Suginohara Skiing & Snowboarding Terrain

Suginohara Skiing & Snowboarding Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded
  • Myoko Suginohara Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    731 – 1,855 (1,124)
  • Average Snow Fall
    13  metres
  • Lifts (5)
    1 gondola
  • Ski Season
    mid Dec - late Mar 
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 16
    Longest run – 8.5 km
    Beginner - 40%
    Intermediate - 40%
    Advanced - 20%
The Myoko Suginohara Ski Resort has two distinct sides that are only connected towards the top of the ski area via a few trails, and at the bottom via a very slow chair lift and one trail. Lookers’ right is the Suginohara Zone, which has the gondola and the main base areas for day trippers. Lookers’ left is the Mitahara Zone which has the extensive Suginosawa village at the base and the painfully slow double chair.

The piste terrain of the Myoko Suginohara Ski Resort is ideal for strong beginners to mid-range intermediates, and like most Japanese ski resorts, it’s boring for advanced and expert skiers unless there’s fresh snow. Thankfully it usually snows a lot.

Lifts

Suginohara has 5 lifts. The fleet includes a modern gondola, two hooded fast quad chairs for protection from the elements, and two fixed grip double chair lifts. The ski resort sort of feels like it’s missing a chair lift on the lower Mitahara side, but then it feels like they could cut out a whole lot more trails in the lower parts of the ski resort too!

If you’re staying in Suginosawa accommodation and it’s a powder day, be mindful that the access double chair opens at the same time as the gondola. If you’re keen for first access to the powder you might want to drive (or get driven) around to the gondola base.

The Suginohara Pair lift #2 seems to be rather sporadic in its operation, and perhaps it only opens when it’s really busy. Thankfully it only services a short green run, but it’s a nice spot for beginners to escape the occasional mayhem of the top of the gondola.

Lift Tickets

As with the other Myoko ski resorts, your best bet is to purchase lift passes as you go. Also check if your local lodging offers discounted lift ticket vouchers.

Kids under 12 get free lift tickets at Suginohara, and at the other end of the spectrum, you only have to be 55 to get a seniors’ ticket.

For those staying in the village, you can access the Pair Lift #1 for free to get up to the main area to purchase a lift pass.

Suginohara Snow

Puki Yuki is very kind to Myoko Suginohara and the snow goddess frequents carpets the ski area in loads of powder; more than the nearby Nagano ski resorts usually get. With respect to the quality of the Suginohara snow, Sugi is the real “highlands” of Myoko Kogen (ie Myoko Highlands), with the top lift being about 350 metres higher than that of Akakura Kanko and more than 600 metres higher than Akakura Onsen and Seki Onsen.

However the Suginohara snow quality in the lower elevations can diminish somewhat because many of the Sugi slopes have a south-easterly to southerly aspect, and this results in the season being a little shorter than the other main Myoko ski resorts.

Ski Suginohara - Beginners

First timers and novices will be much better placed next door at Ikenotaira. Myoko Suginohara can be a bit daunting for early beginners because the runs are so long, and the initial pitch of the gondola is a bit steep and often congested. Meanwhile confident beginners usually love Suginohara because of the long runs and the ability to explore most of the mountain. Laps of the long cruisy trail on the Mitahara side will take a long time!

Suginohara Skiing & Snowboarding - Intermediates

Despite the trail statistics indicating equal amounts of green and red (intermediate) terrain, this doesn’t seem to be the case in reality with only a few red trails that don’t cover much vertical.

Suginohara is a great place for progression from beginner to intermediate, because there isn’t that much difference in the difficulty of the green and red courses, and like a lot of Japanese ski resorts, there are no screamingly steep groomers for strong intermediates to have fun on.

Terrain Park

With the park at Ikenotaira diminishing in stature, Suginohara has taken over as the Myoko ski resort for park dudes to hang out. The park has various lines of different hits, and it’s easy to lap off the Mitahara #2 high-speed quad chair with hoods.

Advanced Skiing Suginohara On-Piste

Apparently the steepest on-piste gradient at Myoko Suginohara is 38 degrees on the Super Giant Trail, but I must have blinked and missed that because the black trails are not steep (and the Super Giant Trail has an average slope of 16 degrees). Or maybe that was the steep pitch off the back of one of the massive moguls?

Suginohara only has 2 black trails which run part of the vertical of the top lift. They are “termed” powder zones because they don’t groom them ever unfortunately, and they are left to bump up. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t find riding powder on top of bumps that I can’t see much fun.

Off Piste Skiing and Riding

Very mellow tree skiing can be found to skiers’ right of the terrain park, although this could officially be termed “sidecountry” so make sure you cut back in with plenty of vertical to spare.

The only off-piste with a bit of pitch is off the top lift. The tree skiing varies with respect to tree species and spacing, and the best terrain can be found just to the left of the Super Mogul Trail. It seems that despite being a Prince Resort that the patrollers don’t mind you playing in there.

Suginohara Sidecountry

Suginohara has some amazing lift-accessed side-country but it’s not for newbies, only experts. The renowned Suginohara sidecountry includes cliff drops, pillows and gnarly steep trees, and open mellow trees if you enter further down. There is big exposure from the rock bands above and it’s rather avalanche prone so only head in there with the appropriate avalanche safety gear, a buddy or three, and backcountry know-how.

Backcountry

If you’re willing to earn your turns, Suginohara offers access above the resort on Mt Mitahara (2,347m) to some phenomenal backcountry terrain including some steep chutes that are pretty sketchy at times. You’ll absolutely want to keep an eye on the avalanche forecasts and potentially want a guide.