Hakodate Nanae Lifts & Terrain


Hakodate Nanae Lifts & Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

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

Our Terrain Ratings

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

  • Vertical (m)
    245 – 943 (698)
  • Average Snow Fall
    ?  metres
  • Lifts (3)
    1 gondola
    1 high speed quad
  • Ski Season
    early Dec - early Apr
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 8
    Longest run – 4 km
    Beginner - 60%
    Intermediate - 20%
    Advanced - 20%
Hakodate Nanae is a reasonably long and skinny ski area, with only 8 courses (ie piste) and a respectable vertical drop of 698 metres (245-943m). Like most Japanese ski resorts, the ski area sits below the treeline.

The Hakodate Nanae ski season typically goes from early or mid December to early April.


Hakodate Nanae Snow Park has only 3 lifts, but they provide very good lifting capacity considering the size of the ski area. The gondola is long and runs nearly the full vertical of the ski resort. Pedestrians also use the gondola to head up in the height of winter to check out the snow monsters.

A hooded fast quad chair lift goes just a fraction higher to the top of the ski resort, and there is a slow double clunker for beginners near the base. The double chair lift is open for night skiing during peak season.

Hakodate Nanae Snow

The average volume of snowfall per season is unknown and whilst it’s likely to be respectable, it’s probably not as high as some of the Hokkaido ski resorts closer to the west coast. Similarly, Hakodate typically doesn’t get the same early season snowfalls that are seen at Niseko and Kiroro.

The top elevation is not particularly high, but the Hakodate Nanae snow quality has aspect as an advantage. Many of the slopes face northeast whilst the main sidecountry faces north.

Beginner Skiing Hakodate Nanae

The terrain for beginners is very good, yet unless you speak fluent Japanese you’ll be teaching yourself (or your boyfriend/wife/father/sister can teach you but we all know how that ends!).

Beginners have access to lovely wide groomers and the full vertical of the resort, although the slopes near the base area are the best for novices.

For the Intermediate

There are only two intermediate runs, and whilst these are nice and well groomed, they are not likely to keep your motivation going for long. The “advanced” run is groomed and has a maximum pitch of 29 degrees as you head down to the quad chair, so it’s also really an intermediate run.

Advanced Skiing On-Piste

Zzzzzzzzz. Advanced skiers and snowboarders that like to remain on-piste will be so bored riding the one trail over and over, especially considering it’s really only challenging enough to be rated as an intermediate run.

Off Piste Skiing and Riding

In-bounds there is a mix of tree species and you can fossick around to find some ideal tree skiing. In some spots the trees are super tight, whilst in others they are wide.

You have to assume that non-westernised Japanese ski areas such as Hakodate Nanae are conservative and don’t want you heading off-piste, but there are some mixed messages. There are various areas that are fenced off where typically the terrain is very steep or heads to a gnarly spot (so the bits that real powder hounds want to hit), whilst riding the mellow trees at the top seems to be kosher.

Some of the best tree lines with pitch and good spacing run into a gully that’s home to the quad chair lift, and reminiscent of the superb tree skiing at Rusutsu. Even if you wear an all-white outfit, it’s dumping with snow, and the lift hoods become opaque, you won’t be able to egress this area discretely. One can only assume skiing under or alongside the lift is not allowed and we can’t make recommendations here, but do enjoy yourself before you risk losing your pass!

Sidecountry and Backcountry

The side boundary of the ski resort is well fenced off but it’s easy to covertly enter the sidecountry at the top of the ski area. The sidecountry is rather delicious, particularly considering its northerly aspect, and has a mix of very open slopes, trees, ridges, gullies, and bowls. The powder lines go for a decent way before the tell-tale pink ribbons indicate that the fun is over. A summer road goes on forever (which may be marred by some snowmobile tracks) before you have to cut back into the resort via a 5 minute skate/herringbone and then a ride down and around to the car park. If there’s deep powder it could be a hard slog out, especially for snowboarders.

There is also some sub-alpine and alpine backcountry above the ski resort, but it appears that this may predominantly be the domain of sledders.