Horotachi Ski Area


Horotachi Ski Area

Our Terrain Ratings

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

Our Terrain Ratings

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

  • Vertical (m)
    150 – 367 (217)
  • Average Snow Fall
    ?  metres
  • Lifts (1)
    1 double chair
  • Ski Season
    mid Dec - late Mar
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 4
    Longest run – 1.1 km
    Beginner - 20%
    Intermediate - 40%
    Advanced - 40%

Horotachi Ski Area Terrain

It won’t take long to orient yourself to the Horotachi Ski Area considering it only has 1 chair lift and 4 courses. 

Horotachi Ski Season

The Kokusetsu Horotachi ski season usually goes from mid December to late March, although opening days become more sporadic in the late season when the slopes become sun affected. For example, from late February the Horotachi ski area may only be open from Friday to Sunday, so it’s best to double check before making the pilgrimage there.


Kokusetsu Horotachi only has one chair lift, which is a fixed grip double chair with no safety bar. It does however have a loudspeaker blaring out dreadful music, and they may also make announcements to remind you to not go “off-course”!

Lift Tickets

Lift passes are cheap and you can purchase a 1 day or 4 hour pass at a vending machine with cash.

You know lift tickets are cheap when a season pass for Horotachi is cheaper than a one day pass at any high profile US ski resort!

Horotachi Snow

Even though Kokusetsu Horotachi is a low elevation ski area, it still gets plenty of snow and it’s usually of very good quality. Horotachi is positioned not far from the west coast and being in northern Hokkaido, the temperatures are usually frigid.

As the ski area has a sunny aspect, if the sun does come out, it doesn’t take long for the snow quality to sour.

One advantage of the low elevation is that Horotachi ski area can be a good pick for brutal weather days when lifts are on wind hold at higher elevation ski areas such as Asahidake or Kurodake.

Beginner Skiing Horotachi

A groomed beginner slope skirts around the skiers’ left of the ski area. Whilst it’s mostly mellow and has an average gradient of only 10 degrees, there is one short section near the end where it gets pitchy so beginners will need to feel confident.

For the Intermediate B course is a groomed slope that has an average gradient of 15 degrees and a maximum of 26 degrees. It runs adjacent to the steeper ungroomed C course.

Depending on snow conditions, confident intermediates could also tackle the ungroomed D course.

Advanced Skiing On-Piste

The C course is the only advanced run and is dubbed the famous Powder Line. It has an average pitch of 25 degrees and near the bottom, reaches 44 degrees. It’s a pretty impressive slope, although it doesn’t take long for it to get tracked out on a powder day.

Off Piste & Sidecountry

The English trail map of the ski area includes the phrase “no entry outside” to indicate that off-piste skiing (ie between the courses) is not permitted. Similarly sidecountry/backcountry (outside the ski area) is not allowed and the ski area has a reputation for heavy policing of this.

So if you chose to go into the trees where the delicious deep powder is, keep in mind that you may be reprimanded. You’ll need to do so in an invisible manner, so don’t charge a line down under the chair lift, and the zone directly to the skiers’ right of the chair is also a no-go considering it’s fully visible from the chair lift. You will also need to assess the risks of tree skiing. In addition to having backcountry skills and gear, you need to be aware that this little ski area is ill-equipped to deal with any required rescue and efforts may take a long time and will likely involve the police.

The off-piste between A and B has some tight trees and will require some scouting. There is a big gully down the guts as well as smaller gullies, so you can get double gullied if there’s not plenty of cover.

Sidecountry to skiers’ right is fabulous and has better snow quality and well spaced trees. There is only enough terrain in here to support freshies for a small group.