Tsugaike Kogen Resort Terrain


Tsugaike Kogen Resort 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)
    800 – 1,704 (904)
  • Average Snow Fall
    13  metres
  • Lifts (15)
    1 gondola
    9 fast quad chairs
  • Ski Season
    late Nov - early May
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 10
    Longest run – 4.6km
    Beginner - 50%
    Intermediate - 30%
    Advanced - 20% 
The Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort is up there as one of our favourite Hakuba ski resorts due to the fun tree skiing in the Tsuga Pow (Tsugaike Powder) areas and being a good general all-rounder.


Tsugaike Kogen (now rebranded as Tsugaike Mountain Resort) has rather impressive lift infrastructure by Hakuba standards. The Tsugaike Gondola (aka the Eve Gondola, in keeping with the biblical names of Hakuba gondolas) takes a while to get from the bottom to the top, but it travels at a decent speed to cover the lengthy distance. Long queues for the gondola usually develop on powder mornings and considering it usually opens at 8am, you’ll want to get there early for fresh powder.

The resort has another 14 lifts (down from 19 in the late 2010s) including various fast quad chairs and an assortment of other chair lifts.

The Panorama Ropeway rises from above the top of the gondola, but during winter it is teasingly closed. From mid March or early April, the ropeway (cable car) usually opens, and you’ll need to submit a climbing notification to board.

Lift Tickets

Tsugaike offers beginners’ tickets for various lifts near the base. For full resort access you can buy lift passes just for Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort, and thankfully you can now buy these online and just pick up the pass at an electronic kiosk. The queues to buy a lift ticket used to be horrendous.

You can also use the Hakuba Valley lift pass to ski at Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort. The latter has the advantage that you can ski at multiple Hakuba ski areas in one day (e.g. if the weather closes a major lift at one resort), and the pass also provides free access to the Hakuba Valley shuttle buses. The downside is that the HV pass is more expensive than buying a Tsugaike lift pass, especially if you get a discounted lift pass from your hotel.

The Hakuba Valley ski resorts can also be accessed for 5 consecutive days using the Epic Pass (and Epic Local Pass and Epic Australia Pass). See the Hakuba skiing page for more information.

Tsugaike Snow

Being one of the more northern ski resorts in Hakuba, Tsugaike is renowned for getting a little more snow than those further south such as Happo One. Either way, the snow is delightfully bountiful.

Like the rest of the Hakuba ski resorts, the quality of the powder is generally very good without being exceptional like you’d typically find in Hokkaido. The in-bounds slopes are mostly southeast facing which is lovely for the beginners on fine days but not as ideal for the snow quality maintenance, whilst some of the sidecountry has more of a northerly aspect. A plus for the Tsugaike snow is that the top elevation is reasonably high.

Beginner Skiing Tsugaike

Tsugaike Ski Resort has masses of beginner terrain. Officially 50% of the slopes are dedicated to greenies, but particularly the lower section of the resort feels huge. First timers might want to start at the more mellow south end, but it probably doesn’t matter because the whole beginner area is largely devoid of trees, so that only leaves one big bell for novices to potentially run into! More green runs can be found further up the mountain.

For the Intermediate

Tsugaike Kogen is good for intermediates without being amazing. The resort has several wide groomed red (intermediate) slopes but they’re not particularly long. Intermediates will probably want to ride the gondola from mid-station upwards, as the lower half of the ski area (and gondola) gets a bit tedious.

Terrain Park

The Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort is popular for the terrain parks, which like the intermediate runs, are OK without being fabulous. The parks are in the upper part of the resort, and one of the parks with its many medium sized jumps has a dedicated high speed quad chair lift.

Advanced Skiing On-Piste

As is often the case in Japan, the trail stats are rather misleading. Supposedly 20% of the piste is advanced (black), but there are only 1.25 black runs and the quarter run doesn’t deserve its single diamond status. Unfortunately the only real black run is frequent closed, and the rationale for this not clear.

Those who love bashing their knees on steep moguls will want to head to Happo One or Goryu.

Tsugaike Off Piste Skiing and Riding

Advanced powder hunters can find some fun off-piste trees off the Tsuga No. 2 lift. This is managed with gated self-responsibility areas that provide a myriad of lines under the gondola. If you want to ride this area you need to abide by the Tsuga Pow DBD guidelines (Tsuga Pow is short for Tsugaike Powder whilst DBD is Double Black Diamond).

Gates 1 and 2 provide reasonably easy trees for advanced riders. Gates 3 to 5 provide access to trees which are steep and have variable thickness of vegetation and are suited to experts. The gates are opened and closed depending on conditions. Much of the Tsugaike Powder zone has slopes that have a sunny aspect so it’s best tackled when the powder is fresh, although in peak season the fresh lines don’t last too long on a powder day anyhow.

You need to watch a video online, and then register in person on the 2nd floor of Jacky’s Cafeteria (just below the top of the gondola), and then wear an armband which you can keep for the season. Try to do your registration on a non-powder day, otherwise you’ll be utilising precious powder time running up the stairs at Jacky’s Kitchen.

Tsugaike Sidecountry and Backcountry

Tsugaike Kogen has some magical sidecountry terrain for experts, with reasonably shady aspects, and very short skins/hikes provides access to additional terrain.

Tsugaike Ski Resort is also well reputed for the backcountry access that includes sub-alpine and alpine terrain that ranges from mellow to steep. There are various zones including those on Hakuba-Norikura-dake that are prone to avalanches. You can go on a Hakuba ski/snowboard tour for a guide to show you some of the amazing backcountry lines.

In spring, the Tsugaike Ropeway provides a little more lift-assist to get to high elevation routes.