Tsugaike Mountain Resort Hakuba: Powder To The People!

Tsugaike Mountain Resort (Tsugaike Kogen) is the second largest in the HAKUBAVALLEY network, offering some of Japan’s best and biggest beginner and progressive terrain plus the awesome ‘TSUGA POW DBD’ zone for totally rad freeriding in the trees.

They like to call it all ‘SNOW WOW’.

Why not? If you don’t go “Oh wow!” after skiing or riding here you might as well take up golf instead.

Deep snow in the Tsugapow DBD tree zone at Tsugaike Mountain Resort
Snow Wow #1: deep in the Tsugapow DBD Zone © Evergreen International Ski School

Tsugaike is Perfect for Beginners and Families

Starting at the beginning, one of the best things about skiing and snowboarding is they are fun from day one. With a little help from the international ski schools at Tsugaike you will be up and running in no time.

“Tsugaike has some of the best beginner and intermediate teaching terrain of any resort in Japan, with spectacular views of the Northern Japan Alps”

says Evergreen founder Dave Enright. “Just ask Tsugaike’s official Evergreen International Ski School why learning to ski and snowboard at Tsugaike is the best in the HAKUBAVALLEY.”

Back in the ski boom years Tsugaike Kogen actually had the most detachable ski lifts in the World – an impressive 9 of them – with most spread out across the wide open lower slopes to provide plenty of options to get going and start improving.

Happy family at Tsugaike Mountain Resort
Snow Wow #2: slopes for everybody and a view to kill © Tsugaike Mountain Resort

The Beginner Ticket area is one of the largest in Japan, offering 7 chairlifts accessing two wide areas of slopes, making this a great value learn to ski/snowboard option in the valley. If you have friends or family new to the sport get them started here while with lessons while you enjoy other options higher up the mountain.

“Tsugaike has the best and most spacious teaching terrain in the valley and is perfect for families. While the kids are learning on the lower slopes mom and dad can be on the advanced terrain up top or enjoying TSUGA POW in the trees” says Enright. “Or maybe that was the other way around..”

A whopping 50% of the runs are rated beginner level and 30% more intermediate level, so there is plenty of choice.

It won’t take long to progress to the gondola and a full ticket, which opens up cruising runs nearly 5km long.

Tsugaike Kogen Kid's Park
Happy days in the Kid’s Park © Tsugaike Mountain Resort

Tsugaike Kid’s Park has a dedicated magic carpet lift for little sliders on skis, toboggans or snow skates.

Fat bikes, snow shoeing and snowscoot bikes are other non-ski options.

SNOW WOW! © Tsugaike Mountain Resort

The SNOW WOW! climbing net is something we have never seen the like of at any other ski area anywhere. If you’ve got the energy, go for it ..

Footbath onsen bar at Tsugabase, Tsugaike Mountain Resort
Foot bath and beer at Tsugabase © Tsugaike Mountain Resort

Tsugaike has it’s own funky village at the base, including ski in/ski out accommodation, which has always been popular with a young local crowd. Great value eating and aprés options can be found here, as well as plenty of accommodation deals.

For soothing the feet and quenching your thirst it doesn’t get much better than the foot bath bar at Village Tsugaike.

Tsugaike is in Otani, along with nearby neighbours Norikura and Cortina, so staying here works to ski all three.

Tree skiing Hakuba Tsugaike Kogen Tsugapow DBD zone
Deep in the TSUGAPOW DBD zone © Evergreen International Ski School


Tsugaike Kogen’s TSUGA POW DBD tree zone has become the stuff of legend in no time at all, so who better to give you the lowdown on it then one of the crew of legends who did the ground work to make it happen, Dave Enright from Evergreen.

“Since setting up Tsuga Pow area in 2016 Tsugaike has been front and centre on the Japow list of must ride areas!”

“Evergreen backcountry guides Dave Enright and Bill Glude, avalanche professionals from BC Canada and Alaska respectively, created the plan and set the wheels in motion when they brought over Doug Kraus, an explosives expert and head of safety at Silverton, Colorado and assembled a crew of local explosives experts in Hakuba to control the avalanche hazard in the once forbidden area.”

“Now known as DBD (for Double Black Diamond), the area is open for freeriders to enjoy these steep and deep treed slopes when conditions allow.” 

“Tsugaike Mountain Resort is the true gateway to backcountry adventures into the Tsugaike Shizenen and the Chubu National Park. There is something here for every level of backcountry adventurer from first time snowshoe hike close to the ropeway area to high alpine ski and splitboard lines for hardened adventure seekers.”

Tsugaike Kogen Tsugapow DBD zone entry map
Entry is only through designated gates when open to those who have registered to ride the DBD zone © Tsugaike Mountain Resort

The TSUGA POW DBD area is accessed only by up to 5 gates, which are opened or closed according to prevailing conditions. To ski or ride the zone you need to watch the video below and complete the registration form at the resort to pick up an armband, which is valid for the season. Due to COVID precautions you can watch the video online rather than on site as previously – which saves time and makes for less contact. Obviously being properly equipped with the avalanche essentials of beacon, shovel, probe, plus a helmet and whistle is essential and as the video explains, riding with one or more buddies is the way to go.

For full details on requirements check the dedicated TSUGA POW DBD site on the link.

More info:

Check the Tsugaike Mountain Resort site here

For more info and all the latest conditions across the HAKUBAVALLEY’s 9 member resort check the HV website

Wide open runs are great for confidence boosting © Tsugaike Mountain Resort