Lessons, Backcountry and Snowshoe

Ski school, backcountry & snowshoe tours

Ski school, backcountry & snowshoe tours

Nozawa Ski School

Celebrating a century since opening the Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort, the Nozawa Onsen Ski School proudly continues to spread the joy of skiing and snowboarding to those new to the sport, as well as helping old hands develop their techniques. For international guests we have a team of professional international instructors from around the world.
No matter how young or old, new or experienced, we offer a variety of packages to suit your needs.
Contact the Nozawa Onsen Ski School to see what we can offer you!

The international side of the ski school is operated by Canyons, a four season experience provider with over 20 years in Japan.


Make the most of your time on the slopes with a private lesson. For private lessons you pay for the instructor, not per participant. You can have up to eight participants in one class for the same price as one participant. This is the BEST way to improve fast with more time working on your skills. Whether you are a first timer or an experienced skier looking to improve on technique or get rid of bad habits we have an instructor that will suit your needs.
Instructors are limited so it is recommended to make a booking well in advance.

TimeLesson timesPrice
Premium Full day Between 8:30 – 17:00¥80,000
Full day 6 hour9:00 – 12:00, 13:00 – 16:00¥60,000
AM 2 hour9:00 – 11:00 OR 10:00 – 12:00¥30,000
AM 3 hour9:00 – 12:00¥35,000
PM 3 hour13:00 – 16:00¥30,000
> Available from resort opening – April 15th
> So that all participants get the most out of their lesson, please ensure that all participants in a private lesson are of a similar ability, and either ALL ski or ALL snowboard.
> Young children and adults learn at a different pace and in different ways, so we recommend that all participants in a private lesson are of a similar age.
> Maximum of 8 participants
> Please see ability levels before you make booking.
> Bookings open from September 1st.
>We recommend ALL lesson and tour participants have travel insurance. You can purchase Japan travel specific insurance here.

Group Lessons

Age GroupFull day courseMorning Course
Adults (15yrs +)14,000 JPY/person (4.5 hours)
10:00am 〜 12:30pm 1:30pm 〜 3:30pm
10,000 JPY/person (2.5 hours)
10:00am 〜 12:30pm
Kids (7-14yrs)15,000 JPY/person (4.5 hours + lunch included)
10:00am ~ 3:30pm
10,000 JPY/person (2.5 hours)
10:00am ~ 12:30pm
Infants (4-6yrs SKI ONLY)17,000 JPY/person (4.5 hours + lunch included)
10:00am ~ 3:30pm
11,000 JPY/person (2.5 hours)
10:00am 〜 12:30pm
> Available from Dec 21st – March 22nd (other times private lessons only)
> Full day lessons for kids and infants includes a meal and staff member looking after them for the lunch break.
> Minimum number for a group lesson to run is 2 people.
> Some lessons may combine age groups to make up minimum numbers.
> Please see ability levels before you make a booking.
> Bookings open from September 1st.
> We recommend ALL lesson and tour participants have travel insurance. You can purchanse Japan travel specific insurance here.
AgeLevelNumber of participants
4-6 yrs(Infants – SKI ONLY)1-4Up to 4
7-14yrs(Kids)1-5Up to 8
15yrs +(Adults)1-4Up to 8
Note:Class levels may combine in some situations.
> 3yr olds can participate in private lessons.
> Age groups may be mixed with smaller numbers of participants or with similar ability levels.


The school is open for enrolments from 8:30 am until 5 pm daily. We strongly advise booking in advance in peak seasons (Dec – Feb) The desk can become very busy for morning sign ups, so we recommend coming in early.

Lesson Ability Levels

The following ability levels show what skills you will be working on at each level. If you can already perform the skills at a level proficiently please proceed to the next level.

1Current Ability: I have never skied before.
Lesson Goals: Stop in a wedge on the beginner run and starting to turn.
Current Ability: I have never snowboarded before.
Lesson Goals: Learn how to stop on both edges on the beginner run.
2Current Ability: I am linking wedge turns on the beginner run.
Lesson Goals: Wedge turn on easy GREEN runs and ride a chairlift safely.
Current Ability: I can get up on my own, stop and sideslip on both edges on the beginner run.
Lesson Goals: Do a floating leaf, try C-shaped turns on a GREEN run and learn how to ride a chairlift.
3Current Ability: I am comfortably wedge turning on GREEN runs  and can ride a chairlift.
Lesson Goals: Make my skis parallel at the end of the turn on GREEN runs and gain more confidence.
Current Ability: I can do a toe edge and heel edge C-shaped turn on GREEN runs.
Lesson Goals: Link C-turns confidently on easy GREEN runs after riding a chairlift and start to vary turn shape.
4Current Ability: I am skiing faster, matching my skis in the middle of the turn on GREEN runs and I am ready for steeper GREEN or BLUE runs.
Lesson Goals: Keep my skis parallel all the time on challenging GREEN runs or BLUE runs
Current Ability: I can make varied turn shapes and sizes on GREEN runs consistently.
Lesson Goals: Confidently control my speed through turn shape on challenging GREEN runs or BLUE runs.
5Current Ability: I can ski parallel and control speed with round turns on challenging GREEN runs or BLUE runs.
Lesson Goals: Try RED runs and become more confident on steeper terrain.
Current Ability: I am making smooth turns on challenging GREEN runs or BLUE runs.
Lesson Goals: Introduce RED runs and the option of entry level freestyle skills.
6Current Ability: I can perform various turn shapes on challenging RED runs.
Lesson Goals: You will be working on advanced techniques such as moguls, carving, variable conditions, powder and freestyle on RED and BLACK runs.
Current Ability: I am comfortable on challenging RED runs.
Lesson Goals: You will be working on advanced techniques such as moguls, carving, variable conditions, powder and freestyle on RED and BLACK runs.
Group lessons may be full, or may not be available depending on number of participants enrolled in a lesson (minimum of 2 needed) and instructor availability.

Nozawa backcountry tours

Nozawa’s ONLY English backcountry guide service !

Make the most of your powder time at Nozawa by hiring a professional mountain guide to safely guide you around Nozawa’s and surrounding mountains backcountry.
BC tours are the best way to learn about the areas stashes and our crew of highly experienced international guides will ensure you have an amazing day !

We keep the group sizes small to maximize the riding time and freshies ! It is best if you have a group with ability levels that are relatively close so we can customize the terrain for you.

If you like exploring then make the most of your time by booking multiple days and we can show you around some of the hidden gems at other nearby resorts. (Other resort trips only available for those booking more than 1 day of tours.)

For more detailed information visit the Nozawa BC site

Head guide

Nationality: New Zealand
NZMGA ski guide, Pre Hospital Emergency Care, New Zealand Avalanche Association trainer, Canadian Avalanche Association trainer

Pete is a keen ski mountaineer with a wealth of experience in New Zealand, around the world, and has been our head guide for 5 seasons in Japan. His passion for the outdoors and backcountry is contagious ! Not only will you have an awesome day but your knowledge will be taken to the next level !

Backcountry tour

Tour duration7 hours
PriceGroup tour 20,000JPY/person (minimum of 2 people required to run tour)
Private tour 80,000JPY *
*Price based on a 4 person tour, larger group options available
Multi day discounts for private tours
Registration & Payment@Nozawa Onsen Ski School (Hikage Gondola) on the day before tour (or earlier)
OR Using online booking form below (recommended)
Meeting time8:00 AM at Nagasaka Gondola Ticket Office (3rd floor)
IncludesGuide fee, Transciever , Probe, Shovel
Additional costsLift ticket, rental equipment
(Lift tickets are not included in the price of the tour. Please wait until the morning of the tour to purchase lift tickets so that the guide can advise you on the type of ticket required.)
Participation requirementsAge 13 and older
(Participants under 20 must have the signature of guardian or parent.)
We require all participants to be at least level 1 on the downhill ability level chart below.
FitnessPlease be aware that a certain level of fitness is required for our backcountry tours. Typically there will be 10-20 minutes of hiking per every minute of skiing. We require all participants to be at least level 1 on the fitness level chart below (and level 3 if you wish to use snowshoes on a group tour)
BringSki/snowboard, boots, ski clothing, gloves, helmet, goggles, ski poles with BIG baskets, drink, snacks, sandwich/food
Snowshoes & poles OR Split board/touring skis and skins
SeasonJan 15th – March 15th
NoteTours to other resorts are only available as private tours. Tours including a participant aged 15 or under are only available as a private tours. Private tours are based on the cost of 4 people.
Backcoutry rental equipmentBackpack 1000 ¥
Snowshoe & Poles 3000 ¥
Poles with big baskets 1000 ¥
Touring skis and skins 5000 ¥
Split board and skins 5000 ¥

Touring skis and splitboards are strongly recommended. Snowshoes can be used as an alternative to touring gear.
Alternative LocationsWe can also offer tours in the following locations: Myoko Kogen Akakura, Myoko Suginohara, Kagura, Madarao and Tenjindaira.
InsuranceInsurance is not inlcuded in tour so we recommend ALL lesson and tour participants to have travel insurance. You can purchanse Japan travel specific insurance here.

Backcountry tour flow

Meet at the resortAll participants sign up, organise BC rental equipment and guides check everyone’s gear.
Lifts to BC areaThe group takes the gondolas and lifts to the top of the mountain , then leaves the ski area to head to the deep snow.
Morning sessionThe guide(s) assess everyone’s ability and choose appropriate routes, maximizing POW time.
LunchTime to refuel for the PM session
Afternoon sessionMore BC bliss!
Back homeEveryone returns rental gear, then off for a refreshing beverage.

Backcountry fitness levels

1 AverageYou undertake 1 or 2 exercise activities a week, probably totalling 1 or 1.5 hours total. These might be walks/run/cycles or the equivalent in the gym.
Your weekly training volume is around 2 – 4 hours, including a longer session at the weekend. You’re getting out 3 times a week, and walking uphill with a rucksack on is manageable for a couple of hours and doesn’t leave you exhausted.
You are getting out every weekend and a couple of times during the week. At this level not running/cycling/hill walking every week is frustrating. You are happy with a 6 – 7 hour hill walk with a light backpack, a two hour run or a hilly 50km on the bike, and this doesn’t leave you exhausted for the next week! Weekly volume around 4 – 10 hours.
4 AthleteYou have been training regularly for several years, maybe for big objectives in the mountains or for competitive sports back home. Running a marathon in under 4 hours, or undertaking a 150 km cycle sportive would be a fun challenge. You are happy carrying a backpack in the hills for 7 hours or more, gaining more than 1500m height gain. Weekly volume is around 10 hours plus.

Downhill ability levels

1 – BeginnerConfident on the course (black runs), but only just beginning to venture off-piste on slopes of red/blue steepness.
2 – IntermediateUsed to skiing/riding off-piste with a backpack and able to cope with difficult conditions by a combination of side-slipping, traverses and turning with snow-plough technique or following a previous ski-track). Able to cope with short sections of backcountry snow which are as steep as black piste runs.
3 – ExperiencedAble to link turns continuously in powder snow and to control speed and follow a precise line in tight trees or confined spaces. Able to link turns on longer slopes up to 35° in good snow.
4 – AdvancedAble to ski/ride the fall-line in most conditions (powder snow, crust snow) and rarely falls. Confident on steep slopes up to 40°. Skiers can jump turn. Boarders can hold traverses on the heel edge

Back Country Experience levels

LevelUphill ability
1 – BeginnerNo previous experience in the use of skins, ski touring equipment splitboards and kick turns, with the help of your guide you will learn and develop these skills during the tour
2 – IntermediateCompetent with the use of ski touring or splitboard equipment, skins and previous experience in performing kick turns.
3 – ExperiencedProficient in the use of ski touring or splitboard equipment and able to do solid reliable kick turns on steepening terrain.
4 – AdvancedExperienced ski tourer/splitboarder with solid ability in all backcountry techniques in steep terrain.


Learn about the history of the area and local flora and fauna while exploring the beauty of Nozawa’s winter wonderland on a snowshoe tour. Walk through 200 year old beach forests, over a frozen lake and enjoy the panoramic view of the Nagano Alps. Your experienced local guide will customize a course to your needs and the days conditions to make for the best experience.

Price7,000JPY/person (minimum of 2 people required to run tour)
Duration3 hours
Meeting timeAM 8:30
PM 12:30
At Nagasaka Gondola Ticket Office (3rd floor) 
IncludesGuide fee, snowshoes, poles and insurance
Additional costsLift ticket (adult 1500-2000 yen, child 12 or under 900 – 1200 yen)
NOTE: some courses may not require a lift ticket so please check with guides first.
Participation requirements10 years or older – Need a minimum of 2 people to run a tour.  
BringWaterproof Jacket and pants (warm layers), waterproof gloves, sunglasses and or goggles, Beanie, snow boots (or waterproof hiking boots) water, sunscreen
SeasonJan 10th – March 15th (season may start earlier and go later depending on snow)
Please email ski school for snowshoe bookings.

Online booking for Ski / Snowboard & Backcountry Tours

If you would like more details on anything or have questions you would like answered, please drop us a mail at nozawaskischool@gmail.com OR Call us on: +81-80-90832172