Shizukuishi Cat Skiing

Shizukuishi Snowcat
Shizukuishi Cat Skiing in the trees with JST
Shizukuishi Snowcat
Shizukuishi snowcat skiing in the trees
Nice tree runs in the side country of an old part of the resort
The snowcat is powerful
Fun in the trees
Shizukuishi Cat Skiing with Japan Ski Tours
Worth adding to your Iwate road trip

Shizukuishi Cat Skiing

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Shizukuishi Cat Skiing

Shizukuishi Cat Skiing4/52
Shizukuishi Cat Skiing4 out of 5 based on 2 reviews
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Powder Odyssey - chase the powder in Northern Honshu
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Shizukuishi Cat Skiing is somewhat similar to various other Japan cat skiing outfits whereby it utilises old ski resort terrain, however unlike mainstream cat skiing, the Shizukuishi Cat Tour only consists of one snowcat run on the former piste unless you are part of a Shizukuishi guided tour.

Powder hounds will find the latter plenty of fun but it’s not the sort of cat skiing you’d head to Shizukuishi specifically for. Rather it makes a great adjunct half-day activity if you’re already at Shizukuishi Resort or a nearby ski resort, or as part of the Frontier Explorer Tour or a bespoke multi-day Iwate guided trip.

Where is Shizukuishi Cat Skiing?

The Shizukuishi Cat Skiing occurs adjacent to the Shizukuishi Ski Resort in an area that was formerly part of the ski resort. It feels a little sacrilege that this zone of the ski resort is no longer operational considering that the gondola doesn’t look that old and there are still somewhat shiny snow making machines on the side of the piste.

The slope starts towards the top of Kotakakurayama (Mt Kotakakura) and terminates at one of the base areas of Shizukuishi Resort.

Shizukuishi Ski Resort is located in the Iwate Prefecture in Tohoku Japan, 11km north of the town of Shizukuishi and 28km northwest of the city of Morioka.

There are other ski resorts nearby such as Amihari Onsen and Iwate Kogen.

Cat Skiing Terrain (Resort Cat Tour)

If you book a single run (or up to 3 runs) with the Shizukuishi Resort, the terrain only consists of one cut trail (former piste) that forks into two runs close to the base. There is a groomed trail up one side of the run, with most of the slope being ungroomed. You’re confined to the piste run and considering the very small size of the terrain, there’s only enough terrain to provide fresh powder for about a dozen riders. People who do the cat tour with the resort are mostly interested in the corduroy which is freshly groomed every time the snowcat heads down the hill.

The top elevation is 1,210 metres and the run provides 777 metres of vertical drop.

The average slope angle is 27 degrees so it’s ideal for strong intermediate to low-end advanced skiers and snowboarders.

Terrain with Guide

If you go Shizukuishi Cat Skiing with JST as part of a tour, then guided tree skiing is permissible. Skiers’ left of the piste are a series of slopes that are lightly treed towards the top and more heavily wooded further down. The terrain skis like classic Japan ski resort sidecountry whereby you can’t just drop fall line for the full vertical. Rather the runs are typically alternate between fall line and traversing across gullies in order to exit near the piste run. Pending snow conditions, it’s also possible to drop out wider to a part of the golf course where the snowcat can do a pick-up.

Tree skiing to the skiers’ right of the piste is also possible, although this is conditions dependent considering that the slopes are rather sunny.


The terrain provides a range of aspects, so the snow quality varies somewhat. The piste run is mostly southeast facing and with such a solar aspect, the snow quality is not well retained if the sun’s been out.

The primary tree skiing has northeast facing slopes, so the quality of the snow is generally very lovely.

Shizukuishi Cat Tour Packages

The Shizukuishi Cat Tour is run by the resort and you can purchase single on-piste runs. The tours only run on weekends plus a few other select days. On Sundays the resort offers a sunrise run, which is a great way to view the sunrise and get first pickings on the potential freshies. The tour includes semi-guiding, but no other accompaniments.

A Shizukuishi Cat Powder Adventure includes a few cat skiing runs in the trees, as well as some guided sidecountry runs at the Shizukuishi Ski Resort. These private tours include a professional guide and you can rent avalanche safety gear. JST can also provide guided Shizukuishi cat skiing as part of the Frontier Explorer Tour or a customisable multi-day Iwate guided trip.
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