Tracing Snow - Snowboarding in Japan


„The kind of place where the way a traveler‘s tracks disappear in snow is something you get used to - such a place is the world of ours.“

- Princess Shikishi


Japan, the land of the rising sun,the land of endless tree runs through waist deep snow, a dream came true when I finally left European ground heading east to Japan.

Along with the Sinkflug Independent* crew our main focus beside having tons of fun was to get some solid footage for our latest film project which will be released in autumn. After 14 endless seeming hours travelling, we finally reached Tokyo, very exhausted but at the same time super overwhelmed about all the new impressions. The first two days were used for some sightseeing in Tokyo and also to get some lifestyle-street shootings done. One of those many remarkable things in Tokyo is this crossroad, where hundreds of people wait for the green lights to go on.


For us also the green lights went on, which means we finally took our flight from Tokyo-Narita north to Sapporo, using Niseko as our home base for the next 2 weeks, where all our adventures should start.


After checking the tracked out resort for the first couple of days, we decided to search somewhere else for the goods. This turned out to be a really good decision! First I was a little bit concerned about using my Splitboard instead of snowshoes in this really deep snow but with the Freeride Split it was no problem at all! In densely wooded parts it was really agile, floated perfectly through almost neck deep powder and on the other hand it gives you the necessary stability and pop for some pillow action. Luckily it turned out that we were able to hike to most of these amazing zones straight from the road, it was unbelievable!


So the daily routine looked kinda like this: Search for spots prepare pillows and in runs , hiking to the top using my Splitboard, waiting for the camera and drone to set up and then finally drop in. It´s not always easy to be patient when you see all this possibilities surrounding you and the only thing you want to do is ride.

One of the outstanding experiences was that one night session we did, where we had to jump from a kicker over a gap straight into a pillow, that feeling to drop in, using only the lights of your headlamp, was truly amazing.


On the last day at Niseko we took advantage of a beautiful bluebird day and decided to hike up to the top of Chisenopuri. It took us a while to get up there and the last part was quit steep for Japan standards, but at the end we were rewarded with a lovely view over the open landscape and even could spot the ocean in the distance. On the way down we managed to find and ride two more really sweet spots and so it was a perfect ender of this trip.


Big shout out to the Hokkaido Backcountry Club especially Pia and Tristan, who showed us all this beautiful spots and even enabled us to go cat skiing in Shimamaki and at the house of powder Chisenopuri! So definitely check out their homepage to get a variety of touring options around Hokkaido! 


This trip to Japan was literally an all time experience for us all!

Hopefully the pictures speak for themselves.

Thanks for your support:

Photo Credits:

Victor Heim is 24 years old and currently living in the freeride city Innsbruck.

He started snowboarding at the age of 9 and is now competing at the Freeride World Qualifier Tour since 4 years. He likes to explore the mountains and escape the crowded lift lines with his splitboard.