Overall Rating

Sapporo Kokusai

Sapporo Kokusai3.5/54
Sapporo Kokusai3.5 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%
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Sapporo Kokusai - Reviews

Sapporo Kokusai - Reviews

Just some Gaijin off piste

Corey29/04/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    December
  • Admin Rating
    3

Just some Gaijin off piste

Corey29/04/2015
Came with BlackDiamond tours on a day trip from Niseko in late dec '14. It's a long drive and the size of the resort doesn't compare but I'm extremely glad I went.

We didn't experience the crowds except at lunch (it was packed) b/c we were off piste the entire time. If you only do groomers, you're not going to like Kokusai, you'll get bored real quick. But with a guide, or a strong explorer spirit there's freshies to be had DAYS after storms in the glades. You're not going to get the same vert or grade you get at Annipuri, but if it hasn't snowed in a few days, you want to lose the aussies, or want a little more of the japan skiing cultural experience you picture before coming I'd recommend a side trip to Kokusai. I think I paid 2,000 JPY for the tour with BD and would happy do it again. Oh and you darksiders, the back country is full of flat run outs, so steal a pole or prepare to walk abit.

11am insanity

Crunky02/03/2014
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Admin Rating
    4

11am insanity

Crunky02/03/2014
Wow this place gets busy but that's a good thing. They are reliant on their two gondolas to move the people which takes all the ski schools to the top. It seems when other hills are shutting shop for the day keeping the kids on the lower slop, beautiful little Kokusai turns a blind eye for the most part sheltered from the howling westerlies in their valley and cram more students into another gondola to the top. Great!!!

The crowds seem to climax just before lunch and we waited 20 minutes. The ladies packing the gondolas did an awesome job with a singles line they pack those gondolas faster and better than anywhere else I've seen in Japan. Maybe it helps being under the radar that they don't have to contend with Sven, Bjorg and their 20 mates all with massive clown banana skis specially designed not to fit inside or outside any known gondola!!

Inbounds between the two gondolas the more to the skiers left you go the mellower it gets, while the skiers right get steeper with more features. Out of bounds was a different story we did the usual trick of the first run (skiers right of resort) hanging next to the boundary rope only to find ourselves post holing through a tight gully for half an hour sweat pouring off us to access the traverse out on the opposite side of the bloody creek. Next run we figured we had it sussed and went 100m further out only to find ourselves in another terrain trap. I would love a good topo of this area. It would be a great area to get a guide to show you, but as it stood the terrain isn't idiot proof like the slack country at Niseko. Some nasty terrain traps so have the right gear, know what to do with it or stay away.

Kokusai

Boslo24/01/2013
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Admin Rating
    4

Kokusai

Boslo24/01/2013
First thing that struck me about Kokusai were the crowds, even on a regular Thursday by the time I arrived around 11am all car parks were almost full. However fortunately the lift infrastructure seems to cope and the lines were never more than 2 or 3 minutes.

On this occasion it had not snowed in the last 2 days, the main off piste area is down the middle under the two gondolas , it is mostly small bowls leading into creek exits and was quite tracked out, however there is also plenty of less obvious off piste that was completely untouched after two days.

Overall Kokusai is a nice place to spend a day or two, but much longer and it could become tiresome, there is a lot of anti off piste signage but they seem to turn a blind eye.

Bit of a tip; I found driving from Sapporo hotels to be quite tedious, it can take 30 minutes just to get from where most hotels are to the expressway, however Otaru hotels are close to the expressway if your heading to Tiene, about 20 minutes quicker than sapporo and Kokusai is only 30 minutes from central Otaru. So if your staying in Sapporo just for the skiing I'd definitely suggest staying in Otaru instead.

Powder Stashes Galore

POWDERHOUNDS.COM30/01/2011
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Admin Rating
    4

Powder Stashes Galore

POWDERHOUNDS.COM30/01/2011
The ski resort is tiny if you only ski on the official piste runs, and it’s somewhat surprising that Sapporo Kokusai is so popular with the locals when nearby Kiroro offers so much more (must be the cheap lift tickets!). They have two gondolas running in parallel with each other, when what they really need is to have a gondola or additional lifts that open up significantly more terrain.

Most powderhounds don’t care about the size of the “skiable terrain” because Sapporo Kokusai has plenty of potential as a powderhounds play area. Sure there is negligible steep terrain compared to Sapporo Teine, but it makes up for its terrain characteristics with plenty of powder. On a powder day (particularly a weekday) you should be able to do powder laps in the side-country terrain with very little company, if any at all.

The off-piste terrain offers some merriment, but the best of Sapporo Kokusai can be found in the backcountry. Consider getting a guide to be a trail blazer.

For detailed ratings of Sapporo Kokusai and to see how it compares to other Japanese ski resorts, see our powderhounds resort ratings.