The Explore Niseko Blog

A Hike up Mt Youtei

Wake up at 5am with excitement of climbing an active volcano and if conditions are ideal we will be snowboarding into the crater.

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Wake up at 5am with excitement of climbing an active volcano and if conditions are ideal we will be snowboarding into the crater.

As we meet at Seicomart at 6am i experienced the town a completely different way. Tractors and trucks rushing around clearing snow before the sun rises to begin another day in Niseko. We met our guides and other customers and there is a buzz between the group as we are doing last minute checks of all our gear and loading into the vans.

Arriving at the car park of Mt Youtei (200m elevation) we start preparing our backpacks and putting our snowshoes on.

The hike begins walking thru the dense forest. As we get higher and higher the trees start to thin out. about 1 and a half hours in, we break into the open away from the trees and catch the first glimpse of the volcano we are going to be standing on top of later that day.

Stopping along the way regularly for drinks and photo opportunities we hiked to the peak in just over 4.5 hours. Reaching the top gave me a big sigh of relief but left me with a satisfying sense of achievement reaching the peak of 1889m. After a short break taking in the breathtaking views and of course amazing photography moments, we begin to swap our snowshoes for snowboards and repack our backpacks. Our guide instructs us on where we are going down and the meeting point at the bottom of the crater! Reaching the bottom felt quiet surreal, i was inside an active volcano! even though Youtei hasn’t erupted for over 3000 years i couldn’t help but think to myself `imagine if it did now`.I was surprised to see how big the actual crater was once i was inside and we were able to hike out without the snowshoes - which my legs were grateful for.

Reaching the edge of the crater peak we strap back into our snowboards to get ready to snowboard back down the volcano to the base carpark. Riding some of the steepest terrain Niseko and surrounding areas have to offer not to mention the large valley/natural half pipe we followed down. Coming back below the tree line where it began to mellow out my legs were exhausted and all i could think about was getting back to the car and relaxing.

We finally all made it back with high 5s all round and an exhausted but accomplished smile on our faces.

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