The 6th most popular snowboarding destination in Japan.
Tuesday 16 August 2016 06:26 GMT
Northeast of Sapporo and east of Asahikawa, the Kurodake ski area has 3 courses served by 2 lifts that access a maximum vertical descent of 850m. The 3km long cable car starts in the town of Sounkyo, which is equidistant from Furano and Sapporo. Located within Daisetsuzan National Park, the region is known for its average annual snowfall of 15m.
The Kurodake ski area is well known for its dry, deep powder over steep terrain. The inbounds groomed terrain is perfect for beginners and intermediates. There is a good ungroomed marked course located under the cable car route. The off-piste, side-country terrain is roped off, but patrollers seem to not care if you duck a rope at your own risk (don’t expect them to come to your rescue if you get in trouble). In addition, from the top of the double chairlift, you can hike up 70 minutes to access a backcountry bowl. By the way, keep in mind the the cable car is known to close for days for maintenance without to much advance notice, so make sure to call in-advance.
To reach the snowboarding at Kurodake by plane, fly into Asahikawa and then take the bus up to Kurodake. 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.
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, Kurodake is the 6th most popular snowboard & freeride destination of all 22 snowboarding resorts in Japan. Several of the better snowboarding resorts are nearby Kurodake including Asahidake Ropeway, Furano Ski Resort, Kamui Ski Links and Alpha Resort Tomamu.