Japan ski resort facilities
Thanks to the huge investment in the 1980's, the large ski and snowboard resorts in Japan tend to have fairly modern lift systems with high-speed quad lifts, gondolas and ropeways. Slow single lifts and t-bars in Japan are rare. Large resorts have modern lodges and other facilities. Smaller resorts, on the other hand, some of which are family owned and operated, may not have the latest equipment. Some even look rather run-down and neglected.
Due to the nature of how resorts evolved (mentioned earlier), lift and course layout does not always seem to be efficient. And in some cases maybe even outright frustrating.
Course classifications in Japan are something that experienced skiers and snowboarder may notice is different from in their own country as the classifications used in Japan are not the international standard. And they even differ from ski-jo to ski-jo. This means that beginners may have no difficulty tackling some ‘intermediate’ runs in Japan and intermediate skier may be able to negotiate an ‘advanced’ courses without too many problems.
Ski patrol at some resorts in Japan have also tightened the reins after highly publicized accidents, some of which have involved non-Japanese skiers and boarders who have strayed off-piste and ‘out of bounds’. Although enforcement varies from resort to resort, skiers and boarders at resorts are asked to stay within their boundaries, or risk getting their lift ticket taken – at the very least.
Many resorts now feature snowboard parks with different ‘items’, fun ski parks, snow tubing, children’s areas and other facilities to add to the experience. Half pipes were popular but there seem to be less of them recently.
Most resorts also have a selection of restaurants and cafes on the slopes - usually a mix of Japanese and Western style food is available, as well as rental facilities (expect to pay anywhere between 2000 and 4000 yen for a rental ski or board set), child-care (less common) and countless souvenir shops.