Sahoro Ski Resort in central Hokkaido is an un-crowded gem that’s particularly great for families thanks to a Club Med Resort at its base. Catering to all levels of skiers it is the perfect addition to a central Hokkaido ski trip for a day or two - or stay for a week and you'll have the whole family skiing like pros.
- Plenty of fresh lines to be found on a powder day thanks to the lack of crowds and powderhounds
- Beautiful views of the Tokachi plains and rolling hills from the top of the Gondola
- The challenging, intermediate groomed runs
- If you’re just visiting for the day, add lunch to your day pass for only ¥100
- Sahoro is an easy day trip from the other ski resorts of Furano or Tomamu
- Accommodation at Sahoro is restricted to two options at the base of the mountain (with one being Club Med) and there is no village
- If there are school groups there can be a few lift queues
Sahoro Ski Resort is located in Central Hokkaido and even though it gets the same powder snow Hokkaido is famous for, it's thankfully one of the least crowded resorts in Japan.
Sahoro is best known thanks to its association with Club Med – making it a popular destination for families. Yet it also caters well to a wider audience. Those without kids in tow will enjoy the wide-open, intermediate slopes – appropriately called avenues and streets and advanced skiers will find a few challenging runs in the trees. And while Club Med caters to all guests the Tokachi Sahoro Resort Hotel is a good option for groups or couples that don’t need all the extras and are perhaps just staying for a night or two.
There are very few non-skiing facilities and activities at the ski resort, other than those associated with the hotel or Club Med. The closest town (and any nightlife) is located in the town of Shintoku, about a 15 minute drive from the resort, where there are a few restaurants and bars. The resort offers a free night bus on Thursday, Friday and Saturday for those that want to venture into town.
Sahoro Ski Resort gets dumped with an average of eight meters of snow every year. Given its central Hokkaido location, the snow is typically light and dry, and with some north facing slopes it can be pretty reliable. Sahoro has eight lifts (including three high-speed quads) plus a gondola with a vertical drop of 610m. Like many Japanese ski resorts, Sahoro is on the small side, so advanced skiers and riders may find 2-3 days skiing here to be plenty.
First-timers are looked after on the Club Med magic carpet (restricted to guests) or the smaller lifts around the gondola station (including a second magic carpet). Beginner runs are called “streets” and they are scattered throughout the resort, including from the top of the gondola. Intermediates will have a great time cruising the “avenues” which are wide open and un-crowded – making them a delight to carve at whatever speed takes your fancy. There are some advanced black runs, or “ways”, however these would be generally classified as difficult intermediate runs at other resorts.
The newest area of the resort is the north facing slopes of Sahoro-dake under the Sahoro Express. Mostly for advanced skiers there is the opportunity for some fairly steep gladed tree skiing and plenty of powder turns.
All of Sahoro Ski Resort is situated under the tree line (the top elevation is 1,060m) and there are parts of the mountain where the trees are perfectly spaced, making for some great tree runs. Although skiing in the trees is supposedly not allowed (like many resorts in Japan) patrol seemed to turn a very blind eye, and even instructors are known to take groups in the trees.
There are very few terrain features at Sahoro that we could find. There is only one on-mountain restaurant; at the Gondola base. The resort has some basic equipment for rent (don’t expect the latest gear or fat powder skis) and also offers group and private lessons.
Sahoro For Families
It goes without saying that thanks to the presence of Club Med, Sahoro makes an ideal destination for families. Particularly for families with small kids or first timers, staying at Club Med Sahoro is a very easy way to get started since so much of the hassle of getting to and from the slopes is taken care of. Outside of Club Med, there are group and private lessons available, sledding, tubing and day care facilities for children aged 1 to 6.
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Accommodation at Sahoro ski resort is limited to just two options. The Tokachi Sahoro Resort Hotel is a moderate Japanese style hotel right near the base of the mountain. It’s practically ski-in ski-out with just a short walk across a road required to get to the slopes. It’s perfect for independent-minded groups or couples, or those wanting a short stay. Club Med is the most popular choice for Westerners and it caters extremely well to families. Read our review of Club Med Sahoro for more detail.Search Hotels and Deals
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Guests (and particularly children) will be kept well entertained if staying at Club Med. However outside of their activities there are very few other things to do at Sahoro other than skiing. The Sahoro Resort Hotel does have an onsen and sauna, however that’s about the extent of the après activity at Sahoro, aside, of course, from beers from the vending machine.
Getting There and Around
The most common way to get to Sahoro Ski Resort is by flying to Sapporo’s New Chitose Aiport and catching a bus to the resort (approx two hours) or train to Shintoku. Obihiro Airport is closer, and has various domestic connections from airports around Japan. Another airport possibility is Asahikawa. Club Med Sahoro packages offered by Scout include bus transfers from either New Chitose or Obihiro airports.
It is easy to drive to Sahoro… unless it’s a blizzard, which it can often be. Therefore we would only recommend driving to those experienced with winter conditions.
Sahoro is perfect to include on a tour of the interior Hokkaido Resorts. Tomamu is just 40 minutes by car and Furano is about 1hr 15. It is possible to catch the Hokkaido Resort Liner public shuttle from Sahoro to Tomamu and vice versa, as part of their service to Obihiro Airport.
When To Go
Sahoro Ski Resort is open for operation from the beginning of December until mid April. If you intend doing a lot of tree skiing, it’s best to wait until the base has built up, usually by the first week of January. January and February are usually very reliable times to visit. The weather can often be cold, cloudy and/or snowing heavily, so bring plenty of warm layers. Thanks to its east/south-east orientation it does have nice sunny slopes on fine days.
Facts & Figures
|Base Elevation||1378ft / 420m||Gondolas||1||Beginner||30%|
|Summit Elevation||3379ft / 1030m||Express Quads||3||Intermediates||40%|
|Vertical Drop||2001ft / 610m||Quad Chair||0||Advanced||30%|
|Skiable Area||-||Triple Chairs||1|
|Annual Snowfall||315in / 8m||Double Chairs||3|
|Longest Run||1.86 miles / 3.0km||Surface Lifts||1|
|Operating Hours||9.00am – 6.00pm|
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