Kiroro - Reviews

loads of snow

ziggy
29/01/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    January
Had to get away from Niseko. Rented a car and took about 50 min. It was puking snow there. Rode the off shoot gates and had chest deep snow. Vert is pretty low and stay off the green runs they are flat. Really good place to ride. Pretty busy but you can find amazing tree runs.

Overrated but not entirely bad!

Dean Richards
20/01/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    January
Me and a group of snowboarding friends headed over to Kiroro to try it out due to recommendation for 2 weeks!

Snow: The snow was very light and VERY slightly wetter than more inland resorts. Over the 2 weeks we had around a metre of snowfall. 2016/17 season's January snowfall was 2 metres under average and it was still pretty good. It snowed every day however some days only very light for a few minutes and other days very heavy. Snow is pretty much a guarantee if you come between December and March and almost always has the most in Hokkaido!

Uncrowded: Almost no lift lines other than if the lift stops for a minute or in the morning after a dump. Some slopes can be a little crowded on weekends but considering places like New Zealand, Kiroro is pretty uncrowded. If you are a beginner, be weary of large armies of school kids hogging the entire beginner area.

Lifts: The lift system is decent at Kiroro. You can access any of the 4 main areas of Kiroro from the main base. The lifts were quite fast except the gondola (15 mins) and slow family lift (beginners). All main lifts were hooded. The Yoichi lift was awesome!

On-piste: Sadly, Kiroro does become very boring after a few days if you are only going on-piste. Asari peak was a waste of time for on-piste riding except for the central black run as all of the runs have very tedious flat sections which is a pain for snowboarders. Nagamine is probably your best bet with fast and consistently moderate steepness + no flat sections. The 2 main Yoichi and Centre Express runs are also decent but onpiste does become boring after a few days.

Off-piste: Not as good as Rusutsu or other resorts. Decent tree-skiing to be had through Nagamine and theres a nice tree run between Yoichi red and green runs to base however nothing spectacular. Kiroro is full of small trees with their branches poking out from under the snow and very tight trees. Going out of bounds (sidecountry) requires you to go through a tedious process of filling in a climbing plan before you go! Once you go out the top gates, the first 1 - 2 minutes of riding is amazing but after the fun comes the cat-track or traverse which lasts at least 10 - 15 minutes. The 2 creeks are never filled in so the gully is not an option which makes staying high or a horrible cattrack the only two options. Backcountry is an absolute waste of time, with a guide costing hundreds of dollars for little riding. Our journey was 6 hours walk through a hurricane of wind for 2 - 3 minutes of riding. All in all, even off-piste here is not fun unless you know where to look and even then it does become tedious.

Child-friendly: Was not here with a child so I didn't really pay much attention, however there is a pretty extensive games room in one of the hotels and a good ski academy.

Value: Kiroro was extremely expensive and always looks to rip anyone off! Lift tickets are pricey along with food. Kiroro introduced gates in order to access sidecountry to make you join the Mountain club or pay for a guide. The pool in the resort costs 1500 Yen to enter EVEN IF YOU ARE STAYING THERE!!!!

Nightlife: No real town at Kiroro, only Otaru 40 minutes drive.

Kiroro is the hidden gem.

Scott
26/11/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    March
Over the years, we have skied just 11 resorts through Japan but found Kiroro the most satisfying. On Hokkaido, Niseko United and Rusutsu we consider are also very good but for some reason we keep heading back to Kiroro. In fact on the last trip to Japan, we paid good money to stay on snow at Grand Hirafu but ended up doing the daily 45min drive up to ski Kiroro for a week! Quality of snow is the clincher and lack of crowds allows skiing straight onto the very high quality and fast lift systems. You certainly get a lot of ride time here. Unlike other reviewers on Powderhound we have spent plenty of full days here and have not even seen a single patroller let alone get chipped by any. There was barely a foreigner not ducking the ropes to get at the untouched beside any run. Why they put ropes where they do remains a complete mystery as there was no avo, creek or cornice danger. This is not just a Kiroro thing, it is found across Japan IMO. In fact last Xmas at Nozawa and Happo One, it was the ski instructors who told us where to duck the ropes. Back to Kiroro and again unlike others reviewing, we found plenty of tree runs and steeps within the resort boundary. Yes a negative is the the run outs do flatten considerably but skiers should have no problems, but boarders will get annoyed. The hike out the back gate at the top of Asari is one of the easiest to skin up to off piste magic and if you strike it lucky, one of the skidoo adventurers may give you a tow half way across to the main ascent! Most skiers know that you don't do Japan for terrifying steeps or leg sapping vertical metres, its all the about the powder and at Kiroro, this is where you can find it and enjoy it.

Short powder-long run outs

John Rehfisch
17/10/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    51-70
  • Month Visited:
    February
Nice powder off piste but painful long run-outs. Pistes are probably ok for intermediates and beginners but end in long run-outs as well.
Best with a guide as lots of nips and tucks in the terrain that can drag you into creek drainages and then you are in trouble.
I agree uncrowded but gets tracked out quickly if there are any groups of westerners looking for powder. Patrol are a constant concern as they can be nasty according to the locals I skied with.
I gather if you want to walk for a few hours you can get some nice turns out of the resort, but most of us prefer short walks with lots of turns, not the reverse no matter how good the snow. I reckon there are lots of better options in Hokkaido for "powder pigs".

Best snow

Blair
16/04/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    February
The purest JAPOW snow that I ever experience. It never stopped snow the lightest driest snow the entire time.

Definitely the snow that made japan famous.

Not very steep and has long flats though. More of a beginner or novice level.

Worth the drive from Niseko. Beautiful onsen at the Sheraton Hotel near by.

Bland when the powder is gone

Ewan
16/03/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    March
I went to kiroro early-mid march so i cant comment on what it is at it's supposed best.

When I went the place still had plenty of snow and only 10cm of fresh powder on the first day. Once the powder is gone, there is nothing interesting or challenging within the resort.

To start with all of the tree runs are roped off and "forbidden" leaving only groomed runs or out of resort back country.

The back country hase some descent stuff but you do need to take your skis off (or put some skins on ) to get to tthe best of it. That is ofcourse only accessible from the two peaks. On the second day (a perfect bluebird mind you) they thought that they would shut the lifts that go to the top. Meaning the flat groomed runs are the only place you can ski.

The groomed runs are great for beginners but offer nothing to anyone with some experience.

Bored of the groomed runs? Try the terrain park. Nope sorry this is again only constructed for beginners.

The long and short of it is that they have made this place so safe and controlled that it is almost impossible for an experienced skier to have fun without going outside of the resort (or unless it is dumping powder which in my case it wasn't ).

If you are planning a trip here a couple of days should do it.

OK terrain, infuriating ticketing and overzealous ski patrol

Matt
04/03/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    February
Went to Kiroro for a day in February 2016. Snow was fantastic and it snowed another 30cm during the day.

Having spent the prior 2 weeks skiing small Japanese hills I was a bit taken back by the big corporate flavour of Kiroro. To get a ticket I had to first fill out a form and then join a queue of about 10 people. This took about 30 minutes as the foreigner employed asked everyone if they were sure they didn't need gloves or a hat, and took photos of people for their passes. This wasted time made me choose a 5 hour ticket over a 7 hour ticket.

Considering how well Japan does vending machines you would they would have this sorted. Never experienced more than a 30 second delay buying a ticket anywhere else even though I don't speak Japanese.

Walking out onto the slopes I was greeted by hundreds of kilometres of fences and massive warning signs about going out of bounds. It seemed like the most over the top control that I have ever experienced. There are some allocated 'powder skiing' places however they are tracked out immediately. If you want to leave the resort you need to submit a climbing plan with some panel, get approval and then present it at the gate as you walk out. Never saw this requirement elsewhere in Japan. Not sure if they are just covering themselves from a liability perspective but it makes sneaking under a fence feel like you are going to go to jail.

Giving off-piste one star as in all practicality it is not available, despite looking pretty good from a distance.

Lifts are good quality but poorly positioned.

It is uncrowded but you are made to queue for no reason.

No idea if it is child friendly or if there is any night life.

If you still want a big ski hill, there are better, cheaper options such as Teine or Kokusai nearby with more of a Japanese flavour. Better still, go and experience the charm of a small local hill.

Kiroro Observations

Colin
07/01/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
Seems that nature works in extremes. Floods or drought, scorching heat or freezing cold, a thin smear of ice that 10,000 people are trying to ski or snowboard on at a token resort in Australia with 40 minute lift queues or endless dry fluffy snow, steep deep and long runs where you may only see a handful of people and never queue at anytime for a lift or gondola.

The groomers at Kiroro fight a loosing battle each day. Snowfall here is measured in centimetres per minute and freshies are found each time you reach the top of a run with your last tracks likely covered. Powder a foot deep covers groomed runs around the resort and anything to the edges, un-groomed or off piste requires a powder board to remain afloat.

Kiroro could never become boring, an entire season of incredible powder, no lift queues, empty runs and an amazing onsen awaits anyone who can live without fresh fruit and extremely dry air.

The abundance of powder creates problems that you could never dream of back in Australia. On access trails and towards the end of a run YOU TRY AND AVOID THE DEEPEST POWDER and follow previous tracks before they fill in otherwise you are walking to the next chair.
The kids and us had a fantastic time, their skills advanced greatly. Kid class numbers are small, one day our son had an instructor to himself all day (who has snowboarded in the Japanese team at world championships) as he was the only one at his level and our daughter had a class of three.

This was our second time to Kiroro and we will be back again.

Awesome ski resort for family with kids

Edward
08/10/2014
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Beginner
  • Rider Age
    36-50
I managed to book Kiroro Resort and staying at the Hotel Piano. The accommodation is excellent. The snow at the ski resort is awesome...!! I booked ski lessons for my two kids for 3 full days....its not enough.....i should have booked for another 2 days for them.....

The instructors were very very experience and professional. Very nice to our kids and patience to teach them....the best of all is my kids know how to ski (near to intermediate level) at the end of their 3-days ski lesson....

I would love to go back again...

Lots to like

Crunky
02/03/2014
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Intermediate
  • Rider Age
    36-50
The ski hills is like a Y with a two distinct sides and it seems like a bit of slackcountry jammed into the middle for good measure. The more time we spent here the more we liked it. Where ever we stuck our heads into the trees it was good and well spaced. The far skiers left we found some decent steeps in the trees but the top skiers right is where everyone heads when it snows (Nagamine peaks). Serviced by a high speed hooded quad which was good as we were here with a bit of wind (NW) and it seemed to nail us whatever side of the ridge we were on. Looking later at the map I realised the wind comes straight up the valley so in a NW there is no where to hide. While the powder was good it didn't contain the playful hits, bumps and jumps and mushrooms we'd enjoyed at Kokusai or Teine.
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