Tips and Tricks


Three winter seasons ago in December 2015, I attended the Whiteroom Tours Avalanche Awareness two-day course in Niseko (report here). Last week I jumped in for the four-day Avalanche NZ accredited Backcountry Avalanche Avoidance Course. This four-day course focuses on forecasting and route planning based on the four factors in avalanche assessment: snowpack, terrain, weather, and people. The lead Whiteroom Tours and NZMSC’s National Avalanche Forecaster Ronan Maguire again brought the course to life with his experience, knowledge, and passion for the winter hills.

Review of Whiteroom Tours Backcountry Avalanche Avoidance 4-day course (Hokkaido, ...


At last, there is a free, smartphone-friendly online service in Japan for easily sharing and submitting detailed backcountry plans via the web. MT-Compass is a free, Japan nation-wide service (https://www.mt-compass.com/) that allows backcountry travelers to submit their backcountry skiing, mountaineering, and hiking plans directly to regional police databases via the web. The English version of the MT-Compass site (https://www.mt-compass.com/) is a bit clunky, but using my instructions below, you'll get the gist of it quickly.

Notifying Police of Backcountry and Hiking Plans in Japan on ...


With an easy hack on your smartphone, it is possible to display official Japanese topographical maps in English, sort of - AlpineQuest GPS Hiking will allow you to overlay the Japanese topo map with English Google Maps. Below, I outline the features of three apps to display Japanese topographical maps: Geographica (free on Android and iPhone), AplineQuest GPS Hiking (US$7.99 on Android), and Locus Map (free on Android). If you are serious about knowing your surroundings while backcountry skiing in Hokkaido, then you’ll want to have access to the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI) topographical maps on the fly.

Android and iPhone Apps for displaying Japan Topographical Maps in ...