Shiga Kogen Yakebitaiyama resort review (Yamanouchi Town, Nagano)

Shiga Kogen Yakebitaiyama
志賀高原 焼額山
Yamanouchi Town, Nagano
Submitted by Bushiman on 1st February 2016
A bit of a let down...
Thanks to another year of SJ giveaways, my buddy 'Neck' and I won lift tickets to Yakebitayama, one of the bigger and more popular resorts in the Shiga Kogen area.

Now, I go up to Shiga Kogen fairly often each season, but never to Yakebitai. Mainly due to the fact I can count on awesome off-piste terrain at other areas, and it's such a mission to drive up there sometimes I'd rather have a guaranteed good day than search out something new...

Thanks to our free tickets, this time we went over to explore Yakebitaiyama excited that we may find a stash or 2 of powder to keep us entertained - especially since the forecast was for around 50cm total accumulation in the 24hrs before the Saturday.... My oh my was that wrong... Pulling into the car park I used the tried and tested 'finger through the snowpack' technique on a car that looked like it had been there since last year and to my horror I found about 5cm of soft pow, with an icy sleet/rain crust just below. Nightmare. This usually does not happen in Shiga Kogen, especially in late January. Shiga Kogen is the place you go when Hakuba/Myoko are forecast rain...

Maybe it would be better higher up the mountain...
It wasn't.

Taking the No.2 Gondola up, we headed over to the No.1 Gondola which I vaguely recalled riding under around 10 years ago. We ducked in and the snow was super wet and heavy... On a good day, those first few turns would be awesome, but then the terrain flattens out and you'd have to hope you could keep your speed to make it out the bottom.

This became a reoccurring theme to our day. Wherever we ducked in to explore, the terrain would flatten out so much that even with the heavy crusty snow, we still had to piggy back tracks to keep speed up to exit back out on to the pistes... If there was the 50cm forecast we would've had no chance.

The pistes themselves seemed decent, and I'm sure are plenty fun for beginners/intermediate/families. I didn't see anything particularly steep, so advanced riders may want to choose a different venue if gnarly steep turns are your thing... Although, they did have the Super Giant Slalom there for the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics so there must be something!

The lifts are good, modern and speedy but getting from one side of the mountain (the East Course to the South Course) there was an actual uphill section!? If we hadn't straight-lined the bunny slope heading into the switch, we would've had to unbuckle and walk up like we saw other people doing...

There were no lift-lines on the day we went, which is always nice, but we weren't really in the mood to rejoice as the day was not quite what we were hoping for...

The restaurant was clean, and the food not too bad...

In conclusion, the snow conditions were so poor it sapped our enthusiasm... Yakebitai is probably not that bad of a resort but we really couldn't find any off-piste terrain that didn't flatten out dramatically. Maybe if there was a big dump of snow, the on-piste powder might be fun, but I don't really feel like I need to return to find out.

I'm so grateful to SJ for the ticket so I didn't use my own money that day...
Date visited: From 30 January, 2016
Snow condition on visit: ~50cm powder forecast, instead about 15cm with hidden rain/sleet crust...
Things I liked: Speedy, modern lifts.
Things I didn't like: Flat terrain. Poor snow conditions (not the norm for Shiga Kogen).
Recommended for: Beginner riders
Intermediate riders
Skiers
Snowboarders
Not recommended for: Advanced riders
Off-piste opportunities
Ungroomed courses
General score: 45
Snow conditions: 30
Courses/Terrain: 35
Lift system: 50
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Shiga Kogen Yakebitaiyama

志賀高原 焼額山
Yamanouchi Town, Nagano
View all Reviews for Shiga Kogen Yakebitaiyama (11)
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Average Rankings

General score: 61
Snow conditions: 55
Courses/Terrain: 57
Lift system: 73
Apres ski: 41

Basic Resort Statistics

Max. elevation: 2000m
Min. elevation: 1550m
Vertical: 450m
Steepest slope: 30°
Longest course: 2500m
Number of lifts: 5

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Location of Shiga Kogen Yakebitaiyama