Dan (GM at Snowboard.com): “JK we’re going to Japan for a week of boarding and filming.”
JK (Me): “F**k f**k f**k f*k – that’s insanely awesome, my mind is blown, but what the f**k do I pack?”
Logistics kill me!!
While I have grown up living for winter and skiing/ boarding I have only ever hit the slopes in Australia and New Zealand. The desire to head overseas was usually dumped on by the crippling prices to afford said trip. Now thanks to work and it being part of my actual job it’s a new ball game.
For a trip to the Australian “alps” I just throw some gear in a bag the night before, but not for Japan. I am heading to alps that have more powder than a Tony Montana party! A place so cold I have been told to buy actual thermal underpants and a place so far removed from Thredbo I might as well be boarding on another planet! So like the anally retentive OCD dufus, I occasionally portray I have researched the shit out of it.
If I have forgotten anything that you think needs to be on the list please let me know and will add it.
If you by chance are next level OCD with your packing and need more than this article – check out FRUGAL COUPON LIVING – they have a downloadable checklist.
THE PACKING LIST FOR SNOWBOARDING IN JAPAN
First of all, there are the essentials that, if you forget, you’re an idiot – they are still on my checklist anyways before I turn up in a foreign country looking like said idiot.
Including deodorant and any medications you take regularly. You may find a Panadol but you may not find YOUR Panadol over there. Also, from reading, deodorants won’t be as strong in Japan, so you will want your comfort antiperspirant. Maybe throw in some of your preferred Cold and Flu tablets in case you get a cold, stranger things have happened! Now if you lacking in the toiletries bag department – we got you covered – available in the store HERE.
YOUR GENERAL CLOTHING:
Undies, socks, general clothes, your PJs, comfort blanket and teddy bear – whatever you would take anywhere – JUST remember it will be about 30 to 40c degrees colder than normal. And of course, you need luggage to put it in – if you don’t have a decent suitcase, backpack or board bag – check out what we have offer HERE.
If you don’t pack this you’re screwed. It may seem ridiculously obvious on the list but hey this is a complete essentials list. The good news is that from most countries you don’t need a Visa to holiday in Japan – for more information visit HERE.
SNOWBOARDS, SKIS, BOOTS, POLES:
You will not want to forget these unless you plan on hiring them which has huge benefits by removing the hassle of carrying them but does add more costs to your holiday. Due to the pow pow in Japan your normal gear might not cut it and you should possibly consider renting some powder boards or check out the powder boards in our store that you could add to your quiver if you have more money than I. Click on the banner below and check out our shop for all your snowboarding needs!
You will definitely need a bunch of yen with you. Cash is king in Niseko. Japan is still largely a cash society, and Niseko is no different although Boss Man Dan advises most of the larger commercial places now take cards. Some places accept credit cards but many smaller shops, businesses and accommodation houses don’t. For maximum convenience and to avoid missing out on that fantastic looking little restaurant or unique souvenir shop that you may not pass again, it is advised that you carry cash.
SUNSCREEN AND LIP BALM:
This is obviously mostly for your face – wind and glare burn will be ready to fry you. Prep for it in advance so you don’t get the beetroot goggle look. At school this big guy in my year called me Goggles and actually held me down and drew the outline on my face…….more than once. Don’t be me, or Kim.
INTERNATIONAL DRIVER’S LICENSE (if you plan on hiring a car):
If coming from Australia the road rules are the same and they drive on the same side of the road. You can get your international driver’s license in Australia from the NRMA, it costs about $30-. In the USA check out this link for the DMV to get one…HERE.
JAPANESE RAIL PASS (if traveling around the country):
You can actually pre-buy your passes from HERE.
SCARVES, BALACLAVAS AND BEANIES:
Wool or fleece – avoid cotton – I was told it will just turn into an icy pole on your face. The fleece, and I assume the wool, don’t freeze. Be like Lenny! For scarves, balaclavas, beanies and more things to keep you warm check out what’s available in our store HERE for Men and HERE for the Ladies.
It’s basically a loop of material around your neck you can pull up over your mouth, a scarf also does this. When it gets to -25c degrees I have been advised you don’t want air touching your skin. Check out this one with a hood from Snowbay.co
GLOVES AND DECENT INNER GLOVE LINERS:
The inner gloves or slimmer gloves will be ideal if you need to take your hand out of your main gloves. I am trying to find some really warm inner gloves as I will be doing heaps of filming on the mountain and will most likely need more finger dexterity.
And more than one pair! I am taking two pairs and will wash one a day. I am also taking my winter jogging skins as an optional third pair. In these cold conditions paying the extra for Merino Wool thermals is best. I got a great deal with something like 70% off at Kathmandu in Sydney. But you will be able to Google/ Amazon or Ebay a crapload and The North Face and Patagonia have a great selection, so too apparently does Uniqlo. I want that full galaxy suit below!! It’s the Airblaster Ninja Suit – available HERE although the galaxy may not be available – may I suggest their GNU one haha.
LOW LIGHT DOUBLE LENSED GOGGLES:
We have a lot of goggles up in the shop – for MEN and for LADIES. The conditions vary a lot so a good polarised lens will make your sunny days better and a low light, preferably rose tinted lens will make your pow snow day. Don’t scrimp on goggles, if you end up looking through a too dark piece of fogged up shite your day on the mountain will not be ideal.
DAMN GOOD WATERPROOF BOOTS:
I am actually stoked with this one – I got given a pair of Sorels about six months ago and they are itching for some snow! They are pretty much the OG winter boot. I will also be taking a pair of Palladium boots I just love and that’s it.
GOOD WATERPROOF GEAR TO WEAR ON THE MOUNTAIN:
There is a lot of powder in Niseko, you are going to get soaking wet, your gear should be waterproof to a minimum of 10,000 mm. Hands down the best jacket I have ever seen and still dream of is the Brigadene Fuse Jacket from The North Face. It is like the Ferrari of Snowboarding jackets – it might as well have been designed by NASA. I am saving my pennies because this baby is about $1000au ($700US) – check it HERE.
Check out this awesome article from SnowboardingProfiles.com – they list the DC Command as the single best jacket on the market. It’s very affordable in snow gear comparisons. And we have just added it to our store – you can check it out HERE.
Things have changed now, this is a no-brainer! If you don’t wear a helmet on the mountain you don’t deserve to be on the mountain. Check out one of the best snowboarders in the world, Danny Davis (below). This was January 2018 and if it wasn’t for that helmet he’d be in some serious trouble or not with us. We have a bunch up in the store HERE.
The voltage in Japan is 100 volt and Japanese electrical plugs are identical to North American 2 pin plugs. A plug adapter would be advisable.
HEATED BOOT LINERS:
Not essential – these are more comforters for people who freak out when their tootsies get cold, which they will do in -25c degrees. Who knows – by the second day I might buy some. Some of my friends swear by them.
Something that can take a beating if need be but you will want pics on the mountain. We swear by anything GoPro. We also have Sony SLRs and a Phantom drone but you probably won’t be going that far. But most of it is up for you to check out and compare in the store HERE.
ABS and AVALANCHE GEAR:
Necessary if back-country touring. The snow in Niseko is off the charts and with snow that deep avalanches are a possibility. We have some items up in the store HERE but if you are the person who needs avalanche gear and/ or an ABS then spend the time researching what suits your needs. This shit will save your life.
** Some of the suggested links are to items in our store, some of which are affiliated items. If you purchase from us obviously we will make some money. While we suggest items please research what items will suit you and the conditions best.