Rhythm Rides FAQ


The following outlines Rhythm Japan’s (owned and operated by Beats Snow Sports Pty Ltd.) Terms & Conditions for Rhythm Rides.

General FAQs

  • Private lessons  from December 4 – April 14
  • Resort Guiding from December 16 – April 5
  • Backcountry Guiding from December 16 – April 5
  • Night Lessons from December 16 – March 17
  • Up until 7 days prior, a full refund will be provided for any reason.
  • From 7 days prior until 48 hours prior a 20% cancellation fee will be incurred.
  • From 48 hours prior a 100% cancellation fee will occur.
  • No compensation can be made for the loss of lesson time due to injury or illness if the lesson has commenced.
  • Upon receipt of a valid medical certificate. A reschedule or refund of future lessons can be made.
    • We must be advised before your new lesson has commenced.
    • We must receive the report within 24 hours of the cancelled lesson.

We reserve the right to cancel any reservations which do not meet our booking terms or have not been paid by the due date.

We want you to have the best on-mountain experience with us, so if you are feeling unwell or are injured we will be happy to reschedule your lesson upon receipt of a medical certificate or accident report, providing we have been advised prior to the lesson commencing.

Ski Patrol will make a treatment recommendation based on the seriousness of the injury, this may include:

  • Immediate transfer to a local hospital (or other appropriate facility) via emergency services
  • To seek further medical advice independently (at a private clinic, physio, or hospital) 
  • Rest

If your child is injured we will call you immediately to inform you of their condition and confirm where you can meet your child. Therefore, it is crucial we have a number we can reach you on at all times.

If the injury is deemed not an emergency we will wait for you to arrive so that you can decide the best form of treatment for your child. 

If the injury is deemed critical, your child will be taken to an emergency service deemed appropriate by the ambulance service. In this circumstance, we will endeavour to reach you and reunite you with your child as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately once a lesson has commenced we are unable to offer partial refunds or reschedule lessons.

We recommend allowing a minimum of 1.5 hours before your scheduled lesson start time to collect and be fitted with your rental equipment. For morning lessons we strongly recommend arranging your rental equipment the day before – you are able to collect your rentals from 3pm the day before your booking begins for free. If you are running late please call our guest services team on 0136 23 0164.

For Private Lessons, the lift pass you purchase will depend on your goals and ability level. For those who are new to the sport (Level 1-3), we would recommend a Grand Hirafu full day pass which will give you access to Grand Hirafu & Hanazono resort. If you are more experienced (Level 4-7) and you would like to explore more Annupuri or Niseko Village you will need an All Mountain lift pass. 

For Resort Guiding, you will need an All Mountain lift pass

For Explorer Upgrades (Privates & Resort Guiding) visiting resorts outside of Niseko please contact our Guest Services team to confirm the correct lift pass for your day.

Yes. Lift passes are required to use the resort facilities which include the groomed runs that you will use during your lesson.

We are incredibly lucky that Hokkaido receives arguably the best snow in the world! That does mean that the weather is often extremely cold, snowy and windy and then sometimes even rain towards the end of the season. The good news is that this does not mean that your lesson can not go ahead. We will generally run our lessons every day providing the lifts appropriate for your level are operating.

​​If the resort has closed all of its lifts for the day due to weather, we will offer a full refund or reschedule. If your lesson has already commenced we will offer a partial refund or partial reschedule.

Yes. We recommend that you have a travel insurance policy, and it is important to ensure that it covers the type of skiing/snowboarding you plan to enjoy. If you’re planning to go into the backcountry via the Niseko gate system or touring your policy must cover ‘off-piste’ or ‘backcountry’. Depending on your policy this is sometimes an optional extra.

Meeting locations

I have booked a Niseko Private, Resort Guiding or Lift-accessed Backcountry tour – where do I meet my instructor?

During the booking process you will have selected a meeting location, either our Rhythm Base store or one of our on snow locations. Typically, we recommend an on snow meeting location to ensure you make the most of your lesson time. 

The available meeting locations are:

  • Dot Base – your instructor will meet you on snow, outside of the uphill entrance.
  • Gondola Base – your instructor will meet you by the stairs on the carpark side of the mountain centre.
  • Family Base – your instructor will meet you on snow, next to the ticket sales window.
  • Rhythm Hirafu store – located here, your instructor will meet you on the top floor by the Rhythm Rides sales counter.

If you’ve booked a full-day lesson then you also have the option of meeting at Annupuri resort; your instructor will meet you on snow, outside the Nook. Please note that travel time is not included so it is imperative you arrive in Annupuri ready to ski/board for your chosen start time.

Our Premium Private & Explorer Upgrades include private transport to and from the resort, you will be picked up directly from your accommodation by your instructor and dropped-off there again at the end of the day. Our guest services team will be in touch once your booking is confirmed to make the necessary arrangements.

Backcountry Touring includes private transport, you will be picked up directly from your accommodation by your guide and dropped-off there again at the end of the day. Our guest services team will be in touch once your booking is confirmed to make the necessary arrangements.

Full-day lessons & guiding can start at Annupuri Base, by pre-arrangement only. If this is your preferred meeting location we must be advised at least 24 hours before your lesson start time.

Hanazono Resort does not allow lessons to be commenced at their base location. If you would like to ski directly from Hanazono, your instructor can meet you at your private accommodation in Hanazono with our Premium Private or Explorer Upgrade and together you can make your way to the lifts from there.

Are you staying at the Park Hyatt Hanazono? If so, contact our guest services team and we will reach out to the hotel team directly to get special permission to begin your lesson at the hotel ski valet.

​​Niseko Village Resort does not allow lessons to be commenced at their base location. If you are staying in Niseko Village and would like to book a private lesson or guide please contact our Guest Services Team for your options.


Private transport with pick-up and drop-off from your accommodation is included with  the following products:

  • Premium Private
  • Backcountry Touring

We can also offer private transport for the below full-day products if you add on our Explorer Upgrade for ¥20,000. 

  • Resort Guiding
  • Lift-accessed Backcountry

If you would like private transport for your lesson you will need to book our Private Premium, or add our Explorer Upgrade if you are booking our Resort Guiding or Lift-accessed Backcountry products.

Grand Hirafu operates a free village shuttle service that runs on a continuous loop every 15 minutes to the key resort base areas of Dot Base & Gondola Base. Your accommodation provider may also offer a shuttle service, and they are best placed to advise you on how to get to the resort from where you are staying.

There is a free resort shuttle that operates between Hanazono & Hirafu Village.

Private Lessons

Premium Private Lessons

Our Premium Privates are a fully-tailored experience that opens up a range of opportunities for your trip, including a longer lesson duration of eight-hours including lunch, plus an additional two-hours to customise the day to your needs. This includes the option to visit a variety of resorts in our region such as Niseko United Resorts, Moiwa, Rusustu, Kiroro, Teine, Kokusai. Every Premium Private includes private transport with pick-up and drop-off from your accommodation each day for up to six guests.

There are so many amazing resorts in our region that it is possible to visit from Niseko. We are able to customise your trip to visit Moiwa, Rusustu, Kiroro, Teine, Kokusai and other hidden gems in our region.

Our guest services team or your instructor will be happy to make a recommendation based on your ability level and goals for the day!

Resort requests are required to be booked a minimum of 24 hours prior to your lesson day. If you would like to change your resort request, we recommend contacting our guest services team to make arrangements or discussing this directly with your instructor if you are with them over multiple days.

Unfortunately, transportation for private errands is not possible. Your instructor can, however, drop you off at a location that is convenient for you at the end of your day.

Absolutely – we highly recommend it! If you would like to visit an onsen, we recommend packing your onsen gear (towel, change of clothes & shoes) and bringing it with you at the beginning of the day. Be sure to let your instructor know early in the day – they’ll let you know the options and  ensure it fits into the schedule. You may need to finish on the mountain a little earlier at the end of the day.

Resort Guiding & Backcountry General FAQ

While Niseko is known for its never-ending powder, each season can of course vary. Statistically speaking though, we find that the most consistently snowy months occur during Dec, Jan & Feb.

That being said, March can also bring the goods and is known for its clear skies and warmer days bringing magnificent scenery and opportunities to summit mountains otherwise inaccessible.

Good question! Slackcountry refers to the terrain that can be accessed via a lift, however it is outside of the resort’s operational boundaries. Typically this means there are no or little avalanche control measures. Therefore it is backcountry terrain that is just more easily accessible, and the same precautions should be taken.

Backcountry is usually referring to terrain that is accessed without the use of lifts. This means you will need touring equipment to walk up the mountain and then ski/board down. There are also no avalanche control measures undertaken here, which is why it is always recommended to visit the backcountry with a qualified guide.

Generally, this will not be a problem. The major concern with mixing a group of skiers/boarders is the ability level of the group. In particular, for snowboarders in slackcountry terrain, the ability to hold a strong traverse and maintain speed on the flats. If this is not an area of strength then the terrain may need to be carefully considered to ensure the snowboarder is not put in a tough spot. 

Please reach out to our guest services team to discuss your group’s suitability for a mixed tour.


Absolutely! All of our guides are also instructors and can coach you on powder techniques so you can get the most out of your day. However, we do require that you are at least a high intermediate to advanced skier or boarder. That is a level five or higher on our skills chart.

Unfortunately our tour dates are fixed, unless the weather is too harsh to get out there at all. If that is the case, we will work with you to find a new date for your tour.

Our goal is to always provide the best experience in the backcountry. Our experienced guides will be able to show you an amazing experience pretty much every day during the winter in Hokkaido! 

If you’re booking a multi-day tour, then our guides will tailor where you visit each day based on the locations that will deliver the best experience based on the conditions.

In midwinter, Hokkaido will be in the negative degrees 24 hours of the day. The temperature in town can go down to -8 degrees and further up the mountain it will be even colder on those days. Carrying layers with you to wear under your jacket is highly recommended.

We recommend that you have a travel insurance policy, and it is important to ensure that it covers the type of skiing/snowboarding you plan to enjoy. If you’re planning to go into the backcountry via the Niseko gate system or touring your policy must cover ‘off-piste’ or ‘backcountry’. Depending on your policy this is sometimes an optional extra.

This is completely up to you (with the exception of Backcountry Touring.) Our guides will fully customise your tour to include the amount of hiking you are comfortable with. They can also adjust the plan over the day depending on your energy levels.

Yes, at the start of every tour, regardless of your experience, your guide will run you through an avalanche safety briefing. This will include:

  • Beacon functions & basic use
  • Probe assembly & basic use
  • Rescue basics including (search and receive modes) 
  • Beacon function & range test

It is important to understand when venturing into any backcountry or slackcountry terrain that conditions can never be 100% safe. Backcountry touring comes with inherent risk and while all measures are taken to tour in the safest possible way, accidents and avalanches can still occur. 

With this in mind, we take a safety-first approach and have a number of daily procedures in place to ensure we’re as informed about the current conditions and hazards as we can be. This information, coupled with the experience of our guides themselves is then used to create a plan for the day based on your skill level and goals.

Our safety procedures include (but are not limited to):

  • Daily review of local official forecasts – Niseko Avalanche Bulletin. We operate within the Niseko Rules, and will not guide you outside of the gates when they are closed
  • Daily review of global weather forecasting models
  • Ongoing assessment and recording of weather, temperature & snow conditions
  • Ongoing assessment of local hazards and changes in conditions
  • Daily guide briefings to review all conditions and trip plans
  • Actively involved in the local guiding community in which we encourage open communication and sharing of information related to the conditions

Up to six guests of similar ability can join the same lesson. There can be no more than two ability levels in difference between lesson participants e.g. levels two & three could take a lesson together, but levels three & five could not.

The prices displayed are the total, and not affected by the number of people who join.

Children seven and older are welcome to join lessons with adults on the basis that all participants are of a similar ability level. 

For children six and younger, we recommend that you book a separate private lesson, or split your lesson into a half-day adult class & half-day kids class. Younger children learn in a different way to adults and progress at very different speeds, subsequently lessons with these challenges rarely meet expectations. 

Please feel free to contact our guest services team, should you wish to discuss what is best for your family.

No. Privates Lessons are available for the discipline booked only.

A full-day private can be split into a maximum of two sessions. All guests in each group must be of the same or similar ability level. Please contact our guest services team to discuss what is best for your group.

Absolutely, please check our skills guide that assigns you a level based on your current ability, potential group goals & the terrain accessed for each level. If you still require assistance please contact our guest services team at rides@rhythmjapan.com.

We are passionate about introducing kids to skiing and snowboarding young. However, due to the physical & developmental differences between young children and adults we are unable to cater to a combined lesson. You are, however, welcome to watch your child enjoy their first day. We recommend that you do so at a distance, this will allow your little one to bond with their instructor and enjoy their day without distractions.

Yes! We are happy to take requests for instructors. Our guest services team will check availability for your requested instructor at the time of booking and will let you know if they are available. 

Please note that there are occasions outside of our control when an instructor who has been confirmed on your booking is no longer available. 

These include:

  • Sickness & injury
  • Visa issuance & work eligibility (for bookings received prior to the season commencing & our team’s arrival in Japan)

Yes, if you have a multi-day booking we will generally always schedule the same instructor for each day of your booking. If we are unable to do this, we will let you know at the time of your booking.

The earlier you book the more likely it is that we can confirm the same instructor for your whole booking!

During the booking process you can choose a start time between 8:30am-10:30am! The lesson is seven-hours long with six-hours of tuition and a one-hour lunch break.

Resort Guiding

The big difference between the two is the terrain you will be riding. Resort guiding will focus on the terrain inside the resort boundaries. This doesn’t mean just the groomers. There are plenty of tree runs and powder to be found!

As soon we step outside the resort boundaries, we will end up in the world of the backcountry. The main difference with backcountry terrain is that the resort does not maintain or control the conditions to mitigate risk for riders (like avalanches.) This is one reason it is highly recommended to always go with a guide who can assess these risks, and choose the safest and most enjoyable terrain for you. This is also the reason why we carry avalanche safety gear when we step outside the resort boundaries.

A day led by one of our experienced guides inside the resort boundaries of Grand Hirafu, Hanazono, Niseko Village & Annupuri resort, starting at either Grand Hirafu or Annupuri. 

This tour is suitable for those that are at least a level five on our skills guide, can accommodate up to six people per group and is seven-hours long, including 6-hours of guiding and a one-hour lunch break.

A day led by one of our experienced guides out of Niseko’s unique gate system to experience the incredible backcountry terrain and powder it offers, whilst being able to make the most of the resort’s lift infrastructure to get in as many runs as possible! 

This tour is suitable for those that are at least a level five on our skills guide, can accommodate up to five people per group and are seven-hours long, including 6-hours of guiding and a one-hour lunch break. On this tour you will also be provided with an avalanche safety pack that includes a backpack, beacon, shovel and probe.

By upgrading your Resort Guiding or Lift-accessed Backcountry tour you will open up a range of resort options outside of the Niseko area. Check out our Terrain Guide to see where else you could explore!

Your upgraded tour will now include:

  • Six-hours of guiding 
  • One-hour lunch break
  • Private transport, with pick-up and drop-off directly at your accommodation 
  • Additional two-hours to cover travel time

Yes, you will need a lift pass for the Resort Guiding and the Lift-accessed Backcountry tours. The only tour we offer that does not require a lift pass is Backcountry Touring.

Yes, we highly recommend that you bring or hire Premium Powder Equipment to get the most out of your day.  Powder in Japan is often deeper and drier than anywhere in the world. This is amazing but it can also be challenging. Powder-specific equipment has really made leaps and bounds in recent years, and having the right equipment can take you from zero to hero in no time! If you are unsure what you should book, please contact our team.

For our resort-guided tours, which stay within the resort boundaries, a skill level of 4- Refining Turns is recommended as this will allow you to ride a variety of terrain on your tour. For any product which will access the backcountry terrain (Lift-accessed backcountry or Backcountry Touring), a minimum skill level of level 5 –  Intermediate is required.


Yes, you will need touring equipment! If you are a skier, you will need to hire touring skis, and if you are a snowboarder you will need to rent a splitboard.

Absolutely! You can book Backcountry Touring as long as you are comfortable with the following:

  • Experienced and confident riding powder 
  • At least a level five on our ability chart  
  • A reasonable level of fitness 

 If you’re going touring for the first time, our guides will take some extra time to intro the equipment to you, explain the rules of the backcountry and be sure to work with you to choose a tour that is suitable to your level.

Our Backcountry Tours operate in a variety of areas and terrain around Niseko. The area we visit will depend on the snow conditions and avalanche risks on the day, as well as your goals, ability and fitness level. Ahead of your tour we will be reaching out to gather more information as your guide begins to plan the day!

We will provide an avalanche safety pack that includes a backpack, beacon, shovel, and probe. Along with this, we recommend bringing:

  • Sunglasses (walking in your goggles will fog them up!)
  • Sunscreen
  • One litre of water
  • Energy bars & a small packed lunch
  • Change of neck warmer & gloves
  • Thin gloves for hiking uphill
  • Lightweight hat to hike in
  • Helmet
  • A good night of sleep!

The aim here is to keep yourself warm and dry from snow and sweat. We recommend wearing:

  • Merino wool base layers keep you warm while also remaining breathable.  
  • Thin down jacket that you can take off when you get too warm.  
  • Shell jacket and pants to keep you protected from the snow and wind.
  • Dedicated ski socks to keep your feet warm and to avoid blisters.
  • Balaclava to protect your face from the snow, sun, and wind
  • Sunglasses for the uphill travel and goggles for the downhill. 

It is worth noting that backcountry touring can often be hot work! Walking uphill often requires you to take a layer off to stop you overheating. It’s recommended to bring some extra layers so you can adjust what you’re wearing throughout the day.

For our Backcountry Tours, we require a minimum skill level 5 –  Intermediate. This will be necessary to ensure you will be able to safely navigate the variable conditions and terrain which is in the backcountry.

Yes, backcountry safety equipment is required.  As part of the tour each guest will be provided with an avalanche safety pack (if you don’t have your own) that includes a backpack, beacon, shovel and probe.

Planning a safe backcountry experience requires preparation. The latest we can book a backcountry experience is 24-hours  before your tour. However, during peak season we are often fully-booked for tours well in advance so we may not have a guide available for you.

Yes, we need to know how many people are joining the tour, and the ability of everyone within the group. This ensures that your guide can plan a tour that is suitable for your group!

Contact us: If you have any questions regarding the above terms and conditions, please contact us at info@rhythmjapan.com

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