Furano Ski Season


Furano Ski Season

When to Ski In Furano Hokkaido

There are pros and cons of the different parts of the Furano ski season, so if you’re wondering when to ski in Furano Hokkaido, it will depend on your priorities.

Furano Ski Season

The Furano ski season usually starts in late November and extends through to early May. The Furano side of the Furano Ski Resort opens first and stays open later, whilst the Kitanomine side has a shorter season (mid or late December to late March). During the fringes of the Furano ski season, those staying in Kitanomine can access the slopes via shuttle bus, although this can be irregular. You may wish to stay at the New Furano Prince Hotel (on the Furano side) to enable easier access to the slopes, or just stay in downtown Furano.

Late Nov to Pre-Xmas

Unlike the coastal Hokkaido ski resorts such as Niseko and those near Otaru that are renowned for plentiful early season snow, Central Hokkaido takes a bit longer to develop its snowpack. Usually during early season, Furano Hokkaido receives adequate snow for some on-piste skiing and snowboarding, which is usually fine for beginner to low-end intermediate riders. A potential con for skiing at Furano pre-Christmas is inadequate snow in the off-piste. Shrubbery may not be covered and creeks may be open, making egress from the sidecountry rather challenging.

A huge pro for skiing at Furano Hokkaido at this time is low crowds and no rivalry for fresh tracks.

Lift tickets for early season are only discounted during November, and accommodation is well priced.

The Kitanomine side of the Furano Ski Resort has probably not opened up as yet, and services such as ski school may not start until mid December.

Ski Furano Christmas to New Years

Furano isn’t as crazy busy as some other high profile Japanese ski resorts, but it’s still absolute peak time for Japanese and international visitors to Furano. The Furano accommodation tariffs are higher than usual, and the slopes are also rather busy, but this is all relative because compared to Niseko or Vail or Park City, Furano is not highly trafficked.

The visitors during the Christmas holidays are predominantly families and beginners, with relatively few serious powder hounds, so it can be a reasonable time to score freshies if the off-piste cover is adequate.

Furano Skiing in January

January is a popular time for Australians to visit Furano because of school holidays, and early January is a particularly common time for work breaks.

By mid January the off-piste and sidecountry areas have generally filled in and enough shrubbery has been covered to allow excellent tree skiing and riding. Temperatures are cold and the powder is usually at its finest in Japanuary. Subsequently it’s also prime time for guided tours to take place, so you’ll have to search a little harder to find fresh lines, and if you do want guiding you’ll need to have pre-booked this well in advance.

Furano for Chinese New Year/Lunar New Year – Late Jan/February

It feels like half of Asia descends on Japan at this time of year! Furano isn’t as impacted by Chinese New Year quite as much as some of the other popular Japanese ski resorts, but it’s still a very busy time of the season, especially on the Furano side at the New Furano Prince Hotel where accommodation rates soar.

Chinese New Year (CNY) and Lunar New Year falls on the new moon between January 21st and February 20th, so it’s a different timing each year, and the holiday period can extend for about a week around the actual new year.

This late January and early February time also seems incredibly popular with Euros and Americans, due to slightly misconstrued perceptions that this is the only time for prime powder. Subsequently, powder guiding in and around Furano sells out way in advance.

Ski Furano Hokkaido in February

With the exception of CNY, February is a good time to visit and it seems to be popular with Americans. In early February the weather patterns tend to be similar to that of January and it’s a great time for quality powder skiing. The powder in late February is generally very good too, and the tour group numbers tend to subside by then. The weather may also start to settle and open up more days for backcountry skiing in the alpine in the nearby Daisetsuzan National Park.

Furano Skiing in March

March brings more fine weather days and it’s an enjoyable time for beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders to visit.

There are still powder days in early March, but these are intermingled with some warmer temperatures, so snow quality can be fickle. During March, there is very little competition for the fresh powder at the Furano Ski Resort. March is also a great time to head into the backcountry at Furano, Tokachidake and Asahidake if you are independent and don’t need a guide.

Spring pricing for lift tickets applies from late March onwards, and accommodation throughout March is more economical.

Services such as ski and snowboard lessons diminish, and most of the guiding companies have shut up shop.


April is mostly just the locals having a good time on-piste on the Furano side of the ski resort or in the backcountry. This is not the time to chase powder, whereas snow cover on-piste is likely to still be reasonably good. Many of the businesses on the Kitanomine side have shut up shop for the season. Group ski and snowboard lesson options have ceased, and the airport shuttle buses to Furano have finished up (although there are still other options to get there).