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Canada vs Japan: Which Destination is best for your School Ski Trip?

Taking your next school ski holiday overseas is an amazing opportunity for students to experience other countries and cultures; as well as practicing their skiing or snowboarding. International ski holidays allow you to explore options that aren’t available here in Australia. The hardest part is often deciding on the best destination to meet your group’s holiday needs.

A common question our schools and groups ask is whether to do a ski trip to Japan or Canada? We break down the key differences for each destination, to help you choose the right option for your group ski holiday.



CULTURE & LANGUAGE

There is no question that if you want to experience a diversely different culture to your own, traveling internationally is the ultimate way to do that! Japan: A ski itinerary to Japan offers a lot more than just ski lessons and awesome powder snow! We send our groups to visit temples or castles, add excursions such as visiting the Snow Monkeys or including a traditional drumming show. With all our itineraries, we want to ensure that schools get a more immersive winter holiday, which encourages exploring traditional cuisine and engaging in cultural activities during the trip.

Canada: At a glance, you may think Canada is just like Australia, but (besides speaking English) there are so many exciting things that Canada has, that we just don’t! Your school group will be thrilled to try Canadian foods, watch an ice hockey game live or try dog sledding. Canada is the perfect “first-time overseas” destination, it’s new & exciting but still offers the comfort of English as the first language and offers some familiarity in terms of cuisine.


PROXIMITY

Japan: The flight from Brisbane to Tokyo is approximately 9 hours, once you land there are a variety of ski resorts to choose from, all within 5-6 hours away. Our most popular destinations for group ski trips are Hakuba, Madarao, Shiga Kogen & Naeba. Average Travel Time = 15hrs

Canada: Our most popular resorts for school groups, Jasper, Panorama, Banff, and Sun Peaks. A flight from Brisbane to Vancouver is approximately 14hrs, from there you transfer onto another short flight & a transfer to access the ski resorts. The shortest travel time is Banff, which is only 2 hours from the Calgary Airport, while Jasper and Panorama are about 4 hours from their closest airports & Sun Peaks is 5.5hrs from the Airport. Average Travel Time = 20hrs



THE MOUNTAIN AND SNOW CONDITIONS

Japan: Have you ever heard the term JaPOW? It’s a combination of Japan and powder! Japan in known for their snow, which is dry, powdery, and very playful. Some resorts can receive up to 21 meters of snow during the colder months, which is fantastic for groups who enjoy powder skiing/ snowboarding or a snowball fight. The resorts in Japan are usually smaller and more intimate than what you might expect to see in Canada or the USA. With this comes shorter runs and less aggressive terrain, an advantage for those who are new to the sport or those wanting to refine their skills.

Canada: Canada is home to big mountains that offer naturally diverse and vertical terrain, catering to all levels of skiers and snowboarders. Most resorts in Canada have high tech lift systems that make maneuvering throughout the resorts quite easy, which is awesome for larger groups traveling. Resorts in Canada can also experience excellent snow conditions due to their longer ski season dates. Some of the best snow conditions occur after a night of heavy snowfall, followed by beautiful bluebird days!


TRAVEL WINDOW & ACCOMMODATION

Japan: Japan has a shorter ski season than other Northern Hemisphere locations, the best time to ski Japan is January to early March. In terms of accommodation, except in Hakuba, all our school groups stay on snow in Japan. Our preferred accommodation in Hakuba is still very close to the lifts, but the Hakuba Valley has 9 Ski Mountains available, so your school will likely want to try multiple mountains on one trip, which is easy to do using the ski free shuttle service. Canada: Boasts a long ski season, and you can get awesome snow between December and April each year. Due to Canada’s longer seasons we often recommend our groups book Spring (March or April) to avoid crowds, and secure a great deal. Our preferred accommodation in Panorama and Sun Peaks is on snow, Sun Peaks has a unique ski-through village which makes access very simple for your group. Accommodation is located in Jasper, only a short drive from Marmot Basin Ski Area. In Banff you stay in town which offers easy access to dining and activities. A Banff ski holiday gives your school group access to 3 mountains, again these can be accessed via a free ski shuttle.



VISA REQUIREMENTS


Japan: Visas are not required for Australian Passport Holders to enter Japan.

Canada: An online Visa waiver must be completed to travel to Canada.


Our Group Ski Specialists highly recommend visiting https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/ to obtain current travel advice when heading overseas.


OVERALL COST

Japan: Depending on your flights and preferred Japan ski destination, a ski holiday package will start from $4,000 per person. All our Japan ski packages include Flights, Accommodation, Lift Passes, Ski Lessons, Equipment Hire, Transport, any Non-Ski Activities and Some Meals.

Canada: Depending on your flights and which Canadian ski resort you prefer; a Canada ski itinerary will start from $5,000 per person. All our Canada ski packages include Flights, Accommodation, Lift Passes, Ski Lessons, Equipment Hire, Transport, any Non-Ski Activities and Some Meals.


We hope this article helps you decide which country to visit on your next snow trip, if you have further questions, our team of experts can help. Give us a call on 1300 889 076 or email groups@snonski.com.au



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