Shimokura Lifts & Terrain

Shimokura 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)
    580– 1,130 (550)
  • Average Snow Fall
    ?  metres
  • Lifts (3)
    1 triple
    2 doubles
  • Ski Season
    mid Dec - early April
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 7
    Longest run – 2.7 km
    Beginner - 30%
    Intermediate - 40%
    Advanced - 30%
The Shimokura Ski Resort is reasonably small, but as part of a road trip along with other nearby ski resorts, it’s a bit of fun for powder hounds. Hachimantai Resort Shimokura is not completely devoid of gaijin as it once was a decade ago, but the fresh Japow-dometer still seems to rate pretty highly.

Lifts

The Hachimantai Shimokura Ski Resort has 3 lifts. They are all fixed grip chair lifts, but they run at a decent pace. The base chair is a triple, whilst the upper two chairs are doubles.

Due to the orientation of the lifts, they rarely go on wind hold when the blustering westerlies come through, unlike neighbouring ski resorts such as Appi Kogen.

Lift Tickets

Lift passes at Shimokura are delightfully inexpensive and are shared with the nearby Hachimantai Resort Panorama, although they are not inter-connected via the slopes.

Hachimantai Snow

Many of the Japanese ski resorts don’t get too excited about maintaining accurate snowfall stats to aid with marketing BS, and the Hachimantai Shimokura ski resort would be no exception. The resort possibly gets around 7 metres of snow on average per season, and importantly the quality of it is usually excellent. Many of the Iwate ski resorts are renowned for the amazing powder which they call “aspirin snow”, which is nearly as silly as describing powder as “champagne” (which is yellow!). And to make the aspirin even better, the Shimokura Resort is largely north to northeast facing so the powder generally stays in super-aspirin condition! And wait there’s more…. pretty much no one skis in the trees so the powder is highly likely to be untracked and bottomless.

The prime season for powder skiing is January to mid February.

Beginner Skiing Shimokura

The lower two lifts provide a few green runs for beginners, but we can’t imagine too many international beginner skiers or snowboarders visiting Hachimantai (except for dudes from the Misawa air base?).

For the Intermediate

With only 3 red runs, there is not a whole lot of variety on offer for intermediates. There are also a couple of short black runs that confident intermediates could tackle, despite the trail map stating they have “high angularity” with maximum gradients of only 25 degrees!

Terrain Park

The ski area has a very small beginner park with a handful of little jumps and boxes.

Advanced Skiing – On-Piste

Other than the two mellow black runs, there’s one black run off the top lift, the Wall of Shimokura, which has a maximum gradient of 37 degrees (for a nano-second!) and due to low skier traffic it moguls up slowly. Calling it a “wall” might be overstating things and the resort even gives it double black diamond status which might be going a bit far!

Off Piste & Sidecountry Skiing and Riding

The off-piste areas are small yet fun and the trees to skiers’ left are reasonably widely spaced and there are lots of pillows, tree forks, and other natural features to hit or leap off. Skiers’ right takes you into steeper sidecountry terrain.

Many non-westernised Honshu ski resorts have long had a reputation for banning off-piste skiing and having whistle blowing party poopers (aka patrollers) that limit a powderhound’s fun. Thankfully things are slowly changing and skiing in a clandestine manner isn’t required any more. From 2018-19 a new in-bounds tree area is considered kosher, and other off-piste riding is fine so long as you’ve registered a climbing plan with ski patrol. Ditto for sidecountry. The resort even offers backcountry tours now. The only taboo area is directly under the lifts due to the risk of avalanche and taking out the lift towers.