Goyru 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)
    750 – 1,676 (926)
  • Average Snow Fall
    12  metres
  • Lifts (13)
    1 gondola
    3 quad chairs
  • Ski Season
    late Nov - early May
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 16
    Longest run – 5 km
    Beginner - 25%
    Intermediate - 40%
    Advanced - 35%
The Hakuba Goryu Ski Resort has three skiing zones, two of which have corresponding base areas. The Goryu Toomi Zone is largely for beginners and night skiing, and the Iimori Zone primarily has beginner and intermediate runs. The Alps-Daira Zone in the upper reaches of the resort provides mostly intermediate runs. The options in the middle of the resort are rather scant where you’ve only got a steep mogul run or the intermediate Woody Course which is too narrow in places, too congested with snow ploughing beginners, and boringly repetitive.

The Hakuba Goryu Ski Resort by itself isn’t a large ski area with only 16 courses (aka marked trails), but the top of Goryu is inter-connected with Hakuba 47 Ski Resort for additional terrain. The Goryu skiing ratings only reflect the terrain on offer at Goryu and not the combination of Hakuba 47/Goryu.

Lifts

Goryu Ski Resort has 13 lifts which sounds like a lot, but keep your expectations in check. The gondola runs most of the vertical of the ski area, and the Goryu Toomi lower area has a good quad chair lift and Goryu Iimori has a short fast quad chair. Otherwise the chairs are old clunkers and the Alps-Daira Zone has 3 pair lifts, 2 of which are rather superfluous.

Lift Tickets

Lift tickets for Goryu also provide access to Hakuba 47 Ski Resort. Lift passes bought on the day are cheaper than the Hakuba Valley pass, and many hotels and pensions provide discounted lift passes which makes it even cheaper (although you may have to pay cash). The advantages of the Hakuba Valley pass are that some of the buses to/from the ski resort are free, you can ski at multiple Hakuba ski areas each day (e.g. if the weather closes a key lift at one resort), and multi-day passes save the hassle of lining up to buy a ticket at the window.

Kids under 6 years of age ski for free at Hakuba 47/Goryu.

Goryu Snow

Hakuba Goryu has very reliable snow and like most of the Hakuba ski resorts, it’s blessed with an average seasonal snowfall of 11-12 metres. In the peak of winter, the aspect doesn’t usually play a part with respect to snow quality but on the fringes of the season, the east to south east facing Goryu Toomi slopes can become a little sloppy (but the beginners love the sunshine!). The aspect of the Goryu Iimori and Alps Daira zones are mostly north east facing and generally retain the snow quality a little better. The top elevation of Goryu is pretty good at 1,676 metres, which is higher than most of the other Hakuba ski resorts (except Happo One).

Goryu Skiing for the Beginner

There is loads of space for beginners to learn near the Iimori and Toomi base areas, and the latter extends a decent way up the mountain and is super wide. Nevertheless on weekends and holidays, the beginner slopes can become crammed. For fine days there’s also a more challenging green run at the top of the gondola (beginners can download the gondola).

For the Intermediate

The Goryu Iimori zone has a few relatively quiet intermediate runs for cruising. For fine days, the Alps Daira zone at the top has a few groomed runs and plenty of space to start practising turns on the ungroomed.

Terrain Park

There is a tiny park for beginners to have an experiment. Real park riders can easily head across to Hakuba 47.

Advanced Skiing On-Piste

Goryu only has 3 black piste trails: a short groomed run that is often icy (so perfect for racing!); and the Champion Expert and Adventure Course that have an undeserved double black diamond status. Mind you, I’ve seen these runs covered in bullet-proof icy moguls much higher than your nipples (depending on where they are?) when the runs are worthy of triple black diamond status. Give me powder any day!

There are times when the Adventure Course is not open even though it feels like it should be (but I guess in Japan you should just stop wondering…).

Off Piste Skiing Goryu

Goryu used to be very conservative regarding off-piste skiing. Now they are in the early infancy stage of allowing off-piste riding, with a small “Open Tree Zone” adjacent to the lower part of the Champion Expert Course. It’s steep, without being Jackson Hole steep, and the trees are reasonably spaced. A little further down it mellows out and opens up and you can fang it. The only downside is that Hakuba is a popular destination and there are a lot of Goryu snowsports instructors that don’t start work until 10am or so, so freshies in this area seem to last a nano-second.

Terrain off the Cosmo 4-lift also provides a little off-piste riding that’s open and probably kosher, but once again the Hakuba Snowsports instructors rip it up before anyone else gets a sniff at it.

Sidecountry & Backcountry

The division between what’s off-piste (ie within resort boundaries) and sidecountry (outside resort boundaries) is a bit vague at Goryu, but either way, some of it is very tasty and also rather avalanche prone at times. Even though Goryu undertakes some avalanche bombing and ski cutting to control avalanches to stop slides dropping down onto the beginners’ piste, riding near the gondola is still really frowned upon. For such a delightfully steep ski area (which is rare in Japan) it seems criminal! There are however, some less obvious areas where you can invisibly ski with less risk of getting sprung.

Goryu also has some great backcountry access above the resort and you can go on a guided tour to explore some of this terrain.