East of Sapporo and southeast of Furano on Hokkaido Island, the Alpha Resort Tomamu ski area has 25 courses spread over 145 hectares served by 11 lifts that access a maximum vertical descent of 670m. It’s well known for its old, slow lifts and limited base area facilities. Popular for light and dry powder, this ski area permits snowboarding in the glades and off-piste. And, if that’s not hardcore enough, there is also backcounty access via snowcat and from helicopter.
To reach the snowboarding at Alpha Resort Tomamu by plane, 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. The ski resort is located 150km east of Sapporo. Alternately, there is a 1.5 hour train ride option to the Tomamu station. 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, Alpha Resort Tomamu is the 15th most popular snowboard & freeride destination of all 22 snowboarding resorts in Japan.