Furano Skiing Area


Furano Skiing Area

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded
    Open Furano Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    235 - 1,074 (839)
  • Average Snow Fall
    8 - 9 metres
  • Lifts (9)
    1 Gondolas
    1 Ropeway (cable car)
    7 Chairs
  • Ski Season
    late Nov - early May
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 28
    Longest run – 4.0 km
    Beginner - 40%
    Intermediate - 40%
    Advanced - 20%

Ski Furano – Terrain Review

Furano ski resort has great on-piste terrain for beginners through to advanced skiers and boarders. For advanced and expert riders, Furano skiing and snowboarding includes a wealth of off-piste terrain, and thankfully off-piste skiing is now tolerated by ski patrol. This is amazing that a Prince Resort could become so progressive because a few other Prince ski resorts are stuck in a time warp and ban off-piste riding.

The Furano ski area has two zones. One is called the Furano Zone (open late Nov to early May) which has the New Furano Prince Hotel at the base. The Kitanomine Zone (open mid to late Dec to late March) has the Kitanomine gondola station and lots of accommodation near the base including Fenix Furano opposite the gondola. The two zones are interconnected by a link run and lift.

Furano skiing consists of beginner and intermediate runs at the base of each side of the mountain, with the steeper and deeper runs up higher.

Furano Lifts

The Furano lift infrastructure is reasonably good on both the Kitanomine and Furano sides of the resort. If your legs aren’t super fit, you’ll be wishing that some of the lifts were a bit slower! There are a couple of fast quad chairs, as well as a gondola and cable car, and 5 double chairs.

The main lift at Kitanomine is a gondola, which disappointingly doesn’t open until 9am. On the Furano side the main lift infrastructure is a cable car (ropeway), which opens at 8:30am and is supposedly the fastest lift in Japan. One downside (unless you need a rest!) is that sometimes you have to wait for the cable car to arrive or there are queues and you have to wait a while.

If your early morning objective is the top of the Furano side, the link lift connecting the two sides doesn’t open until 9am so even if you ascend Kitanomine via the chairs, you’ll arrive in the Furano zone after those who went up the Furano Ropeway. However if you’re staying on the Kitanomine side, there are still plenty of powder zones to hit up.

The Kitanomine Gondola often experiences lift lines as well, and the inability for the racks to fit fat skis reduces lift capacity.

Furano has night skiing on small beginner areas on both sides of the mountain from mid or late December to mid March.

Lift Tickets

There are a variety of lift pass configurations including 3 hour, 5 hour or full day tickets, and children 12 and under ski free. You may want to join up to the emi Seibu Group to get discounts on lift passes.

As part of Hokkaido Ski Season Net, a season pass for Furano gets you discounts for lift passes at 23 other Hokkaido ski resorts.

A Hokkaido Powder Belt season pass gets you access to Furano, Tomamu and Kamui, but there are very limited passes and they sell out quickly. There are also 5 day passes available.

Furano Snow and Weather

Furano receives an average of 8 to 9 metres of powder each year. Additional distance from the coast as well as colder temperatures in Central Hokkaido contribute to snow that’s generally dryer than at the coastal resorts such as Niseko and Kiroro. The Furano ski area has a mostly easterly orientation, although the snow is a little better in the link area where the slopes face more northerly. Occasionally the powder is super heavy and nasty for the thighs, but hey that can happen anywhere.

Furano gets the most snow from the northerly storms (versus nearby Tomamu that does well out of southerly storms). The best part of the Furano ski season for powder is in early January through to late February. It’s not usually particularly windy at Furano, and the hooded chair lift, ropeway and gondola provide lovely protection in the event of inclement weather.

Furano Skiing Terrain for the Beginner

There are two magic carpet serviced slopes for kids or novices on both sides of the Furano ski area, and these are free to use. Early season operation can be sporadic on the Kitanomine side.

For the next progression, Furano has three areas where beginners can learn to ski or snowboard on beautifully groomed wide runs. At Kitanomine these are off the quad chair (there are no beginners runs from the top of the gondola), and at the Furano base by utilising the Prince Romance Chair and progressing onto the quad chair.

More confident beginners can head up the Furano ropeway and access the beginners’ area off the Romance Chair #2. Gotta love romance chair lifts!

Furano Skiing - Intermediates

Furano is heaven for the intermediate skier or snowboarder because of the quality of the blue runs. With long cruisers and fantastic fall-line, Furano skiing is ideal to improve the technique and start picking up the speed on some of the steeper runs such as the Ladies Downhill. The only limitation is that there aren’t a huge number of blue runs to choose from, so it could get a bit repetitive.

Kitanomine has a few ungroomed blue courses which are good for practising with different snow conditions.

Furano Terrain Park

There is a tiny terrain park near the top of the Kitanomine Swift lift. The terrain park is nothing worth writing home about. There are also a couple of wave areas for beginners.

Ski Furano - Advanced On-Piste

The top half of the mountain has some steep groomed intermediate descents including the Ladies’ Downhill (K1) which provides some fast fun for advanced riders. There are also a few fast runs off the ropeway to test the leg fitness.

There are a couple of ungroomed black courses under the gondola and the long and reasonably steep Premium Zone is accessed from the gondola, although it's not always open. The Challenge course (A3) on the far skiers’ left of the Furano Zone provides some steep ungroomed skiing, and an opportunity to ruin your knees on the bumps.

Off-Piste Skiing Furano

The resort’s approach to tree skiing and off-piste skiing has relaxed significantly. Understandably, there are still a couple of areas that are marked by the patrollers as no go zones due to avalanche risk.

There are lots of off-piste areas to explore and there is plenty of steep terrain if you fossick about. The tree spacing varies and there are zones with some tree trees to test your turning radius. Not surprisingly, the tighter the trees, the less trashed the snow becomes.

Furano is not like some ski resorts such as Rusutsu or Appi where lots of the off-piste terrain is really obvious, and many new visitors to Furano find it beneficial to use guiding services. The Link area also provides a blurring of the definitions of off-piste versus sidecountry, although from a safety perspective, both types of lift-accessed terrain should be treated equally.

Furano Sidecountry

Sidecountry or slackcountry is defined as backcountry outside the resort boundaries that is easily accessed, either purely lift-accessed, or accessed with only a small amount of effort.

You are recommended to register with ski patrol, and as with any backcountry, only enter these zones with safety gear and a guide, or appropriate skills and the ability to undertake your own risk assessment.

There are some awesome sidecountry runs on both sides of the resort, above the ski area, and between the two parts of the ski area in the link zone. These areas are accessed via gates, although you’re theoretically supposed to remove your skis or board to walk in so that beginner skiers don’t inadvertently follow you.

The Dam Run to skiers’ right of the resort is popular and freshies don’t last too long anymore in the obvious zones. Be mindful that some egress routes can be incredibly gnarly along a steep ravine, so this is for experts only.

There are various other zones that require some route-finding skills or a Furano ski guide, whether that be for a day trip or as part of a multi-day multi-resort tour.


The Furano ski resort has gates for various backcountry routes, including the summit of Furano-nishi-dake via the distinctive ridge with its large cornices. You can explore the Furano backcountry with a private Furano backcountry guide.