Piyashiri 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)
    193 – 673 (480)
  • Average Snow Fall
    ?  metres
  • Lifts (4)
    4 double lifts
  • Ski Season
    mid Dec - early Apr
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 9
    Longest run – 2 km
    Beginner - 50%
    Intermediate - 20%
    Advanced - 30%
Nayoro Piyashiri Ski Resort is what you’d expect for a ski area out in the middle of the boonies of Hokkaido. It’s mostly mellow, pretty small, and the lift infrastructure is far from fancy. Naturally powder hounds are more interested in the quality of the snow and the trees, and Piyashiri comes through with the goods in that respect.

Lifts

Piyashiri Nayoro Snow Park has 4 double chair lifts. Three of them run almost consecutively and have unimaginative nomenclature: 1st pair lift; 2nd pair lift; and 3rd pair lift. On the other side of the ski resort is the 4th romance lift, but this wasn’t operational when we visited. All the chair lifts are fixed grip but they’re not too slow and none have safety bars.

Night skiing is available off the 1st and 2nd pair lifts.

Lift Tickets

Piyashiri offers 4 hour passes and point passes, but a full day ticket is so cheap that you might as well contribute to the local economy.

The outdoor lift ticket office is pretty funny because typically you have to kneel down to buy a ticket because there’s so much snow (they didn’t design it so well!).

Piyashiri Snow

In the Ainu language Nay Oro means "in the middle of the valley” but it should mean “bloody freezing”! The Nayoro area is one of the coldest spots in Japan, and during the height of winter the temps can drop to minus 30 degrees Celsius. At the base of the ski area the resort has a big thermometer that proudly displays how chilly it is!

So the upside is that the snow is super chilled and super fine blower powder, where the chances of making a snowball are slim. The slopes are pretty much south facing which usually spells disaster for a northern hemisphere ski resort, but it doesn’t matter in the height of winter considering how far north Piyashiri is.

The Nayoro Piyashiri ski season typically goes from mid December to early April.

Beginner Skiing Piyashiri

The trail stats indicate that 50% of the terrain is dedicated to beginners (even though there are more intermediate courses).

The Panorama trails from the top of the 2nd pair lift are reasonably mellow and a nice spot for novices. Similarly, the Forest Course off the top is a gentle meandering run, but beginners then have to ski down the “expert course” (someone must have made a mistake naming that course!) which is a little steep for beginners.

For the Intermediate

Only 20% of the trails are for intermediates apparently, despite there being more intermediate trails than beginner or advanced (by now you’d think I’d stop wondering about how a Japanese ski resort comes up with its statistics!). The trails are pretty good and run 2/3s or the full vertical of the ski area. If the 4th chair is closed, the Eastern course may be a powder field because no one goes out there.

Terrain Park

Nayoro Piyashiri prides itself on its terrain park (apparently it’s “one of the best snow park in Japan”) which runs alongside the first two lifts, but the park features look very primitive. Instead of roping off the sidecountry, perhaps the ski patrol should rope off the terrain park because it looks much more dangerous. Some rails look like they could cut you in half!

Advanced Skiing On-Piste

The top lift services a couple of advanced runs, but like a lot of little Japanese ski resorts, these don’t provide much of a challenge.

Off Piste Skiing and Riding

Nayoro Piyashiri Ski Resort has several patches of trees where you could go tree skiing, however other than those between the 4th lift and Eastern Course, it’s very difficult to do so without the lifties and patrollers seeing you. The fun police have a reputation for being intolerant of off-piste skiing, so you would have to do so with extreme care.

The top lift provides access to some extreme terrain that includes a band of cliffs and massive rocks. Whilst the patrollers rope off other parts of the ski resort to prevent tree skiing, they don’t rope off this area which is the most dangerous part of Piyashiri with respect to the terrain and avalanche risk – go figure – Japanese reasoning at its finest!

Sidecountry

Don’t expect too much in the way of steeps (like most of Japan) but the sidecountry at Piyashiri is very tasty and very easy to navigate. Skiers’ right is heavily roped off, so you might need to perform some clandestine manoeuvres or do a piste run until the coast is clear. The upper terrain is reasonably expansive and has wide open trees and unvegetated areas. Further down the trees tighten up and there are a couple of steep gullies. You have the option to traverse back into the resort below the 1st lift or continue fall line and end up down in the car park (or on the road).

The sidecountry on the skiers’ left side is more mellow and easier to undertake discretely. Push too far left and you’ll end up down on a summer road and poling or skating back towards the lift.