We had no idea of what to expect of Sahoro resort, but being in Hokkaido, we were hoping for excellent snow conditions. A resort pamphlet we got from our local hill showed that there were areas in the trees you are allowed to ski in... which I suppose is quite suprising given the attitude to skiing off the trail that most resorts have.
Anyway, Sahoro has a main gondola that goes from the very bottom of the resort to the top, a couple of quads and a quite a few doubles. Most of the lifts access easy slopes and runs, but from the top of the gondola, you have access to the longer steeper courses that (for as long as we were there) remain ungroomed. What is great is once you get to the top of the hill, you don't have to ski all the way down to catch the lift back to the top. A well placed double is between the two areas of trees that you are allowed to ski in, and also access the two steepest runs on the hill. Skiing this lift allows you to lap the powder on a powder day, with very little wasted time. It's straight into the powder at the top, and popping out at the bottom to get back on the lift.
The resort was very uncrowded (keeping in mind we were there during the week and not the weekend). After we got first tracks down the main trails, there were only ever about 5 other people skiing in the trees (including the expert level ski instructor and his 2 students for the day), which of course meant an entire day of freshies and some excellent skiing.
The gondola and top lifts were wind affected at times which resulted in them closing and only the bottom part of the resort being open. When this happened, it could get a little boring, with only the bunny slopes to play on... but having said that, they can't really help it if the weather is crap!!
There is a terrain park with pipe, tables and a rail or two... but the whole time we were there, the pipe was being worked on, and the tables really weren't fit for use. Take offs on the tables were a bit too lippy and the top of the tables too long to clear, especially given the short run ins.
The lift passes are a little expensive at over 5000 yen for a day pass (but that may include lessons as well... whether you want them or not... we're not sure). Other than that, I would have to say I thoroughly enjoyed skiing at Sahoro, and appreciate their attitude towards skiing off the trail. That alone would definately see me going back there, given the chance!!! Especially on a powder day.
From 25 February, 2004 To 27 February, 2004
Snow condition on visit:
Heavy powder for 2 days, light knee deep powder on the Friday