Grand Sunpia Inawashiro Resort review by Canadian Freerider
This ski station is rather on the small side, but it offers enough challenge from top to bottom. Despites its size, it has the big advantage to be equipped with a gondola that brings you to the top quickly and comfortably. The chair lifts are slow and you need to take 3 of them before reaching the top.
The installation are a little bit old. The restaurant is small for the capacity of the resort.
On the side of the tracks, there are metallic structures to protect "i don't know what" that are not covered with cushion. To my point of view, it is really dangerous.
Now the most important : freeriding. There are 2 tracks that are left ungroomed. They have enough powder and are totally empty, but they are short.
The staff is very strict. As I freerider, I ran a small section of powder just before a chair lift loading station. The staff immediately stopped me and wrote a warning on my ticket for riding under the lift. There was no signs or rope to advise that it is prohibited, and I exit the area before there was some signs (slalom poles in the snow).
Finally, I don't find this area particularly suited for pure beginners (not that it is a criteria for me). The only track at the exit of the gondola is relatively steep (for beginners), is narrow and curves to the left.
The ticket price is very reasonable, but they charge 1,000 JPY for parking. It was crowded, but acceptable for a long week-end.
Inawashiro is an interesting resort, but I would chose another resort in the same area.
Verdict : 6.5/10
From 10 January, 2010
Snow condition on visit:
Very good, but few icy spot because of crowd
Things I liked:
Gondola, affordable ticket price, friendly staff
Things I didn't like:
Slow & inefficient chair lift, dangerous, very strict