Fun skiing and recommended ski resorts by area｜ SAPPORO Area
- SKI Resort Kiroro Snow World SAPPORO TEINE SAPPORO BANKEI Sapporo Kokusai
- AREA Sapporo Area
- CATEGORY Ski&Snowboard
What kind of a place is Sapporo area ?
Sapporo is a city where it snows 130 days out of 365 days a year, and about 600cm a year. Sapporo is the northernmost big city of Japan, where about 1.9 million people live here. Snowfall from December to March easily exceeds 100cm. It is very rare in the world.
Although there are no high mountains above 1,500m, the cold and moist air pick up from the Sea of Japan hit the mountains causing heavy snowfall in this area. If you drive from Sapporo for an hour, you will find ski resorts of all sizes. 40 minutes to TEINE SAPPORO, 60 minutes to Kiroro and Sapporo International. Good accessibility and you can enjoy “JAPOW”. Ski resorts open till 22:00pm are also available and it is possible to ski from the day you arrive in Sapporo.
Sapporo is the political, economic and cultural center of Hokkaido. It is charming and easy to move around for travelers. It has one of Japan’s winter tradition “Sapporo Snow Festival” and it is a “luxury” area of many attractions besides skiing.
Area Mountain features
The mountains in the area are low in altitude, most of them are forested areas where you can enjoy tree runs. Another charming part of this area is you get to see the Sea of Japan while skiing.
Weather and snow features
Sapporo faces the Sea of Japan, cold air blowing from Siberia and water vapor from the Sea of Japan create dense snow clouds, these hit the high mountain bringing in large amount of snowfall on the west coast of Hokkaido. Due to this weather condition, Sapporo has a lot of snow even though it is an urban city.
And the snow quality is perfect Japan Powder. Snow comes early, so some ski resorts start the season as early as November every year. There is also a big chance to get the finest powder in Japan. During ’20 – 21 season, we got continous heavy snowfall from December.
And until the end of April, you can still enjoy skiing. As for backcountry, there are areas where you can enjoy till June. January and February are high season period, unstable weather causes it to snow continously for many days, which is the best time to aim for powder. In March, most days are sunny but the quality and quantity of snow are still in the best season.
Recommended resorts in the area
You can also get the finest powder on a day trip from Sapporo
KIRORO SNOW WORLD
Kiroro is well-known for its good location, about 90 minutes from Sapporo city, and it snows almost every night, so the course condition is reset by morning. The amount of snowfall during high season is one of the largest in Hokkaido.
There are many terrain-rich courses suitable for powder riding, and the temperature is low, keeping the snow quality at its best from day one when season starts. This is why Kiroro’s popularity is increasing.
A lot of snow in the Sapporo suburbs and easy visits to famous onsens
About an hour from Sapporo city, it has “more than enough powder” making it another popular resort. Most people who visited Sapporo spend a full day at Sapporo Kokusai. Their target is the non-compacted snow downhill course with a slope of 30°. Just one gondola trip, a long 2.2km course runs all the way down from the top to the base, giving skiers a good run. It is also convenient to visit Jozankei Onsen, the best combined- itinerary, powder and hot springs.
One of the steepest slopes in Japan
About 40 minutes from Sapporo city. From the summit (1,000m), you get a panorama view of Sapporo city and Ishikari Bay while powder riding. Teine is famous for its “Kitakabe Course”, a non-compacted snow slope with a maximum of 36°and a tree run with terrain changes. It is an irresistable Steep & Deep world for the advanced skiers. Nature zone around the sparse forest is also an attractive spot.
Convenient ski resort 20 minutes from Sapporo
BANKEI SKI RESORT
Bankei’s perk is, it is opened till late until 22:00 everyday. At night, temperature drops drammatically making snow quality even better and easier to glide. And of course, much vacant ! It’s only 20 minutes from Sapporo city, so after a day of sightseeing, it is nice to be able to drop by for a ride.
A good range of high-spec gears for rental, so even if you go empty-handed, you would still be well-equipped. For traveler who wants to spend a fulfilling day, this is the one for you.
Tips from the Masters – The charm of Sapporo base, Hokkaido trips
The best way to get the most out of your trip is gaining some knowledge from a master’s wisdom and experience. We asked Mr Nara, a mountain guide who runs a guesthouse in Sapporo, to share with us about the charm of being based in Sapporo and what kind of trips we can enjoy.
Born in Sapporo. A mountain guide and traveler around the world. In year 2000, he snowboarded from McKinley summit, and had lived in the Antarctica for two years as a winter member with the National Institute of Polar Research.
He has opened a guesthouse and diningBar SappoLodge (next to Sapporo Susukino), fulfilling his long-time dream. Here, he provides information on powder and backcountry in Sapporo area to overseas guests from around the world.
Fulfilling, satisfying experiences you won’t find anywhere else
The charm of Sapporo-based
The best thing about staying in Sapporo is, you can enjoy the finest powder whereever and whenever you want, many places to eat delicious food and even on bad weather days, there are also places to enjoy. Plus a touch of art and culture, it is rather rare in the world. Anyway, there are too many fun things to do and everything is enjoyable. You have to enjoy both city and mountain to the fullest.
And surprisingly, it is not known to many that there 30 mountains around Sapporo that are suitable for backcountry. Almost nobody around, there are many such mountains where you will not see anyone. Play leisurely, enjoy powder all day while interacting with the guests. I feel happy. I think this is only in Sapporo-based.
Backcountry around Sapporo Flexibility in choosing a mountain of good conditions
When I conduct my backcountry guide based in Sapporo, I decide the destination according to that day’s weather, slope and wind direction, etc. There are countless backcountry spots within the radical of an hour drive in the suburbs of Sapporo, which gives me the flexibility to choose a mountain with good conditions.
Next will be the easy access at the ski resort. This is one point to consider. This way we can spend more time to ski. The closest from Sapporo is Sapporo Kokusai, where you can use the gondola, easy to get out to the backcountry area. The aim is Mt Shiraidake or Mt Asari.
Kiroro is also easy to get out with lift access. The most famous is to hike from the gondola top to Mt Yoichi. It has one of the largest slopes in Hokkaido, and a long big slope with an altitude difference of 400m or more. You can ski from two to four backcountry, long and good slopes. I think it will make foreign guests happy too. But it may be a bit challenging for people who are bad at walking.
In this case, I think it might be a better option to slide down from the Kiroro’s side country within the controlled area, using one-day pass. It’s a large field, tree run with terrain changes and Kiroro’s deep powder. There is gate, so approval is needed and be sure to equip with avalanche gear.
Choose a mountain according to overseas guests’ request
Guests who came to my SappoLodge are people who love skiing and they are mainly from America, Canada, Australia and Europe. Mostly self-claimed advanced skiers, can slide on slopes freely. Everyone says “ I want good slopes with easy access” (laugh) I’m not tired, I want the best slopes (laugh).
So with this in mind, places with lift access like Mt Yoichi (1,488m), Mt Shiroi (1,301m) and slightly lower Mt Shiribetsu (1,107m), they are all good. I think Mt Yoichi is the best for foreign guests.
And on the other hand, there were also guests who have more energy said “it doesn’t matter how tired it could be, just bring me to the large slopes in Hokkaido”. In this case, I would guide them to mountains with higher altitudes, like Mt Yotei Mountain (1,898m), Annupuri (1,308m) of the Niseko Mountains, Mt Mekunnai (1,220m). From Sapporo to Niseko, it’s just within a day trip.
Answer to request beyond itinerary and skiing level
If you are based in Sapporo, do not choose only on the slope you want to ski, but also take your travel plan into consideration, any arrangements can be made. For example, for guests who stay for 3 or 5 days, you can start from easy course and gradually step up, that’s how I plan for them.
There are many mountains that even beginners can go. Taking some factors into consideration like the climbing time, pace, physical fitness and technics, you can choose one that you could enjoy, including the side country within controlled area. In this case, a private tour is recommended. I will communicate with guests through emails to listen to their requests in advance and then recommend.
I have also planned request like “Since there are 3 days, I want 2 days for skiing and 1 day in the middle for eating delicious food”. Overseas guests enjoy eating, so I answer to these requests a lot. There are in fact many different kinds of food in Sapporo. From seafood to meat, chinese, soup curry, we have everything.
Besides, there are dozens of hot springs within an hour reach. With this flexibility, we can make various arrangements, this is the amazing part of Sapporo.
5-day fulfilling plan that will satisfy overseas guests
I asked an example of how to plan for a 5-day itinerary when an overseas guest request is “I want to do everything to make my Sapporo stay to the fullest!”
On the first day, we will use ski resort as a warm up to do side country. Second day, from ski resort we will hike up to the deep mountains to do backcountry.
Then on the third day if feeling a little tired, we can go wakasagi fishing or some other sightseeing that are easy for the body, and have a relaxing chat drink at the lodge bar.
Or a night out to Mt Moiwa which I’d like them to experience. From Sapporo, this is the nearest ski resort with ropeway. The night view of Sapporo is incredibly beautiful. Besides, there are almost no foreigners here.
On the 4th day, backcountry again, setting out early in the morning to go a little farther. Asahikawa, Niseko and Furano are all possible within a day trip.
All you have to do is leave early in the morning. On the last day, let’s do a symbolic mountain, like climbing the Mt Yotei, or Shakotan-dake to enjoy a little bit of travel mood. Shakotan-dake is a large slope overlooking the sea, so it’s nice and it’s an interesting place. But most people want to ski a lot, so it will be a waste as travelling takes up a few hours. There are dozens of mountains in Sapporo suburbs, just hitting some, five days will pass in a blink of an eye. (laughs) Ah, see you next year!
Points for overseas guests to enjoy Hokkaido winter to the fullest
To get the fullest ski in the best condition mountain within a limited period of time, it is best to use a guide service. Of couse some people prefer to rent a car to go on their own, but the satisfaction level is twice as much to join a tour.
And in order to enjoy the whole trip, I think it is good to get various information from the locals. So to update our guests with the latest information, we are always at the guesthouse and bar. Everyone has different request, but if you let me know I can give you any advice. Mountains, sea, sightseeing, food, anything !
Enjoy Hokkaido winter, based in Sapporo THE PLACE
Conveniently located in Susukino, the first floor is Café Bar and the second floor is guest rooms. For interior, they used Hokkaido trees, the building has a woody atmosphere, filled with the warmth of nature. They serve big volume of Hokkaido dishes with fresh ingredients. Skiers from all over the world meet here.
SAPPORO gourmet recommended by Sapporo masters
We asked Nara-san, who is familiar with Sapporo’s restaurants what and where to eat when a foreign guest is in Sapporo.
Boiling chicken bones and vegetables for 9 hours into soup and adding different level of spices to the soup make this soup curry incredibly delicious. Spice level is from 0 to 10. The more spicy it is, the more umami it gets. This place has curry, music and books in a comfy at-home atmosphere.
BBQ HASSEN 炭火焼 八仙
Salty Genghis Khan which is very famous here, has a soft and milky aroma and its deliciousness is beyond description. It changes the concept of Genghis Khan,it is so light that you can eat a lot. The chief from Osaka is friendly too.
Susukino yakitori restaurant is popular where you can eat and drink at low price. \230 for 4 sticks of yakitori, miracle price. Foreigners do not specially patronage, but it is a good experience to enjoy the old-fashioned atmosphere of a public japanese bar. It is not big, so going with a group of 2-3 is ideal.
An old history restaurant founded in 1966, where you can enjoy nostalgic Sapporo ramen. Though there are not many foreigners, they would be happy to serve you. Their recommendation is miso butter corn ramen. A taste that has never changed with time.
A hidden sushi restaurant in Sapporo, just next to “Sappo Lodge”. They offer mainly sushi but there are also many side dishes. “Sea urchin salmon roe chawanmushi” is one luxurious dish. It only has 7 counter seats, so reservation is required.
Gotsubo Oyster Bar
If you want to eat oysters at Sapporo Susukino, here is the place ! A famous standing bar. They offer Hokkaido Akkeshi oysters which is famously known in Japan, served raw or grilled at low prices. Other menu include scallops, thickly sliced bacon, etc which are as good. With a size of 5 tatami mats, it’s small but cozy.