awareness seminar as well as on-hill emergency scenarios. These scenarios not only give you an opportunity to practice with your beacon, shovel, and probe, but also help to build trust among the members of your group. Trusting your backcountry partners means that we can spend our days on the same page pushing into new and more challenging terrain. Our philosophy is to create an experience that includes an insane amount of fun, the deepest turns, and progression for everyone in a group environment.

SAMPLE ITINERARY

Life at SASS Japan is all about crushing pow with a tight-knit crew looking to explore the mountains and the culture together — clients eat together, shred together and work as a team to travel safely through the backcountry. This itinerary gives you an idea of what you could expect during a “typical” SASS Japan session:

SAMPLE 8-DAY ITINERARY

    • Day 0 – Depart North America

    • Day 1 (Saturday) – You arrive in Tokyo and transfer to your 2-hour connecting flight to Sapporo. A SASS logistics rep meets you directly outside of baggage claim and assists with your transfer to the hotel at Kiroro for your first night.

    • Day 2 (Sunday) – Your first day on-mountain starts with breakfast and a backcountry safety and avalanche orientation. After reviewing safety protocol, you break into groups and head onto the mountain. The first day includes avalanche scenario practice, mountain orientation and a lot of skiing/riding. This first day is spent hitting lift-served terrain both in bounds and out of the gates. After your day on the mountain, you meet up with the rest of the crew for some an aprés happy hour at the base of the mountain.

    • Day 3 (Monday) – Now that our team has seen you ski or ride, we work to place you in the group that best aligns with your goals, ability and desire to be “pushed” beyond your comfort zone. The day is spent maximizing untouched pow turns. Your included Welcome Dinner at Konton in nearby Akaigawa follows.

    • Day 4 (Tuesday) – Your crew advances further into the backcountry, exploring “The Funky Trees” or “Lemmings’ Ridge” just outside the resort. After shredding, you experience the healing power of the hotel’s exclusive Japanese onsen.

    • Day 5 (Wednesday) – You learn more about touring options and try out demo equipment from JONES or Folsom Skis. After touring with your new crew out even further to “Supernatural” or “The Whomb”, at the end of a long day the crew meets for the included Mid-Week Dinner at Hopi Hills, just down the road from the base area. 

    • Day 6 (Thursday) – After a few days in the backcountry and a ton of new snow, your crew chooses to stick to lift-served terrain and simply get as many laps as physically possible. Exploring “The Steepest Line in Japan” or the entire “Gnarnia” zone just beyond the gates. Another crew decides to build a jump and utilize the depth of snow as a landing pad. Beers and an onsen sesh finish off another day.

    • Day 7 (Friday) – Now that the whole group knows Kiroro’s terrain well, your crew moves more efficiently and gets more laps than you thought possible, spending the majority of the day in the whiteroom using the high-speed lifts to repeat your favorite lines. Smiles and high fives at the bar lead straight to the awaiting vans. The farewell dinner is located in the barn of a local farm where the beer flows from a keg, sake is poured generously and locally hunted Kuma bear meat is cooked over an open flame. You spend your night in awe of your new friends and the experience you’ve shared

  • Day 8 (Saturday) – Your flight home doesn’t depart until 2PM, so you take your time and are ready for your airport transfer to bring you straight to your terminal. You fly out knowing that the time-change will have you home about the same time you left on the same date.

JAPAN PACKAGES

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GUIDED SESSIONS

SASS Japan offers the world’s greatest snow and a cultural experience unlike any other. Based near Kiroro Resort in Akaigawa, adult clients will enjoy our exclusive “castle” accommodation, dining and service, coupled with the world-class backcountry guiding that has made SASS famous.
PACKAGE DETAILS HERE
6 Days Guided Skiing / 7 Nights Lodging

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CUSTOM EXPERIENCES

Organizing logistics for your group or custom trip to Japan can be a challenge. Take advantage of our years of logistical experience on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. SASS can combine our services and world-class backcountry guiding to make your dream trip a reality.
PACKAGE DETAILS HERE
Custom Pricing & Dates Available

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DATES & PRICING

SESSION 1

Jan. 4-11, 2020

spots available

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SESSION 2

Jan. 11-18, 2020

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SESSION 3

Jan. 18-25, 2020

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SESSION 4

Jan. 25 – Feb. 1

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CUSTOM

After Feb. 1, 2020

spots available

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BOOK MULTIPLE SESSIONS

We highly recommend coming for more than one session!

hold your spots for just a 30% deposit

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BOOK A CUSTOM EXPERIENCE

Custom dates are available…

Looking for something a bit different? Have a group and looking for a more private experience? We can make it happen and look forward to putting the pieces together.

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*ALL PRICES ARE EXPRESSED IN USD (UNITED STATES DOLLARS), ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AND DO NOT INCLUDE AIRFARE. EACH SESSION INCLUDES 6 DAY LIFT PASS AND UP TO 6 FULLY-GUIDED DAYS, SUBJECT TO WEATHER CONDITIONS.

TERRAIN

HOKKAIDO POWDER

The powder on Hokkaido during January and into February is the reason you want to come to SASS Japan. The snow here is like nowhere else on earth. The cold air comes from Siberia, getting colder and colder, hits the sea of Japan, picks up a ton of moisture and deposits seemingly endless amounts of snow on the mountains of Hokkaido before it has a chance to warm up. The snow falls lighter and fluffier than anywhere on earth (Utah included) but sets up into a typically stable snowpack. The depth seems as though it should make it hard to move, but it allows for effortless bouncing and flows up over your shoulders with ease. Your chances of experiencing the depth of snow you have always dreamed about are higher on Hokkaido in January than anywhere else at any time of year. You will not see the sun very much as the snowfall constantly pulses throughout the month, but don’t worry, that’s kind of the point.

WHAT'S THE DAY-TO-DAY RIDING LIKE?

It is our goal at SASS Japan to give you as many options as possible every day with the main objective of putting you in the deepest snow available. Every morning we put together groups at a maximum of a 5 to 1 client to guide ratio taking into consideration personal goals and desires as well as skill level. We make sure groups are consistent and on the same page. Options may include lapping the lift-served trees on a pow day, hiking for side-country stashes outside of the gates, building a backcountry jump, skinning/touring farther into the backcountry, finding unimaginable fields of untracked pow, avalanche scenario practice or hitting pillow lines. All you have to do is be sure to discuss your goals and desires with Mountain Operations Director and Head Guide Pete Connolly, jump into the right group and follow your guide.

We shred from open to close every day (conditions depending). Our guides’ knowledge of the terrain and understanding of the mountains allow you to know that you will be taking advantage of every minute. Our great pleasure at the end of the day is seeing clients speechless, eyes wide, smiling while shaking their heads in disbelief of just how good it was.

KIRORO RESORT

Kiroro Resort is located a bit higher in elevation and a bit closer to the ocean than the better known Niseko Resorts. This means for even more snow and fewer crowds. After spending years exploring many of the resorts throughout Japan, we chose to base SASS Japan here due to the unparalleled backcountry access as well as proximity to a more authentic Japanese cultural experience. Kiroro is a modern resort with high-speed lifts, standard resort amenities and a unique backcountry gate system to which our clients have unlimited access. Kiroro has amazing access to steeper terrain despite what some reviews may say. That’s why you come with us (we know exactly where to go).

AVALANCHE SAFETY

Everyone at SASS Japan wears an avalanche beacon and backpack containing a shovel and probe every day. Everyone is required to participate in an avalanche awareness orientation as well as on-hill avalanche scenarios on the first day. Japan’s epic snowfall makes for unique avalanche conditions and we want every client to know how to deal with them and how to avoid the risks. We pride ourselves in our seamless integration of avalanche awareness education into our guided experience. We want to make sure that every single person leaves SASS Japan a better backcountry skier or snowboarder no matter what your level was coming in. It is this commitment to proper backcountry protocol that allows us to push farther into the backcountry and build the trust within our group to know that we are all on the same page and willing to work as a team to accomplish our goals on the mountain.

JAPANUARY - WHEN ARE CONDITIONS THE BEST?

Hokkaido in January gives you the best odds of an epic powder-filled trip of anywhere on the planet at any time. Even when early season conditions are inconsistent elsewhere, Japan delivers. Experiencing what we call JAPANuary should be on the bucket-list of any skier or snowboarder. Conditions on Hokkaido are best and most consistent from the end of December through the beginning of February. Our sessions are designed to capitalize on this peak of the season to increase the number of faceshots, time spent in the whiteroom and “deepest day of my life” shoutouts.

GUIDES AND STAFF

Our product is our staff. It is this crew of amazing people that is the reason for so many clients returning year after year. We are true mountain people and world travelers who have devoted our lives to the pursuit of great skiing or snowboarding. Our diverse group of talented guides, coaches and logistics staff not only help you with every aspect of your experience on hill or off, but also hang out in the lodge, eat dinners with the whole crew and are always down to talk about gear, avalanche safety and our philosophy of a life in the mountains. The SASS Family is real and you will be welcomed with open arms.

Our guides have completed a minimum of a Level II Avalanche Safety course and hold a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) or Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) Certification. Many are current or past professional skiers or snowboarders, ski patrollers, avalanche control experts, or guides elsewhere throughout the year. We work together, play together and want to share our experience, knowledge and penchant for a good time with every single one of our clients.

LODGING

SASS CASTLE AT THE EVURANDO CLUB (New for 2020 / Included)

INTRODUCINGThe all-new SASS Castle at the Evurando Club – Hokkaido, Japan

  • THE CASTLE: Join us as SASS curates Hokkaido’s most unique ski lodge, a northern-European style castle near Kiroro with 22 Rooms, 2 Restaurants, Bar, Lounge and Onsen-style Spa with 4 pools, sauna and more!

    • SASS Japan 2020 packages include double occupancy lodging at the castle; see below for more options.

  • EXCLUSIVE TO SASS: Available only to SASS clients during Japanuary, the castle has easy access to our base at Kiroro Resort (18 mi.), Otaru (14 mi.), Niseko (29 mi.) and nearby Yoichi (4 mi.), home of the famous Nikka Distillery.

  • DINING INCLUDED: Enjoy daily breakfast and dinner during your SASS program at no additional cost.

  • TRANSPORT INCLUDED: Daily shuttles to/from Kiroro Resort and airport transfers to/from Sapporo-New Chitose Airport (on transfer days) are included at no additional cost. The castle offers direct highway access to the airport; no switch-back roads!

  • STANDARD LODGING (Included): Each SASS Japan package includes double occupancy lodging in a room with two twin beds.

  • SUITES & SINGLE-OCCUPANCY ROOMS (Upgrade): Private room upgrades are available for solo travelers, in addition to Tower Suites, Junior Suites with a sitting area (some with private sauna) and a Penthouse Suite perfect for entertaining.

  • MORE AMENITIES:

    • Join us at the “SASS Lounge” — a private, sound-proof lounge for “BYOB” client use.

    • Grocery store, international ATM, restaurants and access to JR Train system available just 8 minutes away in nearby Yoichi town. Otaru is just 20 minutes away.

    • Private shuttles provided to/from the ski area, with on-demand shuttle and car service available exclusively for SASS clients. Exploring nearby cities is easier than ever.

SKI-IN / SKI-OUT LODGING AT KIRORO (Upgrade)

You have choices! We understand that some clients prefer an upgraded ski-in / ski-out experience, so we’re proud to offer our clients two 4-Star Marriott properties managed by Kiroro Resort, including the Sheraton Kiroro and The Kiroro – Tribute Portfolio Hotel, strategically located just minutes from the Kiroro lifts. Clients can enjoy luxury lodging options and an array of resort services to make their stay in Japan amazing both on and off-mountain.

    • Premier location on-mountain at Kiroro Resort.

    • Exclusive Kiroro Onsen on location (Japanese Hot Spring Baths)

    • Breakfast included at the The Kiroro or Sheraton Hotels, including Western and traditional Japanese buffet options

    • Dinner included (up to 3000JPY Per Night) at any of Kiroro’s restaurants, plus a Welcome Reception and spectacular Farewell Dinner at the end of your Session. SASS also offers “excursion” dinners in nearby Otaru, Yoichi or Kutchan

    • Newly-renovated guest rooms rooms

    • High-speed WiFi and flat screen TVs

    • Full gym & indoor pool

  • Views of backcountry zone directly behind hotel

Looking for more space? Kiroro offers a variety of upgraded lodging options to meet your needs, including Deluxe rooms featuring King beds as well as upgraded Suite options featuring a variety of amenities. Just let us know what you are looking for and we can make it happen. We look forward to making your upgraded lodging experience at SASS Japan unforgettable!

SOLO TRAVELERS / LODGING POLICIES

We pride ourselves on being a great environment for solo travelers – it’s part of what makes SASS different from other travel companies. We’re happy to arrange private accommodations for you upon request, but most clients enjoy the social experience of having a roommate that’s equally passionate about skiing or riding in the Japan backcountry. If you choose to take advantage of our standard shared lodging options, we’ll place you with someone of the same gender in a room with two beds.

FOOD & ENTERTAINMENT

Extending far beyond its famous sushi and sashimi, food in Japan is delicious and incredibly varied. Dining at SASS Japan is no exception. Each SASS Japan session includes daily breakfast and dinner, along with our farewell barn party event.

  • Breakfast at the castle includes Japanese and North American favorites. Massive tables lay out scores of eggs, breakfast meats, soup, ramen, coffees, juices, greens, snacks and much more.

  • Dinner buffets at the castle includes an extensive buffet featuring an array of appetizers, greens, soup and entree options with including grill specialties, “fresh catch” local fish and a vegetarian option each night.

    • SASS is proud to offer alternate event dinner events on some nights, including our farewell barn party hosted by a local family.

    • We also coordinate independent visits to KONTON pub and local ramen shops for interested clients.

CLICK HERE TO SEE A SAMPLE MENU (PDF)

PHOTOS & VIDEOS

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Can’t wait? Contact us now!

Email / General Inquiries: info@sassglobaltravel.com
Phone / Customer Service & Sales: 1.800.851.4660
Phone / Puerto Rico Office: 1.787.823.0610
Mailing Address: 340 South Lemon Ave. Ste. 7842
Walnut, California 91789

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