Hunter Mountain bills itself as "One of the Largest Snow Resort (sic) in the Kanto Area."
While that may true, it may seem small in comparison to some other resorts. But what it lacks in size, it makes up in unique features such as a halfpipe in the terrain park, the best mogul course I have ever skied in Japan, and a pole bahn to practice those GS turns. It also has snowmaking, for artificial snow when the weather does
I won a free lift ticket to Ryuoo Ski Park compliments of Snow Japan (thank you!) and used the opportunity to check it out during the holidays. As I promised to SJDavid, here is my trip report, also uploaded to the main database.
Ryuoo is very popular with snowboarders, as it was one of the first to open up to boarders back in the days when skiers ruled the world. Although many other resorts boast of bigger parks, or halfpipes,
Appi is a classic example of a Bubble Era ski resort, with a grand hotel, high rise condominiums, and several annex buildings surrounding an expansive mountain. I have always wanted to see this resort, as it is very popular, almost always in the top 10 ranking of ski areas in Japan as voted by Japanese skiers.
Perhaps one of the reasons why is what Appi refers to as "Best Snow Quality - Gifted Natural Environment" and the aspirin snow. Their description
Furano is best known for its fields of lavender and being the scene of the drama called "Kita no Kuni Kara" (From Northern Country) with its rustic stone and log house. Recently, the town of Furano has been making efforts to attract more foreigners to visit, and it seems to have been successful judging from the number of non Japanese that we saw on our trip. Asahikawa airport allows easy access (much faster than through Shin Chitose/Sapporo airport).
Shizukuishi was known in the past as the flagship of the Prince ski empire. It has the typical two mountain with interconnecting course/lift layout, similar to Furano. However, it's age is starting to show, as this gem from the Bubble Era is starting to fade.
The Prince Hotel is on the left side, the Mt. Takakura side which comprises the largest area and boasting a 101 person ropeway. On the right side, there is the Mt. Kotakakura side with a 6