Otaru Tenguyama resort review (Otaru City, Hokkaido)

Otaru Tenguyama
小樽天狗山
Otaru City, Hokkaido
Submitted by Mick Rich on 18th February 2015
Let's Tengu!
When I stayed in Otaru in February 2014 I kept looking over at the slopes of what I found out was Tenguyama. so decided to check it out on my return visit to Otaru this season. It was snowing on the day I went but the snowfall was accompanied by strong, blustery winds, which stopped the lower lifts from operating. This meant that only the ropeway and the single top lift were running, the latter being the only lift available after you exit the gondola station, on the right hand side/skier's left. That lift gives you access to the top section which is very flat and more suited for beginners, but things get more interesting thereafter with easily accessible trees either side of the run back down, on the skier's left. You could also cut back across and under the closed lift lines, where there was a good foot of untracked powder to play in but which you might not be able to enjoy under normal lift operating conditions.

Immediately to the right of the gondola station is the steep course mentioned by the previous reviewer (which was a very helpful review, btw) but with the wind howling around up there no-one (me included) was venturing down what I think would have been a very hard, fast and sketchy run. Nor did I venture to the skier's right of the gondola station, which I would have liked to have done if visibility had been better and I was not riding alone, as I imagine there are some good lines to be had in there, evidenced by the small group of powder board-equipped Japanese riders who were lapping it. I also saw a couple of small groups of Westerners around and about, but all of us were outnumbered by groups of school kids having ski lessons and Chinese tourists, Tengu obviously having found its way onto the Otaru tour bus circuit, presumably due to the good views from the top of the ropeway. However, with the lower lifts not running on the day I visited, this meant that the ropeway lines were fairly long, though that did give you time to warm up because it was bitterly cold outside!

On the subject of lifts, that top single is tediously slow and wouldn't be worth the hassle of riding were it not for the fact that it gives you easier access to the trees on the far skier's left of the resort. The other lifts weren't running all day so I can't comment on those, other than they may lessen congestion at the bottom gondola station.

Due to the conditions, I just got a half-day ticket costing 2,700Yen and caught the "Otaru Stroller's Bus" (bus B - Tenguyama course) from the bus terminal next to Otaru train station, costing 210yen each way. Easy to do and cheap to boot, so no complaints there.

Overall, it was a good albeit cold first day for me on the Hokkaido slopes. I like Otaru and if you stay there or are passing through, I'd recommend checking out Tengu if you have a spare day. It's a small, local resort but has something for everyone, though would probably become boring for many people after a day.
Date visited: From 02 February, 2015 To 02 February, 2015
Snow condition on visit: Fresh snow both on and off-piste but very blustery!
Things I liked: Varied terrain; good views; easy/cheap access from Otaru.
Things I didn't like: The large numbers of non-skiing/snowboarding, photo-taking/posing tourists.
Recommended for: Beginner riders
Intermediate riders
Advanced riders
Skiers
Snowboarders
Off-piste opportunities
Authentic Japan experience
Not recommended for: Snow Park
Apres-ski
General score: 60
Snow conditions: 60
Courses/Terrain: 60
Lift system: 50
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Otaru Tenguyama

小樽天狗山
Otaru City, Hokkaido
View all Reviews for Otaru Tenguyama (2)
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Average Rankings

General score: 67
Snow conditions: 65
Courses/Terrain: 60
Lift system: 50
Apres ski: 0

Basic Resort Statistics

Max. elevation: 532m
Min. elevation: 122m
Vertical: 410m
Steepest slope: 42°
Longest course: 1700m
Number of lifts: 3

Other resorts nearby

Asarigawa Onsen 11.30km
Snow Cruise Onze 16.70km
Sapporo Kokusai 25.30km
Kiroro 27.30km
Niki Chomin 29.20km
Sapporo Teine 32.40km
Sapporo Bankei 39.50km
Sapporo Moiwayama 43.90km

Location of Otaru Tenguyama