Like Chisenupuri, Iwanai is one of the older local resorts finding a new lease of life as a specialist area promising untracked wilderness and ‘private mountain’ experiences. With only three intermediate runs accessed by the single operating lift the big drawcard here is cat touring.
Snow cats will allow you to access a day of first-line untracked powder with 450-650m of vertical and 8-10 runs per day. For a price. Iwanai offers every type of adventure skiing including perfectly spaced old-growth birch trees, long (600m) vertical bowls with fast pitch, open powder runs on retired courses and endless backcountry terrain with exquisite snowscapes. Your every turn faces the ocean. Of course, if you have the appropriate backcountry gear and training, you can access the same powder the old school way, by hiking up. It’s a long leg burning hike but on the right day you’ll get the same amazing views over the Sea of Japan. Just 40 minutes from Niseko but far from the noise and lines, Iwanai is well worth a visit and the seafood in Iwanai town is second to none in Hokkaido.
Find out more about Iwanai Resort here