Tomamu Skiing & Snowboarding

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Tomamu Skiing & Snowboarding

Our Terrain Ratings

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

Our Terrain Ratings

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

  • Vertical (m)
    540 - 1,239 (699)
  • Average Snow Fall
    8 metres
  • Lifts (6)
    1 Gondola
    5 Lifts
  • Ski Season
    early Dec - early Apr
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 29
    Longest run – 4.2 km
    Beginner - 30%
    Intermediate - 40%
    Advanced - 30%

Tomamu Skiing and Snowboarding

Tomamu Resort has a variety of piste terrain suitable for most levels of riders except experts (as is generally the case in Japan). At the Tomamu Ski Resort, the face above the sky-scraping towers on Tower Mountain (lookers’ right) is most suited to intermediates, whilst the Tomamu Mountain area above the resort center serviced by the gondola (lookers’ left) has piste for a range of abilities as well as a terrain park and a kids-specific play area.

Whilst some other ski resorts in Japan ban off-piste and tree skiing, the jewel-in-the-crown of Tomamu skiing is the permission to ride off-piste amongst the well gladed trees. You can get in amongst the Hokkaido powder instead of being teased by it from afar. The only downside of the powder program is that you have to complete a consent form each day, and wear a helmet and armband, which has to be returned every afternoon. At least it’s better than in years gone by when you had to wear a poxy-looking bib!

Tomamu Lifts

Gone are some of the clunky old pair lifts and the suicide single chair at Tomamu Resort. Tomamu has streamlined the lift operations and now most of the terrain is serviced by 3 express quad chairs (the hoods are a god-send on those foul weather days) and an old 4-person gondola (or gondora as the Japanese like to call them!). There is also a pair lift that connects the two sides. Called the Romance Chair, it’s so slow that you could have a long marriage on it. The other slow double chair is for the novices, and hopefully they appreciate having a really long rest on the chair.

There is also a series of magic carpets in front of the Tomamu Club Med for the many beginners that stay there.

Tomamu Snow

The frequency of big resets and general snow volumes are less than that of resorts closer to the sea such as Kiroro and Niseko. However like other Central Hokkaido resorts, the temps are usually very low and the Tomamu snow falls light and dry. One of the negatives of the resort is that most of the slopes within the resort face south to southeast. After a few fine days, the off-piste slopes can become a bit sun baked. The snow in some of the backcountry zones is an entirely different matter, with favourable aspects and powder that is often pristine.

Tomamu Resort is not renowned for amazing early season snow volumes, unlike the coastal Hokkaido ski resorts, so you may have to negotiate the abundant bamboo off-piste. At least on some of the main trails there are snowmaking guns to supplement the natural snow cover.

Tomamu tends to get decent snow from southerly systems compared to nearby Furano that fares well out of more northerly storms. Be mindful that the Tomamu gondola may go on wind hold as the southerly storm takes hold.

Tomamu Ski Terrain for the Beginner

The bottom third of the vertical of the mountain is very gentle so there are various easy slopes on which beginners can practise. For guests of Club Med Tomamu, there is a large beginner zone out the front of the building on a really low gradient slope. Other first timers will want to head up the Nipo Chair in front of The Tower Hotel.

Other bunny slopes are located near the Resort Center, and more adventurous beginners can head to the winding slope that travels from the top of the gondola down to the base. Watch out for the snow bikers!

Intermediate Ski and Board Terrain

The mountain has a small number of good intermediate groomed runs, which are just adequate to keep an intermediate rider entertained for a decent while. For intermediates wanting to experiment off-piste there are lots of spots where they can dabble in the powder without being too far away from the safety of the groomer.

Terrain Park

Tomamu Resort generally has a quarter-pipe and a couple of small terrain parks with a few kickers, rails and boxes. Park features mostly cater for beginners.

Tomamu Skiing On-Piste - Advanced

Tomamu has a handful of black courses (ie runs) that are ungroomed and often develop into bump runs, but surely you don’t come all the way to Tomamu to waste your time on these runs?!

Off Piste Skiing Tomamu

The real joys for advanced riders are the off-piste areas which are absolutely awesome. Generally these have well gladed trees as well as some bamboo to add some fun obstacles. In a few places the trees are tight but the powder rewards are worth the effort of having to do all those turns.

Tomamu rates all their off-piste areas as "expert", although considering none of the areas are palm-sweatingly steep and there are no drop-offs or cornices, they are more aptly rated as advanced.

In order to ride in the designated off-piste areas, riders need to register at the desk in the Resort Center. Requirements include signing a waiver, wearing a helmet, having a fully charged and operational mobile phone, and wearing an armband. All off-piste riders have to return their armbands by 3:30pm each day, otherwise the patrollers will start a full scale search effort. OK maybe they’ll ring your mobile phone first, but to say they’d be a little pissed if you were sitting in the onsen at 4pm would be an understatement! The off-piste is usually only officially operational from mid January onwards.

There is no longer a lift that goes to the top of Tower Mountain. If you hike up from the Tower Express lift you can access the former piste, although unless there’s a lot of snow cover, it may be a bit overgrown. Keep in mind that the snow quality isn’t as good on this side of the mountain if the sun’s out.

Like most ski resorts in Japan, the terrain can get a bit boring if there’s not fresh snow.

Sidecountry & Backcountry

Whilst the snow within the Tomamu Resort is sometimes sun-baked, there is very good news for skiers outside of the resort boundaries where there is often pristine powder, whilst snowboarders may not enjoy the extent of traversing required. You can’t get in a lot of vertical but it’s all about the quality turns.

Those with skins or snowshoes can continue on down to the valley floor – absolute bliss! The Tomamu backcountry is a major highlight of the area!

There are also frontside side-country opportunities to the skiers' right of the resort (in and around the old ski area), but scope your line well or you may unwittingly end up down at the train station.