Pippu 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)
    250 - 580 (330)
  • Average Snow Fall
    ? metres
  • Lifts (4)
  • Ski Season
    early Dec - mid Mar
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 9
    Longest run – 2.2 km
    Advanced - 20%
    Intermediate - 50%
    Beginner - 30%
  • Lift Prices (Day 17/18)
    Adult - ¥3,000
    Child - ¥2,200

Pippu Hokkaido is one of those ski resorts that on inspection of the “mountain” statistics, you think it is worth skipping. Firstly the Pippu Ski Resort is not a “mountain” but just a “hill” and it only has 3 chair lifts and 9 runs. The stats for the vertical (330m) and top elevation (580m) don’t get you frothing either, but that’s the thing with little powder gems. You have to look beneath the veneer to realise the potential, and because the stats put some powder punters off, you can have more powder to yourself and that’s what being a powder hound is really about.

The terrain ratings for Pippu reflect that it’s a small resort, with not a lot on offer for any ability level. It’s not likely to capture your attention for long, but the powder skiing at Pippu can be lots of fun. And if it’s snowing and blowing, Pippu might be your only option in the area.

Lifts

As a sign of the times, the number of operational lifts at Pippu is shrinking (which is somewhat common at low profile Japanese ski resorts). There are 3 chair lifts (1 lift is really 2 parallel lifts, but it’s unlikely the crowds would ever be so great that they’d need to run both lifts). All the chair lifts are fixed grip, although they run them at a decent clip. Hopefully they slow down the D chair for the beginners! There is also a little ropetow for novices.

The A lift is open for night skiing which services an intermediate run and a mellow advanced run.

Lift Tickets

Lift tickets are ridiculously cheap if you buy a standard day ticket, and they also offer point passes, 3 and 5 hour passes, and an array of weekday specials such as ladies’ day, mens’ day, and deals that include lunch.

Pippu Snow

Pippu is a low elevation ski resort (250-580m) and it doesn’t score the same volumes of snow compared to its big name Hokkaido counterparts. Also, a mostly southwest facing aspect isn’t conducive to the powder being well maintained for too long. Fresh is best! That being said, the region is usually absolutely frigid, so the snow quality is very good in the height of winter, especially in Japanuary. And due to its interior location, the snow that falls is often Central Hokkaido dry powder.

Beginner Skiing Pippu

The layout of the beginner terrain is a bit naff, but the school kids don’t seem to mind. Complete novices can play on the short ropetow but after that, beginners will have to progress very quickly to feel comfortable with the steep green runs. The aptly named “beginner course” is the most mellow, but you then have to drop into the steeper family course (which has a maximum gradient of 20 degrees).

Pippu is renowned for its strawberries during summer and one of the beginner trails is called “Strawberry course”. During winter your chances of going strawberry picking are pretty doubtful! Strawberry is rather steep for beginners too.

For the Intermediate

The middle of the resort features a few very wide groomed pink trails for intermediates (they’ve invented their own trail colour rating system!), that are likely to be devoid of skiers and snowboarders. A couple of other short intermediate runs start and finish with a beginner run, so they could get a bit tedious, but with only a handful of intermediate runs, intermediates are likely to get bored in general.

Advanced Skiing On-Piste

Advanced riders have 2 piste on the lookers’ left of the hill. “Deep Snow Course” is often aptly named whilst “Golden Course” hopefully has nothing to do with making yellow snow! These two runs should hold the attention of powder chasers for a nano-second before they’ll want to head into the trees where the real fun is!

Off Piste Skiing Pippu

The off-piste (in-bounds) tree skiing on the skiers’ left of the resort is mellow and the trees moderately spaced. The treed sections are small, so it’s ideal for learner powder hounds (powder puppies) to experiment in the trees. The other off-piste areas are slightly steeper but it’s more difficult to undertake tree skiing in a clandestine manner. The ski patrollers are probably used to gaijin poking around in the trees, but it doesn’t hurt to play it safe until you’re sure it’s kosher.

Sidecountry

The Pippu sidecountry is fairly obvious and you don’t have to be Travis Rice or Ingrid Backstrom to find your way. The trees have a variety of spacing, and the pitch is mostly just moderate. If the freshies have disappeared, you can walk/skin 5 to 15 minutes further along the summer road. If you push a long way out you’ll miss the traverse back into the resort, but be rewarded with some slightly steeper pitches. The egress may require a 5 minute skin back to the resort or a walk along the road.