Tangram Lifts & Terrain


Tangram 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)
  • 800 – 1,320 (520)
  • Average Snow Fall
    13  metres
  • Lifts (5)
    2 quad chairs
    3 pair lifts
  • Ski Hours
    8:30am - 4:00pm
    late Dec - late Mar
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 15
    Longest run – 2.5 km
    Beginner - 30%
    Intermediate - 40%
    Advanced - 30%
Tangram isn’t a ski resort you’d probably visit in isolation because it’s small, but as an addition to the skiing and snowboarding at Madarao, Tangram Ski Circus definitely has its pros and it’s worth paying the extra for the joint lift pass.


Tangram Ski Resort has a “fleet” of 5 lifts that consists of 2 quad chairs and 3 double chair lifts. As is often the case, it’s the lifts that the powder hounds want to ride to access the decent terrain that are the slow double chairs.

The top chair lift is an important lift, not only for Tangram but also for Madarao. There are some powder hounds that purchase the dual lift ticket and don’t bother actually riding at Tangram (due to the archaic off-piste policy) because the no. 1 Tangram lift provides access to some of the best tree skiing at Madarao. This slow old top lift can be equally slow to open on powder mornings (perhaps the staff are too busy chasing naughty tree skiers?).

A little bit of night skiing is available at Tangram which seems a little OTT for such a small ski resort (but hey this is Japan!).

Tangram Snow

Like so many other Japanese ski resorts, Tangram doesn’t think to boast about one of its finest assets – the huge amounts of snowfall! They don’t report the statistic for the average snowfall per season and it can only be assumed that it’s similar to that of Madarao – about 13 metres.

Tangram Ski Circus has a top elevation of 1,320 metres, which is similar to Madarao but somewhat lower than most of the main Nagano ski resorts. Nevertheless the snow quality is generally excellent because most of the slopes are north facing, whereas Madarao has more of a north-easterly aspect.

For the Beginner

The lift just above the hotel and day lodge has dedicated beginners’ trails, although these are a little steeper than your average green run. Confident beginners can also ride trails off 3 of the other lifts.

For the Intermediate

Considering the pitch of the beginner trails, low-end intermediates will also enjoy the green runs. There are also a few red (intermediate) courses, although these don’t travel the full vertical of the resort without starting or finishing with a green or black run.

Terrain Park

Tangram Ski Circus has a tiny terrain park but you’re unlikely to see any circus acrobats there!

Advanced Skiing Tangram

The Tangram Ski Resort has a handful of short black runs that won’t entertain advanced riders for very long. The only steep run quickly moguls up (and ices up), and we found that a major black run was closed due to a crack. In somewhat typical Japanese fashion, the patrollers don’t actively undertake avalanche control so when a little crack appears in the snow, they have to close the run for half the season.

Off Piste Skiing and Riding

The new gladed tree areas at Tangram where tree skiing is permitted are a very welcome addition, and likely due to some encouragement from the glading aficionados at Madarao. These small official tree skiing areas are ideal for those new to tree skiing, and as to be expected, the zones get tracked out reasonably quickly.

In the other tree areas, it’s completely taboo to head off-piste and the whistle-happy patrollers often police it. So it’s up to you as to whether you want to follow the rules or risk losing your pass and head into the deliciously steep tight trees where deep fresh powder abounds!