Asahidake

Asahidake is the highest mountain and the only place with true alpine condition in Hokkaido. The peak is 2291m, although the main area skied is between 1640m to 1100m, the respective elevation of the top and bottom station of the ropeway. The mountain is staged roughly with three steep and three flat sections. So expect a punctuated ride and the possibility to be stuck walking, especially if it is deep powder. Snowboarders should definitely ride with poles and maybe even snowshoes.

It is important to note that this is not a ski resort, but a national park. There is one ropeway and two cat tracks either side which are generally mellow and good for linking pitches. There is no rescue or patrol. You can pretty much ski wherever you like, and you are responsible for your own safety.

On a day with good visibility, it is worthwhile hiking up to the fumeroles in the crater of the volcano. It is a gradual hike without overly steep climbs which will take a leisurely 20-30 min to get close to the fumeroles. Touring gear and snow shoes are recommended as the snow cover is often soft, and deep enough to be strenuous to boot up. The ski down is spectacular not because of the ride but the unparalleled vista. Having said this, the norm on Asahidake is white out and low vis, so if you arrive on a good day, go sightseeing first. If you are lucky enough to get a full day of good condition, then the summit is mandatory. As the crater is not a complete circle, you can ski down into the crater and come out at the top station. This may be the longest vertical (1191m) you will ski in Hokkaido. Check out our summit attempt here for more information.

The indoor rest area at the top station is good for a picnic. There is a great restaurant at the bottom station with plenty of dishes on offer. It accepts cash only via the vending machine and it will not accept 10000 yen note. The ticket office is also cash only. The souvenir shop is great although you can expect prices to be representative of the height of the mountain. For Asahidake t-shirts I prefer the Mont Bell shop on the way to Asahikawa. There are toilets at the upper and lower stations.

I have omitted other information and live weather conditions that you can get on the official website here. Asahidake always seems to get a little more snow and wind than forecasted. The exposure can throw up some trickier conditions, and avalanches do occur here. This is a good place to sample that famous deep super dry Hokkaido powder snow. For tour information check out Alpine Backcountry Guides and I will show you some of my favourite spots to ski.

Here are some of our ski days on Asahidake in reverse order between 2017 -2016.

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‘Asahidake Powder Day’

One of the best days in 2017, face shots galore. Just epic…

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‘The Only Way is Up’

The week when it rained in Furano, but it was high enough in Asahidake to get snow…

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‘The Top of Hokkaido – Asahidake 2291m’

Perfect summit conditions – low wind, full visibility and a lot of fun…

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‘OMG! Asahidake Part 2’

The day with 250m vert of deep super dry powder – 50 seconds of pure joy…

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‘OMG! Asahidake Part 1’

The day when we have no skins, but skied freshlines all day…

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‘Asahidake 20th Feb’

A busy day means a couple hundreds of people or so on the hill…

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‘Asahidake 29th Jan 2016’

A typical low vis high wind day, best stay in the trees…

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‘Asahidake 24th Jan 2016’

Typical powder day, busy but plenty to go around…

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‘Asahidake 23th Jan 2016’

One of the most epic day in Asahidake, good enough to score the photo of the season…

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‘Asahidake 22th Jan 2016’

The day I skied with a 69 year old in 50cm of fresh powder…

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‘Asahidake’

2 days after the last snow fall, the snow is still holding up for some powdery fun…