After reading the rather positive reviews here, and noticing than 130 cm of snow were annonced, I decided to go to Hunter Mountain Shiobara for a day of ski.
While cheap packages seems available if you go by train/bus, using a car is not a good idea: you need to pay 600 yens for just using 5 minutes a long pay road (the resort being "conveniently" located after the toll gate), and they charge 1000 yens to park your car (Sat & sun) on one of their 10 parking lots!
There are lots of people on the bottom of the ski runs, close to the restaurants. Mostly beginners. Things are better if you stay on the top of the resort.
From the first run, you immediately will notice that the runs are more or less flat: in fact, the ski resort is not located on a mountain, but merely on a hill. The "most difficult" runs would be usually considered as at most "intermediate" runs everywhere in Japan.
When you arrive at the bottom of the ski runs, after usually pushing for a while, you will find hundreds of snowboarders sitting on the slope (considering it is mostly flat, I guess we can't blame them). It is however inconveninent and dangerous when you try to reach the gondola (the only interesting option there).
Also, I choose this resort because it officially annonced 130 cm of snow. After sking last week-end in Manza (80 cm), I though it could be a good change. Alas! Obviously, this is purely a commercial annoncement: you could see grass next to the ski field... Although they use almost 100 machines to make snow, there was definitively not that much snow (and much less than in Manza).
Finally, don't go there to relax. Apart of the family parks and children parks, which drain lots of families with young children, there was 2 hours of continuous talks and guest "interviews" aired on all the ski runs...
From February, 2007
Snow condition on visit:
Things I liked:
Convenient location (at least to visit some onsen)
Things I didn't like:
More of less flat, inconsistent snow report, very crowded on the bottom, 1000 yens to park your car + 600 yens for the pay road