Charmant Hiuchi Lifts & Terrain

Charmant Hiuchi 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)
    501 – 1,009 (510)
  • Average Snow Fall
    ? metres
  • Lifts (3)
    1 quad
    2 doubles
  • Ski Season
    mid Dec - early May
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 7
    Size – 96ha
    Beginner - 20%
    Intermediate - 45%
    Advanced - 35%
The Charmant Hiuchi Snow Resort is a reasonably small ski area with only 7 courses (trails) and 3 lifts, so you’re unlikely to visit just to ski or snowboard the piste. As our Charmant Hiuchi ratings suggest, the ski area’s strengths lie in key factors for powder hounds: the volume of snow; the lack of crowds; and the off-piste. The Charmant Hiuchi ski terrain is a free-for-all so there is a decent amount of off-piste skiing and snowboarding. And the terrain size is further enhanced because Charmant Hiuchi has some nice sidecountry that funnels back into the resort.

Lifts

The main chair lift that runs the full vertical of the Charmant Hiuchi Snow Resort is a lovely hooded detachable quad chair lift, which is perfect for the many days when it’s absolutely dumping with snow.

There are also two consecutive double chair lifts, although the top one wasn’t running when we visited, probably because it’s a bit superfluous to the fast quad.

Charmant Hiuchi Snow

If you think Hakuba Cortina gets absolutely dumped on because of its proximity to the coast, then you can start to imagine what happens at Charmant Hiuchi which is even closer to the coast. In a typical Japanese ski resort fashion, they don’t spend much time measuring snow accumulations (so the average snowfall per season is unknown), just the base which is usually incredibly deep (5m+).

The powder quality can be epic when it’s dumping or soon after, but otherwise the snow falls into the “very good” category because it’s typically wet coastal snow. The top elevation is somewhat typical of many of the Niigata ski resorts around Yuzawa, but lower than the main Myoko ski resorts. What it does have in its favour with respect to the powder quality is the northeast to north facing slopes. Abundant snowfall combined with the good aspect is why the resort generally remains open until early May.

Piste Snowboarding & Skiing Charmant Hiuchi

Charmant Hiuchi is not ideal for beginners, with a steep “beginner run” near the base, and a narrow winding trail that wouldn’t be much fun for novices. Due to the gradient of the mountain, the runs that drop fall-line aren’t particularly good for low-end intermediates, but strong intermediate and advanced riders should enjoy the pitchy groomers. But the enjoyment won’t last too long because of the lack of trail variety. There’s only so many times that you can ski or snowboard the same three trails!

Terrain Park

The Charmant Hiuchi ski area is renowned for having some pretty good terrain park features, but these don’t tend to be formed until spring when many of the powder hounds have gone home.

Off Piste Skiing and Riding

Other than the zones under the lifts, you can pretty much ride wherever you like off-piste. Whilst the in-bounds area isn’t very big, a huge pro for Charmant Hiuchi is the variety of off-piste terrain. The resort has very open areas as well as tree skiing amongst deciduous trees and evergreens. And it doesn’t matter if you don’t have well honed route-finding skills because all the terrain feeds back down to the quad chair.

Sidecountry and Backcountry

Ahh the sidecountry and backcountry are rather delicious! You need to sign in with ski patrol, which is downstairs from the log cabin restaurant, show them your safety gear, and indicate your general route.

The sidecountry incorporates lots of deciduous trees and the terrain alternates between slightly steep and mellow. There are also lots of open areas, and some feel like terrain traps. You can push out quite a few ridges because they feed into one drainage and you can scoot back into the resort via a saddle near the bridge.

Skinning up above the resort leads to some steeper terrain and you can come back into the resort on the skiers’ right. You can have a “chat” with ski patrol about potential routes.