I came here via GALA Yuzawa, having bought a combined ticket (costing 5,100Yen) covering both resorts plus Ishiuchi Maruyama. It's definitely a lot of ground to cover in one day but at least gives you a good workout! From GALA, you take the Landau ropeway from the bottom of the Southern Area. This runs every 20 minutes and takes you across to the main area of Yuzawa Kogen. If you're not coming from GALA, the main area is accessed by a ropeway from the lower Nunoba area, not far from the centre of Yuzawa town.
Yuzawa's not a big resort, with only 5 lifts, excluding the two ropeways. However, that really didn't matter as the day I went was an unseasonal but very welcome powder day, with at least 20cm of fresh on-piste and more off-piste, not that you would have guessed by the lack of visitors. My skiing friend and I arrived from GALA at about 10.45 and headed straight up the two pair lifts to the top of the resort, then back down the black run and the main red run to the faster triple lift. Conditions were very good, though visibility less so, which was a shame as previous reviews mention the good views. We lapped the triple then back up to the top, where I popped off the black run into the trees to the right, before linking up with the green run which loops round from the skier’s right. We then decided to keep going all the way down to the bottom of the resort. I'm not a big fan of bombing down cat tracks but on this occasion it was actually good fun, with only a few tracks in the fresh snow. However, the lack of people at the top was literally nothing compared to what awaited us below, namely a completely empty slope with not a single person in sight. Having also not seen a cable car on the ropeway, my first thought was that the base of the resort was closed and we'd have to get a bus or taxi back to GALA. We therefore laid down fresh tracks down to a large hotel, unstrapped and walked across a small access road to the ropeway building where finally we found signs of life. Very surreal. Anyway, after another 20 minute wait for the next cable car, we headed up the ropeway which was also a surreal experience, being as though we were the only occupants other than the member of staff, who must have felt slightly odd giving the welcoming, explanatory spiel in Japanese to two gaijin. However, that didn’t put us off doing the run down again, which we did before stopping for lunch at Restaurant Edelweiss. One katsu-curry and yet another 20-minute wait later and we were back on the Landau Ropeway heading back to GALA.
Despite being a small-ish resort and only spending a few hours there (including lunch), I enjoyed my time at Yuzawa Kogen. The fresh powder and lack of crowds no doubt helped but it was definitely a different experience to its bigger, flashier neighbour. Unless you’re a beginner to intermediate skier/rider it’s probably not worth a trip in itself but if you have the time to pop up over from GALA, or even a couple of hours to kill in Yuzawa town, it’s worth a look. Just try to time your ropeway runs better than we did!
From 12 March, 2015 To 12 March, 2015
Snow condition on visit:
Approx. 20cm of fresh powder, though poor-ish visibility.
Things I liked:
The lack of crowds.
Things I didn't like:
The 20 minute wait at the ropeway stations.
Authentic Japan experience