Resort Reviews from March 2008

All of the Resort Reviews of Japanese ski and snowboard resorts. Currently 16 reviews.
Ski Jam Katsuyama
スキージャム勝山
Katsuyama City, Fukui
Submitted by andrewl on 29th March 2008
Ski Jam Katsuyama review by David James
We spent two days at Ski Jam, the first was clear and sunny but the second was lots of rain.

The previous week we had been to Nozawa Onsen in Nagano, and so Ski Jam seemed pretty dull.

However, it beats anything in Shiga and is almost as good as Hachi Kita
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Kawaba
川場
Kawaba Village, Gunma
Submitted by andrewl on 26th March 2008
Kawaba review by Phil
I chose Kawaba as a late season day trip based on the reviews on this site and I was not disappointed.

The snow was really wet and if it had not been sunny, it would have been very icy. But was better than I expected for this time of year.

The runs are not challenging, but they are all surrounded by trees and the views are great.

While I was there they just played cool reggae tunes, which helped me have a chilled
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Hakuba Goryu
白馬五竜
Hakuba Village, Nagano
Submitted by andrewl on 23rd March 2008
Hakuba Goryu review by ipps
NB. Review aimed at beginners ---> early intermediates.

Hakuba 47/goryu will forever be embedded in my head as the place I learned to carve. "What the heck has this blog beginning got to do with a review of the place as a whole?" I hear you grumble. Well I'll tell you. In one word: Space. In 5: Loads and loads of it.

It's the end of the season, people are bored or just fearing the worst and avoiding it. Either way,
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Niseko Annupuri Kokusai
ニセコアンヌプリ国際
Niseko Town, Hokkaido
Submitted by andrewl on 22nd March 2008
Niseko Annupuri Kokusai
See my feedback for Niseko Hirafu.

As part of Niseko United Area, Annurpurni added a great selection off riding. Plenty off long easy and intermediate runs to get the legs in first couple of days. Some great off-piste areas through the gates.

Took a while to get back across to Hirafu via lifts in afternoon, especially when blizzard like conditions but was part of the fun.

Had one great session of night riding here with my girlfriend. They'd just groomed the runs and
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Niseko Village Ski Resort
ニセコビレッジスキーリゾート
Niseko Town, Hokkaido
Submitted by andrewl on 22nd March 2008
Niseko Village review by Brett Dennis
See my feedback for Niseko Hirafu.

As part of overall Niseko United Area, Higishiyama was excellent with long, consistent gradient runs and wicked natural half pipes bowling through the trees.

Was generally quieter than Hirafu on the slopes. Onsen at Prince Hotel was a bit of a rip-off, if I pay 1000yen, I'd much rather see naked women than unabashed Japanese men towel flicking each other on the bare rump!

For the riding, I loved working on my speed turns and
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Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu
ニセコマウンテンリゾートグラン・ヒラフ
Kutchan Town, Hokkaido
Submitted by andrewl on 22nd March 2008
Niseko Grand Hirafu review by Brett Dennis
Niseko was the schizznigg maximus!!

This place far exceeded my expectations simply by amount of snow, terrain and overall experience. (Reviewing mountain as one entire area covering Hirafu, Higa's and Annurpurni).

After eighteen months without snow, a new stick under arm, I arrived straight from working twelve hours a day in 45C heat in northern Australia to boarding twelve hours a day in -10C and perfect powder. Feeding frenzy, was I in for the first few days.

After a superb clear first
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Itoigawa Seaside Valley
糸魚川シーサイドバレー
Itoigawa City, Niigata
Submitted by andrewl on 20th March 2008
Itoigawa Seaside Valley review by Francis
Very convenient from Itoigawa.

Only 15 kms = 20 minutes by car, easy to drive road. To recommand for people coming from Joetsu or Toyama.

This resort is never crowded, no waiting at the lift.

Courses are not long and not difficult not the best for very good skiers, but anyway always a pleasure to spend one afternoon there
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Minakami Hodaigi
水上宝台樹
Minakami Town, Gunma
Submitted by andrewl on 19th March 2008
Minakami Houdaigi review by wolfman
Pretty much echo what Harry said plus as an outsider I found it very friendly.

Thought I would get bored (as opposed to board) quickly but didn't
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Hachi Kita Kogen
ハチ北高原
Kami Town, Hyogo
Submitted by andrewl on 18th March 2008
Hachi Kita Kogen review by David James
I took a night bus from Kyoto and was greeted by a few inches of powder on the higher slopes. Had a great day - went over the top to Hachi Kogen which is dead boring unless you are a beginner.

Wish I had stayed overnight and had two days there.....next time perhaps
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Hoshino Resort Alts Bandai
アルツ磐梯
Bandai Town, Fukushima
Submitted by TubbyBeaverinho on 9th March 2008
Alts Bandai review
Spring has really hit Fukushima. Alts is a pretty big place with plenty to offer....IF it has a decent dump.

There are plenty of trees to explore and if you like the park, I can't imagine a better place to come because its got oodles of features. After all the X-Trail games were held here the other week. Up top the snow still resembled powder in a heavy used sort of way. I had fun here and would come back
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Tsugaike Kogen
栂池高原
Otari Village, Nagano
Submitted by andrewl on 7th March 2008
Tsugaike Kogen review by Brett Dennis
Maybe I was having a bad day after being soundly pole-axed by a tree at Hakuba 47 two days before, but like Happo, this resort delivered some disappointment.

After eventually working out which shuttle to catch from Wadano, we arrived at Tsugaike in heavy snow and very limited visibility. With a formidable gondola line we jumped on the nearby 'high-speed' pair and headed uphill or so we thought!

With the flat light further enhancing the lack of gradient, I keep thinking
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Hakuba Goryu
白馬五竜
Hakuba Village, Nagano
Submitted by andrewl on 7th March 2008
Hakuba Goryu review by Brett Dennis
After being jaded at Happo, Goryu was a welcome change. Being among the first up and enjoying some warp speed runs on fresh groomers at Iimori certainly helped cheer me up.

On arrival the whole place just seemed to work much better, more was acheived with less lifts, less intrusive mountain engineering and more diverse runs.

Admittedly, when the tops lifts were closed due to weather, it turned into a madhouse about midday on the main section of the Toomi area, but
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Hakuba 47 Winter Sports Park
Hakuba47ウインタースポーツパーク
Hakuba Village, Nagano
Submitted by andrewl on 7th March 2008
Hakuba 47 review by Brett Dennis
Great mountain combined with Goryu, achieves a lot with little.

First day was nearly a white-out at top, second day had slightly better vis, but still snowing heavily. Great runs for speed, big park and pipe well set up under gondola.

Didn't see much off-piste to visit on this side of mountain but spaced trees near top leading down toward Goryu looked very nice.

On second day, late in afternoon, was bombing through open section of trees above gondola station and in moment
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Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu
ニセコマウンテンリゾートグラン・ヒラフ
Kutchan Town, Hokkaido
Submitted by andrewl on 4th March 2008
Niseko Grand Hirafu review by kane
I had heard a lot about niseko area over the past 7 yrs but had never got there. I'd always opted for Fernie and Whistler in BC, Canada.

We made it to Niseko this yr and were blown away. The village is awesome and has piles of snow everywhere. The temperature never got above -4 and it snowed every night bar one, in some capacity. We found fresh lines everyday (even as late as 3pm) and we were treated to one
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Ani
阿仁
Kita Akita City, Akita
Submitted by nztp on 3rd March 2008
Ani review
Ani is the ski-jo that I go to most often. It's not the closest to where I live, but definately the most economical.

Economical because for me it's under a 2 hour drive, it's pretty cheep (4 hour lift pass only 2500 yen, and I've heard the rental costs aren't too bad), it's never crowded and the snow conditions are usually great.

The mountain has a reputation for always snowing (and snow monsters). I have boarded at Ani and it's
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