When do Hokkaido ski resorts open for winter 21/22?

Asahidake

Winter is just around the corner and it feels like summer and autumn have gone by faster than usual. Nevertheless we have been busy preparing for another japow-like winter season here in our base ski resort of Niseko United. We are happy to report that none of our staff or any of our guests contracted Covid-19 last winter. While most of our clients cannot be with us again this season, we are sending our love and hope you will be back with us soon. For those of you who will be able to travel to Niseko and Hokkaido, we have put together an update on the Hokkaido ski resorts opening dates. Our team is based in Niseko but can travel out to other resorts as well. So here is a list of our favourite resorts for you.

Hokkaido Winter 21/22 Season

Niseko Village Resort in Niseko United
Niseko Village is one of the four resorts of Niseko United that will operate this season (Photo: Niseko Village)

Niseko United

Grand Hirafu

Opening date: 4th December 2021

Closing date: 5th May 2022

Operating hours: 8:30 – 19:00

Like last year, some of the lifts will be closed and night skiing will be possible on the Ace Quad lift #4 (Center 4) only until 7pm. Hirafu Gondola will only operate during the day time. No new lifts or any other improvements have been announced by the resort.

Hanazono

Opening date:  4th December 2021

Closing date: 3rd April 2022

Operating hours: 8:30 – 19:00

Hanazono is introducing many new features this winter season. The biggest improvement will be their lift infrastructure with the all new 6-seater hooded and heated seat chair lift (We are very excited about that – more time skiing less time sitting!). The second lift will be an 8-seater gondola that will service the beginner run and short top red run, as well as night skiing which will be very welcome for those staying at Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono hotel. See more on the resort map below.

The revised Hanazono resort map for the Niseko winter 21/22 season (Photo: Hanazono Resort)

Niseko Annupuri

Opening date: 5th December 2021

Closing date: 5th May 2022

Operating hours: 8:30 – 20:00

No new additions in Annupuri for this winter. (Jumbo Pair Lifts #2 and #3 are scheduled to operate only during the year’s end / new year, as well as weekends and holidays in January and February).

Niseko Village

Opening date: 3rd December 2021

Closing date: 3rd April 2022

Operating hours: 8:30am – 16:30

Niseko Village has not announced any new additions for this winter season. We expect the gondola to operate as usual with limited capacity and night skiing to be available for beginner courses.

Moiwa

Opening date: 4th December 2021

Closing date: 3rd April 2022

Operating hours: 8:30am – 16:30

There is no night skiing available in this small ski jo. Keep in mind that this ski hill is not part of the Niseko United common ski pass. It is popular for powder skiers as the skiing out of the gates offer some nice and fun terrain. Local ski clubs also train here but in general, the resort is very quiet.

Rusutsu

Opening date: 27th November 2021

Closing date: 3rd April 2022

Operating hours: 9:00am – 20:00

Rusutsu is planning to open on November 27th, pending the snow conditions. Just a 45 min drive from Niseko, it is the largest ski area and resort in Hokkaido. It is our favourite for many reasons but in particular, the long ski runs and hooded chair lifts.

The resort is also introducing a hands-free lift ticket machine pick up service. Simply buy a pass online and pick it up at the machine in the resort. You can always upload more days to the pass that you hold in your pocket. It is simple to use and similar to the Niseko United lift pass system. Some lifts and runs will be closed due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sapporo Kokusai

Opening date: 19th November 2021

Closing date: 8th May 2022

Early season operating hours: 9am – 15:20

Spring season operating hours: 9am – 16:30

This ski resort is the first in Hokkaido to open and its proximity to Sapporo city makes it very popular with locals. From Niseko it takes more than an hour drive but with local tourist attractions to see along the way, it’s worth the long day trip. The resort has rebuilt their fairytale bell at the base of the ski resort. The rest of the resort has no changes.

Sapporo Kokusai will open on 19 November 2021 (Photo: Sapporo Kokusai)

Kiroro Snow World

Opening date: 4th December 2021

Closing date: 8th May 2022

Operating hours: 9:00 – 19:00

One of the snowiest resorts in the area is scheduled to open as early as Niseko. This is a small resort and popular with weekend skiers from Otaru and Sapporo. It is a good hour drive from Niseko and offers great powder terrain and backcountry possibilities. There are no new developments to report.

Nakayama Toge

Opening date: 13th November 2021 (Postponed)

Closing date: 8th May 2022

Operating hours: 9:00 – 16:00

This small ski slope, on the way to Sapporo city from Niseko via the Nakayama mountain pass, is normally one of the first to open in the Niseko region. However, due to the lack of precipitation and warm temperatures, the resort has postponed the opening date. Keep in mind that this resort is closed during the winter season and will reopen for spring season. It is popular with the locals and snow park users. If you are planning to ski some spring slush, we would be more than happy to take you to the ski slope and teach you new tricks.

Sapporo Teine

Opening date: 22nd November 2021

Closing date: 5th May 2022

Operating hours: 9:00 – 20:45

This Olympic resort overlooks the city of Sapporo. The resort has two major zones; one is more suited for beginners while the other for more advanced levels, giving the opportunity to explore some sweet and steep sidecountry terrain. Sapporo Teine will be introducing the BURTON Step On ® rental program as the first resort in Hokkaido. There are no new updates to the ski lift infrastructure.

Sapporo Teine Opening Date
Sapporo Teine will open on 20 November 2021 (Photo: Sapporo Teine)

Furano

Opening and Closing dates: 

Furano Zone: November 21, 2021 to May 5, 2022
Kitanomine Zone: Mid-December 2020 to March 21, 2022

Operating hours: 8:30 – 19:30

This family friendly ski resort has two zones – Furano and Kitanomine. Furano zone is expecting to open as early as November 21st, pending the snow conditions. This zone is where the New Prince hotel is situated as well as the Furano ropeway. Night skiing is available on both sides of the mountain but they are not connected during the night operation. The infrastructure is not getting any updates but there are plenty of activities that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Our instructors are also based in Furano so get in touch with us if you would like to book lessons with our team.

Tomamu

Opening dates: 1st December 2021

Closing dates: 4 April 2022

Operating hours: 9:00 – 16:00

Tomamu is a popular small ski resort with Hoshino hotels on one side and Club Med resort on the other. Night skiing is available and families with kids can enjoy the largest indoor pool in Hokkaido. The runs are fun and also get a lot of powder during the January and February months. There are no new developments except for some new restaurants in the Hoshino side.

Please enquire for lessons from our small team of instructors based in the Tomamu ski resort.

Asahidake Ropeway

Opening dates: 24th December 2021

Closing dates: To Be Determined

Operating hours: 9:00 – 15:40

This high alpine Hokkaido ropeway takes skiers up the Asahidake mountain and offers plenty of opportunities for backcountry tours. The small groomed ski runs service the bottom area where you can enjoy some nice tree skiing as well. The weather can be harsh here and many hazards in the area so we recommend hiring a mountain guide when skiing Asahidake.

 

Daisetsuzan Sounkyo Ropeway

Mount Kurodake is one of the many popular backcountry touring spots in the Daisetsuzan mountain range

Opening dates: 13th November 2021

Closing dates: Early May

Operating hours: 8:00 – 16:00

This is a high alpine ski resort serviced by a ropeway and a double chair ski lift where one can ski on the short groomed run. It is normally one of the first ski resorts in Hokkaido to open, but has been postponed due to lack of snow. There are great multiple day backcountry opportunities in the area. For a unique experience, hire one of our UIAMG qualified mountain guides to guide you through the highest mountain range in Hokkaido.

Let the Hokkaido Winter 21/22 Season begin

International travel is still not yet possible in Japan. However, we are relieved to see Japan has surpassed the 70% vaccination rate of double shots administered to the people of Japan. Our community in Niseko is 80% vaccinated, and all of our staff are fully vaccinated and ready to accept our winter guests with ease. Our team continues to perfect the corona measures to serve you better and you can feel assured all the precautions have been taken care of. 

We look forward to seeing you on the mountain. 

To book a private ski or snowboard lesson, powder guiding experience, or for more information about the resorts listed above, please send your enquiry to [email protected].

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Miha Grilj

Miha Grilj

Miha is the Co-Founder and CEO of Hokkaido Ski Club. He loves teaching and sharing his knowledge and passion for skiing and nature.
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