Japan Gear Guide From The Rhythm Team – 2023-24

“Will this keep me warm? Is this going to keep me dry? Oh, this jacket’s perfect… but it adds an extra 3 kilograms onto my luggage.”

We get it, packing for Niseko can be a difficult task, especially if it’s your first time making the trek to Japan and you don’t really know what to expect. 

That’s why Rhythm Japan has decided to make life a whole lot easier by creating a central recommendation hub for all those who are still unsure on what gear to pack. Here you’ll find custom picks from local legends who have spent a wealth of time exploring Niseko’s mountains, their conditions, and the best gear on offer from our online store to ensure you’re in absolute comfort when you’re shredding Japow.

UPDATE: March 22nd, 2024

Spring 2024 Season Picks

You wouldn’t buy a motorbike and expect to know how to use it without any training, the same applies for the backcountry.

While it’s easy to get carried away by the heavy, untracked snowfall of Niseko’s backcountry terrain, it’s important to realise the severe dangers that come along with the BC touring. Avalanches, injuries, glide cracks, and a lack of ski patrol and amenities – it can be a lot more wild than a lot of people anticipate. If you are going touring in Niseko’s backcountry, it’s essential that you have the correct safety equipment, know how to use it and either have experience in the BC terrain or are touring with a guide who knows the area and its dangers well. 

If you’re looking at getting into touring but don’t know where to start, here’s some of the essential gear that you MUST have if you are going out into Niseko’s BC area’s. Although as previously mentioned, we recommend taking lessons and going out with a guide for your first few trips, because owning this gear doesn’t mean that you are automatically safe in the worst case scenario of an avalanche.

bc gear lay

BCA Float E2 Backpack

If you’re touring the backcountry, it’s important you have a backpack that’ll carry all of the essential safety gear you need for your adventure. While it may be on the more expensive side, there’s no better option than the BCA Float E2 – because if there’s one thing you don’t want to cheap out on, it’s your safety. The Float E2 comes with enough compartments for all of the much needed essentials, while also featuring a reusable airbag pack powered by an Alpride E2 supercapacitor system. 

While traditional avalanche packs used compressed gas or lithium-ion batteries to inflate their airbags, the E2 is powered by AA batteries, making it easy to recharge and TSA-approved travel friendly.

Pieps Shovel C660 

Contrary to popular belief, backcountry riders don’t carry shovels to build kickers wherever they see fit. Shovels are mainly used during touring to dig out heavy snowpacks and in the worst case scenario, a fellow rider buried by an avalanche.

The Pieps C660 is durable, versatile and super lightweight, making it easy to carry with you in your trusty Float E2 backpack.

Available in-store

BCA Stealth 240 Avalanche Probe 

An avalanche probe helps you pinpoint exact locations of missing victims through measuring the burial depth of avalanche debris. As you can imagine, it’s not an item that you want to take your time setting up. The Stealth 240 features the easiest and fastest assembly on the market and folds up to easily fit into your backpack while touring.

Available in-store and online 

BCA Tracker3 Beacon

If you’re unsure what a beacon is, think of it like a metal detector or GPS tracker. Beacons come in handy if you or one of your crew getting lost in an avalanche or snow crack, making it a much-needed item for all backcountry riders to carry with them. The Tracker3 is pocket-friendly, renowned for its easy use design, and uses Suppression (SS) and Big Picture (BP) modes for no-nonsense multiple-victim searching.

Available in-store and online

Hydro Flask Hydration 18OZ Standard Mouth

Hydration is key – always, but when you’re stuck in the backcountry countless kilometres away from the nearest tap or konbini, it’s an extra important item to keep on you.

Pro tip – While it does look extra snazzy as an accessory, we recommend filling the Hydro Flask up with water. 

Available in-store and online

Hokkaido Wilds Niseko Backcountry Map

Would you hire a car in Niseko and drive to Sapporo without looking at a map? Probably not. The same applies for the backcountry. If you’re venturing out into uncharted terrain, make sure you carry a map with you – you’ll be surprised just how much you end up relying on it.

Available in-store and online

UPDATE: March 15th, 2024

Spring 2024 Season Picks

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the steeziest of them all?

You got it, it’s time for our newest edition of staff gear picks and this time around it’s all about park fits, because everyone who rides park knows that it’s only 50 per cent about skill, and 50 per cent about steeze. 

We’re talking oversized fits, goggles inside the helmet, and boards with a whole lot of flex.

Ben Brown

For this edition, we figured there’s no better person to talk to than Rhythm Hirafu snowboard tech, park rat, and all-round style lord, Ben Brown, for his picks on the best fits for this park season.

If Ben's not out shredding steep pow or jibbing rails in the springtime sun, you’ll most likely catch him grabbing a knockoff at Barumba (shoutout Hitoshi). If you happen to see him there, make sure you kanpai a Sapporo Classic with him – because it’s not everyday that someone shares their park style tips.

capita indoor survivial

Capita Indoor Survival

A versatile full camber twin that’s soft enough for jibbing in the park, but also holds up as a really fun freestyle orientated all-mountain board. This thing boosts side hits like they’re nothing.

flux ds

Flux DS

A go-to do-everything binding that does what it says on the tin. I think it has one of the comfiest ankle straps out there.

Giro Ledge MIPS

Brain injuries suck, wear a helmet. This one looks cool and has MIPS for extra protection.

Dragon PXV

I’ve been running Dragon goggles for years, the lumalens technology is so crisp and they fit pretty well with most helmets.

Hydroflask

Got to stay hydrated on those sunny spring laps, get the big one to leave at the top of the park.

Volcom Ravelson Sweater

Mike Rav is one of my favourite snowboarders and this sweater from his Volcom line is knitted, which keeps it nice and cool on spring park days. XL only!

Note: prices are indicative of time of publication and subject to change.

Time for your seasonal change of style? Check out our huge end of season online sale to score up to 50% off selected goods!

UPDATE: Feb 29, 2024

Spring 2024 Season Picks

It’s official – spring has sprung! To commemorate this occasion, today’s gear picks, which also mark the first day of the season, will be focused on our staff’s spring gear selections. No more heavy jackets or high-end tech wear made to last in -15°C conditions – it’s shell season, baby. 

For this edition, we’ve decided to feature a triple-hitter, with Rhythm Hirafu Assistant Store Manager, Blossom, Hakuba snowboard tech, Sophie, and the Furano team all providing their picks for the best gear for spring bluebird days and slushy park laps.

blossom touring

Blossom Yoshida

With multiple seasons under her belt, Blossom is a local legend with stacks of knowledge of Niseko’s extensive terrain and the perfect gear for all-mountain riding in sunny spring weather.

Korua Pencil Splitboard

“Very light, super playful and cruisy.”

Patagonia Untracked Jacket (Sleet Green)

“Beautiful colour, regulates your body heat well, great wind protection and very convenient chest pockets.”

Oyuki Nimi Yamapro 3L Bib Pant

Soft and stretchy but very waterproof – and it has a buttflap!”

Le Bent Core Lightweight Balaclava

“Best merino blend facemask ever! So soft and warm, and not suffocating!”

Stance Snowboard Socks

“Super comfortable and so many cute designs!”

Note: prices are indicative of time of publication and subject to change.

Sophie Morris

When it comes to riding park in Hakuba’s spring conditions, there’s no better opinion on what gear you should be kitted out in than Rhythm Wadano snowboard tech Sophie, a local park rat with a wealth of specialist knowledge about what to wear while shredding park laps.

Smith x TNF - Jess Kimura Squad XL

“The Smith Chroma pop technology offers great optics with a wide field of view. I love the strap on the helmet and love that it’s a North face collab as well.”

Smith x Oyuki Method MIPS

“This helmet is low profile which compliments the goggles, and has a seamless fit.”

Oyuki MAAD Gore-Tex Mitt

“These Gore-Tex mittens will keep the slush away this spring, and also have a nice contrast with the black stitching, so they look really good with most spring kits.”

Oyuki Miharashi Yamapro 2L Pant

“You can’t go wrong with a nice pair of black pants. They’re lightweight with a thin insulation to keep you warm without making you too hot on the sunny days! I also love all of the zip options that these pants offer.”

Volcom Nightbeaker Jacket

“For those spring park days, this jacket looks really great a little oversized. It’s lightly insulated but is perfect with a thin layer underneath. It’s also great for keeping you dry.”

K2 Trance

“I don’t look into boots too closely – sorry!, but the double boa’s allow for the best possible fit around the foot and ankle. This mid flex boot is a perfect all-rounder for shredding the whole resort.”

RIDE ‘Psycho Candy’

“This board is perfect for all conditions! The extra length and width on the nose will keep you afloat on a spring pow day, and if you’re tearing up groomers, will hold a strong edge and make you feel stable with its volume shift underfoot tech.”

Burton Lexa x Re:Flex W Bindings

“These bindings offer high response and will help you with a snappy transition edge to edge. I personally like the heel cup hold, which helps to feel locked in and stable within the binding.”

Note: prices are indicative of time of publication and subject to change.

staff

Furano Team

If you know anything about Furano, you know that it’s known for its deep powder and long, wide runs that offer up a countless amount of side-hits on the way down. So as you can imagine, our Furano team are the best people to speak to about what’s best to ride for the spring pow days.

RIDE Twinpig

A playful twin, the Pig is softer flex and light weight and makes slashing slush and jibbing side-hits a blast. Pop, spin and butter any terrain with confidence.

Capita Navigator

The Navigator is a favourite with our staff and is accessible for any terrain. Great shock absorption and reverse camber with Capita’s ‘Wha-Po!’ tip and tail means everyone can have fun in the spring sun!

Season EQPT Forma

The Formas have been a favourite amongst the staff all season long and they are proving themselves as the days get longer and warmer. Hard charging and stable, the Forma's can take you through everything from the early morning hardpack to the end of the day spray.

Volkl Revolt 104

Beach day skiing brings out a little playfulness in all of us. These twin tips match that energy as a ski that can handle any feature that catches your eye. You would be hard pressed to ride the Revolt’s without a smile on your face all the way down.

Note: prices are indicative of time of publication and subject to change.

UPDATE: Feb 16, 2024

Winter 2023-24 Peak Season Picks

THEMIS FRÈK

For this edition of Gear Picks, we’ve hit up none other than Rhythm Summit boot-fitter, Themis. If you’ve been around Hirafu this season, you’ve likely encountered Themis shredding the slopes or enjoying some après.

An experienced skier who has multiple seasons in the French alps under his belt, Themis is known as an incredibly lively personality who loves skiing almost as much as he loves wine and cheese. He also boasts one of the highest spending staff accounts this season, which perfectly positions him as the ideal candidate to share his picks of what gear has worked for him in the unique Japanese conditions.

Oakley Line Miner M Prizm Rose

The most versatile goggle for Japanese conditions, a must-have to find your lines in the Japow.

Faction Mana 3+ Look with Pivots 14 Bindings

My loyal friend for the Japow and big mountain skiing, a must for the backcountry – especially when you’re freestyle friendly.

Dalbello Cabrio 120 Free LV

For the freeskiing and freestyle lover, these boots are the choice for the mushroom jumpers and pow smashers out there!

Oyuki Goshiki Yamapro 3L

Support your local brand and bring Japanese fashion back to Europe! A high quality and warm jacket that keeps me warm and dry!

Beyond Medals Cargo Pants

Baggy style for the park rat! Makes me jump super high while rocking an early 2000’s style.

Oyuki X Armada Proclava

I like to keep my face warm with a beautiful design made in Japan!

Note: prices are indicative of time of publication and subject to change.

Having grown up in Toulouse, France, 2023/24 marks Themis’ first season living in Niseko, but consider him a quick convert, with his love for Hokkaido growing so rapidly that he’s already wording up Rhythm Summit’s store manager about coming back next season.

For Themis’ it’s the little things about Japan that he loves the most, with his perfect day described as:

“Waking up at 6 am, eating breakfast with the homies, listening to good tunes in the car on the way to go for a ride, getting to the mountain and smashing pow or park all day and then stopping at Daishin ramen to enjoy a TanTan Ramen with extra cheese (for that French touch). Then to top it all off, an onsen at Kyogoku before going to play pool and down grape Chu-Hai’s at The Social (Kutchan).”

UPDATE: Jan 26, 2024

Winter 2023-24 Peak Season Picks

Emma Becker

Another week, another Rhythm staff gear picks–because we know that not everyone has the same taste and that different picks serve different purposes.

For this edition, we’ve hit up Rhythm Summit store supervisor, Emma. As a powder enthusiast who loves ripping between groomers and steep tree runs, Emma is a shredder with a wealth of handy info for first-timers in Niseko, including some pro tips for outside the slopes, such as trying the cheesy tantanmen ramen from Daishin (Kutchan).

Check out Emma’s gear picks below:

Oyuki Proliner

Adjust your boots, bindings and playlist without freezing your fingers off.

Giro NEO MIPS

With a sleek, low-profile look, this helmet will keep your kit fresh and your brain safe.

Le Bent Core Lightweight Crew Base Layer

Keep yourself warm in the deep stuff without reducing mobility and circulation. A good set of base layers are worth every Yen.

Anon Sync Goggles

Seamless fit with top-of-the-line clarity; these goggles can take anything Japow has to throw at you

Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket

Combining classic Patagonia style with endless functionality, the Nano Puff jacket will keep you warm while sitting on the lift, hunting for freshies, or grabbing a beer at après.

Baker Bib

Techwear’s own cult classic. These bibs are indestructible, there are endless reasons why the mountain’s hardest chargers keep coming back for more.

Salomon QST Stella 106

Built for the cruisy groomers and deep pow alike–a true all mountain ski.

Salomon SPro Alpha 110

An absolute workhorse of a boot. Charge the steep stuff or take it easy through the deep stuff.

Note: prices are indicative of time of publication and subject to change.

UPDATE: Jan 5, 2024

Winter 2023-24 Powder Gear 

Daniel Masion

When you’re out smashing pow, it’s essential that you’re kitted and fitted in the best possible gear. So for this week's Rhythm’s gear guide, we’ve decided to ask one of our local experts for tips and tricks on the gear you’ll need to shred waist-deep powder in absolute comfort.

For this edition, we’ve hit up boot fitter extraordinaire, monoski fanatic and certified Ironman tri-athlete, Daniel Masion, for his hot picks on what gear will have you best sorted when you’re out tackling Niseko's world-class terrain.

From the best powder skis, to top-of-the-line outerwear options, to the essential accessories needed to keep you warm, dry and comfortable while shredding, here are Daniel's picks:

OAKLEY LINE MINER L GOGGLES

I’ve been feeding the same pair tree branches for 3 seasons and barely have any scuffs to show for it, all while giving me 4k vision, allowing me to see all the way to Kutchan in whiteout conditions

OYUKI PEP TRIGGER MITT

Keep my hands toastie in the most inclement conditions, yet are dexterous and comfortable enough to use my camera and point at the jumps I’m about to eat it on.

LE BENT CORE LIGHTWEIGHT

Nothing better than having the confidence of 3L goretex and being able to go out in ANY conditions and know you’re gonna be warm and dry all day.

Season Eqpt. Pass Ski

For a powder ski, it punches well above its weight when the snow gets chopped up and firm and turns the whole hill into a playground - an absolute joy to ride in anything from bottomless powder to icy moguls. I swear I’m not just an Eric Pollard fanboy.

Patagucci pow slayer

They’re super warm and comfy and I can wear the same pair for weeks at a time and they still smell better than some of the other bootfitters.

Note: prices are indicative of time of publication and subject to change.

Winter 2023-24 Essentials 

Tom PHILLIPS

For this series’ first edition, we’ve hit up Rhythm Summit’s Store Manager, Tom Phillips, for his latest picks from the online store. Having lived in Niseko for the past decade, Tom is an absolute veteran on the slopes, his tips on what riders should be donning when they’re out shredding Niseko’s pow are essential reading for all first-time visitors!

LE BENT PIXEL LIGHT CUSHION SNOW SOCKS

Love a very thin sock and nothing feels better than the comfort of merino with the added elasticity these socks have in them.

OYUKI MENS MERINO PANT 3/4

Merino all day long and the 3/4 length prevents any bunching on the boots. I dont tend to get too cold and the breathability on these is good for higher output days as well.

LE BENT CORE LIGHTWEIGHT CREW

This is very warm at 200gsm. The slim fit design and merino, rayon blend also feels great as a first layer on the skin.

ARMADA EMMONS 3L BIB

Bib pants all season long to keep the snow out and not require a belt. The Armada set up of the Armada Emmons 3L Bib in Olive and the Grands 3L Jacket is a perfect Niseko combo.

ARMADA GRANDS 3L JACKET

Bib pants all season long to keep the snow out and not require a belt. Having a shell jacket and pants offers the best versatility for layering underneath while offering protection from the elements.

LE BENT CORE LIGHTWEIGHT BALACLAVA

On the dome i like a merino balaclava and this one is a perfect choice. Black with minimal design - the lightweight merino helps regulate temperatures without getting too hot.

OYUKI EDO BEANIE

Cant beat an Oyuki Edo beanie to finish it off. Simple clean design and comfortable enough to wear all day long.

OYUKI THERMOLINER

On the digits i wear a liner all season long. It's a lot easier to wash a liner than a glove and they provide a bit of warmth if you have to take a call or adjust your gear without gloves on.

OYUKI SENCHO GORE-TEX GLOVE

To keep the liners dry the Oyuki sencho fits the bill, plain black and leather means they pass the test of time and keep functioning all season long.

Note: prices are indicative of time of publication and subject to change.

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