Skiing from the 2,000-meter summit of Mt. Oputateshike

The Daisetsuzan Volcanic Group to the north of Mt. Oputateshike. In the center is Mt. Tomuraushi. Approx. 10:50 a.m. on May 5 (composed of 12 separate photos taken by Kobayashi Motohide)

On May 5, backcountry skiers visited Mt. Oputateshike (2,013 m), at the northern end of the Tokachi Volcanic Group, and skied down the abundant snow that remains on the steep slope from the summit, amid the sunshine.

The skiers entered the mountain from a forest road in the town of Shintoku in the Tokachi region, and climbed a distance of 6.5 kilometers with an elevation gain of 1,300 meters. From the summit, The Daisetsuzan Volcanic Group, including Mt. Tomuraushi (2,141 m) and Mt. Asahidake (2,291) – Hokkaido’s highest peak – can be seen to the north, while Mt. Bieidake (2,052 m) and Mt. Tokachidake (2,077 m), from which volcanic smoke rises, can be seen to the south. The mountains are still white with snow, but the grasslands that spread throughout the foothills in the town of Biei in the Kamikawa region are green.

The experienced backcountry skiers skied down the steep slope with an incline of more than 30 degrees from summit to the tree line at an altitude of 1,400 meters above sea level, in one fell swoop. The ascent takes five to six hours, but some people can ski back down to the trailhead in just over an hour.

(Photos and words by Kobayashi Motohide)

A backcountry skier descending from the summit of Mt. Oputateshike. The peak in the center in the distance is that of Mt. Tokachidake. Approx. 11:15 a.m. on May 5


Mt. Oputateshike