Small ski areas punching above their weight.

Small ski areas punching above their weight.

Just about every town in Hokkaido has some kind of ski field, so the options for lift accessed skiing are just about endless. That said, most of those ski fields are a single groomer, and not really worth the effort. These are a few of the other options worth a look.


Close to Otaru and Niseko, Kiroro is a popular choice for many of the Niseko package holiday groups when the weather there shuts the lifts down. The terrain is super flat, but the place does get a lot of snow. It would be great for people getting used to riding powder, and the ski school does lessons in English, so beginners would have a great time here as well. There’s some good hiking terrain off the side of the resort, but for experienced riders the lift accessed skiing doesn’t have a lot to offer. But really, are you going to complain about bouncing around in deep pow?


Pippu is a small local ski field to the north of Asahikawa. It can be a good place to dodge a storm and pick up some fun turns if the weather is ugly in the big mountains. A few fun laps in good snow at Pippu has saved many a day where Kurodake sent us home with our tails between our legs.

Nukabira Onsen

Perhaps a good option for the truly desperate, Nukabira Onsen is on the eastern side of Daisetsuzan National Park. The skiing here is really nothing special, but it's actually a cool little town with some really nice guesthouse accommodation. It's also the gateway town to access the eastern side of the park, so if you're eyeing off some major objectives (like Mt. Niposetsu), this is the place to set up your base. As an extra bonus, you won't see any westerners here in winter. The locals will definitely be surprised to see you.

night skiing

Japan has crazy night skiing. It’s everywhere. From the big name resorts like Niseko all the way down to one-lift local hills. Night skiing in a storm is a surreal experience and riotously good gun. We’re more than amenable to some cheeky laps under lights.

If the thought of ski touring or heading to some obscure ski field interests you, you actually need to email us, because we're kindred spirits and need to go skiing together. Head to our trips page or email for more info.