Shizenkan

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Lovely tree skiing Shizenkan
Lovely tree skiing Shizenkan
Asahi Shizenkan Ski Resort
Asahi Shizenkan Ski Resort
Intermediate trail at Shizenkan Yamagata
Intermediate trail at Shizenkan Yamagata
Shizenkan Snow Park Yamagata
Shizenkan Snow Park Yamagata
Lovely trees
Lovely trees
Upper day lodge
Upper day lodge
Upper day lodge
Upper day lodge
Off-piste skiing Shizenkan
Off-piste skiing Shizenkan
Asahi Shizenkan has two different zones
Asahi Shizenkan has two different zones
Shizenkan Snow Park is near the town of Asahi
Shizenkan Snow Park is near the town of Asahi
Cheap lift tickets
Cheap lift tickets
Upper zone at Shizenkan
Upper zone at Shizenkan
Shizenkan Snow Park
Shizenkan Snow Park
"Crowds" on a national holiday!
"Crowds" on a national holiday!
Quiet slopes
Quiet slopes
Asahi Shizenkan Yamagata
Asahi Shizenkan Yamagata
Pic taken in a low tide season
Pic taken in a low tide season
Tree skiing Shizenkan Japan
Tree skiing Shizenkan Japan
A few intermediate trails
A few intermediate trails

Shizenkan

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Shizenkan

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Asahi Shizenkan Ski Resort 

Asahi Shizenkan Ski Resort is one of those quiet Yamagata ski resorts that’s only frequented by the locals. The town of Asahi (different kanji to that of Asahi-dake) has a dwindling population, so competition for fresh powder is minimal and lift tickets are really cheap. Officially known as Asahi Shizenkan Snow Park (aka Asahi Nature Snow Park), this is a ski area that you could hit up for a day whilst also taking in other Yamagata ski resorts

Pros and Cons of Shizenkan

Pros 
  • Lift tickets are cheap and on top of that there are often heavily discounted days such as ladies’ day, seniors’ day, and even a men’s day.
  • It’s a quiet ski resort.
Cons
  • Fresh is best as the aspect of the ski hill is not ideal for powder retention, except in the trees where the canopy protects the sun.
  • Like most other Yamagata ski areas, it’s small.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • The beginner area is disconnected from the main part of the ski resort.
  • Asahi Shizenkan has some fun tree skiing, but it’s a small area that wouldn’t take long to track out.

Shizenkan Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Asahi Shizenkan is a pint-sized ski resort with 4 lifts, 5 courses, and 320 metres of vertical from 760m to 440m, although the vertical isn’t really skiable in one pitch. The beginner course is in the lower part of the Shizenkan and is separated from the main part of the ski area. This means that novices can learn in peace without faster skiers hooning past, but it’s a pain if you want to move between the two areas.

The mid segment of the resort consists of intermediate groomers, whilst the upper run has a short pitchy section that reaches a maximum gradient of 34 degrees.

Off-piste tree skiing can be found between the two sides of the ski area. Officially tree skiing is not permitted, but a few of the locals do it and it’s not policed, and once in the trees you won’t be visible. The trees are mostly evergreens and the canopy shades the snow, and like a lot of trees in Tohoku, they don’t grow too close together. Depending on how you want to define terrain, the sidecountry to skiers’ right outside the ski area boundary also provides some tree skiing. The top part has evergreens and you can travel back in via a summer road or drop a little lower into deciduous trees, although the bump back up to the lift is a little further.

Like any small Japanese ski area, only head off the courses if you have the right skills and equipment because the ski resort has limited resources, if any, to assist if things go awry. 

Asahi Snow

Shizenkan isn’t positioned quite as favourably as Yudonosan Ski Resort for massive amounts of snow because it’s a little to the southeast where the snowstorms peter out a little, but it still receives moderate amounts of snowfall. Asahi Shizenkan Snow Park commonly has a 2 metre base by the end of January. Whilst the snow quality in the trees is usually fine, the snow on-piste can get sun affected considering that the ski resort is mostly southeast facing.

One of the advantages of sitting on the leeward side of big mountains such as Gassan is that the storms are not as ferocious and strong winds are not usually a problem.

Where is Asahi Shizenkan Snow Park?

The Shizenkan Ski Resort sits in the Asahi Mountain Range in the central region of the Yamagata Prefecture. The town of Asahi is 12km to the east.

You’ll want a 4WD or AWD to drive there as the access road is steep and winding. There are various car parks and you can ski down to the lift and ticket office. P3 and P4 are for the main ski areas whilst P1 and P2 are for the beginner ski area. The telephone number for GPS navigation is 0237-83-7111.

Ski Areas Nearby

Accommodation

There is no village per se at Asahi Shizenkan, although there is a hotel with Japanese and western rooms, an onsen, and banquet meals. There are also a few ski-in ski-out cabins. See Asahi Shizenkan accommodation here.

Otherwise you could stay at Gassan Pole Pole Farm as part of a Ski Gassan package.

Facilities

The ski resort facilities are adequate for the locals. There is a cafeteria at the beginners’ area and another day lodge with a cafeteria up at the main zone. Hopefully you don’t need to rent equipment because it’s from the dark ages.
Tours That May Visit This Area

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

Gassan Cat & Zao Tour
GUIDED CAT ACCESS BC & RESORT TOUR
Customizable From 2 Nights
Ability: Intermediate to Advanced
This short adventure tour incorporates a day of guided resort skiing at Zao Onsen & a day of snowcat backcountry access skiing/riding plus night skiing at a secret local resort that only opens at night! You will be guided by local English speaking Japanese guides who will provide an authentic cultural experience.
Price p/p Sample price is based on 3-night package, twin-share (2 in group).
Base/invoice currency is JPY
Displayed price might vary slightly due to exchange rate fluctuations.
USD 1,536
View Details
 
See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Shizenkan here
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