About this project
Our digital documentary will take you behind the scenes to explore the beautiful and rugged island of Hokkaido, while also working to create positive change in this powder paradise.
The Hokkaido Backcountry Project will:
- Document the return of heli skiing and snowboarding to Hokkaido
- Go behind the scenes with mountain guides and professional skiers and snowboarders as they explore the island
- Work with the Niseko community and Japanese government to promote increased safety and backcountry access
We plan to film from December 2014 through March 2015 and release our documentary to backers immediately afterward.
Little do people know, but the Japanese were heli and cat skiing in Hokkaido 30 years ago!
An Olympic skier and world traveler, Gaman-san had the passion and vision to begin a heli ski operation in the early 1980's, and he ran it for 20 years. Unfortunately, a massive recession and rising costs meant 2003 would be the the last year of living the dream.
Many changes have taken place since Gaman-saan's helicopter operation shut its doors more than a decade ago.
After a series of accidents linked to motorized vehicles, Japanese government officials began to discourage motorized travel in the backcountry.
Regulations are now unclear or contradictory when it comes to getting permission to access these public areas by helicopter, snowmobile, and snowcat.
Meanwhile, Hokkaido's amazing backcountry continues to lack a standardized system of avalanche prediction and safety precautions because many don't believe the need exists.
We want to increase safety and awareness in the Hokkaido backcountry.
Black Diamond Lodge recently organized the Hokkaido Backcountry Club to help spearhead the development of responsible practices when it comes to both human and machine-powered access on the island of Hokkaido.
This documentary will help us to explore these issues, and present the case for a safer, more accessible backcountry skiing and snowboarding experience in Hokkaido.
With your help, we can work together to promote a safe practices program and risk management package that everyone can benefit from!
Your backing will help us
- Shoot this documentary in 4K with Panasonic cameras
- Purchase and/or rent equipment for shooting from a helicopter
- Ensure high quality video editing capabilities with Adobe products
- Offer rewards for guests who want to experience the Hokkaido Powder Project firsthand
Pledge just $1USD and we'll say thanks on our Facebook and Kickstarter pages! We honor our backers at even the smallest levels.
Backers at the $10 level and up will get access to the Hokkaido Backcountry Project via digital download
Backers at the $30 level will receive a limited edition Hokkaido Backcountry Club t-shirt, along with the documentary via digital download.
Backers at the $80 level can choose a signed, 8x10 canvas print featuring one or more professional athletes who ride with us in Niseko during the 2014-2015 season. We'll also include the digital documentary download.
Examples include pro riders from:
- Teton Gravity Research
- Red Bull Media
- Matchstick Productions
- Poor Boyz
- Nimbus Independent.
Pledge $150 and choose from a Black Diamond Tours introductory or deep powder snowmobile tour (valued at $200), along with everything included in the $30 pledge.
Pledge $350 and choose three nights for two guests at Black Diamond Lodge (low, or shoulder season), plus everything in the $30 pledge. *Check lodging availability here
Pledge $500 to receive a 5-day, 4x4 van rental for 8 passengers on the island of Hokkaido for backers at the $500 level, plus everything in the $30 pledge
Pledge $800 for the Tour de' Jalaska for one person, including two days of guided skiing or snowboarding at our exclusive new backcountry cat zone, accommodation at a real hot springs lodge on the ocean, PLUS one day of guided off-piste resort skiing
Pledge $1,200 for a three-run, introductory helicopter ski or snowboard day for two guests, including all safety gear, guide service, and shuttle, complimentary Hokkaido Backcountry Club membership, two special edition t-shirts, and digital project download.
The bottom line
We're committed to creating the Hokkaido Backcountry Project. Your backing will enable us to realize our ultimate vision for this documentary and ensure the highest production value.
Thanks for helping us realize our goal!
Risks and challenges
We're taking several calculated risks in releasing this documentary:
1. Weather and safety is always a factor. Your backing will help us provide travel expenses and safety gear for the shoot. However, delays can happen.
2. People can get hurt. Skiing and snowboarding is not without risks. Athletes, guides, and others are subject to physical injury that could delay some aspects of the project.
3. Gear can break. Camera gear is especially delicate in outdoor and extreme environments. This Kickstarter project will allow us to have some money in reserve for gear repair.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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