In recent years, there has been growing interest in backcountry skiing. Many people mistakenly assume that this means just skiing away from the regular slopes and enjoying fresh snow. But backcountry skiing actually requires deep knowledge of winter conditions in the mountains, such as the possibility of avalanches and what action to take when you encounter sudden changes in the weather. One popular starting point for backcountry skiing in Japan is the Hakuba area of Nagano Prefecture. There is a well-established route connecting the Tsugaike Valley to Mt. Norikuradake, and from there to Renge Onsen and down to the village of Kijiya, in Niigata Prefecture. Of course, there is much more involved than just skiing down the mountainsides. In some places, you have to first make your way to the top of the mountains using climbing skins on your skis. Although this ascent can be very hard, the reward is the breathtaking experience of gliding down on virgin snow. In this edition of Journeys In Japan, Cveto Podlogar explains how to prepare to go out skiing in the backcountry, practicing on the slopes of a ski resort before setting off. As he leads the way on this trip, he demonstrates the deep enjoyment of backcountry skiing.