The Explore Niseko Blog

Hokkaido's Latest CAT Adventure : IWANAI

Just before christmas, the Explore-Niseko team was invited to try the brand new CAT ski operation in IWANAI and *spoiler alert* : the potential is gigantic !

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No lack of fresh tracks in IWANAI !

We first met the IWANAI team at the ski resort welcome center, were we were presented with the Iwanai’s history, the future planning and finally the CAT. Those guys have big projects to revive the ski resort and we cannot wait to see and hear more about them! #HiddenHokkaido

After a safety briefing we all entered the brand new, comfortable, panoramic view CAT and it took us less than 15 minutes to reach the summit (ascend times varied during the day depending on weather condition).

Once at the top of the resort, all you can see is the small fishing town, and the blue ocean ! what a view for a ski trip !

We then bombed down the opened, untouched, untracked slopes, eating powder at every turn until we reached the bottom and entered the CAT for more! There are a couple of opened runs, all steeper and more interesting than the previous one, with jumps, small forests and of course great snow.

We then asked to enter the backcountry and the proper forest bowls even if it was too early in the season. We had amazing ski down there but more snow is definitely needed, especially at the bottom of valleys . Remember: it was only 20th of december ;) and those guys are still cleaning the forest to make them more accessible so we will keep an eye on that.

After all those face shots, and big smiles on our faces, we headed to the local onsen and finished into one of Iwanai’s best sushi restaurant before heading back to Niseko, while dreaming of more days like this one ! we came for the full CAT experience and IWANAI delivered !!!!

IWANAI is the latest CAT operation in Hokkaido, the denivelation is between 600 and 850m depending on the course you choose and it has mellow slopes or steep faces. The forest will get better later in the season.

The ski resort will slowly be revived over the next decade so keep an eye out !

Book your trip here

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