Furano Skiing Area

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded
    Open Furano Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    235 - 1,074 (839)
  • Average Snow Fall
    8 - 9 metres
  • Lifts (10)
    1 Gondolas
    1 Ropeway (cablecar)
    9 Chairs
  • Ski Season
    late Nov - early May
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 23
    Longest run – 4.0 km
    Beginner - 40%
    Intermediate - 40%
    Advanced - 20%

Ski Furano – Terrain Review

Furano ski resort has great on-piste terrain for beginners through to advanced skiers and boarders. For advanced and expert riders, Furano skiing and snowboarding includes a wealth of off-piste terrain, and thankfully off-piste skiing is now tolerated by ski patrol. This is amazing that a Prince Resort could become so progressive (most other Prince ski resorts are stuck in a time warp and ban off-piste riding!). Those wanting to sniff out the powder no longer need to practise the art of limbo and being invisible before visiting Furano!

The Furano ski area has two zones. One is called the Furano Zone (open late Nov to early May) which has the New Furano Prince Hotel at the base (which is not to be confused with the Furano Prince Hotel which is closer to the Kitanomine base). The Kitanomine Zone (open mid Dec to late March) has the Kitanomine gondola station and lots of accommodation near the base. The two zones are interconnected by a link run and lift.

Furano skiing consists of beginner and intermediate runs at the base of each side of the mountain, with the steeper and deeper runs up higher.

Furano Lifts

The Furano lift infrastructure is very good on both the Kitanomine and Furano sides of the resort. If your legs aren’t super fit, you’ll be wishing that some of the lifts were a bit slower! There are a couple of fast quad chairs, as well as a gondola and cable car, 5 double chairs, and a single chair.

The main lift at Kitanomine is a gondola (which disappointingly doesn’t open until 9am). On the Furano side the main lift infrastructure is a cable car (ropeway), which opens at 8:30am and is supposedly the fastest lift in Japan. The only downside (unless you need a rest!) is that sometimes you have to wait for the cable car to arrive (or wait for a 2nd one).

Furano has night skiing on small beginner areas on both sides of the mountain.

Lift Tickets

Furano ski resort accepts credit cards for lift ticket purchases. There are a variety of lift pass configurations including 3 and 5 hour passes, and children 12 and under ski free.

A 5-7 day lift pass for Furano allows access to Kamui Ski Links or Tomamu for one day, whilst an 8+ day pass provides access to Kamui and Tomamu for 2 days total.

Furano Snow and Weather Conditions

Furano receives an average of 8-9 metres of powder each year. Additional distance from the coast as well as colder temperatures in Central Hokkaido contribute to snow that’s generally dryer than at the coastal resorts such as Niseko. The Furano ski area has a mostly easterly orientation, although the snow is a little better in the link area where the slopes face more northerly. Occasionally the powder is super heavy and nasty for the thighs, but hey that can happen anywhere.

Furano gets the most snow from the northerly storms (versus nearby Tomamu that does well out of southerly storms). The best part of the Furano ski season for powder is in early January through to late February.

It’s not usually particularly windy at Furano, and the hooded chair lift, ropeway and gondola provide lovely protection in the event of inclement weather.

Furano Skiing Terrain for the Beginner

Furano has three areas where beginners can learn to ski or snowboard on beautifully groomed wide runs. At Kitanomine these are off the quad chair (there are no beginners runs from the top of the gondola), and at the Furano base by utilising the lower Romance Chair. From the top of the Furano ropeway, another beginners’ area can be accessed by riding the upper Romance Chair.

There are two magic carpet escalators accessed slopes for kids on both sides of the Furano ski area, and these are free to use.

Furano Skiing - Intermediates

Furano is heaven for the intermediate skier or snowboarder because of the quality of the blue runs. With long cruisers and fantastic fall-line, Furano skiing is ideal to improve the technique and start picking up the speed on some of the steeper runs such as the Ladies Downhill. The only limitation is that there aren’t a huge number of blue runs to choose from, so it could get a bit repetitive.

Furano Terrain Park

There is a tiny terrain park adjacent to the Family G run on the Kitanomine side. The terrain park is nothing worth writing home about.

Ski Furano - Advanced On-Piste

The top half of the mountain has some steep groomed intermediate descents including the ladies’ downhill which provides some fast fun for advanced riders. There are also a few fast runs off the ropeway to test the leg fitness.

There are a couple of ungroomed black courses under the gondola and the long and reasonably steep Premium Zone is accessed from the gondola. It is only open for limited parts of the day, possibly to make it seem exclusive! The Challenge course on the far skiers’ left of the Furano Zone provides some steep ungroomed skiing, and an opportunity to ruin your knees on the bumps.

Ski Furano Experts – On-Piste

Furano is unique in that it’s one of only a few Japanese ski resorts that has double black diamond runs, however whilst the Premium Zone and Challenge Course are steep-ish, they are not that challenging and not in the same league as a double black run at Whistler or Kicking Horse for example.

Off-Piste Skiing

The resort’s approach to tree skiing and off-piste skiing has relaxed significantly. Understandably, there are still a couple of areas that are marked by the patrollers as no go zones due to avalanche risk.

There are lots of off-piste areas to explore, with the link area being one of the most obvious spots to play. Some of the other tree runs do not have a great fall-line, with significant side angles resulting in one-legged quad burn. The runs that do have a good fall-line have patches of steep pitch and some tight trees to test your turning radius. Not surprisingly, the tighter the trees, the less trashed the snow becomes!

Sidecountry

There are some awesome side-country runs on both sides of the resort, and between the two parts of the ski area in the link zone. These areas are accessed fairly easily via gates, although you’re theoretically supposed to remove your skis to walk in so that beginner skiers don’t inadvertently follow you.

Many years ago we were able to repeatedly hit the sidecountry to the skiers’ right of the resort and enable all our power dreams to come true – freshies everywhere, steep descents, widely spaced trees and neck deep powder in places. Unfortunately the freshies don’t last long now, but at least you don’t have to play Furano fox with the patrollers anymore.

Freshies last longer in the sidecountry to the left of Kitanomine, but this zone requires excellent route-finding skills or a Furano ski guide.