Despite being less than an hour from the Sapporo city center, this ski resort boasts some of Hokkaido’s best powder snow and vast ski slopes. With seven types of courses, there’s something for all skill levels, from a 3.6km forest trail and up to 30-degree gradients to a family course over 100m wide.
The high altitude means that the quality and snowfall of the powder snow rival the world-famous Niseko, and with the season lasting from mid-November to early May, there’s plenty of time to enjoy the trails. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Sea of Japan from the top of the slopes.
After you’ve worked up an appetite, try the top-quality dishes in the lodge restaurant that have earned a seal of approval from skiers and snowboarders, including spicy miso ramen and freshly baked pizza.
The resort is around 30 minutes by car from one of Hokkaido’s best hot spring resorts, Jozankei Onsen—there’s no better way to warm up and ease those tired muscles after a day of skiing or snowboarding.
Sapporo Kokusai is one of my favorite ski resorts! I went there four years ago for the first time, and I was so happy to be able to dip my skis into it again. We lucked out with a bluebird powder day and minimal lift lines. I like it for its local vibe, playful terrain and stunning views of the ocean. Skiing Kokusai feels like you’ve stepped into a scene from a Japow ski movie.
I come from a freestyle skiing background, so I really enjoyed the terrain park at Kokusai, which had some big jumps. Skiing on the groomers was also an unforgettable experience because they kept getting topped up with fresh snow! You can ski powder on piste, which is wild. The food at the lodge is better than any other ski chalet food I’ve had in the past, and it’s so affordable!
Kokusai ski field is a good place to warm up and refresh ski skills for those who haven’t hit the slopes in awhile. Novice skiers can get training from an instructor. Kids can sled on the bunny hills. All just an hour or so from the city.
Photographer / Culture and Travel Writer Lance Henderson
- Useful Information
Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort
- Jozankei 937, Minami-ku, Sapporo
- Take the nonstop bus to Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort
- Admission fee
- Fees apply