That there’s world-class skiing in Japan is no secret. Hokkaido, the country’s second-largest island, is home to more than 100 ski resorts. The crown jewel? Niseko United, which receives nearly 600 inches of snow each ski season and has been featured in countless ski films.
Last season, Polish photographer Piotr Drzastwa traveled to Niseko for a look. It didn’t take long for the 28-year-old, who also works as a backcountry guide, to conclude that the majority of powder seekers there were missing out on the area’s best skiing. “All these people are riding the resort. But you can go five miles outside it and everything is untouched,” he says. “If you want to find something better or different or unusual, you need to spend some time.” So Drzastwa did what any self-respecting skier would do if given the chance: he went exploring. —Emily Reed
Photo: Mount Yotei, with Niseko Village ski resort’s lifts visible below.