Resort Reviews from February 2015

All of the Resort Reviews of Japanese ski and snowboard resorts. Currently 43 reviews.
Minakami Hodaigi
Minakami Town, Gunma
Submitted by chilker on 28th February 2015
Good place
Minakami is good. This was only the second place I've been to in Japan, so I can't really compare it to much, but despite looking pretty small, there are quite a few long runs here.

As other said, there are lots of runs for different skill levels, however I had one problem. I'm not a great skier, but I got bored on the beginner hills, and then found the "intermediate" runs much too hard. There was a HUGE gap in necessary
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White World Oze Iwakura
Katashina Village, Gunma
Submitted by foofighter1981 on 26th February 2015
Sooooo happy I discovered Iwakura this year... my own fault for ignoring the signs on the way to Marunuma.

I've already been twice this season and am planning to go again soon.

I live in Tokyo, but I've come to like this place so much that I'd probably consider getting a season pass... but alas, I tend to cheat on my favorite ski-jo's.

All you really need to know is Gondola + Milky Way. Best combo ever
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Marunuma Kogen
Katashina Village, Gunma
Submitted by Mick Rich on 26th February 2015
Let's Marunuma!
I came here by car from Yuzawa, which had noticeably different (and worse) weather - maybe worth remembering if you're in the area searching for the best conditions. The previous review by foofighter1981 gives some great practical info which, unlike me, you should try to follow as I ended up snowboarding down the skiers-only "Blue run" and paying separately for lunch!

On this occasion, unseasonally warm temperatures had affected the condition of the snow, particularly off-piste, so I stayed on-piste for
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Kandatsu Kogen
Yuzawa Town, Niigata
Submitted by onehunga on 26th February 2015
A great day out
First off a big thank you to Kandatsu Resort and SnowJapan for the free pass. The free pass meant I went to Kandatsu, the great day we had there means I'll return.

Kandatsu is easy to get too, the entrance road is very close to the Yuzawa IC on the dreaded Kan-etsu expressway. It was quite busy the day we were there and we were directed off to a secondary carpark. If you are driving and have a 2WD avoid this
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Kandatsu Kogen
Yuzawa Town, Niigata
Submitted by Mick Rich on 25th February 2015
Let's Kandatsu!
After a gap of a few years, Kandatsu Kogen has had 5 reviews in 2 months and here's another! First off, a BIG thanks to SnowJapan and Kandatsu Kogen for the free ticket - much appreciated!

This was a Sunday trip from Kanagawa with fellow SJ member, onehunga. We had planned to go to Kagura in a bid to avoid the forecast rain but when we popped out of the tunnel on the Kan-etsu expressway we could see Iwappara ski resort
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Niseko Annupuri Kokusai
Niseko Town, Hokkaido
Submitted by powder rat on 25th February 2015
Crowded paradise
I have been smowboarding at Niseko since 1999 and have spent the last 5 seasons (Jan & Feb) there. The snow quantity and quality is often superb and if you have a large enough window you are sure to get good bottomless powder. I would like to make 2 points.

Firstly, if you only have a window of 7-10 days you are not guaranteed excellent snow and/or conditions. The last 2 seasons in particular have seen long dry spells in both
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Kawaba Village, Gunma
Submitted by Badman1963 on 23rd February 2015
Awesome Off-Piste / Back Country Oporunities 90 Minutes from Tokyo
Decided at the last minute to do an "out-and-in" for the day to the nearest resort to Tokyo we could find even though the weather report said it would be warm and sunny (as it had been for days).

Instead of choosing trusty old Kagura (Niigata Yuzawa exit from Kanetsu only two hours from Tokyo), or Oze, we picked Kawaba.

While Kawaba only has 3 big intermediate courses, and a few Advanced with Moguls (booo), the Back Country Opportunities
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Ski Jam Katsuyama
Katsuyama City, Fukui
Submitted by Mick Rich on 21st February 2015
Let's Ski Jam!
Having spent the weekend in Fukui city, I decided to visit nearby Ski Jam Katsuyama on the Monday. The biggest resort in the region, I had read that it gets busy at the weekends, especially with people travelling up from Kyoto, Osaka and Nagoya, but this wasn't an issue on this day and I was keen to check out a new resort in an area that I don't know so well. Access from Fukui is an easy and relatively cheap,
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Madarao Mountain Resort
Iiyama City, Nagano
Submitted by bkurobe on 20th February 2015
Sick powder day!! Tickets compliments of snowjapan giveaway
I go to Madarao every year and never a disappointment! This year was no different.

The first day there was about 30cm of freshies and it was super cold making the conditions amazing!! tons of tree runs at this place and ski patrol is nowhere in sight.

On the second day I awoke to about 2ft of snow burying my car which took quite a while to dig out. It was worth it! Epic pow conditions.

We went directly to
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Furano City, Hokkaido
Submitted by Mick Rich on 18th February 2015
Let's Furano again!
I visit Furano every winter and have come to think of it as my home resort, despite living down in Kawasaki.

This year I could only spend a week there and unfortunately that coincided with a spell of largely snowless weather, and probably the least amount of February snow I've seen in 5 years! Furano doesn't get as much snow as other well-known Hokkaido resorts but the payback is that it doesn't get as busy so that when it does
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Sapporo Teine
Sapporo City, Hokkaido
Submitted by Mick Rich on 18th February 2015
Let's Teine Two!
I did a repeat of my day trip here in Feb 2014, stopping off en route from Otaru to Sapporo, and catching the first and therefore busy 09:10 shuttle bus from outside Mister Donuts at Teine station. However, unlike last year, this time I scored some decent conditions with colder temperatures and fresh snow. I headed back up to the Natural Course at the top of the resort and saw that the gate to what I presume were the back
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Akaigawa Village, Hokkaido
Submitted by Mick Rich on 18th February 2015
Let's Kiroro Again!
I did a repeat of my 2014 season day trip from Otaru to Kiroro, staying at the same hostel (Morinoki), and taking the same bus at the same time (leaves Otaru station at 08:10), though it now costs a little more at a still reasonable 930Yen. The big difference I noticed upon arrival was the large number of foreign, particularly "Western" punters in the lobby. Obviously the secret has got out but this was a Tuesday in early Feb so
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Otaru Tenguyama
Otaru City, Hokkaido
Submitted by Mick Rich on 18th February 2015
Let's Tengu!
When I stayed in Otaru in February 2014 I kept looking over at the slopes of what I found out was Tenguyama. so decided to check it out on my return visit to Otaru this season. It was snowing on the day I went but the snowfall was accompanied by strong, blustery winds, which stopped the lower lifts from operating. This meant that only the ropeway and the single top lift were running, the latter being the only lift available
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Zao Onsen
Yamagata City, Yamagata
Submitted by edave on 17th February 2015
Wow Zao! Love the snow monsters!
Disclaimer: I won a free pass for one day at Zao.

We struggled a lot on the first day. We quickly discovered that Zao is primarily designed for skiers. My wife, a snow boarder, had to be pulled by me over the flat spots and spent a lot of time walking between lifts. We were shocked to learn we had to traverse for about 10 minutes to get to lift 17 or 19 from the top of lift 12. We
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Zao Onsen
Yamagata City, Yamagata
Submitted by Rin Gomura on 17th February 2015
Beautiful scenery with no crowds, but more suited for skiing.
Zao is very easily accessed via public transport. Just a shinkansen (bullet train) to Yamagata station, and then a 45 minute bus ride direct to the Zao village.

We stayed at the Lucent Takamiya hotel, which is directly in front of the Chuo (central) Ropeway. The ropeway runs every 15 minutes, which was really convenient.

The problem was trying to read the maps and signs to get from the top of the ropeway to lifts. I thought the signage could be
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