Niseko Powder Equipment Guide

If it’s your first time to Niseko you will be blown away by the quality and quantity of snow that falls. With an average of 10 plus metres of the softest, lightest and driest snow you may have ever experienced, this powder haven is like no other place in the world. As such, it is vital that you are equipped with appropriate equipment to exploit such elite conditions and gain the most out of your time in Niseko.

With many advances in research, technology and development in this industry, the quality of modern-day equipment is unprecedented and there is no reason to be using an under performing snowboard or set of skis. If you are not a frequent powder skier and your equipment reflects this, leave it at home and rent a more appropriate set-up once you’re in town. Enjoy the hassle-free experience of renting and enjoy some of the latest skis on the market, custom-built to handle Niseko’s powdery conditions. With individualised advice from the experts who know Niseko’s terrain the best, you will be able to swap between skis and boards to ensure you are best equipped to handle the conditions.

Powder-specific equipment

For skiers and snowboarders, the dream is to slash through deep powder, bounce off pillows and fly through untouched snow, leaving only a trail of powder to twirl in the air behind you. People often envision the perfect powder day, but with the wrong equipment this experience can quickly become hard work, unrewarding and unenjoyable.

Powder Ski Guide

Width: A wider ski sees an increase in the total surface area and contact between the ski and the snow, in turn creating better floatation. In the bottomless pits of fresh snow that we see on the Niseko slopes, you will need maximum flotation to avoid any abrupt stops or loss of speed. A greater overall width will increase the turning radius of the ski and result in a greater capacity to make big, wide, open turns. Powder skis can range in width from anywhere between 100mm to about 140mm and on a Niseko powder day you can certainly afford to go a little wider then normal.

Length: A longer ski will again increase the surface area and can offer greater stability and floatation, ideal for off-piste turns in deep powder. A tall ski improves manoeuvrability, acceleration and momentum and a general rule is to go about 10cm longer than what you would typically ski. This is however, largely dependent on the profile of the ski and the aggressiveness of the skier.

Profile: A reverse camber or ‘rocker’ profile basically means the mid-point of the ski makes contact with the snow and the tips protrude upwards to help increase the float-ability of the skis. An increased initiation of turns also evident with this profile enables exceptional  manoeuvrability in the powder. When a rocker profile is chosen, you can also afford to opt for a slightly longer set, as the protruding tips will decrease the ‘effective edge’ of your ski.

Powder Snowboard Guide

Length: As with skis, a longer snowboard increases the contact points between the board and the snow and therefore increases the capacity of the board to stay afloat in powder. Depending on your board’s shape and profile you can afford to up-size between 2 and 6cm. As with rocker camber or a true ‘powder board’ there is already technology in place to keep you afloat so a less dramatic jump in length is required.

Profile: The general shape of your snowboard will dictate the contact points and the ability for it to stay above the snow. A rocker profile leaves the anterior and posterior tips elevated off the snow and improves the floatation of the board. A board with rocker technology means only a small amount of body movement can cause quick and easy manipulation of the snowboard, again helping with keeping the board up and ready to enjoy wide open and playful turns.

Shape: Snowboards come in a range of shapes, customised to suit certain terrain or conditions. An increased width in the nose of the board will increase floatation particularly at the front end of the board and lower the risk of ‘tomahawking’. To avoid any confusion grab yourself a ‘powder board’, built purely for deep snow conditions. This board’s wide flexible tip provides lift at the front and the stiff tail which tapers in size, provides stability, promotes weight to the back of the board and enhances the float at the front.

With such advanced technology, modified methodically to create equipment that is purpose-built to handle the deepest snow in the world, it would be foolish to not take advantage. The best snow in the world deserves the best equipment so be sure to hire powder equipment during your next Niseko stay.

Japan Ski Experience can help you with booking your Niseko accommodation and anything from powder skis and snowboards to airport transfers. Get in touch with the team today!