Resort Reviews from March 2011

All of the Resort Reviews of Japanese ski and snowboard resorts. Currently 22 reviews.
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 Mick Rich on 26th March 2011
Niseko Grand Hirafu review btyMick Rich
I had heard many things about Niseko, both good and bad, so after 2 seasons based in Furano, decided I should see it for myself.

With a mid-March arrival, I was expecting less crowds and Spring-like conditions but I hadn't bargained on the Tohoku earthquake and consequent exodus of people and cancellations.

I based myself in Hirafu and spent the first few days exploring the Hirafu and Hanazono ski areas, having scored a cheap Hirafu pass. The slopes were relatively quiet
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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 Mick Rich on 26th March 2011
Niseko Grand Hirafu
I had heard many things about Niseko, both good and bad, so after 2 seasons based in Furano, decided I should see it for myself.

With a mid-March arrival, I was expecting less crowds and Spring-like conditions but I hadn't bargained on the Tohoku earthquake and consequent exodus of people following the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

I based myself in Hirafu and spent the first few days exploring the Hirafu and Hanazono ski areas, having scored a
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Asahidake Ropeway
旭岳ロープウゥイ
Higashigawa Town, Hokkaido
Submitted by andrewl on 23rd March 2011
Asahidake Ropeway review by Fraser
Arrived and snowing with no breeze at base. Ascended Cable Car into clouds.

Exited Cable car in semi Blizzard. Skied on ice and alpine windpack to find trail in whiteout. Descended over bluff to find stillnes and wow pow knee plus. Skied both marked trails and trees. Bottom 1/3 montain flat trails back to base.

Repeated this all day. Two runs later all first tracks filled in and pristine. \r\n\r\nDid not have guide and am sure there
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Rusutsu Resort
ルスツリゾート
Rusutsu Village, Hokkaido
Submitted by Mick Rich on 20th March 2011
Rusutsu Resort review
I took a day trip to Rusutsu from Niseko the other day. I had heard good things about the resort and as I've been riding Hirafu for 3 days in a row, a change of scene was due plus a bit of overnight snow had been forecast. When I arrived I found 5-10cm of fresh snow and that the slopes seemed to be in better condition than Hirafu.

Anyway, here are my thoughts:-

The good things:-

1
The trees!
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Rusutsu Resort
ルスツリゾート
Rusutsu Village, Hokkaido
Submitted by Mick Rich on 20th March 2011
Rusutsu
I took a day trip to Rusutsu from Niseko using the local bus from Kutchan, as the shuttle bus service had stopped. When I arrived I found 5-10cm of fresh snow and that the slopes seemed to be in better condition than Hirafu.

Anyway, here are my thoughts:-

The good things:-

1. The trees! I love tree runs and Rusutsu didn't disappoint! My favourite sections were on Mt Isola, namely around Heavenly Ridge and Steamboat B. Both had
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Sky Valley
スカイバレイ
Kami Town, Hyogo
Submitted by andrewl on 11th March 2011
Sky Valley review by Androo
A pretty big mountain for Hyogo, Sky Valley/Hyper Bowl offers a little for everyone, but lacks any of those truly challenging runs for more advanced folks, at least in the proper course. There's decent areas for boarders to play on, including a half pipe, rails, kickers, and if there's enough snow, a quarter pipe.

My first time up, I was more or less a first year snowboarder and was still learning. The bunny courses at SV is tougher and narrower
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Snow Town Yeti
スノータウンYeti
Susono City, Shizuoka
Submitted by Metabo Oyaji on 11th March 2011
Snow Town Yeti review
Visited Snowtown Yeti on 23 October, a Saturday, for a pre-season warm-up. They had been open a week, having laid down a ribbon of crushed-ice on their "A" course, served by a quad lift and a pair lift operating in parallel. The quad was ski-on, ski-off, while the pair was walk-on, walk-off. The first lift had a huge line to get on, probably about a 10 minute wait. The second almost none.

The snow quality was, well,
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Asahidake Ropeway
旭岳ロープウゥイ
Higashigawa Town, Hokkaido
Submitted by Mick Rich on 8th March 2011
Asahidake Ropeway review
Ever since I've started coming to Hokkaido, I've wanted to check out Asahidake. For those of you who don't know, Asahidake is the highest mountain in the area and is accessed by a single ropeway. There are two groomed tracks that run down from the top (course A to the skiers left of the ropeway station and course B to the skiers right). They then merge into courses C and D respectively. But forget about
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Zao Onsen
蔵王温泉
Yamagata City, Yamagata
Submitted by muikabochi on 8th March 2011
Zao Onsen review
Zao is a must visit ski resort in Japan.

The ski resort itself is big and perhaps best suited to people up to intermediate level - ie. there isn't much to challenge advanced skies - but there are a lot of courses to choose from and lots of long cruising courses. The resort is serviced by 3 Ropeways/Gondolas as well as a fair few quad lifts and other lifts.

The one thing I want to say about Zao though
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Asahidake Ropeway
旭岳ロープウゥイ
Higashigawa Town, Hokkaido
Submitted by Mick Rich on 8th March 2011
Asahidake Ropeway review
Ever since I've started coming to Hokkaido, I've wanted to check out Asahidake. I think I'm right in saying that Asahidake is an active volcano, as well as being the highest mountain in the area at 2,291m. It's accessed by a single ropeway and there are two groomed tracks that run down from the top (course A to the skiers left of the ropeway station and course B to the skiers right). They then merge into courses C and D
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Ishiuchi Maruyama
石打丸山
Minamiuonuma City, Niigata
Submitted by sand on 7th March 2011
Ishiuchi Maruyama review
I give Ishiuchi 3 stars as an average from:

Park *****
Piste ***
Off-piste *

As such, this review has been split into 3 sections;

Part 1 - The park.

A fantastic park. Located on the Northern part of the resort consisting of 2 areas accessed from 2 adjoining lifts (K2 and K4). These areas are well thought out with plenty of rails (ranginging short - long), boxes and tabletop kickers for all levels. From the beginner taking their first foray into the park
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White World Oze Iwakura
ホワイトワールド尾瀬岩鞍
Katashina Village, Gunma
Submitted by sand on 7th March 2011
White World Oze Iwakura review
Three stars are from the average of:

Park *
Piste *****
Off-Piste **

reaking the review into these 3 sections: Starting with the good.

Piste:

With close to 700 meters vertical rise out of the gondola and with 13 lifts and 18 trails Iwakura offers something for everyone.

There are a couple of dedicated mogul runs, but if moguls aren't for you then it's no problem. I recommend the 2.8 Km Milky Way intermediate run. Which takes you back to the base of the gondola. If you
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Inawashiro
猪苗代
Inawashiro Town, Fukushima
Submitted by andrewl on 7th March 2011
Inawashiro review by Tubby Beaver
I really enjoyed Inawashiro.

I came up here on a bit of a downer, I was meant to be going to Myoko where they had reported 80cms-1m of snow had fallen on the Thursday night, however plans had to be changed and as it was so late in the week we were scratching about for a seat on a bus trip to somewhere decent, all the big names had full buses. So we decided to gamble on here, I've been
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Mt Jeans Ski Resort Nasu
マウントジーンズ那須
Nasu Town, Tochigi
Submitted by Metabo Oyaji on 6th March 2011
Mt Jeans Ski Resort Nasu review
Visited Mt. Jeans in late December, 2008, on the day after a snow storm. I think it may even have been their first or second official day open of the season, due to a late start waiting for snow that year. It was a beautiful, sunny day.

The resort is very easy to get to by car, just 20+ minutes off the Tohoku Expressway. Quicker to get to than Hunter or Edelweiss even if coming from the south,
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Naeba
苗場
Yuzawa Town, Niigata
Submitted by norcal on 6th March 2011
Naeba review
The wife and I made a plan Thursday night to head up to Naeba. We reserved a rental room (weekends Y10000) because we have a 10 month old. I took the morning shift on the mountain, she had her first lesson in the afternoon.

The rental room had a shower, bed, tv...almost like a small cheap hotel room. (In the future we will just reserve a hotel). Just what we needed though, having a 10 month old w/us. No complaints with
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