Welcome to the #1 mountain in Japan for POWDER SNOW!

What people are saying about Simon's Powder Tours:

SIMON.. Thank you for showing me around beautiful Hakkoda and the area nearby the other day. : ) It was one of the best places I visited during my long 9 week holiday in Japan and Italy. I was so impressed with the mountains' really magnificent view and their nature.
Especially for me who originally was born in Tokyo and have been living in Sydney for such a long time. I have not seen real mountains for ages and also have never felt such real mountains' nature close enough to me.
I was so lucky, it was such a beautiful day with a deep blue sky spread out behind the mountains. As soon as we got off the ropeway and started walking I could smell the fragrance of fresh nature and also found the mountains just starting to being spotted with little yellow and red tinges of autumn. It was so pretty.
You also showed me the special secret place where you could get pure natural water which melted on my tounge. : ) And after hiking, you took me to the famous hot spring which was nice refreshing and so relaxing. It was really a wonderful day out in Aomori and brought me to feel fullly real Japanese beauty which I have been forgetting for such a long time.
Thank you very much. : ) Your kind and caring guide with full of details and maximum service was excellent which I could see your passion for Hakkoda and connecting with people through your job.
I really love skiing but I have not been to the snow world for a long long time. I wish one day I could get the skill and visit these mountains which you showed me around again in winter and enjoy their famous powder snow with my skies. : ) I'm sure that it would take me to another beautiful white world and make me feel awesome!

Kazumi, Sydney, Australia, 9/2008

Starting the tour from the top of Mt. Tamoyachi 1324m.

Taking a break to enjoy the early autumn colors.

Hey Simon,
Thanks for the ride today...turned out to be a beautiful ride with some nice views. Some pretty good overlook over the lake, but the shrine is my favorite shot. Always a new adventure, just too bad there was no fresh blueberry soft cream to be had...sigh....
Thanks again

Brian, 8/2008

Off road biking took us past bales of hay which reminded me of giant tootsie rolls!

Brian at the Aneto Marsh taken from the lookout at the Ohkamiake shinto shrine. We were checking out the hawks diving for fish!

Better late than never...
From our fantastic tour; doesn't it make you want to ski/board?!

Monica, 4/2008

Kuma (bear), Akemi, Mr K. & Monica; can you see Mt. Iwaki in the background?

We are safely back in home where its hot and humid (Singapore). Certainly missing the spring weather. We had a wonderful time in Aomori. Thank you very much for showing us around the mountains.
Hope to be able to visit Hakkoda again in the middle of winter to see the snow monsters.

Mervin & Elia, Singapore, 4/2008

Mervin & Elia on Simon's Cherry Blossom Powder Tour

Mervin going down the back of Mt. Tamoyachi

So, there we were at Aomori airport late in the evening on Australia day (26 January) getting picked up by the "Bandit" aka the proprietor of our lodge, the Sansou, where we would be staying while in Hakkoda.

The Bandit, always sharing a smile, sake or shochu, and delicious Aomori apples!

It was the second year in a row for three of us after I came across an article about skiing Hakkoda and Simon our guide in a National Geographic magazine article. Of our party, three were skiers, one a switch skier boarder and one a full time knuckle dragger. Simon also falls into the latter category but unlike most of his genre is very fast and handy boarding with (collapsible) poles which is one thing that you have to get used to in Hakkoda for easy manoeuvrability in very deep snow. It was the first time for one of my mates skiing real powder other than a closed off run in Iwatake in Nagano where we had skied the week before.
We met Simon in the morning and after checking gear etc went off to the ropeway. It is a bit of a crush on weekends and that Sunday was no exception as all the Japanese ski nerds as well as a few foreign ones were out in force. I recognised a few faces from the previous year who were probably guides or members of a local ski club which has its HQ at the Sansou lodge; lots of stickers saying "No job, no girl but powder" and one member who lives three months of the year in his four wheel drive in the car park - you get the idea!

Sal, pause before the powder...

Got up to the top and it was blowing a blizzard with the air temperature -20 and the wind speed 15m/s so a wind chill factor of about -40 but this is what causes the trees to become snow monsters. The newcomers were a bit concerned about the fact that we were going to go outside and were probably thinking that looking at the art gallery at the top of the rope station might be a good idea but we assured them it was not going to be like Scott of the Antarctic where one of the party said: "I am just going outside" and was never seen again. Simon took us down about three or four times each day. It takes about an hour to get down and other than two courses marked with orange poles there are no pistes so you really need to have a guide unless you want to get lost. On day three we skied down the Doozo route which ends up at the Doozo chaya (teahouse) in memory of about 100 Japanese soldiers who became lost in a blizzard here and perished in the early part of last century. On this day the weather cleared revealing the amazing sight of a mountain covered in snow monsters and the realisation of "so that's where we were the other day".

Group shot at the end of the Doozo Tour.

As one of our party was new to such deep powder we went a bit slower but by day three he "got it" (proper fat skis are recommended). In this regard, Simon did a tremendous job in "making it a day" for the whole group even though we were a bit slower than usual.
In addition to the great powder snow, the food at the Sansou is excellent - they even bake their own bread and pastries etc so you can have a great morning snack and some really good curry rice for lunch. Dinners are amazing with lots of local seafood. There is no disco but if he feels like an onsen too then the Bandit will take you to an old hotel down the road which houses the Suka-yu 1000 person mixed onsen smelling and tasting like vinegar (yes he made me taste it). There is also plenty of drinking shochu (Japanese vodka) and chatting with hard core Japanese skiers and intrepid foreigners who work at the Sansou while watching skiing videos (what else) if you still have some energy in the evenings.
After three days at Hakkoda a couple of us took the train to Hakodate in Hokkaido for a flight to Ashikawa which is another story albeit a cold one as well!

Julian & Mike enjoying the great food at the Sansou.

Julian Grenfell, Adelaide, South Australia, 4/2008


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