Kandatsu Kogen Lifts & Terrain


Kandatsu Kogen 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)
    460 – 1000 (540)
  • Average Snow Fall
    11  metres
  • Lifts (5)
    3 quads
  • Ski Season
    mid Dec - late Apr
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 13
    Longest run – 3.5km
    Beginner - 30%
    Intermediate - 40%
    Advanced - 30%

Kandatsu Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The Kandatsu Ski Resort has a slightly unusual layout. Firstly the main part of ski area starts up at mid-mountain, which is accessed via a double chair lift and has a couple of beginner runs back down to the base. From mid-mountain up, the Kandatsu ski area is the north facing side of a large bowl, with a really wide beginner trail that runs down the middle of the bowl. With the exception of the far left lift (lookers’ left), all the trails funnel down to the mid-mountain day lodge so you’re unlikely to lose track of your mates or family.

Like all the Yuzawa ski resorts, Kandatsu Ski Resort can get a little crowded on the weekends due to the very easy access from Tokyo. The hordes tend to hang around the beginners’ slope (and also in the day lodge!) so lift queues can develop at the main quad chair. However relative to Gala Yuzawa and a couple of other ski resorts in Yuzawa, Kandatsu is quieter, and mid-week is usually good.


Of the 5 lifts at Kandatsu Ski Resort, the 3 quad chairs are of reasonable speed whilst the double chair lifts are generally set to dawdle speed. The D Lift is commonly closed on weekdays, which is such a shame especially considering there are enough visitors to warrant opening it.

Lift Tickets

Lift ticket prices are very reasonable and you can get discount vouchers at 7-Eleven or some of the Yuzawa hotels. Lift passes are also discounted for 2 days (in an effort not to lose you to one of the other Yuzawa ski areas for your second day). On some mid-week days there are ridiculously cheap ladies’ lift passes that include lunch or an onsen.

Kandatsu Kogen Snow and Weather

Situated in the heart of snow country, Kandatsu Kogen is thought to receive approximately 11 metres of snowfall on average per season. Most of the slopes have a north (or northeast or northwest) orientation so the snow is protected from the sun and the aspect helps keep the snow pristine. It used to be called Kandatsu Kogen in the past and because “Kogen” means “highlands” and the top elevation is only 1,000 metres, they had to change the name to Kandatsu Snow Resort (there’s some poetic license in that statement!). Whilst the top elevation is similar to many of the Yuzawa ski resorts, it is rather low compared to neighbouring Kagura (1,845m) and Naeba (1,789m) – see the Niigata snow stats for comparisons on elevation.

The Kandatsu Ski Resort is relatively protected from the elements, so it’s pretty rare that lifts have to go on wind hold.

Kandatsu Skiing for the Beginner

The main beginners’ run is a fraction steeper than your average green run, but it is incredibly wide so it has plenty of space for learning (except on very busy holiday weekends). When snow conditions are decent, beginners can also play on the narrower trails that drop down to the base area. These are ideal for bad weather days because it’s really protected in the forest.

Confident beginners can ride the two other quad chairs and take a short trail back around to the main beginner run.

Intermediate Skiing and Snowboarding

The beginner trails are ideal for low-end intermediate riders who are still trying to shake their beginner status.

There are only a few trails rated as intermediate. One of them is short and requires long laps on the green run to get back to it. The other two red runs terminate into a black run which is a bit daft, but thankfully the black run isn’t too challenging.

Some of the other black runs (with the exception of Orion that hits 45 degrees) could also be tackled by strong intermediates, but it really depends on the size of the bumps.

Terrain Park

Kandatsu is renowned for having decent terrain park set ups, with a good assortment of features. In addition to a standard park, there is a hike-up park with a good kicker. 

Advanced Skiing Kandatsu

Kandatsu Resort has a handful of black runs that are typically covered in bumps. Unless you’ve got no cartilage left in your knees, you should really try the moguls because the good Japanese skiers absolutely love them and when in Japan….

The longest black run on lookers’ left relies on the D chair to be running, unless you want to do a little hike.

Off Piste Skiing and Riding

If you’re an avid powder hound you’re likely to howl at the moguls, so head into the amazing trees instead. The trees off the top pair lift are a lot of fun, and reasonable for advanced riders. Short hikes off this lift provide some additional off-piste terrain and a good challenge for advanced riders.

The trees accessed off the Ikenotaira quad chair are amazing fun but are probably more suited to expert riders because there are some very steep pitches, and some of the trees are tight enough to require rather technical riding. The tree species are varied and include beautifully spaced pines and cherry blossoms that are tighter. This region also has some rock features for launching; that’s of course if there’s not a huge snow base.

Further across to lookers’ left is some even steeper treed terrain but unless you want to hike a lot, the Musawa quad chair (D Lift) needs to be open. There is also some Kandatsu sidecountry although you don’t want to get sucked into the gully too far.

Kandatsu ski patrol is generally lax about heading off-piste.