Overall Rating

Shizukuishi Cat Skiing

Shizukuishi Cat Skiing4/52
Shizukuishi Cat Skiing4 out of 5 based on 2 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    50%
Japan Ski Tour Tohoku Area

Shizukuishi Cat Skiing - Reviews

Shizukuishi Cat Skiing - Reviews

Shizubushy

05/05/2020

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  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • RiderType
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    5

Shizubushy

05/05/2020
The snowcat is a beast!
Tree skiing
A bit of Shizubushy in places
The snow quality was surprisingly good
Strong leadership from the boss
We had a really enjoyable day out with Shizukuishi Cat Skiing with Japan Ski Tours as part of the Frontier Explorer Tour.

TERRAIN
It was early in a poor snow season (by Japan standards) so not all of the small vegetation had been buried and it was a bit Shizubushy in the lower parts, which just meant we had to traverse out a bit earlier to exit. On one run the snowcat picked us up part way up, as it wasn’t worth returning all the way to the base. Due to the low snow base, some of the gullies were also a bit deeper than usual and required some cautious traversing.

We were pleasantly surprised by the snow quality because it hadn’t snowed in a number of days, but the aspect was very favourable, so we enjoyed some quality shallow powder turns.

The terrain in the upper half was loads of fun, and the tree spacing rather generous. There was nothing super steep, but rather just a gradient that was fun for playing. Considering there is just one snowcat drop-off point and one pick-up point (usually), the terrain size isn’t very big and it would track out in a couple of days, but this isn’t a problem because it doesn’t get regular traffic.

The video should give you a flavour of the terrain with a low snow base relative to usual.

SNOWCAT
The snowcat was a beast that could charge up the run rather quickly. The snowcat cabin was easy to get in and out of via big steps, so there was no climbing over slippery tracks. The cabin was well insulated but didn’t have any storage amenities such as hooks or the like. Another limitation was that it had both forwards and backwards facing seats, which meant you felt like you’re sliding forwards when travelling up the hill, even with a seat belt on. The inter-facing seats were also very close together so it was a bit squishy.

GUIDING
The guiding was impressive, especially considering that the low snow base threw up some challenges with respect to terrain choice. There was very strong leadership from Brent regarding the routes and potential options, plus the backup of 2 tail guides.

You can see the Japan cat skiing ratings to see how we compare Shizukuishi to other Honshu and Hokkaido cat skiing outfits. These ratings are for the experience with JST, not with the on-piste experience with the resort (see our previous review regarding the resort Shizukuishi Cat Tour).

It Would Be Fun With Fresh Powder

28/06/2018

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  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • RiderType
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    5

It Would Be Fun With Fresh Powder

28/06/2018
Skiing on the former piste
The Shizukuishi Cat Skiing is inexpensive and worthwhile if there’s fresh snow and you can go on the first tour. With some nice powder, it would be fun to rip down the open slope and score 850 metres of powder pleasure.

You probably wouldn’t go to Shizukuishi specifically for the cat skiing but it makes sense if you’re already at Shizukuishi Resort or nearby Amihari Onsen or Iwate Kogen ski resort.

TERRAIN
The terrain is a bit joke worthy. It consists of one former piste run that branches into 2 small runs near the base. There is a strip of grooming that the snowcat runs up and down on, and it’s not just the usual kitty litter that snowcats leave behind, but a properly groomed trail as though they expect some people may ski on it!

And in typical Prince Resorts style whereby they ban tree skiing at all Prince ski resorts in Japan, you can’t go tree skiing whilst out cat skiing! There are some lovely trees just screaming to be skied, but no, you have to stay on the piste.

Considering the very small size of the terrain, there’s only enough terrain to provide freshies for about a dozen riders.

SNOW
The slope is mostly southeast facing and with such a solar aspect, the snow may go sour if the sun’s been out. This was the case when we visited, and it became apparent that grooming a run wasn’t such a bad idea. Of course, if the snow had been fresh, we would have had a ball.

SNOWCAT
The snowcat was incredibly impressive and very powerful. The snowcat cabin was rather flash, well insulated and nicely set up. They even had a portable step arrangement so that you could easily climb in and out of the snowcat.

GUIDING
Considering it’s pretty obvious where the run goes, guiding isn’t really all that important (except to make sure you’re not naughty and don’t duck off into the trees!). Our guide didn’t speak English (and our Japanese is rather poor) but he was great at gesturing and very friendly. There was no safety briefing or provision of avalanche beacons, but it probably wasn’t required.

See our Japan cat skiing ratings to see how Shizukuishi Cat Skiing compares to other operations.