Iwanai Cat Skiing4.5 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
Iwanai Cat Skiing Enquire
8 - 10 Runs (Approx 4,600m vertical/day)
Price is per person per day
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese Yen
Displayed price may vary slightly due to exchange rate fluctuations.
Price p/p
Price is per person per day
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese Yen
Displayed price may vary slightly due to exchange rate fluctuations.
USD 611
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Iwanai Cat Skiing serves up powder runs of 325-650 metres of vertical bliss, with 8 to 10 runs for the day. Located near Niseko, the Iwanai Resort snowcat skiing terrain scores masses of snowfall. Ideal for strong intermediate & advanced riders.
View Inclusions & Add-ons
  • Full day of guided cat skiing
  • Transport to/from Niseko Hirafu accommodation
  • Sushi lunch
  • Use of avalanche beacon & safety briefing
  • Ski & snowboard rentals
  • Lodging & meals at nearby ryokan
Location: Japan | Tour Focus: Guided | Terrain Focus: Backcountry
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Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.
You can request a custom tour for your own private group within the date period shown Custom Booking Period
The number of days for this tour can be customised however must be a minimum as shown below Min Days
Please enquire for a price for your custom tour Price
It is not possible to know the exact availability for custom tours so please enquire here and the operator will let you know of their availability. If the availability is flagged as "Filling", "Almost Full", or "Sold Out", it means that dates are filling up or are fully booked. Availability
Dec 18 - Mar 31, 2019
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Iwanai Cat Skiing

Iwanai Cat Skiing serves up a great experience to enjoy the abundant Niseko snowfall, without any of the Niseko crowds that rip up the powder in what feels like an instant. It’s not surprising that Niseko cat skiing at Iwanai Resort is fast becoming a popular activity for powder hounds to score virgin powder.

With Iwanai Resort Powder Cat Tours, your chariot to access the powder runs is a modern snowcat with a beautiful cabin with windows galore so you can appreciate the glorious views of the nearby ocean, or watch it dumping with snow.

The town of Iwanai (pronounced “ee and I” with a quiet “w”) is unadulterated Japan, and you may choose to stay in one of the nearby ryokan where you can feast on seafood and immerse yourself in the Japanese culture. Or alternatively you can stay in Niseko accommodation and enjoy the vibrancy of Hirafu restaurants and nightlife.

Iwanai Cat Skiing Day Packages

A day of cat skiing with Iwanai Resort features the guided snowcat skiing or snowboarding (7-10 runs of 325-640m vertical). The snowcat can hold up to 14 guests with a maximum of 1:7 guide to guest ratio (a lead and tail guide are provided, and sometimes 2 tail guides). Avalanche beacons are provided along with a safety briefing.

Another inclusion of the Iwanai Resort Powder Cat Tour is a fabulous sushi lunch, provided by Iwanai's top sushi bar, and a morning snack and coffee.

If you need equipment, Iwanai Resort has a full-service shop with the newest, highest-quality gear including a full line of Fisher ski, boots, boards and accessories.

Where is Iwanai Resort?

Iwanai Resort is 5km south of the town of Iwanai, which sits on the western coast of Hokkaido Japan.

Iwanai Resort is 40km by road NW of Niseko Hirafu, a trip that takes about 45 minutes. Transport to and from your Hirafu Niseko accommodation is provided.

Alternatively you can self-drive if you wish. From Niseko, travel to Kutchan and take Highway 5 north towards Otaru. After a small pass, take Highway 276 west towards the coast. Once in Iwanai town you can follow the signage.


Iwanai cat skiing scores the best of both worlds when it comes to the snow. It’s got proximity to the ocean to bring masses of precipitation (an average of about 15 metres of snow per season), and cold Hokkaido temperatures to provide light and fluffy snow. And most importantly, unlike at Niseko Ski Resort, you can ski untracked lines all day at Iwanai.

Iwanai Cat Skiing Terrain

Iwanai Resort used to be a small to medium sized ski resort. Now there is only one operational lift near the base area which services 3 courses. But you can leave that terrain to the local beginners, because the Iwanai snowcat will take you up higher to the terrain that the old lifts used to access, approximately 880m above sea level. From there, each run will serve up approximately 325 to 680 metres of vertical powder. And depending on conditions and the speed and ability of the group, you’ll get 8 to 10 runs per day and approximately 4,600m of vertical.

Like most Japan cat skiing, the terrain isn’t super gnarly but it’s not completely mellow either, and there are lots of good fall line runs.

The guides can cater the runs to the group’s ability, and terrain can include very spacious mellow tree skiing, slightly steeper glades, or open terrain on the former piste of Iwanai Resort.

As a minimum, you should be a strong intermediate to advanced skier or snowboarder, and have at least a little bit of experience at riding powder.

It doesn’t matter if you have limited or no backcountry experience, as your guides will tell you know what you need to do.

You can check out our detailed Iwanai Cat Skiing review for more information.


If you would like to stay for a night or more, there are a few authentic Japanese ryokan-style inns to choose from. All come with fantastic Japanese cuisine, onsen baths, and an experience that will cement your love of Japan.

The Iwanai Kogen Hotel is 450 metres from Iwanai Resort. This 3-star Japanese hotel offers western/Japanese combo and Japanese tatami rooms, all with ensuite bathroom. Or you can soak in the onsen, with indoor and outdoor baths that look out to the sea. Multi-course dinners showcase the local Iwanai seafood, whilst breakfast also provides an opportunity to sample the interesting Japanese cuisine.

Okaerinasai (aka Bekkan Iwanai Onsen Okaerinasai) is a ryokan with traditional tatami rooms (with ensuite bathroom) and a lovely onsen (indoor and outdoor baths). Meals also have a predominance of seafood (unless you pre-request otherwise). The hotel is 900 metres (a 10 minute walk, 2 minute drive) from the Iwanai Resort.

Or alternatively you can stay in Niseko accommodation, and enjoy the vibrancy of Hirafu restaurants and nightlife, as transfers from your accommodation are included.


For single day tours:

  • 7:30am: You will be picked up from your Niseko Hirafu accommodation
  • 8:30am: Arrive at Iwanai Resort for a safety briefing and provision of avalanche beacons
  • 9:30: Take the chairlift up and then board the snowcat for guided cat skiing
  • 10:30: Morning snack and coffee on the way up in the snowcat
  • Lunch: Depending on the conditions and the group, lunch will be in the snowcat, or the group can return to the day lodge for lunch.
  • 3:30: Return to the day lodge and relax at the après ski bar, sipping a cold Sapporo draft or a warm Nikka Whiskey
  • 4-4:30pm: Transport back to Hirafu Niseko

2017/18 Rates, Inclusions & Add-Ons


  • Full day of guided cat skiing
  • Transport to/from Niseko Hirafu accommodation
  • Sushi lunch
  • Use of avalanche beacon & safety briefing
Optional Extras
  • Ski & snowboard rentals
  • Lodging & meals at nearby ryokan
Not Included

Iwanai Cat Skiing Terms & Conditions

Deposit and Full Payment

  • Deposit is 25% of the tour cost unless departure date is less than 60 days where full payment is required
  • The remaining balance is due 60 days before tour departure
  • Iwanai accepts credit card payments or cash bank transfer
  • Payments are in Japanese Yen

Cancellation Policy

  • 10,000 yen cancellation fee for cancellations made more than 60 days before departure
  • No refund for any cancellations made 60 days or less before trip departure 

Cancellation by Iwanai Cat Skiing
Iwanai Cat Skiing reserves the right to cancel any program due to weather or route conditions. If a tour is canceled before commencing, due to weather or route conditions, then a full refund will be given (or a voucher to use on a future day if a suitable future day is available); however, Iwanai Cat Skiing is not responsible for any additional expenses incurred in preparing for the tour (i.e., airline tickets, equipment purchase or rental, hotel reservations).

Participants must be:

  • a minimum of 13 years of age
  • accompanied by an adult if 18 or under
  • in good physical shape
  • minimum intermediate skier or boarder