• Overall Rating
Iwanai Resort4.5 out of 5 based on 6 reviews
 
Iwanai Cat Skiing Hokkaido
Iwanai Cat Skiing Hokkaido
Iwanai Resort Powder Cat Tours
Iwanai Resort Powder Cat Tours
Iwanai Snowcat Skiing Japan
Iwanai Snowcat Skiing Japan
Morning tea in the snowcat
Morning tea in the snowcat
Iwanai Resort Terrain
Iwanai Resort Terrain
Iwanai cat skiing has some nicely spaced trees
Iwanai cat skiing has some nicely spaced trees
Plenty of wide open spaces to let the boards go
Plenty of wide open spaces to let the boards go
Some terrain features to launch off
Some terrain features to launch off
The terrain includes some open bowls
The terrain includes some open bowls
Iwanai Resort Powder Cat Tours
Iwanai Resort Powder Cat Tours
Top Dog scoring some famous Hokkaido powder
Top Dog scoring some famous Hokkaido powder
Iwanai Resort offers amazing views on fine days
Iwanai Resort offers amazing views on fine days
Iwanai Cat Skiing is located near Niseko
Iwanai Cat Skiing is located near Niseko
Iwanai Snowcat
Iwanai Snowcat
The day lodge is a nice spot for morning briefing, lunch & apres
The day lodge is a nice spot for morning briefing, lunch & apres
Sushi lunch
Sushi lunch
Former piste run of Iwanai Resort
Former piste run of Iwanai Resort
Iwanai is very close to the coast
Iwanai is very close to the coast
A modern snowcat cabin at Iwanai Resort
A modern snowcat cabin at Iwanai Resort
Iwanai Cat Skiing
Iwanai Cat Skiing
Iwanai Cat Skiing at the Iwanai Resort near Niseko offers day cat skiing as well as multi-day cat skiing trips inclusive of accommodation and meals. If you're staying in Niseko, transfers from your Niseko accommodation are included. Iwanai Cat Skiing is located the coast and offers views of the ocean when it's not dumping with snow! The runs are reasonably long and the Iwanai Resort Powder Cat Tours are best suited to strong intermediate to advanced skiers and snowboarders looking for powder.
Iwanai Cat Skiing Day Package DETAILS
MIXED GROUP DAY CAT SKIING
8 - 10 Runs (Approx 4,600m vertical/day)
Price is per person per day for high season
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese Yen
Displayed price may vary slightly due to exchange rate fluctuations.
Price p/p
Price is per person per day for high season
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese Yen
Displayed price may vary slightly due to exchange rate fluctuations.
USD 585
Deposit must be paid prior to promotion end date to qualify for any discounts offered.
Book by Oct 31 & get a whopping 18.75% discount off the full rate. Discounted price displayed.
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Iwanai Cat Skiing serves up powder runs of 325-650 metres of vertical bliss, with 8 to 10 runs for the day. Located near Niseko, the Iwanai Resort snowcat skiing terrain scores masses of snowfall. Ideal for strong intermediate & advanced riders. More
View inclusions & Add-ons
Inclusions
  • Full day of guided cat skiing
  • Transport to/from Niseko Hirafu accommodation
  • Sushi lunch
  • Use of avalanche beacon & safety briefing
Add-ons
  • Ski & snowboard rentals
  • Lodging & meals at nearby ryokan
Location: Japan | Tour Focus: Guided | Terrain Focus: Backcountry
Click here for rates, dates & availability
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.
You can request a custom tour for your own private group within the date period shown Custom Booking Period
The number of days for this tour can be customised however must be a minimum as shown below Min Days
Please enquire for a price for your custom tour Price
It is not possible to know the exact availability for custom tours so please enquire here and the operator will let you know of their availability. If the availability is flagged as "Filling", "Almost Full", or "Sold Out", it means that dates are filling up or are fully booked. Availability
Dec 15 - Mar 31, 2019
From 1
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Enquire
Iwanai Cat Skiing Multi-Day DETAILS
MULTI DAY CAT SKIING
2 Days Cat Skiing | 2 Nights Accommodation | Meals
Price is per person for 2 day 2 night trip
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese Yen
Displayed price may vary slightly due to exchange rate fluctuations.
Price p/p
Price is per person for 2 day 2 night trip
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese Yen
Displayed price may vary slightly due to exchange rate fluctuations.
USD 1,485
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Iwanai Cat Skiing offers 2 day/2 night packages so you can experience Hokkaido powder along with Japanese culture. Stay in a Japanese ryokan inn, soak in the onsen, and enjoy a traditional kaiseki meal. Located near Niseko, the Iwanai Resort snowcat skiing terrain scores lots of snow. More
View inclusions & Add-ons
Inclusions
  • 2 days of guided cat skiing
  • Transport to/from Niseko
  • 2 nights lodging at local inn
  • Use of avalanche beacon & safety briefing
  • All meals including multi-course kaiseki dinner
Add-ons
  • Ski & snowboard rentals
Location: Japan | Tour Focus: Guided | Terrain Focus: Backcountry
Click here for rates, dates & availability
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.
You can request a custom tour for your own private group within the date period shown Custom Booking Period
The number of days for this tour can be customised however must be a minimum as shown below Min Days
Please enquire for a price for your custom tour Price
It is not possible to know the exact availability for custom tours so please enquire here and the operator will let you know of their availability. If the availability is flagged as "Filling", "Almost Full", or "Sold Out", it means that dates are filling up or are fully booked. Availability
Dec 18 - Mar 31, 2019
From 2
Enquire
Available
1Total Results: 2Total Pages: 1

Where is Iwanai Resort?

Iwanai Resort is 5km south of the town of Iwanai, which sits on the western coast of Hokkaido Japan.

Iwanai Resort is 40km by road NW of Niseko Hirafu, a trip that takes about 45 minutes. Transport to and from your Hirafu Niseko accommodation is provided.

Alternatively you can self-drive if you wish. From Niseko, travel to Kutchan and take Highway 5 north towards Otaru. After a small pass, take Highway 276 west towards the coast. Once in Iwanai town you can follow the signage.

Snow

Iwanai cat skiing scores the best of both worlds when it comes to the snow. It’s got proximity to the ocean to bring masses of precipitation (an average of about 15 metres of snow per season), and cold Hokkaido temperatures to provide light and fluffy snow. And most importantly, unlike at Niseko Ski Resort, you can ski untracked lines all day at Iwanai.

Iwanai Cat Skiing Terrain

Iwanai Resort used to be a small to medium sized ski resort. Now there is only one operational lift near the base area which services 3 courses. But you can leave that terrain to the local beginners, because the Iwanai snowcat will take you up higher to the terrain that the old lifts used to access, approximately 880m above sea level. From there, each run will serve up approximately 325 to 680 metres of vertical powder. And depending on conditions and the speed and ability of the group, you’ll get 8 to 10 runs per day and approximately 4,600m of vertical.

Like most Japan cat skiing, the terrain isn’t super gnarly but it’s not completely mellow either, and there are lots of good fall line runs.

The guides can cater the runs to the group’s ability, and terrain can include very spacious mellow tree skiing, slightly steeper glades, or open terrain on the former piste of Iwanai Resort.

As a minimum, you should be a strong intermediate to advanced skier or snowboarder, and have at least a little bit of experience at riding powder.

Reviews

Fantastically Japanese & Fantastic Japow

POWDERHOUNDS.COM
04/06/2018
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Rider Ability
    Expert
Having an onsen onsite was a major bonus Some of the courses for dinner We stayed in a western room A relaxing soak in the onsen Yet another course appeared for dinner
On our second trip to Iwanai Cat Skiing we stayed at the Iwanai Kogen Hotel to get a feel for what was on offer for the multi-day packages.

The Iwanai Kogen Hotel was a 3 star hotel that was very typical of a traditional Japanese hotel. It’s the antithesis of what you’d find in Niseko with its luxury westernised hotels and condos, and that was a major part of the appeal. The onsen was a highlight and it was nice to alternate between the indoor and outdoor baths.

The meals were fantastically Japanese and showcased the local seafood. Dinner consisted of multiple courses (traditional kaiseki) and each was a complete surprise package. One course was perhaps a little too much of a surprise for me but overall the food was amazing. We love seafood so we really enjoyed the meals, and if you don’t adore seafood they can make other cuisine for you. Breakfast was mostly set menu and traditionally Japanese.

We stayed in a western room (with ensuite). The room was a bit dated (which is typical of many Japanese hotels), but very functional. Our room offered a sea view but we couldn’t see it because it was snowing (similarly the onsen was supposed to offer views)! If you want to go the full Japanese experience, we’d recommend staying in a full tatami room and sleeping on a futon.

The proximity to Niseko is a huge pro. You can combine everything that Niseko has to offer with a serene Iwanai experience and by staying in a local ryokan for a couple of nights, it provides a lovely quiet Japanese experience.

Of course there’s all the pros of the cat skiing itself and you can see our full Iwanai Cat Skiing review here. NB Terrain, safety & guiding ratings are relative to the highly coveted BC cat skiing operations.

Iwanai is a must!

Gareth
19/04/2018
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • RiderType
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Home Country
    South Africa
  • Month:
    March
It's going to be hard to beat a day like we had at Iwanai. The team behind the operation are awesome and we lucked into the most epic conditions which turned out to be more of a standard than luck. The powder quality is insane and Iwanai itself is something special. If you're in Japan, this is the only cat skiing mission to go on. More vertical, amazing sushi lunch, fresh donuts and an epic cat to boot.

Cat skiing on the ocean

Tim
09/04/2018
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • RiderType
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    51-70
  • Home Country
    Usa
  • Month:
    January
While skiing in Niseko we stumbled upon Iwanai Cat skiing and quickly decided to give it a try
Wow we had a great day...it happen to snow heavy the night before and we had a day of deep powder on a private mountain. Great crew from the States who ran the operation and had been there for decades. Great sushi at the end of the day with a refreshing beers.
Give it a try .....you will love it!

A Great All-Rounder

POWDERHOUNDS.COM
07/04/2018
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • RiderType
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month:
    February
Up to the eyeballs in powder Powder on the former piste Nice views (when it's not dumping with snow) A good looking cat Open piste run
We were fortunate enough to go out cat skiing with Iwanai for two days: the first was fun but the snow not primo; whilst the second day we experienced Iwanai Cat Skiing in all its snowy magnificence!

NB Our ratings are relative to international snowcat skiing operations, including BC Canada where the terrain is significantly larger and extensive safety standards are in place.

Pros
• Iwanai, along with its neighbour Niseko, is renowned for receiving huge snowfalls.
• The vertical skied each day is typically greater than other Japanese cat ski outfits, so it’s great for greedy powder hounds.
• It’s a great all-rounder Niseko cat ski operation in that it has good terrain for strong intermediates as well as advanced riders.
• No powder hound really wants gorgeous views because that means it’s not dumping, but on the infrequent bluebird days, the views across the sea are pretty special.
• The snowcat cabin has been kitted out rather nicely, and it has huge windows so that you can appreciate those views (or at least watch it puking with snow!).
• Some powder hounds like to snort powder for morning tea, but you’ll also get a nice snack and a fabulous lunch.
• The day lodge is a pleasant spot to hang at the start and end of the day, and also to potentially have lunch. You can meet some of the charming locals.
• The proximity to Niseko is a huge pro. You can combine everything that Niseko has to offer with a serene Iwanai experience. And if you stay at one of the local ryokan for a night or two, it provides a lovely quiet Japanese experience.
• NOASC used to run cat skiing at Iwanai but it only involved skiing on the piste (zzzzzzzzz) and the snowcat had an open platform on the back rather than an enclosed cabin (brrrrr). The current operation is soooooo much better.

Cons
• The cat skiing terrain isn’t particularly big. At least it’s a little larger than a couple of the Niseko cat skiing operations, and it’s likely to grow in coming years. And thankfully considering the massive snow dumpage at Iwanai, the resets are frequent, so the terrain size isn’t generally that big an issue.
• The guiding lacked some finesse but this should evolve reasonably quickly over time.
• There is no super challenging terrain, but this is common to most Japanese cat skiing companies.

Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
• It’s a little more expensive than the other Niseko cat ski operations but you get more vertical for your yen.

You can see our full Iwanai Cat Skiing review here.

Iwanai

Michael Mah
27/02/2018
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • RiderType
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Home Country
    China
  • Month:
    February
This was my first ever time going Cat Skiing and it was phenomenal. What essentially is a disused/underused municipal ski resort turned into a powder heaven. Without the lifts to take masses of people up to the top, you can have first tracks all day! One would dread the time when a lifts work again and it may feel like a much smaller bit of paradise.

The Snowcat was done nicely and the interior was clean. Look forward to the doughnuts and hot coffee during the break. Also you can have a choice of resort food and sushi from the Town for Lunch.

Iwanai Cat Skiing

N Friesen
01/02/2018
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • RiderType
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Home Country
    Australia
  • Month:
    January
I went for my first ever day of cat boarding with Iwanai and I was completely blown away with the terrain, quality of powder, and enthusiasm of the staff. The operation has just opened up last year and the cat is brand new (when I was there in late January it was only around two weeks old). The day begins with a pick up from your accommodation and quick briefing about the area. You then warm your legs up on some open runs (they run the tour on an old ski resort so the lower parts have open areas previously cleared of trees) and then move up higher to sections with bowls and tree runs. There are plenty of different options to keep you on a different section for the whole day...and all of this includes a view of the ocean below. I had untouched powder for most of the day and the terrain would suit all levels but is perfect if you're an intermediate/advanced boarder who wants untracked powder rather than super steep faces. I really liked the enthusiasm of the staff and they went way beyond what was needed to ensure i had one of the best days ever. I can't recommend this operation enough...I will definitely be back!