Furano Ski Resort finds a great balance for a Japan skiing
holiday. The ski resort has very well developed amenities and services, but unlike some Japan ski resorts, Furano doesn’t feel too “resortified”. The nearby town of Furano is rather authentic, and both the town and resort provide adequate creature comforts without losing the essence of Japan.
Furano Ski and Snowboard Terrain
The statistic of 170 hectares of skiable terrain doesn’t really reflect the size of the ski area, as Furano is rather large for a Japan ski resort. Furano has decent vertical (974 metres) which has enabled the resort to be put on the map through hosting world cup ski races.
Furano is renowned for the many long groomed runs for beginners through to advanced riders, and whether you like to cruise or want to zoom down runs at Mach 2 until your eyes water, if you like groomers then Furano ski area
is for you. And the Furano lifts are fast, so your legs will need to be super fit to last the day!
Furano also has on-piste runs that are left au naturel, with pitch at just over 30 degrees. Like many other Japanese ski resorts, there are no in-bounds steeps, chutes or drop-offs that are likely to challenge experts. Advanced and expert riders are likely to be kept happy with the powder and the tree skiing. But there’s a catch! Furano hasn’t followed suit of many other progressive Japan ski resorts
, and it still prohibits tree skiing and off-piste skiing, which is policed very strictly. That being said, if you are naughty, are good at ducking ropes, and can appear invisible, there is some very good off-piste skiing and some amazing side-country (easily accessed backcountry) for those with avalanche gear and the know-how.
Furano receives 9 metres of snow per season on average, which is less than some other Hokkaido ski resorts
such as Niseko
. Nevertheless the Furano powder is still often knee deep, commonly waist deep, and sometimes even neck deep (see photo above with the pink helmet just poking out of the powder!). And the powder is generally delightfully light and fluffy – this is what Hokkaido skiing
is all about!
The Furano weather is generally more pleasant than ski resorts such as Niseko, with more blue-ski days.
Where is Furano Ski Resort?
Furano is located in Central Hokkaido, Japan. Furano is 59km south of Asahikawa
(about an hour away) and 141km (by road) northeast of Sapporo
Furano makes a good base for a ski holiday from which other nearby ski resorts can be accessed. More deep powder is only an hour away at Kamui Links
consists of a range of hotels, pensions, bed and breakfasts, and backpackers. Furano tends to be less expensive than Niseko accommodation
, and there are lodgings to suit most budgets. Furano is also somewhat unique for a Japanese ski resort in that it also has a small range of self-contained accommodation options such as apartments and chalets. Furano has both western and Japanese style accommodation.
Family Friendly Japan Ski Resort
As outlined on the where to ski in Japan
page, Furano is somewhat unique in that it can cater for English speaking kids. Child care is available with English speaking staff and ski lessons for children are available with English speaking instructors. Other than the skiing, Furano also has various family friendly activities on offer.
A Furano ski holiday can also be well supplemented by a range of activities including backcountry ski tours, snowmobiling, onsen tours, ice hole fishing, or dressing up in a kimono if that’s what takes your fancy!?
Summary of Pros and Cons
Pro or Con Depending on Your Perspective
- Furano Japan is very well suited to on-piste riding for beginners through to advanced riders and is a decent sized resort (by Japanese standards).
- It makes a great base to explore nearby ski resorts and backcountry areas such as Furano-dake and Tokachidake. Guided day trips are readily available.
- Furano is one of only a handful of Japanese ski resorts to have self-contained accommodation (e.g. apartments) as well as hotels, pensions and backpackers.
- Furano provides a good Japanese cultural experience particularly in the town of Furano, and there are lots of different Japanese restaurants.
- The resort caters well to English speaking children.
Tours that Include Furano
- Due to its central Hokkaido location, the quality of the snow is generally even better than the coastal resorts such as Niseko. The volume of snow is somewhat less, but the upside is more fine weather days.
- Off-piste and sidecountry skiing is strictly prohibited. This can be a positive for those with avalanche gear and those willing to risk losing their lift ticket, because there are more freshies available.
||Power Trip | 6 Nights - 4+ Resorts
|This tour doesn't actually include Niseko however it starts in Niseko so is an ideal add-on to a Niseko holiday. This is for EXPERT skiers & boarders only and is an action-packed chase the snow adventure..
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||Hokkaido Unplugged | 9 Nights - 7 Resorts
|Get off the beaten track to some of Hokkaido's hidden gems such as Tomamu, Furano, Kamui Links, Asahidake, Sapporo Tiene, Kokusai, Rusutsu as well as the big kahuna; Niseko...