PRESS RELEASE | Hokkaido Local Launches English Online Database of Hokkaido Ski Touring Routes

Posted on Oct 31, 2018
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Posted on Oct 31, 2018
12 0
SAPPORO CITY, JAPAN | Today, Rob Thomson, a New Zealander resident in Hokkaido, launched an independent, free, online English-language database of Hokkaido backcountry ski touring routes. The database so far has 38 established ski touring routes across Hokkaido, with new routes added weekly during the Hokkaido winter. THE HOKKAIDO WILDS is Japan’s first, fully filterable and searchable database of ski touring routes offered in English.

Last updated Jul 8, 2019

“Good quality information about Hokkaido backcountry ski routes simply doesn’t exist in English,” explained founder Rob Thomson. “The Hokkaido Wilds changes that. Our aim is to be one point of inspiration for independent and experienced backcountry skiers wanting to get off the beaten track in the Hokkaido winter hills.” Ski touring routes on The Hokkaido Wilds were previously hosted on Thomson’s personal blog He provides the information on The Hokkaido Wilds for free: “When I plan to do a ski tour, I’ll do my due diligence by collecting intel on huts, established routes, maps, locations etc. from local, freely available Japanese sources. Essentially I’m just sharing my planning notes and trip reports that would otherwise just collect dust.”

Features of The Hokkaido Wilds ski touring database

  • Location-based search (find routes near you).
  • Route guide plus photos.
  • GPX and KML route files.
  • Printable PDF topographical maps and official topo map references.
  • Trailhead locations including public transport information.
  • Hokkaido mountain hut information (
  • Onsen hotsprings nearby each trailhead.
  • Safety tips and frequently asked questions, etc.

About The Hokkaido Wilds

The Hokkaido Wilds is a non-profit website that exists to inspire people to explore and enjoy Hokkaido’s extraordinary outdoors by ski, bicycle and foot in an informed and responsible way.

About Rob Thomson

Hokkaido Wilds founder Rob Thomson, has lived in Japan for 12 years (8 in Hokkaido), and works as an assistant professor of media and communications at Hokusei Gakuen University in Sapporo City. He worked with Polish skier and graphic designer Dominika Gan on the design and layout of the site. Rob previously cycled from Japan to Switzerland, and still holds the Guinness World Record for the Longest Journey by Skateboard (12,159km).


Rob Thomson (Founder, The Hokkaido Wilds)
TEL: +81 (0)80-4228-6132 (Japan mobile)
Instagram: @rob_tomo


For a collection of photos for use in articles and blog posts, please take a look at Rob’s Hokkaido Ski Touring Highlights album on Flickr here. Images in this album are licences under a Creative Commons attribution license. A sample of the images are below.

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Hokkaido Wilds Foundation

We’ve got affiliate links on to help fund the Hokkaido Wilds foundation.

The Foundation gets a small commission on sales from affiliate links, but we only link to stuff we think is worth checking out for people keen on the outdoors in Hokkaido and Japan.

The Hokkaido Wilds Foundation is a fund where 100% of funds are donated to Hokkaido volunteer groups involved in sustainable, safe, and responsible access to the Hokkaido outdoors.

Learn more here


Filter by location

About Filters

REGION: The general mountain/geographical region the route is in.

BEST MONTH(S): Time of year a route is suited to visiting. Some pop all season, some are more limited.

DIFFICULTY: How strenuous a route is, and how technical it is. Full details here.

FREERIDE/SKITOUR: Very subjective, but is a route more-of-a-walk-than-a-ski or the other way around? Some routes are all about the screaming downhill (freeride), some are more about the hunt for a peak or nice forest (ski-tour). Some are in between. 

MAIN ASPECT: Which cardinal direction the primary consequential slope is facing, that you might encounter on the route. More details here.

ROUTE TAGS: An eclectic picking of other categories that routes might belong to.

SEARCH BY LOCATION: You can find routes near your current location – just click on the crosshairs (). You may need to give permission to to know your GPS location (don’t worry, we won’t track you). Or, type in a destination, such as Niseko or Sapporo or Asahikawa etc.

Please let us know how we can make it easier to narrow down your search. Contact Rob at with your suggestions.

PRESS RELEASE | Hokkaido Local Launches English Online Database of Hokkaido Ski Touring Routes Difficulty Rating





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GRADES range from A (very difficult) to D (easy). Hazards include exposure to avalanche and fall risk. More details here. Rating rubric adapted from Hokkaido Yukiyama Guidebook 北海道雪山ガイド.