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  • Writer's pictureAllan Mori

About Asahidake Mountain - Backcountry Skiing & What to Expect

Updated: Feb 17


Welcome to the epic Asahidake Mountain in Japan! Asahidake is a must-visit destination if you're visiting central Hokkaido. This blog post will provide a comprehensive overview of Asahidake, offering insights into mountain conditions, ski terrain, and the importance of hiring a private ski guide for an unforgettable experience.

Discovering Asahidake:

Situated in the heart of Hokkaido, Asahidake is about 1:15 hours from Furano and is located in the Daisetsuzan National Park. It is the second tallest mountain in Hokkaido, standing proud at 2,291 meters (7,516 feet); Asahidake is a live volcano that provides unparalleled panoramic views and extremely high amounts of snowfall. At the base of the mountain is a Ropeway that takes you from 1100m to 1600m elevation. From the top of the ropeway, you gain unlimited access to backcountry terrain.

Mountain Conditions:

During the winter season, Asahidake Mountain receives a significant amount of snowfall (15m). It's important to note that this is not a resort-style ski area with no ski patrol team. The mountain's high elevation can result in unpredictable weather conditions that change quickly. High winds, heavy snowfall, low visibility, and avalanche conditions can occur, making it easy to become disoriented and get lost or exposed to dangerous terrain. I highly recommend hiring a guide to help you navigate the mountain and select the safest and most enjoyable terrain for skiing.

Ski Terrain:

The Ropeway is located at the base of the mountain, which transports visitors from 1100m to 1600m elevation. Once at the top, you can choose to explore the peak of 2291m or ski the surrounding areas near the Ropeway. There are two maintained cat tracks leading from the top station to the base of the Ropeway station. These are not designated ski runs but rather paths for returning to the base. As a result, the majority of runs from the ropeway are short and steep, requiring a brief traverse back to the cat track to return to the Ropeway base. Generally, three skiing options are available at Asahidake, which I'll summarize below.

  1. From the top of the ropeway, the majority of people go left or right following the cat track and drop in short steep descents surrounding the ropeway and return to the cat track. This is fairly straight forward, except the terrain has a lot of flat spots and it is best to go with a local guide who knows the terrain to link up these short steep descents to get the most out of it.

  2. From the top of the ropeway, there is a quick 10-minute skin or hike to a higher point which you can traverse to access more ridges and steeper, longer descents. However, keep in mind that the further you go, the longer it will take to return.

  3. When hiking towards the peak, take the ridge line to the right while facing the mountain. On your way, you will come across several active vents spewing out sulfur and steam, a remarkable sight. Once you reach the peak, you can ski into the mountain's crater and return to the ropeway. It is best to do this with a guide and later in the season when conditions are warmer and the weather is clearer.

Just before I end, I want to reiterate that Asahidake is not a ski resort. It is the second-highest peak in Hokkaido, which happens to have a ropeway (mainly used in summer for hiking) and should be approached as a backcountry mountain. When visiting, please exercise caution, and if you lack experience, it's advisable to hire a guide to ensure your safety while enjoying Asahidake.

If you need a guide for Asahidake, please don't hesitate to contact me here. Please don't forget to enjoy the fantastic onsens surrounding Asahidake Mountain!

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1 Comment

Nov 12, 2023

Hi, we are coming in Furano from 9th to 14th February 24. We rent a car and are looking for a guide in Asahidake for 1-2 days, and maybe 1-2 days between Furano and Hokkaido, splitboarding and backcountry freeriding.. We are 2 snowboarders expert from Switzerland. Do you have availabilities?

Thanks for the help.

Philippe and Yan

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