Pippu Ski Resort
Pippu is a family oriented ski resort near Asahikawa in Hokkaido, yet behind the façade of the family fun is powder hound fun! On a powder day, the Pippu Ski Resort is nirvana for powder hounds where it feels like you have your own private ski resort.
If you’ve charged big at Kurodake or Asahidake the day previously, Pippu is perfect to recover from your powder hangover. Of if it’s a brutal weather day and the ropeways at Asahidake
are closed, Pippu is an ideal choice for storm riding.
Pippu Ski and Snowboard Terrain
The local tourist organisation says that “this ski ground is a thrilling experience for all skiers from beginners to seasoned experts”. It’s fun on a deep powder day, but otherwise they’re possibly overstating this little ski hill that has only 9 runs (courses) and 330 metres of vertical. It has nearly as many lifts as runs with 3 double chair lifts, 1 surface lift, and 3 single chairs with “pizza boxes” to sit on (that are rather small). Don’t expect to get up the hill super fast.
The official trail stats are 30% beginner, 50% intermediate and 20% advanced. Beginners have a couple of blue trails that run the full vertical of the hill. Pippu is renowned for its strawberries during summer and one of the beginner trails is called “Strawberry course”, although in the height of winter your chances of going strawberry picking are pretty doubtful!
The middle of the resort features wide groomed green trails for intermediates (they’ve invented their own trail colour rating system!), that are likely to be devoid of skiers and snowboarders.
Advanced riders have 2 pistes on the lookers’ left of the hill. “Deep Snow Course” is often aptly named whilst Golden Course hopefully has nothing to do with making yellow snow! These two runs should hold the attention of powder chasers for a nano-second before they head into the trees where the real fun is!
Pippu is a low elevation ski resort (250-580m) and it doesn’t score the same volumes of snow compared to its big name Hokkaido counterparts. Also, a mostly southwest facing aspect isn’t conducive to the powder being well maintained for too long. Fresh is best! That being said, the region is usually absolutely frigid, so the snow quality is pretty good in the height of winter.
Where is Pippu Hokkaido?
Pippu Ski Area isn’t located on nearby Mt Pippu, but it is situated just north of the little town of Pippu in the Kamikawa District. It’s located just off the Hokkaido Expressway and Asahikawa-Monbetsu Expressway and the phone number for GPS navigation is 0166-85-3056.
Pippu is 26km northeast of Asahikawa
(35 minute drive), 66km northwest of Asahidake
, and 51km northwest of Kurodake
If you don’t have a rental car
or are not on a multi-day tour (see below), it is possible to get to Pippu via public transport. There are about 5 buses per day between Asahikawa station and Pippu (check with Asahikawa tourism for the latest timetables). The alternative is to catch the train to Pippu train station from where there are 3 buses per day to the ski area.
There are a few lodgings near the base of the ski area, one of which looks like it’s barely fit for the school kids to stay in! Yuyu Pippu is a good hotel that is located adjacent to the ski area, and has western rooms with private bathroom, as well as Japanese style rooms and suites. The hotel also has a great onsen that day trippers can use.
Most people visiting Pippu stay in Asahikawa
where they have the flexibility to visit other nearby ski areas, and enjoy the proliferation of restaurants and bars. Asahikawa hotels
tend to provide very good value for money.
Asahikawa Hotel Listings
Ski Resort Facilities
The amenities at Pippu are reasonably simple and mostly suited to the school kids that sometimes arrive in their droves. The ski resort has a simple cafeteria, and the basic BACK-UP ski and snowboard rental shop, and that’s about it!
Summary of Pros and Cons of Pippu Japan
- The lift tickets are super cheap and if you want to save even more yen, there are 3 hour tickets on offer (which might be enough to charge at the trees).
- The ski resort generally has just a handful of people there, unless the school kids are visiting, or the defence force is doing some training (god knows what exactly they’re training for with those ridiculously old white skis on!).
- You’re not likely to see any/many gaijin there stealing your fresh powder!
- It’s a small ski resort and it’s unlikely to capture your attention for more than a day.
- It’s a low elevation ski area and it doesn’t get the same snow quality and quantity as the high profile Hokkaido ski resorts. The plus of the elevation is that it’s good for storm days.