By Dan Traylor
There are many different ski resorts near Sapporo for snow enthusiasts to choose from, including the famed Niseko. But if you’re looking for a less crowded resort closer to the city that still offers great snow, a variety of terrain, and killer views, look no further than Sapporo Teine. At 1,023 meters, Mt. Teine was the site of the first Winter Olympics Games in Asia in 1972. The resort is just 40 minutes west of central Sapporo, and is easily accessible by bus and train. The mountain has a gorgeous views overlooking the city of Sapporo, the Ishikari Bay, and the Pacific Ocean. Sapporo Teine is a smaller and lesser-known resort, which means less crowds, but still a good variety of terrain to please all levels of riders, and abundance of that famous Hokkaido powder.
Sapporo Teine is separated into two different areas, the Highland Zone and the Olympia Zone, which are connected via high-speed gondola. There are 15 courses, 9 lifts, and a solid 660 meters of vertical gain. The lower Olympia Zone is catered more towards beginners, with many green runs, a beginner’s X-cross, and a Kid’s Park. The Highland Zone offers more advanced terrain, including a “Nature Area” with tree skiing, several very steep black runs, and a small terrain park. Both base areas have facilities with cafeterias, lockers, and restrooms. The cafeteria food is simple and affordable - you can choose from various hot meals such as karaage (fried chicken) bowls or curry and rice, for under ¥1,000.
Sapporo Teine is open from 9:00 - 17:00, and night skiing in the Olympia Zone is open from 16:00 - 21:00. A one-day adult lift ticket is ¥5,200. For ¥6,700, you can buy a package which includes a 7 hour lift ticket and round-trip bus fare from central Sapporo on the Teine Express. Reservations must be made in advance, and are accepted until 15:00 the previous day. Alternatively, Teine Station can be accessed via the JR Rapid Airport train or Semi Rapid Ishikari Liner. Rentals are a little pricey at the on-mountain shop, so it might be a good idea to get rentals elsewhere and bring them with you. If you take the Teine Express bus, you can store your gear under the bus for no extra fee. Rentals are ¥6,700 for a one-day skis, boots, and poles or snowboard set. Lessons are also available.
Sapporo Teine is a great little ski resort. It offers you everything you need, but is off the beaten track of most international visitors to Hokkaido. It is a quick and easy day trip from Sapporo, is more affordable than larger resorts, and has a friendly, local vibe. To avoid the crowds but still get in your powder fix, head to Sapporo Teine.
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