SekiOnsen Lifts & Terrain

SekiOnsen 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)
    900 – 1,210 (310)
  • Average Snow Fall
    16  metres
  • Lifts (2)
    1 double, 1 single
  • Ski Hours
    9:00am - 5:00pm
    mid Dec - early May
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 4
    Beginner - 20%
    Intermediate - 50%
    Advanced - 30%

Snowboard and Ski Seki Japan

SekiOnsen Ski Resort is very small, with only 310 metres of vertical (900-1,210m), 2 little lifts, and 4 courses (runs) officially, although depending on how you count them, it’s really only got 2 runs. Thankfully the lifts also provide access to sidecountry on both sides of the resort, and Sekionsen has an open boundary policy (not that the actual boundary is that obvious). Seki is freeriding nirvana!

Seki Japan is no longer a hidden gem and particularly on a weekend powder day, it seems like there are powder rodents galore! There aren’t really that many people, it’s just that the ski area is so small and the lift capacity of the single chair so pathetic, that it feels very crowded, and freshies in the obvious areas are ripped up after 2 runs. Fortunately it snows big and often at Seki, so resets are frequent.

Despite the Seki Onsen ski area scoring a reasonable amount of skier traffic, treat Sekionsen like the backcountry and assume there is avalanche risk. With negligible avalanche control work, masses of snowfall, and steep terrain, you’ll want to have your avalanche safety equipment and avi wits about you.


The lift infrastructure at Seki Onsen is very basic and don’t expect any major development any time soon. The bottom lift is a slow double chair, whilst the top lift is a pizza box chair (single) and it’s rather fickle as to whether it’s running or not. To make the lift lines worse during peak times, they only load every second chair, making it one of the lowest lifting capacities per hour in the world?!

Both chairs don’t have safety bars and both have substantial ramps up to them if there isn’t a big snow base.

Lift Tickets

Lift tickets are cheap (and really cheap if you go by the prices on Seki’s website which might be from 7 years ago) but you don’t get much value for money considering the minimal infrastructure on offer. However if you consider the snowfall that Mother Nature dumps, then the value increases substantially!

Like many Japanese ski resorts, Seki offers a lift ticket plus meal package, which is very worthwhile.

Sekionsen Snow

Seki is pretty close to the Sea of Japan and combined with plenty of orographic lift, it dumps massive amounts of snow on Sekionsen, particularly when the storms come directly from the north. The handful of staff at Sekionsen are probably too busy with snow clearing duties to spend much time accurately measuring the snowfall, but it’s thought that the average snowfall per season is about 14-16 metres – massive amounts! This is probably just as well because Seki requires a big base to cover up the many shrubs and little trees.

Snow quality is generally very good yet not awesome, considering the snow is very coastal. The top elevation of Seki is lower than the main Myoko ski resorts such as Suginohara and Akakura, so it doesn’t always stay in shipshape condition. And the ski area doesn’t have the best aspect; the first lift is southeast facing, and the single lift is east facing, whilst some of the sidecountry is more north facing. Nevertheless the snow is often excellent when it’s fresh and it’s fresh a lot at Seki!

Ski Seki for the Beginner

Sekionsen supposedly has a beginner run but it’s only “beginner” relative to some of the steeps. I wouldn’t send your average beginner to Seki and only send your beginner mother-in-law to Seki if she’s really annoying you!

For the Intermediate

With trail stats of 50% intermediate, you could be sucked into thinking that Seki Japan would be fabulous for intermediate skiers and snowboarders. Well it would be fabulous if you love riding the same short groomed run over and over and over. And that’s of course if the workers have got around to grooming the run!

Terrain Park

There is sometimes a small terrain park or a manmade jump, or a vague quarter pipe. Or sometimes when it hasn’t snowed in a while the staff have time to make a banked slalom course, which is a bitch when it does snow and you wonder what all the bumps underneath are. The real parks are the ones Mother Nature makes in the form of kickers, rollovers, pillows and other natural hits.

Advanced Skiing Seki Onsen

The piste runs are ideal for advanced riders. The tree skiing around the double chair is also great, and much of the sidecountry to skiers’ right of the ski area would also be rated as “advanced”.

Expert Ski and Snowboard Terrain

In-bounds (whatever that is at Seki!), there are some seriously steep off-piste pitches to the right of the first lift, including some drops (size depending on the snow base). The steeps are very short, but super sweet!

Seki Sidecountry

The sidecountry to the skiers’ right of the resort has reasonably easy route finding to get back to the bottom lift, and includes short steep, reasonably spaced trees. Try not to be one of those annoying riders that leaves lots of traversing scars because you can’t ride the fall line. Even better lines with a good aspect can be found with a bit of a hike up to hit the former piste that terminates at the road.

Skiers’ left of the resort has some amazing sidecountry (and backcountry) with open bowls, chutes, cliffs and other treats, but safe route finding requires a lot more backcountry nous because it’s very avalanche prone.

When the snow quality is good, you can have some fun below the Restaurant Taube, with steep lines that head down to the road near the car park.

Seki Backcountry

Having skins gets you quickly away from the tracked out terrain of the ski area. The ridge up to Kannasan (1,909m elevation, top lift 1,210m) opens up plenty of terrain options. The Seki Onsen backcountry isn’t quite as popular as Akakura and Sugi, in part due to the lower top lift, as well as perceptions about safety of many of the lines, especially to skiers' left.