Asahidake Ropeway Snowboarding
The 3rd most popular snowboarding destination in Japan.
Tuesday 7 February 2017 06:26 GMT
Northeast of Sapporo and southeast of Asahikawa, the Asahidake Ropeway ski area has four groomed courses served by one lift that access a maximum vertical descent of 500m. Asahidake is known as a dry powder haven. It has a single cable car (ropeway) up the highest peak on Hokkaido that provides access to this essentially backcountry ski area, which is known for it's lack of crowds. While there are four groomed courses, the real excitement here is the advanced ungroomed freeriding. The four groomed courses are more like cat-tracks. There is plenty of off-piste powder here with over 14m of average annual snowfall.
The cable car runs about every 20 minutes. From the top of the cable car, you can access the unpatrolled courses, or you can hike up even higher on the summit. It is important to remember that the ski area is not avalanche controlled. From the cable car top station, there are two lenghty groomed courses leading back to the base.
To reach the snowboarding at Asahidake Ropeway by plane, fly into Asahikawa airport and then use the public bus that runs three times a day. Alternately, you could fly into Sapporo New Chitose airport (CTS) on the southwest side of Hokkaido just southeast of Sapporo. There are numerous direct inter country flights from Tokyo. From the airport, there are numerous shuttle bus options to the various Hokkaido ski resorts. While at the airport, make sure to use the ATM since ATM machines can be quite hard to find at the resorts and credit cards are rarely accepted.
In addition to flying into Sapporo from Tokyo, there is also a train tunnel connecting Hokkaido Island with the main Honshu Island. The train route from Tokyo northbound passes through Aomori, and the total trip takes between 9 to 11 hours.
The best way to get to Asahidake Ropeway is by private car from Furano, but its a 1.5 hour drive in a 4WD vehicle. Alternately, there is a public bus to the village of Asahidake from the Asahikawa railway station.
The Asahidake Ropeway base does not have any apres ski action or nightlife. Also, the ski area does not take any credit cards.
Note - keep in mind that the ski areas on Hokkaido are not known to be particularly steep, but they are well known for big snow fall. They are also known for their ones, which are hot thermal spring-fed indoor or outdoor pools (be aware that they are usually naked pools). When snowboarding and freeriding internationally, it is important to get a travel insurance policy that covers emergency rescue, medical expense and evacuation. There are many destinations that will not initiate rescue or medical treatment without prior payment or proof of insurance. In many cases, the rescue fees, medical fees or evacuation to a reputable hospital can total tens of thousands of dollars. Plans such as GEOS SAR100 or IMG Patriot Travel Medical Insurance are well worth the per-trip cost of $130 to $200 USD.
Overall, Asahidake Ropeway is the 3rd most popular snowboard & freeride destination of all 22 snowboarding resorts in Japan. Several of the better snowboarding resorts are nearby Asahidake Ropeway including Furano Ski Resort, Kamui Ski Links, Kurodake and Alpha Resort Tomamu.