Chisenupuri Cat Skiing with Hokkaido Backcountry Club
under the banner of the House of Powder is a new offering for the 2016-17 season on Mondays, Thursdays and the weekends. Chisenupuri is a former ski resort that had to close down because it sat in the shadow of Niseko, its very high profile neighbour. Now snowcat skiing at Chisenupuri offers all the amazing powder snow that Niseko
is famous for, but minus the big Niseko crowds. You’ll only have to share the powder with a small group of people which equates to more fresh tracks. The lack of hordes plus the reasonably mellow terrain makes Chisenupuri Cat Skiing the perfect place for those just learning to ski or snowboard in powder.
Cat Skiing at Chisenupuri really stinks! OK just joking! The skiing or snowboarding is great fun, but the odour from the onsen at the ski area base can be a little hideous at times. Thankfully you won’t notice the sulphur smell after 5 minutes because you’ll be too busy inhaling the powder! And at the end of the day when you get to soak in the onsen, you’ll think it’s pretty fabulous!
Where is Chisenupuri?
Chisenupuri (sometimes written as "Chisenupurri") is close to the town of Rankoshi, and is the next ski area over from Moiwa
which is next door to Annupuri Niseko. It’s about a 30 minute drive from Hirafu (the main hub of Niseko
) to Chisenupuri. Transport to Chisenupuri is included as part of the cat skiing package.
Snowcat Skiing Terrain
For the 2016-17 season, the Chisenupuri snowcat skiing and snowboard terrain is on the former piste and off-piste of the ski resort. The ski resort is below the treeline and has 281 metres of vertical drop. The 4 slopes are mostly low angle and the runs could be categorised as dark green to dark blue (with a maximum gradient of 30 degrees); perfect for powder hounds on their “Learner” plates. There are also plenty of trees of varying spaces for some tree skiing fun; ideal for advanced riders.
Depending on the ability level and speed of the group, you can expect to score 7 to 15 runs during the day.
Unlike typical cat skiing (such as Canada cat skiing
) that’s conducted in the backcountry where there is significant avalanche risk, Chisenupuri is mellow and controlled enough such that you won’t need to stress about avalanches.
In the future, there is the potential for the snowcat terrain to expand to include the highly coveted alpine terrain above the ski resort.
The snowcat skiing is ideally suited to strong intermediate skiers and snowboarders, and those new to riding powder. As a minimum, you should be able to easily link turns on a steep intermediate run and have some experience in amongst the trees.
Riders should be reasonably fit because if you fall over in powder it can take a fair bit of energy to get back up. Upper advanced and expert riders should check out the Shimamaki Snowcat Skiing
The snow quality can vary from pretty good to sublime, and whilst no one has bothered to measure the amount of snow fall per season, it’s likely to be in the vicinity of that of Niseko United (16-18 metres). In other words Chisenupuri is one of the snowiest resorts in the world and frequently gets big dumps. The snow is sometimes so deep that you’ll eat a bowl of powder for breakfast.
The top elevation of Chisenupuri ski resort at 831 metres is a little higher than Moiwa. The top elevation is significantly lower than Niseko (at 1,300 metres), but considering Niseko has a vertical drop of one thousand metres, all of Chisenupuri is higher than the lower parts of Niseko United. Using this logic you could probably make reasonable assumptions about the typical snow quality at Chisenupuri – awesome!
More Reasons To Go Cat Skiing at Chisenupuri Hokkaido
Think of this as going skiing or snowboarding at your own private ski resort. Unlike at Niseko Ski Resort, freshies last much longer, and you won’t have the pressure of knowing that there are 100s of other riders behind you charging down the hill to beat you to the fresh powder.
Chisenupuri cat skiing makes a great adjunct to a Niseko ski holiday.