On our Detours we visit a number of different resorts around Hokkaido, taking you to our secret stashes in off-the-beaten-track locations and selectively hitting the better known spots to avoid competition for fresh lines.
Vast areas of gate-accessed powder terrain. Resorts here include the four Niseko United areas, Niseko Moiwa, Rusutsu, Kiroro Snow World and Sapporo Teine (a personal favourite).
Niseko United – By far the mostly widely recognised resort in Japan. Located in Western Hokkaido close to the sea of Japan, it is the powder Mecca for those wanting to experience Japanese Pow. It consists of four linked ski areas, Hirafu, Hanazono, Niseko Village and Annupuri.
Niseko Moiwa – Fun off-piste tree runs with empty slopes. Little brother to Niseko United, a small but fun resort that offers some great off-piste runs. The place to get away from it all for some mellow untouched pow.
Rusutsu – Unique, untouched angled tree runs and winding valleys. A sprawling resort set in over 4000 hectares at the base of Mt Yotei. The resort has some well groomed intermediate runs cut through a huge forested winter playground. The tree runs between ‘groomers’ remain relatively untouched, offering a great variety of angled pow runs and roller coaster rides along winding valleys.
Kiroro Snow World – Huge volumes of snow here; you may need your snorkel! Situated near the coastal town of Otaru, this resort receives unbelievable amounts of snow and consequently is usually the first resort to open in Japan.
Sapporo Teine – Powder and steep terrain, complete with city views! Just 30 minutes from Sapporo (yes, it’s a city not just a beer), offering a variety of intermediate and advanced steep off-piste runs.
Furano and Central Hokkaido
Central Hokkaido receives cold ‘continental polar’ conditions giving very light, dry powder. Resorts here include Furano, Asahidake, Kamui Ski Links and Alpha Resort Tomamu.
Furano Ski Resort – Pre-arranged access to secret spots. Furano has some fun mixed terrain with a number of secret spots, exciting tree runs and champagne powder.
Asahidake – Hokkaido’s highest peak and vast off piste terrain. Just a single rope way (cable car) to the top gives access to this untamed freeriding paradise. A real ‘in the mountains’ feel with only two groomed trails and almost unlimited options.
Kamui Ski Links – Simple no-frills resort with great backcountry access. Plenty of Central Hokkaido’s light dry powder here. Basic facilities but a nice relaxed atmosphere and plenty of advanced and intermediate terrain.
Alpha Resort Tomamu – Great mix of tree runs, backcountry, freestyle and groomers. Light dry powder typical of Central Hokkaido with plenty of off-piste options and even limited availability of cat and heli tours.