Full to bursting point with snow, Kiroro is the place to head if you're looking for plenty of untouched, crowd-less powder. The winter valleys here are some of the snowiest in the world and with more consistent snowfall than neighbouring Rusutsu and Niseko, Kiroro is the perfect place to learn how to ski/board powder. The fact that it is relatively unknown compared to other high profile resorts nearby means you'll pretty much have the powder to yourself.
Just two hours drive from Chitose airport or one hour from Niseko, Kiroro is perfect for a few days or even day trips to escape the hoards of Niseko. The Resort is centred around the two resort-style hotels. The Sheraton is at the base of the slopes and linked with the Mountain Centre with the rental shop, café, kid's day care and conference facilities as well as a number of restaurants and cocktail lounge. A short bus ride away is The Kiroro hotel which is joined to a mall complete with arcade, swimming pool, spa and onsen and if you're a fan of screeching singing, try out the karaoke rooms.
Skiing in resort
Slit over two heavily powdered peaks, Kiroro has a total of 21 pistes split evenly between green, blue and black runs. Although a third of the slopes are classified as blacks the piste are not particularly challenging due to the gentle gradients so intermediates will be able to ski the entire resort. More advanced riders will be searching for the best powder lines. The resort recently opened up much of its off-piste and side-country making it easier to enjoy the deeper snow. Though if you are heading out of bounds we'd highly recommend hiring a guide, not only for safety reasons, but they'll know the best places to go to give you the best experience possible.
Dedicated un-pisted runs allow you to test your skills on courses such as the Grand Line or the more friendly Powder Line if you're new to this type of skiing. And the tree skiing is incredible here with spectacular views if you get a clear day. Through the trees you can find enough snow for it to float over your head each time you turn straight from the lifts - hiking isn't necessary.
Add to this the fantastic lift infrastructure with one gondola and 5 high speed hooded chairs leaving three double chairlifts, but these are the shorter lifts. you'll be flying round the mountain in no time.
Après ski, as with many of Japan's resorts is a fairly sedate affair, there are a number of restaurants including a traditional Japanese BBQ/grill, Italian, Chinese and international buffets as well as an après bar and cocktail lounge.
If you're looking for a little relaxation as an après you'll certainly find that with the indoor and outdoor onsen (natural hot springs) as well as the swimming pool. But the most lively places you'll find is probably the arcade or the karaoke rooms. It's a wonderful family resort with plenty of activities when you're not skiing such as sledding and snow tubing, there's even a banana boat you can ride or segway tours on the snow. So you'll have plenty of things to experience, dancing on the tables is just not one of them.
What we like
- More consistant snowfall than Niseko and Rusutsu, an average snowfall of 21+ metres if the promotional material is to be believed (more around the 13m mark we'd expect but that's still bucket loads)
- Empty slopes and no queues - your own winter wonderland. You can also go night skiing
- Most of the resort staff can speak English
- Ski in, ski out resort/hotel at the base of the slopes
- Modern facilities and up-to-date high speed lift system
- Kiroro is a medium sized resort in Japanese standards, so if you only ski on the pistes 3-4 days is the most time you'll want to spend here
- Après ski is fairly sedate - though there's plenty of activities and restaurants to keep you occupied
- It's a very family friendly resort, great if you have kids (though the day care staff don't speak English) and great if you want to ski powder as it remains relatively un-touched