Resort Reviews from January 2009

All of the Resort Reviews of Japanese ski and snowboard resorts. Currently 14 reviews.
Shizukuishi
雫石
Shizukuishi Town, Iwate
Submitted by andrewl on 29th January 2009
Shizukuishi review by YoDude
Just a FYI about lifts. Although they still shut down the gondolas with minimal winds, they installed a new triple-chair to the top.

This is the chair that used to be a single, leaving from the top of the "bunny" hill.

It is faster, and better for groups for obvious reasons
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Tanigawadake Tenjindaira
谷川天神平
Minakami Town, Gunma
Submitted by powder rocks on 26th January 2009
Tanigawadake Tenjindaira review
I love Tenjin but a lot of people wouldn't . The piste skiing is limited, and there are no terrain parks!

However the back country and off piste is brilliant. Lots of fresh powder all on nice steep runs through the tree's. The tree's get a little tight at times though so be careful! There are lots of off piste runs but they tend to get tracked out towards the end of the day. Also due to the fact some parts
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Zao Onsen
蔵王温泉
Yamagata City, Yamagata
Submitted by andrewl on 26th January 2009
Zao Onsen review by E-san
Please note, I didn't figure snow conditions into my rating.

CONDITIONS

Day 1:
Was icy everywhere and off course was crusty. Snowed off and on, but good visibility. At the peak it was windy, freezing, icy, and low visibility.

Day 2:
It had snow overnight maybe 5cm plus a bit (maybe) and warmed up a bit was wasn't as icy and the little dusting made riding much more enjoyable.

RESORT

Lifts:
They're very poorly laid out with you either having to walk a good distance and in
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Kuriko Kokusai
栗子国際
Yonezawa City, Yamagata
Submitted by andrewl on 24th January 2009
Kuriko Kokusai review by waruihito
Kuriko was my favorite access point to backcountry skiing in the Ou range. A nice tour is to:

1. Take the train from Yonezawa to Itaya

2. Take the bus to Kuriko and ride to the top of the lifts.

3. Tour north over the highway tunnel to the summit of Mount Kuriko (~6km).

4. Do a few laps on Mount Kuriko.

5. Descend into Yonezawa Ski-Jo.

6. Hitchhike back into town.

There is ice to be climbed along the way, as well.
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Hakuba Happo-one
白馬八方尾根
Hakuba Village, Nagano
Submitted by powder rocks on 24th January 2009
Happo-one review
I visited Happo-one last year for a weekend, and I found it pretty good; we went quite late in the season so there wasn't mass amounts of snow. The runs were nice long wide carving runs with a couple of nice tree to cut through. There looked like there were some good bowl but I didn't have the time or energy to ski them. we managed to find off piste but it was a little crusty.

The downsides of this mountain
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Minakami Hodaigi
水上宝台樹
Minakami Town, Gunma
Submitted by powder rocks on 24th January 2009
Minakami Houdaigi review
Houdaigi is great for families and intermediates and advanced runs, however an expert skier may get bored if he is in action mood.

The mountain itself is nice, relatively nice lifts, quite cheap. But the powder is quite hard to find and it is normally closed so you will get shouted at by ski patrol (as we did like 3 times). But if you find it it is brilliant but tree skiing is difficult, Very dense. But there are two fun
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Rusutsu Resort
ルスツリゾート
Rusutsu Village, Hokkaido
Submitted by andrewl on 20th January 2009
Rusutsu Resort review by Paul
3rd time at Rusutsu and it did not disappoint.

Two perfect days on Mt Isola followed by night skiing on West Mt. Mt Isola and East Mt have longer cruising runs with panoramic views. West Mt has short sharp runs with numerous variations and is close to North / South Wings.

English signage and information are getting better. Kids park, wave pool and water slide kept the kids busy. Resort is expensive but overall good value given
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Nozawa Onsen
野沢温泉
Nozawa Onsen Village, Nagano
Submitted by andrewl on 19th January 2009
Nozawa Onsen review by Mr Brisbane
This place is a well kept secret that is being exploited by lots of Aussies - especially family groups and for all the right reasons.

After the write up in Jetstar flight mag, January in Nozawa will start to look like little Ozstraylya.

The magic formula here rests on a very slickly marketed couple of lodges that although remaining quite Japanese in nature have been sympathetically westernised and aimed at satisfying the wants and needs of family groups looking for a 5-10
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Akakura Onsen
赤倉温泉
Myoko City, Niigata
Submitted by andrewl on 16th January 2009
Akakura Onsen review by Grazza
Akakura Onsen and Akakura Kanko are separate side by side resorts on Mt Myoko. Akakura Onsen is almost totally shortish rolling green courses with little to provide any challenge, apart from one course at the top south corner of the resort which is a very, very steep pitch indeed. The most memorable course is the "Yodel" course, if only because the j-pop is replaced by yodelling music, which I found strangely more appealing???

Akakura Kanko is next door to the
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Zao Onsen
蔵王温泉
Yamagata City, Yamagata
Submitted by andrewl on 16th January 2009
Zao Onsen review by hannibal
I went to Hokkaido last winter and this place was 10 times better then niseko or any other resort up there. Lodging is awesome you literaly walk out of your hotel and you are at the lift. everyday we were there it was snowing constant powder. It is definitley my favorite mountain in japan to go snowboarding on if you want to have a good time and not stand in lines all day for lifts and not spend as much
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Nozawa Onsen
野沢温泉
Nozawa Onsen Village, Nagano
Submitted by andrewl on 13th January 2009
Nozawa Onsen review by Brad
After having read so many great reviews about this place I was really disappointed with this resort. Snow conditions were good enough with about 15 cms of fresh pow on the first day and second day but everything got tracked out really fast as it was a long weekend and there were loads of people about.

I felt that the lift system here was really poor leaving snowboarders with some long walks or skates between lifts (don't believe the maps!!
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Kagura
かぐら
Yuzawa Town, Niigata
Submitted by gnarly-dude on 5th January 2009
Kagura by gnarly-dude
Kagura is a good place and you can often rely on very good snow conditions up there.

With the late start to the season in the region, Kagura offered the most slopes open even in late December and so it was pretty busy.

Snowfall the night before so the snow was good, but still not really much compared to how much there usually is up there
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Grandeco Snow Resort
グランデコリゾート
Kita Shiobara Village, Fukushima
Submitted by andrewl on 4th January 2009
Grandeco Snow Resort review by MO
Went skiing with the kid, and had a blast.

Great weather both days helped. When the kid gets past beginner-intermediate we may want a more difficult course selection, but for now the range was good enough to both amuse me and challenge the kid. The "attractions" (parks, jumps, banked turns) were great fun for both of us. I particularly appreciated the long tree runs. The kid liked the jumps. No lift lines, mellow atmosphere.
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Hachimantai Resort Panorama
八幡平リゾートパノラマ
Hachimantai Town, Iwate
Submitted by Boscof16 on 3rd January 2009
Hachimantai Resort Panorama review
One of the best resorts in Iwate for a family trip, and for beginners. All runs are essentially green (some are rated "intermediate", but they are on the easy end of the intermediate scale at best). High-speed quad, wide open runs and uncrowded conditions make it a great place to bring kids. Lots of fun things for kids to do, and the high speed lift means they will get lots of "laps" in on easy, uncrowded terrain.
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