Cat-skiing is definitely on most skiers and snowboarders bucket lists and there here are quite a few options for people to look at when visiting the Niseko region.
Niseko Weiss Powder Cats is run by Niseko Hanazono Resort on the Weiss Ski Resort and is an excellent introductory tour that is suited to intermediate skiers and boarders looking to experience something new and to get deep in the Niseko powder. There are some steeper lines to keep more advanced riders happy but don’t expect lot’s of steep challenging terrain or jumps. Most of the runs are wide open and not too steep.
Hanazono offers a free pick up and drop off service in the Niseko Area delivering customers to Hanazono 308 for a safety briefing at at 08:30. Safety gear and instructions on how to use the gear is provided during the briefing.
The tour is a full day booking and half day bookings are not available. Bookings can be made individually or in groups or even by booking out the entire cat which holds 12 customers plus guides. The first session is from 09:00 to 12:00, and guests get on average 3-5 runs depending on skill level. Lunch is provided at the nearby Weiss hotel between 12:00-13:00. Guests can choose from a few options including a katsudon and a vegetarian meal. The second session goes from 13:00-15:00, where guests usually get 2-3 runs on average.
For groups with mixed ability levels or people looking to experience cat-sking for the first time with no pressure then this is the tour for you! You can expect amazing service that you would expect from a resort with excellent staff, great amenities and a wonderful product. If you are lucky enough to get out there on the clear day the views are jaw dropping. Well worth checking out!
And for next season cat assisted touring!
From next season Niseko Weiss Powder cats will be offering assisted backcountry tours. The tours can be booked through Hanazono Powder Guides as a private full day tour. Guests will get picked up from their accommodation, taken to Hanazono for a brief and given safety equipment (backpack and avalanche gear). Guests will need to bring their own touring gear snowshoes or skins. Groups will head up on the CAT at 8AM before the regular Weiss tour. From there they will make a short hike to the peak of Weisshorn, and drop in where conditions are best. This allows guests to access seldom ridden terrain at Weiss that is steeper than the CAT accessed area. They will then tour back up and take as many laps as the day allows, before riding down to base and taken back to their accommodation.