When it comes to Japanese powder snow, there aren’t many other resorts that get quite as much as Kiroro. This all-in-one-style resort is less than two hours from New Chitose Airport and receives an average of 17-plus metres of light, dry snow each season, and has great terrain and facilities to match. There are runs up to four kilometres long and a number of backcountry access gates for powder-hungry families. The two hotels in Kiroro are both five-star, offering the top-quality service you would expect from the experienced operators.
This resort is right in the heart of Furano town and is made up of two main ski areas, which are interlinked and accessible via one lift pass. This resort has some of the best off-piste and backcountry runs in Hokkaido, and is sorely underrated. There are ve backcountry gates across the mountain giving access to an unbelievable amount of fantastic terrain, plus there are plenty of ungroomed ‘in resort’ powder runs. This resort should be on every family’s powder bucket list.
For the adventurous family that wants a healthy mix of culture with their ski holiday, check out Hoshino Resorts’ OMO7 Asahikawa. This ‘Ski City’ is Hokkaido’s second largest city, and gives access to some great resorts just a short trip away from the bustling downtown area. A 30-minute free bus ride from the hotel is Kamui Ski Links, one of Hokkaido’s most underrated powder resorts. There are wide open green and red runs, as well as some great tree runs.
If you and the family love skiing new runs every day, you’ll want to hear about Shiga Kogen. This is one of the biggest and best ski areas in Japan, boasting 18 interlinked ski resorts all accessible with just one lift pass. An adult day pass is just ¥5,000 (about AU$60) which is by far the best bang-for-buck pass in terms of ski area that you’ll find in Japan. The famous Snow Monkey Park is only about 30 minutes’ bus ride away and is a must-see while you’re in the area.
This Honshu resort remains unknown to many outside Japan, but is quickly developing a reputation as one of the top international powder destinations. With the highest number official tree runs in the country and about 60% of runs ungroomed, it’s easy to see why. A quiet resort, Madarao delivers fresh tracks all day, but don’t expect too much nightlife. Getting to Madarao takes about 3.5 hours from Narita Airport via train, shinkansen (bullet train) and bus. If you want a pure powder experience in a quiet resort, this is what you’ve been looking for.
This article originally appeared in Ski & Snowboard with Kids magazine. To subscribe to the latest issue, click here.