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Park

ICON LEGEND

Park

Halfpipe

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Night Skiing

Ski School

Ropeway

Gondola

Quad Lift

Gear Rental

Kids Facilities

Triple Lift

Double Lift

Single Lift

Snow Carpet Resort opening and closing times and lift schedules may vary from day to day and season opening and closing dates may change depending on conditions. Please check with the resort directly before you go.

WINTER 2014

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WINTER 2014

5


HOKKAIDO

Kamui Ski Links

T

he general rule with skiing is, the farther north you go, the better the snow. Well, you can’t go any farther north in Japan than Hokkaido, and the area rightfully creates the biggest buzz for people in search of deep powder. The reason for this is simple; Hokkaido consistently gets the best snow conditions, and Niseko in particular is recognized as a world-class ski resort, rivaling the long-established ski areas in Europe and North America. However, anyone thinking Hokkaido is a one-trick pony will be pleasantly surprised to find there are some great ski areas all over Japan’s north island.

Furano Kiroro Snow World

Sahoro

Niseko Grand Hirafu Niseko Village Niseko Annupuri Rusutsu Tomamu

NISEKO NISEKO GRAND HIRAFU, NISEKO ANNUPURI, NISEKO VILLAGE RESORT

Kutchan-cho, Hokkaido Niseko United: www.niseko.ne.jp

Niseko Grand Hirafu 40% 1 8 Park

Park

Niseko Annupuri

Longest Course: 4,000m Top Elevation: 1,156m Base Elevation: 400m Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

Niseko HANAZONO Resort

Longest Course: 4,550m Top Elevation: 1,030m Base Elevation: 308m

Niseko Grand Hirafu

Advanced

Longest Course: 5,600m Top Elevation: 1,170m Niseko Village Base Elevation: 280m Longest Course: 5,000m Top Elevation: 1,175m Base Elevation: 280m

37% 2 1

23% 1

T R AV E L E R

36% 1

32% 4

32% 2

27

courses

30

courses

Niseko Annupuri 30% 1

40% 1

Niseko HANAZONO Resort 30% 4

13

courses

For more Hokkaido information visit OJ Online (www.outdoorjapan.com)

42

Niseko Village Resort

25% 3

11

courses

63%

12%


ODIN - Traveler Magazine ad_final production.

Niseko gets a lot of attention, and rightfully so. It is the most international ski resort in Japan and consistently gets some of the heaviest snowfall in the world. The mountain, Mt. Annupuri (which, in Ainu, means White Mountain), is home to three ski resorts: Niseko Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village (formerly Niseko Higashiyama) and Niseko Annupuri. Collectively they form Niseko United and share a common lift pass. The Hanazono area of Niseko

Grand Hirafu is independently managed, and one of the more progressive areas on the mountain, featuring three terrain parks and the only FIS Half Pipe in Japan, which is well maintained throughout the season, and a bag jump, where you can safely practice your freestyle tricks. Niseko Village (which is a 10-minute drive from the main Hirafu Village area) also has nice facilities and a lot of activities. Niseko Annupuri keeps the lowest profile of the three, but has some nice areas that can be less crowded. Other nearby resorts are Niseko Moiwa and Niseko Weiss. The lifts are no longer running at Weiss, but cat tours service the area. While a few other resorts may challenge Niseko’s claim to the best powder in Japan, there is no doubt Niseko has the best, and widest, selection of restaurants and accommodations in Japan. The infrastructure is well organized, with efficient bus service to/from Sapporo and New Chitose Airport and a shuttle bus that takes visitors to the various resorts. On one of those rare mid-season clear days, the view of Mt. Yotei from the slopes is the quintessential image of skiing in Japan.

NISEKO ANNUPURI (0136) 58-2080 www.cks.chuo-bus.co.jp/annupuri Nov. 23 - May 6 8:30 - 16:30 (16:30 - 21:00) 1 DAY Adults ¥4,800 TICKET Kids ¥2,800

Park C

M

By Train: 120 minutes from Sapporo Station to Kutchan Station ACCESS By Car: 120 minutes from Sapporo City and New Chitose Airport

Y

CM

MY

NISEKO GRAND HIRAFU (0136) 22-0109 www.grand-hirafu.jp Nov. 23 - May 6 8:30 - 21:00 (16:30 - 21:00) 1 DAY Adults ¥4,900 TICKET Kids ¥2,700

CY

CMY

K

Park

By Train: 120 minutes from Sapporo Station ACCESS to Kutchan Station By Car: 120 minutes from Sapporo City and New Chitose Airport

NISEKO VILLAGE (0136) 44-2211 Dec. 1 - Apr. 6

www.niseko-village.com 8:30 - 16:30 (16:30 - 21:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,500 TICKET Kids ¥2,800

Park

By Train: 120 minutes from Sapporo Station ACCESS to Kutchan Station By Car: 120 minutes from Sapporo City and New Chitose Airport

NISEKO HANAZONO RESORT (0136) 23-0103 Dec. 7 - Apr. 6

www.hanazononiseko.com 8:30 - 16:00

1 DAY Adults ¥4,800 TICKET Kids ¥2,600

Park

By Train: 120 minutes from Sapporo Station ACCESS to Kutchan Station By Car: 120 minutes from Sapporo City and New Chitose Airport More information online at www.outdoorjapan.com/snow WINTER 2014

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RUSUTSU RESORT

Rusutsu, Hokkaido

(0136) 46-3331 http://en.rusutsu.co.jp Nov. 21 - Apr. 4 9:00 - 21:00 (16:00 - 21:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥5,100 TICKET Kids ¥2,550

Rusutsu is more than a good day trip from Niseko. It’s an excellent all-round mountain with 37 courses over three mountains: Mt. Isola, East Mountain and West Mountain. Powder lovers will love the big valleys full of deep tree runs funneling down to the modern, efficient lifts, and everyone will enjoy the views of the back side of Mt. Yotei and the quieter alternative to bustling Niseko. The ski-in/ski-out Rusutsu Resort Hotel is the most convenient place to stay with hot springs, day care, fireworks during Christmas and New Year and a variety of great activities.

Park

30% 4

4

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

40% 7

30% 4

Advanced

37

courses

Longest Top E Base E

30% 8

Park

Beginner Intermediate Station ACCESS By Train: 120 minutes from Sapporo Station to Kutchan Lifts Gondola By Car: 90 minutes from New Chitose Airport

Advanced

KIRORO SNOW WORLD (0135) 34-7111 www.kiroro.co.jp/english/ Nov. 23 - May 6 9:00 - 20:00 (16:30-19:30)

Longest Course: 3,500m Top Elevation: 994m Base Elevation: 400m

37

courses

Akaigawa, Hokkaido 1 DAY Adults ¥5,000 TICKET Kids ¥2,500

Kiroro is a relatively new ski resort (it opened in 1992). It is just 30 kilometers west of Sapporo and easily reachable from Niseko, so is a nice place to explore from either area. The resort has great facilities, some amazing views of the Japan Sea and the natural surroundings and gets a lot of snow from midDecember until early May. If Kiroro has one major drawback, it would be a lack of challenging terrain. However, there are powder pockets and plenty of gentle slopes for beginners and children. The "Powder Zone" opens from the middle of January to the middle of March. Kiroro also has one of the best base lodges in Japan, complete with a hot spring to soak away the day’s bumps and bruises and an adjacent hotel with good restaurants.

Park

33% 1

2

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

29% 4

33% 1

Advanced

21

courses

Longest Top Ele Base E

38% 4

Park

Beginner byIntermediate car from ACCESS By Car: About 30 minutes by car from Otaru or 80 minutes Lifts Gondola downtown Sapporo

Advanced

Longest Course: 4,050m Top Elevation: 1,180m courses Base Elevation: 570m

21

SAPPORO KOKUSAI

Sapporo, Hokkaido

(0115) 98-4511 www.sapporo-kokusai.jp Nov. 22 - May 6 9:00 - 18:00

1 DAY Adults ¥4,000 TICKET Kids ¥1,000

If you ski or snowboard, Sapporo is hard to beat. Residents can get a few quick runs just 15 minutes from downtown at Sapporo Bankei. However, many families make the one-hour drive out to “Kokusai,” which offers more choices for beginners and intermediate skiers and has a nice park. Although this is a day-trip resort, it does attract a spattering of international guests who find it hard to stay in the city when snow is falling. Most will be pleasantly surprised as this coastal resort gets its fair share of powder days and offers some varied, albeit fairly short, runs and a small, but decent park. Night skiing is not available. Park

ACCESS

Beginner Intermediate By car: One hour from Sapporo city center, depending Lifts on traffic Gondola

Advanced

Park

30% 2 Park

Beginner Lifts

1 DAY Adults ¥4,800 TICKET Kids ¥2,300

If someone mentions the Winter Olympics in Japan, you’ll undoubtedly think of the 1998 Nagano Olympics. Yet 26 years earlier, Sapporo hosted its own Winter Games at a resort just 30 minutes from downtown Sapporo. Yet, what might be most surprising is this resort, Sapporo Teine, offers some steep and deep powder fun for intermediate and advanced riders. The off-piste terrain is up in the Teine Highland area, accessible without having to duck ropes or elude the patrol. The Teine Olympia is a kinder, gentler area, which has a lively park scene. Night skiing available until 9 p.m.

(With Mother Natures Blessing)

Come in December, March or April and beat the crowds and save some money!

tel. 050 5532 6026 www.nozawaholidays.com ACCESS

T R AV E L E R

7

courses

Longest Top Ele Base E

10% 2

Longest Course: 3,600m Top Elevation: 1,100m Base Elevation: 670m

7

courses

Beginner Intermediate By Car: 30 minutes from Sapporo city center, depending Lifts on traffic Gondola

Advanced

Park

40% 1

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

40% 1

30% 1

Advanced

30%

Longest Course: 6,000m Top Elevation: 1,023m courses Base Elevation: 680m

15

For more Hokkaido information visit OJ Online (www.outdoorjapan.com)

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Advanced

Sapporo, Hokkaido

(0116) 82-6000 www.sapporo-teine.com Nov. 22 - May 6 9:00 - 21:00 (16:00-21:00)

Season runs from December 3rd to May 6th

60% 1

30% 2

SAPPORO TEINE

SKI JAPAN

Intermediate Gondola

6

15

courses

3

Longest Top Ele Base E


SAHORO SKI RESORT (0156) 64-4121 Dec. 1 - Apr. 6

Shintoku, Hokkaido

www.sahoro.co.jp 9:00 - 18:00 (16:00 - 18:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,830 TICKET Kids ¥3,780

Park

Sahoro is a well-run resort that caters to families. There are 17 nicely groomed courses, some “semi-backcountry,” a cross-country course and a terrain park. Like Tomamu, it’s a place where you can have fun whether you are a skier or not, with lots of activities. Two all-inclusive hotels service Sahoro Resort: The Sahoro Resort Hotel, an attractive luxury hotel, and the Club Med Sahoro. English ski lessons are available and lots of organized fun for the whole family. Sahoro is not for the budget traveler, but makes for a great family getaway.

Beginner Station Intermediate ACCESS By Train: 94 minutes from New Chitose Airport to Shintoku Gondola By car: 200 min. from Sapporo to Shimukappu I.C. Lifts

30% 1 3 Beginner Lifts

30% 1 3

Advanced

17

courses

TOMAMU

Intermediate Gondola

40% 2 1

Advanced

17

courses

40% 2 1

30% 1

Longest Course: 3,000m Top Elevation: 1,060m Base Elevation: 420m

30% 1

Longest Course: 3,000m Top Elevation: 1,060m Base Elevation: 420m

Shimukappu, Hokkaido

(0167) 58-1111 www.snowtomamu.jp Nov. 30 - Apr. 6 9:00 - 19:00 (16:00 - 19:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,800 TICKET Kids ¥3,600

Park

Tomamu has excellent facilities and a beautiful location. Many courses are suited for beginners, yet a challenging double black diamond course and cat-ski tours will challenge advanced riders. Tomamu is a destination in itself with a plethora of ways to entertain the whole family. There’s a good selection of restaurants, an indoor wave pool, Kids Park, ice village, dog sledding, nighttime air-balloon rides and a variety of spa and relaxation options. Tomamu is celebrating its 30th year by opening a new high-speed quad, expanding the Family Adventure area and connecting the two mountains (no more walking). Beginner Station Intermediate ACCESS By Train: 70 minutes from New Chitose Airport to Tomamu Lifts Gondola By Car: 90 minutes from New Chitose Airport

25% 1 2 Beginner Lifts

25% 1 2

Advanced

Intermediate Gondola

45% 2

Advanced

25

courses

45% 2

30% 4

Longest Course: 4,500m Top Elevation: 1,239m Base Elevation: 568m

30% 4

Longest Course: 4,500m Top Elevation: 1,239m courses Base Elevation: 568m

25

FURANO RESORT

Furano, Hokkaido

(0167) 22-1111 www.princehotels.co.jp/newfurano Nov. 23 - May 6 8:30 - 17:00 (17:00 - 20:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,500 TICKET Kids FREE

Park

Central Hokkaido's Furano Resort is known for blue skies, yet manages nearly nine meters of snow each year. There are two sides to the mountain, serviced by a 101-person cable car (Japan’s fastest). The nearby Tokachi Range is a popular backcountry playground. The ski-in/ski-out New Furano Prince Hotel has a new hot springs facility. Join the Host Program and get a tour from a local or a bus tour from January to March to Lake Shikarebetsu’s ice village and bathe in ice bathhouses or enjoy a drink at the ice bar built on the frozen lake.

Park

Beginner Lifts

Park

40% 1 5

23 Beginner Intermediate Advanced Asahikawa Airport courses ACCESS Bus or car access is recommended: 60 minutes from Lifts Gondola to Furano Station

KAMUI SKI LINKS

Intermediate Gondola

40% 1 1

Advanced

40% 25% 1 52

25 23

courses

40% 45% 30% 20% www.hokkaidopowderguides.com 42 12 1

Longest Course: 4,000m 4,500m Top Elevation: 1,209m 1,239m Base Elevation: 964m 568m

20% 2

Longest Course: 4,000m Top Elevation: 1,209m Base Elevation: 964m

Asahikawa, Hokkaido

(0166) 72-2311 www.kamui-skilinks.com Dec. 1 - Mar. 31 9:00 - 17:00

1 DAY Adults ¥3,000 TICKET Kids ¥1,500

Kamui Ski Links is a resort run “by skiers, for skiers.” Those who enjoy powder and tree skiing will understand why this little resort 20 kilometers outside of Asahikawa has so many admirers. Management has no restrictions on tree skiing and has even left several courses in which to play ungroomed. On top of that, the snow quality is excellent. You may find yourself in some short lines for the lifts on weekends, but on weekdays it is nothing but fresh lines down the hill. Be sure to warm up by the fireplace at Café 751 at the top of the gondola.

Park

20% 1

40% 7

40%

Park

Beginner Lifts

20% 1

Intermediate Gondola

40% 7

Advanced

10

courses

Longest Course: 4,000m Top Elevation: 750m Base Elevation: 600m

40%

Park

10 Beginner from Intermediate downtownAdvanced courses ACCESS Bus or car access is recommended: About 25 minutes Lifts Gondola Asahikawa on Route 12

Longest Course: 4,000m Top Elevation: 750m Base Elevation: 600m

More information online at www.outdoorjapan.com/snow WINTER 2014

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TOHOKU Hakkoda Ropeway

Hachimantai Resort

Tazawako

HAKKODA ROPEWAY

Hakkoda, Aomori

(017) 738-0343 www.hakkoda-ropeway.jp Late Nov. - Mid-May 9:00 - 15:20

Appi Kogen

Gran Deco Miyagi Eboshi Alts Bandai Yamagata Zao

APPI KOGEN

Hachimantai, Iwate

(0195) 73-6401 www.appi.co.jp/foreign_country/english/ Dec. 7 - May 6 8:00 - 20:00 (16:00 - 20:00) 1 DAY Adults ¥5,200 TICKET Kids ¥3,000

1 DAY Adults 5 Times (on Ropeway) ¥4,900 TICKET Kids ¥2,200 Park

Park

Tour Route Area Tour Route Area

Park

APPI is a giant resort (41K of trails) with a The eight peaks of Hakkoda attract Japan's Beginner Intermediate Advanced Beginner Intermediate Advanced long season (thanks to the many north-facing most devoted powder lovers. It is basically courses courses Lifts Gondola Lifts Gondola slopes) plus some great facilities (thanks to backcountry with a 100-person gondola that bubble era spending). Unlike many resorts in takes 10 minutes to the top with four trips 40% 20% Japan that have relatively short runs, the average course 30% 20% 60% 30% every hour. Once you get off, you can choose from "Direct" or length at APPI is 2,100m; the longest 5,500m. It’s possible to "Forest" trails. You won't get many blue bird days here, and 1 1 2 3 11 do Appi as a long day-trip from Tokyo but, with two ski-in/skivisibility can be difficult during snowstorms, which happen out hotels and an annex hotel, which collectively sleep 4,100 often. So if you are a Hakkoda newbie and want to explore 1 guests, why not stay and soak away sore muscles at one the terrain, it's best to grab a local guide. Hakkoda Sansou, Longest Course: 5,000m Longest Course: 5,500m of the two natural hot springs after a day on the mountain. across the parking lot from the gondola, is the closest 10 Top Elevation: 1,324m Families will appreciate the Kids Park. 21 Top Elevation: 1,328m Beginner Advanced Beginner Intermediate Advanced accommodation. Up the road, Sukayu Onsen Intermediate is a mixed hot courses Base Elevation: 660m courses Base Elevation: 828m spring with a 300-year history and a 1,000-person bath. ACCESS By Bus: 80 minutes from Aomori Station By Car: 35 min. from Aomori I.C. and Ishiguri I.C.

ACCESS By Train and Bus: 50 minutes from Morioka Station to APPI. By Car: 15 minutes from Matsuo-Hachimantai I.C. or Ashiro I.C.

HACHIMANTAI RESORT

Hachimantai, Iwate

(0195) 78-4111 www.hachimantai.co.jp Dec. 14 - Apr. 6 8:30 - 16:30 (12/15-21, 3/25-4/7 9:00 - 16:00) Night Skiing:

please check website

TAZAWAKO SKI RESORT

Tazawako, Akita

(0187) 46-2011 www.tazawako-ski.com Dec. 14 - Apr. 21 Weekdays 9:00 - 16:00, Weekends 9:00 - 16:00

1 DAY Adults ¥3,700 TICKET Kids ¥2,500

1 DAY Adults ¥3,800 TICKET Kids ¥1,000

Park

Park PANORAMA

SHIMOKURA Park

Park

When it snows in Tazawako, and it usually It’s easy to get confused because there are Beginner Intermediate Advanced Beginner Intermediate Advanced does, there is deep powder and a good variety of two Iwate Hachimantai resorts and another in courses courses Lifts Gondola Lifts Gondola courses to enjoy. When it is not snowing, you are Akita. The smaller Hachimantai in Iwate is a treated to one of the great views of any ski resort three-lift powder resort known for free riding. 50% 30% 10% in Japan, with Lake Tazawa below providing a stunning backdrop. 40% 40% 30% Iwate’s Hachimantai Resort, on the other hand, is larger and For this reason, Tazawako is a popular ski resort for people in is a great family ski destination. Hachimantai Resort covers 4 1 3 2 Tohoku, but the lines are still relatively short when compared to two main areas, Panorama ski area and the Shomokura resorts in other areas of Japan. The lifts run directly from the ski area. Both are well sheltered from the weather, and Tazawako Onsen hotel area. The selection of runs should keep Panorama features a huge night skiing area. There are highLongest Course: 2,700m Longest Course: 3,000m happy; on one side is a beginner and intermediate area, speed lifts servicing mostly beginner or intermediate courses 7 Top Elevation: 1,000m everyone 13 Top Elevation: 1,186m Beginner room Intermediate Advanced Advanced and on the other is a more challengingBeginner advancedIntermediate course. Powder that are wide open, so plenty of breathing for beginners courses Base Elevation: 540m courses Base Elevation: 578m lovers won’t want to miss the Komagatake Panoramic Cat Tour. or kids wanting to bomb down the hill. ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen from Tokyo to Morioka Station (2 hours, 26 minutes), then about 90 minutes by bus to Hachimantai Resort

ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen from Tokyo to Tazawako Station (3 hours), then 30 minutes by bus to the ski resort

For more Tohoku information visit OJ Online (www.outdoorjapan.com)

46

T R AV E L E R

Photo courtesy of JapowTours.com

T

he Tohoku Region represents about 35 percent of the area of Japan’s main island, Honshu. Running north-south through the center of Tohoku are the Ou Mountains, ranging between 1,500-2,000 meters. When the famous poet, Matsuo Basho, wrote The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Oku no Hosomichi), these were the mountains toward which he walked. Today they are full of some of Japan’s least crowded ski resorts. Tohoku may seem far away, but it’s only twoto-four hours by bullet train or you can jump on a domestic flight. Regardless, it’s never too far to go to find good snow.


EBOSHI RESORT

Zao-machi, Miyagi

(0224) 34-4001 www.eboshi.co.jp Dec. 1 - Mar.30 9:00 - 22:00 (17:30 - 22:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,300 TICKET Kids ¥2,700

Miyagi's Eboshi Resort is on the other side of the mountain from the more famous Yamagata Zao Onsen Ski Resort. It's much quieter, the lift lines are shorter on this side of the track, and the views are fantastic. Although it's a decent sized resort with well laid-out courses and a variety of ways to descend the mountain, it is more geared for beginners or advanced riders, as there is not a lot of challenging terrain. Powder hounds will be salivating on some of the areas outside the lines.

Park

50% 1 1

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

50% 1 1

Park

10

courses

20% 6

Longest Course: 4,300m Top Elevation: 1,350m Base Elevation: 650m

20% 6

Longest Course: 4,300m Top Elevation: 1,350m Base Elevation: 650m

10 Beginner Station Intermediate(1 hour, Advanced courses ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen from Tokyo to Shoroishi-Zao Gondola 54 minutes) then about an hour to the ski resort Lifts

YAMAGATA ZAO SKI RESORT

30% 1

Advanced

30% 1

Yamagata-shi, Yamagata

(023) 694-9328 www.zao-ski.or.jp Dec. 7 - Early May 8:30 - 21:00 (17:00 - 21:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,800 TICKET Kids ¥2,500

Ski resorts each have their own personalities; it is one of the joys of exploring new resort areas. Zao Onsen has a big bubbling personality. The town is literally bubbling with hot springs, and the ski resort offers a unique ski experience—skiing among the famous Zao Snow Monsters (juhyo). The resort is big with four gondolas, 35 lifts and a 10K downhill course. Skiers will enjoy the layout more than snowboarders (too much traversing), but the highlight, undoubtedly, is riding among these huge creatures formed of ice and wind. The peak season is February, and the juhyo illumination is spectacular.

Park

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

40% 3 3

Park

Beginner Intermediate to Yamagata ACCESS By Train and Bus: 2 1/2 hours by bullet train from Tokyo Lifts Gondola Station, then 40 minutes by bus to Zao Onsen

40% 3 3

Advanced

40% 1 27

Advanced

26

courses

40% 1 27

20% 5 2

Longest Course: 8,000m Top Elevation: 1,660m Base Elevation: 780m

20% 5 2

Longest Course: 8,000m Top Elevation: 1,660m courses Base Elevation: 780m

26

ALTS BANDAI

Bandai, Fukushima

(0242) 74-5000 www.alts.co.jp Dec. 21 - Mar. 23 8:00 - 17:00 (17:00 - 21:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,700 TICKET Kids ¥3,700

With 30K of rideable terrain, nearly 30 courses and progressive freestyle parks, it is no surprise ALTS is a favorite of many of the top park riders in Japan. The resort is the largest in southern Tohoku and was the home to the Asia Open. This year ALTS features a new Cat Ski area on the west side of the resort where visitors can enjoy some deep turns. They offer budget backpacker accommodations and have shuttle bus service directly from Narita. After crankin’ big air in the pipe, slide into the Riders’ Café for a drink or relax in the hotel's great hot springs. ALTS is a south-facing resort, so it’s bright and features some nice terrain for free riding, but powder lovers will want to head next door to north-facing Nekoma.

Park

35% 1 1 Park

Beginner Lifts

35% 1 1

Park

Beginner StationIntermediate ACCESS By Train: 82 minutes from Tokyo Station to KoriyamaLifts By Car: 60 minutes from Fukushima International Airport. Gondola

Advanced

GRAN DECO SNOW RESORT (0241) 32-2530 www.grandeco.com Nov. 30 - May. 6 8:30 - 16:45 (8:00 - 17:00)

Intermediate Gondola

29

courses

40% 3

Advanced

29

courses

40% 3

25% 7

Longest Course: 3,300m Top Elevation: 1,280m Base Elevation: 700m

25% 7

Longest Course: 3,300m Top Elevation: 1,280m Base Elevation: 700m

Aizu Ura Bandai, Fukushima 1 DAY Adults ¥4,500 TICKET Kids ¥3,400

Gran Deco Snow Resort is a medium-sized resort with first-rate facilities, which include a gondola and express chairlifts and artificial snow-making capabilities to guarantee early and late-season riding. There is also a luxury hotel and SIA certified Snow Academy. Although the resort is best suited for beginners and intermediate riders, there are tree runs for advanced riders and a well maintained park. Gran Deco is one of the highest resorts in the area, which means good quality snow. The nearby Hotel Gran Deco has western-style rooms, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool (open in winter), Jacuzzis, saunas, hot spring baths, restaurants and bars. Beginner bus. ACCESS By train: 45 minutes from Inawashiro Station via local Lifts By car: 35 minutes from Inawashiro Bandai Kogen I.C.

Intermediate Gondola

Advanced

Park

7 40% 1

Beginner Lifts

40% 1

Intermediate Gondola

45% 4

Advanced

7

8

45% 4

15%

Longest Course: 4,000m Top Elevation: 1,590m

courses Base Elevation: 1,010m

15%

Longest Course: 4,000m Top Elevation: 1,590m courses Base Elevation: 1,010m

8

More information online at www.outdoorjapan.com/snow WINTER 2014

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WINTER 2014

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WINTER 2014

7


NAGANO N

agano is the traditional center of the Japan snow scene, and at the heart of it is the Japan Alps. The prefecture is home to some of the finest, steepest and biggest resorts in Japan, and boasts arguably the most breathtaking scenery. Within Nagano, the sheer volume of ski areas is due to the jagged spine of rugged natural beauty known as the Japan Alps slashing through the prefecture. This area is as much a Mecca for photographers as it is for skiers, with its many onsen, snow-swept valleys and bristling peaks. Backcountry fun here is limited only to your preparedness and daring. Hakuba, Shiga Kogen, Nozawa and the Iiyama areas are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

HAKUBA GORYU

Hakuba, Nagano

(0261) 75-2101 www.hakubagoryu.com/e/index.html 8:00 - 21:30 (18:00 - 21:30) Late Nov. - May 6

Togakushi

Nozawa Onsen

Hakuba Cortina

Okushiga

Madarao

Yakebitaiyama Shiga Kogen Area

Tsugaike Hakuba Iwatake Hakuba Happo

Hoppobundaira Higashitateyama Nishitateyama

Hakuba 47 Hakuba Goryu Norikura Kogen

HAKUBA 47

Hakuba, Nagano

(0261) 75-3533 www.hakuba47.co.jp 8:15 -16:30 Dec. 10 - May 6 1 DAY Adults ¥4,800 TICKET Kids ¥2,500

1 DAY Adults ¥4,800 TICKET Kids ¥2,500

Park

Park

Park

Hakuba 47 is a relatively new resort (opened Hakuba Goryu is not the largest resort in Beginner Intermediate Advanced Beginner Intermediate Advanced in 1990), and they’ve been trying to take some Hakuba, but it is one of the most scenic and courses courses Lifts Gondola Lifts Gondola fresh, progressive steps to making a better pleasant places to ski. Soak up the view as resort experience. There are loads of activities the Japan Alps soar behind you, and then 40% 25% and events, an extensive snow park with lots of jibs, kickers 35% 40% 30% 30% head down to the Escal Plaza, one of the best base lodges in and things to launch off, and a great half pipe. The resort Japan. There is a ski/snowboard rental shop, a nice selection 1 9 1 4 3 1 also has some excellent intermediate courses, a challenging of restaurants and even a bath open until 9 p.m. daily. If mogul course and a shared ticket with Goryu, so no shortage you’re on a tight budget, there is a “resting room” where you of courses from which to choose. If you were wondering can wait for the lifts to open. It’s a common space that fits Longest Course: 5,000m Longest Course: 6,800m about the name, the goal of the resort is to offer a great up to 100 people (no reservations required). Serious skiers 16 8 Top Elevation: 1,614m Top Elevation: 1,624m Beginner Intermediate Advanced Beginner Intermediate mountain experience “4” seasons and “7” days a week. Advanced courses can challenge themselves on the Champions expert run, and courses Base Elevation: 950m Base Elevation: 820m Goryu also shares a common lift pass with Hakuba 47. Park

ACCESS By Train and Shuttle: Shinkansen to Nagano Station and the direct bus to Hakuba. A shuttle service runs between Goryu and Hakuba 47

HAKUBA HAPPO

Hakuba, Nagano

(0261) 72-3066 www.hakuba-happo.jp Nov. 23 - May 6 8:00 - 17:00 (17:00 - 21:00)

ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Nagano Station (1 hour, 45 minutes), then an Alpico Bus to Hakuba (60 minutes)

HAKUBA IWATAKE

Hakuba, Nagano

(0261) 72-2474 www.tokyu-hakuba.co.jp/english/winter/iwatake/ Dec. 20 - Apr. 23 8:00 - 17:00 1 DAY Adults ¥4,600 TICKET Kids ¥2,300

1 DAY Adults ¥3,900 TICKET Kids ¥2,200

Park

Park

Park

Park

South Side North Side If the crowds at Happo are too much for you, Happo is a huge resort that is heaven for Beginner Intermediate Advanced Beginner Intermediate Advanced head over to nearby Iwatake. The base of the skiers who enjoy well-groomed, long courses. courses courses Lifts Gondola Lifts Gondola resort looks up at Hakuba’s highest peaks for There are many runs, good challenging terrain a spectacular view while you enjoy the slopes. and a nice park and the Hakuba Banks Park 50% 20% The resort itself is surprisingly big, making it a great place to 50% 30% 20% 30% opens on Feb. 1. Happo hosted the downhill races during the go to get away from the crowds and explore the 24 courses. 1998 Olympics and, if you want to test your meddle, head to 3 1 5 1 1 1 It’s mostly beginner and intermediate runs, but there is a the top of the men’s downhill course. While advanced riders nearly four-kilometer cruiser and a small terrain park. Lift will love Happo, beginners may get frustrated with the many 14 12 1 lines are relatively short by Hakuba standards, and you can narrow paths leading down the mountain. If you need a Longest Course: 8,000m Longest Course: 3,800m often find some pockets of powder here after it has been North Side break, there are plenty of restaurants to stop for a bite. Note 13 Top Elevation: 1,831m tracked out at other resorts nearby.Beginner Intermediate Advanced 15 Top Elevation: 1,289m Intermediate Advanced the resort’s popularity means it canBeginner get crowded, especially courses Base Elevation: 760m courses Base Elevation: 539m on long weekends.

ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Nagano Station (1 hour, 45 minutes), then an Alpico Bus to Hakuba (60 minutes)

ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Nagano Station (1 hour, 45 minutes), then an Alpico Bus to Hakuba (60 minutes)

For more Nagano information visit OJ Online (www.outdoorjapan.com)

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T R AV E L E R


HAKUBA CORTINA

Hakuba, Nagano

(0261) 82-2236 www.hakubacortina.jp Dec. 14 - Apr. 6 8:30 - 20:00 (17:00 - 20:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥3,300 TICKET Kids ¥1,700

If you are looking for a place to spend a quiet, romantic ski weekend in the Hakuba area, head over to Cortina. The massive Green Plaza Hotel with northern European architecture is impressive. If your ski partner is just starting out, the course right outside the door of the hotel is a gentle slope and great for beginners. Although most of the runs are in the beginner to intermediate range, there are some steep courses, and they have adopted a progressive approach to tree skiing and power areas in which guests are responsible for themselves if they get into trouble. The Hakuba Cortina Resort also offers a convenient shuttle from Nagano Station (one-way, 1,000 yen).

Park

Beginner Lifts

30% 5

30%

courses

Longest Course: 3,500m Top Elevation: 1,402m Base Elevation: 872m

HAKUBA TSUGAIKE KOGEN

Otari, Nagano 1 DAY Adults ¥4,500 TICKET Kids ¥2,500

Tsugaike is actually located in Otari Village, just up the road from Hakuba. The resort could be considered one of the most underrated, considering it has some huge bowls, a big gondola, terrain park, cross-country course, good night skiing and some interesting runs. There are even heli-skiing tours in spring and good places to hike to get fresh turns. The Children’s Square is great for kids just starting out on the slopes. Most of Tsugaike’s runs are in the intermediate range, but there are a few expert areas as well. To finish off a great day, head over to Tsuga no Yu hot springs, just 100 meters from the gondola. Beginner Intermediate ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Nagano Station (1 hour, 45 minutes), then a shuttle to Hakuba Cortina (80 minutes)

MT. NORIKURA

Advanced

40% 2

16 Beginner Intermediate Advanced courses ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Nagano Station (1 hour, 45 minutes), then a shuttle to Hakuba Cortina (90 minutes, 1,000 yen) (0261) 83-2515 www.tsugaike-kogen.com Nov. 23 - May 6 8:00 - 20:50 (18:00 - 20:50)

Intermediate Gondola

Advanced

Park

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

Advanced

30% 1 9

50% 1 1

courses

20% 10 2

Longest Course: 4,630m Top Elevation: 1,704m courses Base Elevation: 800m

15

Norikura Kogen Onsen, Nagano

(0263) 93-2645 www.norikura.co.jp Dec. 7 - Apr. 6 8:30 - 16:20

1 DAY Adults ¥4,000 TICKET Kids ¥3,000

The base of Mt. Norikura (not to be confused with the smaller Hakuba Norikura) starts at 1,500 meters, meaning the snow quality is excellent, and you’ll spend more time riding than in lift lines. It is a relatively small, local resort, yet the dedicated locals have created a progressive and challenging terrain park and good facilities for beginners to learn to ride. There is no ATM, so bring cash and make sure to pack chains or have a 4WD, since Norikura is nestled deep in the Northern Alps. After a day on the mountain, don’t miss the great rotenburo at Yukemurikan.

Park

Park

Beginner Lifts

35% 1

Intermediate Gondola

Advanced

45% 1

courses

20% 6

Longest Course: 5,000m 20 Top Elevation: 2,000m Beginner Intermediate Advanced courses ACCESS By Train: Super Azusa Express train from Shinjuku to Matsumoto (2 hours, 37 Base Elevation: 1,500m minutes. Transfer at Matsumoto, then on to Shin Shimashima (30 minutes)

PEOPLE GET READY JAP A N

Feb. 8

Snow Splash Party in Minakami

Mar. 1

Snow Splash '14 in Hakuba (Official After Party for Red Bull Kick & Shred)

www.outdoorjapan.com/snowsplash More information online at www.outdoorjapan.com/snow WINTER 2014

49


SHIGA KOGEN Shiga Kogen, Nagano www.shigakogen-ski.com

Okushiga Kogen

Shibutouge Terakoya Yokoteyama

Yakebitaiyama Yama no Kami

Ichinose Family Tanne no Mori

Hoppo Bunadaira, Higashidateyama, Nishidateyama

Diamond

Kumanoyu Giant

Kidoike

Hasuike

SunValley Maruike

If you include all 19 interlinked ski resorts, Shiga Kogen in northern Nagano is Japan’s largest ski resort area. Surrounded by 2,000-meter mountains, Shiga has good elevation and is a great place to get in some early or late season runs, as the season stretches from late November to early May. Shiga Kogen hosted the women’s downhill, slalom, the super giant slalom and both snowboarding events for the 1998 Nagano Olympic Winter Games. With more than 80 accommodations scattered around the area, there is no shortage of places to stay, although it has retained an “old school” feel with most restaurants found inside hotels; some serving Shiga Kogen’s excellent microbrew. There are many onsen in the area to soak in after a day on the mountain, yet the most famous in the area is off-limits to humans. Jigokudani Yaen Koen is a sanctuary for resident snow monkeys that lounge in their own hot springs, while visitors snap away with their cameras. Shiga Kogen has limited ATM access (ATM is available at the Shiga Kogen Post Office in the Hasuike area), so bring some cash. One common lift pass allows you to ride 66 lifts on 21 slopes with more than 80 unique courses as well as access to the free shuttle bus, so you can get around to the various resorts. If you plan to try all the ski areas, you’ll need to give yourself at least a few days to explore the various terrain.

Okushiga Kogen is known as “Skiers Paradise” as it remains a skiers-only resort, (along with Kumanoyu), while Yakebitaiyama is a Prince Resort with excellent facilities. The Hoppo Bunadaira area is great for beginners and families with small children while Higashidateyama is best suited for advanced skiers, although there is a gentle woodland course as well. The resort hosted the men’s and women’s giant slalom in the 1998 Olympic Games, and it boasts an extremely challenging downhill course. The restaurant at the summit of Mt. Higashidate boasts incredible panoramic views and is the starting point to get to other ski areas such as Terakoya. ACCESS By Train and Bus: 110 minutes from Tokyo Station to Nagano Station, then bus (70 minutes) to Shiga Kogen resorts

HOPPO BUNADAIRA - HIGASHIDATEYAMA - NISHIDATEYAMA (0269) 34-2301 www.shigakogen.in Nov. 21 - Mid Mar. 8:30 - 16:30 1 DAY Adults ¥4,800 TICKET Kids ¥2,400

50% 1

Park

ACCESS By Train: 110 minutes from Tokyo Stn. to Nagano Stn. By Car: 300 minutes from Tokyo

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

Advanced

40% 4

10% 1

Longest course: 3,500m Top Elevation: 2,030m

7

courses Base Elevation: 1,325m

YAKEBITAIYAMA (0269) 34-3117 www.princehotels.com/en/ski/shiga_kougen.html Dec. 7 - May 6 8:30 - 16:30 (18:30 - 20:30) 1 DAY Adults ¥4,800 TICKET Kids ¥2,400

35% 2

Park

35% 3

30% 3

Park

ACCESS By Train: 110 minutes from Tokyo Stn. to Nagano Stn. By Car: 300 minutes from Tokyo

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

Advanced

15

Longest Course: 2,500m Top Elevation: 2,000m

courses Base Elevation: 1,550m

OKUSHIGA KOGEN SKI FIELD (0269) 34-2225 www.okushiga.jp/information/ Dec. 15 - May 6 8:30 - 16:30 1 DAY Adults ¥4,800 TICKET Kids ¥2,400

45% 1

Park

ACCESS By Train: 110 minutes from Tokyo Stn. to Nagano Stn. By Car: 300 minutes from Tokyo

Beginner Lifts

For more Nagano information visit OJ Online (www.outdoorjapan.com)

50

T R AV E L E R

Intermediate Gondola

Advanced

35% 5

20%

Longest Course: 2,200m Top Elevation: 2,000m courses Base Elevation: 1,460m

9


MADARAO KOGEN SKI RESORT

Iiyama, Nagano

(0269) 64-3214 www.madarao.jp Dec. 14 - Early May 8:30 - 21:00 (17:00 - 21:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,200 TICKET Kids <12 FREE

Located in northeastern Nagano just above Iiyama Town, Madarao Kogen features 16 lifts and 22 courses across a bowl-shaped terrain on Mt. Madarao (1,382 meters). The resort has a nice variety of courses, groomers, a tree run area, free ride park, wave courses and kids park, and the resort is free to kids under 12. They claim 60 percent of the course is ungroomed so, if you like riding powder, there should be plenty in which to play. There is also a joint ticket available for Tangram Ski Circus, a small, pretty resort. Backcountry tours can be arranged through the resort. Park

Beginner City (1 Intermediate hour, 28 ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagano Lifts Gondola minutes) then by bus to Tangram Madarao

Advanced

Park

30% 2 1 Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

30% 2 1

40% 3

Advanced

18

courses

40% 3

30% 5

Longest Course: 2,500m Top Elevation: 1,350m Base Elevation: 440m

30% 5

Longest Course: 2,500m Top Elevation: 1,350m Base Elevation: 440m

18

courses

TANGRAM SKI CIRCUS

Madarao, Nagano

(026) 258-3511 www.tangram.jp/foreign/english.html Dec. 20 - Apr. 6 8:30 - 16:30 (17:00 - 20:30)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,200 TICKET Kids ¥3,200

Tangram Ski Circus sounds like a great place for kids—and it is. The ski-in/out Hotel Tangram sits right at the bottom of this family-friendly resort. Facilities include hot spring baths and a heated indoor swimming pool. The resort features 14 courses on the northwest side of Mt. Madarao, with well-groomed runs, great for mom and dad to get in some leg burners with the kids. The trees look tempting, but beware the ski patrol is vigilant here. However the resort is connected to Madarao Kogen, giving you 30 courses to explore if you get bored with the runs right outside your door.

Beginner City (1 Intermediate hour, 28 ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagano Lifts Gondola minutes) then by bus to Tangram Madarao

Advanced

Park

30% 2 1 Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

30% 2

18

courses

1 DAY Adults ¥4,000 TICKET Kids ¥2,500

Togakushi is an interesting, medium-sized resort. The name “Togakushi” means “hidden door,” and the resort is owned by Nagano City and managed by Tokyu Resorts, yet it is still relatively unknown to people outside the area. The best way to describe Togakushi is pleasant. The conditions always seem to be pretty good, and there are often great powder days. Best of all, it never seems to get as busy as the more popular Nagano resorts, and it has retained a very local feel. Togakushi Village is in itself an interesting place. It is famous for soba, and there are some beautiful shrines, temples and onsen nearby to finish off a great day on the mountain. Park

Beginner NaganoIntermediate Station ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen from Tokyo Station toLifts Gondola (1 hour, 45 minutes), then less than 1 hour to Togakushi by bus

Advanced

NOZAWA ONSEN

Address Nozawa

Longest Course: 2,500m Top Elevation: 1,350m Base Elevation: 440m

30%

Togakushi, Nagano

(0262) 54-2106 www.togakusi.com Dec. 18 - Apr. 3 8:30 - 16:30

30% 5

Longest Course: 2,500m Top Elevation: 1,320m Base Elevation: 800m

14

courses

TOGAKUSHI

40% 3

Advanced

40% 3

Kawamotoya

Park

30% 2 Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

30% 2

40% 5

Advanced

19

40% 5

30%

Longest Course: 3,000m Top Elevation: 1,750m

courses Base Elevation: 1,200m

30%

new!~

Kawamotoya’s Onsen

Longest Course: 3,000m Top Elevation: 1,750m

19

courses Base Elevation: 1,200m Nozawa Onsen, Nagano

(0269) 85-3166 www.nozawaski.com Nov. 30 - May 6 8:30 - 20:00 (17:00 - 20:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,600 TICKET Kids ¥2,100

If you’re looking for the quintessential Japanese ski experience, Nozawa Onsen is hard to beat. This traditional hot spring village sits at the base of a great mountain (Mt. Kenashi, 1,650m). The resort is one of the oldest ski grounds in Japan, getting consistent snowfall. There are two gondolas and a large selection of courses to choose from. The town also features 30 hot springs scattered around the village (including 13 free baths in town) and the Dosojin Matsuri (Fire Festival) held on Jan. 15, which is a spectacle to behold. Park

Park

Park

40% 2 10

Park

Park

Beginner Lifts

40% 2 10

By Train: Tokyo Station to Nagano Station by Shinkansen (1 hour, 45 minutes), 36 BeginnerandIntermediate Advanced ACCESS then Iiyama Line to Togari-Nozawa Onsen Station (60 minutes) taxi or shuttle courses Lifts Gondola bus to Nozawa Onsen

Intermediate Gondola

30% 5 1

Advanced

30% 3

Longest Course: 10,000m Top Elevation: 1,650m Base Elevation: 565m

36

courses

30% 5 1

30% 3

The View Hotel’s Onsen

Longest Course: 10,000m Top Elevation: 1,650m Base Elevation: 565m

Book Now:

www.nozawahospitality.com res@nozawahospitality.com Japan : +81 (0)269 85 2064 Singapore : +65 6412 0128

More information online at www.outdoorjapan.com/snow WINTER 2014

51


WINTER 2014

31


ER WI NT 1 20 4 Dosojin Matsuri

E V E N T S C A L E N DA R Jan. 15

Dosojin Matsuri in Nozawa Onsen (Nagano)

www.nozawakanko.jp/english/

Jan. 25

Eboshi Resort Snow Fireworks Festival (Miyagi) www.eboshi.co.jp

FIND YOUR PERFECT GETAWAY! Specializing in Resort Properties in Niseko Hanazono and Hakuba's Wadano Area

Jan. 18

Dondo-Yaki and Fireworks at Myoko Suginohara Resort (Niigata) www.princehotels.com/en/ski/myoko_kogen.html

Jan. 26

Osaka Half-Marathon 2014 (Osaka)

www.half.osaka-marathon.jp

Feb. 5-11

Sapporo Snow Festival (Hokkaido) www.snowfes.com/english/

Feb. 8

Snow Splash Party in Minakami (Gunma) www.outdoorjapan.com/snowsplash

Feb. 18-20

SBJ20 + 2014 Ski Expo Japan (Kanagawa) www.snow-again.com Toyota Big Air

Feb. 18-20

Interstyle 2014 (Kanagawa) www.interstyle.jp

Feb. 22-23

Toyota Big Air in Sapporo (Hokkaido)

We provide real estate expertise and bilingual assistance for finding your ideal resort property. Phone: 03-3556-8887 info@yamate-homes.co.jp www.yamate-homes.co.jp

www.toyota-bigair.jp

Feb. 22-23

Tazawako Kogen Snow Festival (Akita)

Feb. 23 XTERRA

Tokyo Marathon (Tokyo)

www.tokyo42195.org/2014en/

Mar. 1

Red Bull Kick & Shred in Hakuba (Nagano) redbull.jp/shred

Mar. 1

Snow Splash 2014 in Hakuba (Nagano) www.outdoorjapan.com/snowsplash

Mar. 14-16

SBJ On Snow Air Mix at GALA Yuzawa (Niigata) www.galaresort.jp

Mar. 15

Warrior Dash IV (Osaka) www.warriordash.jp

Mar. 29 XTERRA

XTERRA Guam (Guam) www.xterraguam.com

Apr. 5

XTERRA Saipan (Saipan) www.saipansports.com

Apr. 12

Tagaman Triathlon (Saipan) www.saipansports.com

Apr. 26-27

XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship (Australia)

www.xterraplanet.com

May 25

GEAR 11 (Guam)

www.guamextreme.com For more events visit www.outdoorjapan.com

SKI RESORT NEW YEAR COUNTDOWNS ○ Countdown Fireworks at Niseko Annupuri (Hokkaido) ○ Countdown Fireworks at Nozawa Onsen - Nagasaka Slope (Nagano) ○ Countdown Live Event and Fireworks at Oze Iwakura (Gunma) ○ Countdown Event at Alts Bandai (Fukushima) ○ Countdown at Iwappara (Niigata) ○ NASPA Snow Fantwwasy Countdown (Niigata) ○ Torch Light & Fireworks at Niseko Village (Hokkaido)

www.cloudlinetours.com

For more snow events visit www.japansnowguide.com

WINTER 2014

15


NIIGATA O

ne day in 1986, the good people of Joetsu, a coastal city in Niigata, were deluged by 232 centimeters of snow—in one day. That’s roughly enough to bury a one-story building. Although this sort of thing doesn’t happen every day, Niigata gets some of the heaviest snowfalls in Japan. The town of Yuzawa was where Yasunari Kawabata penned his award-winning novel “Snow Country” (Yukiguni). It is also Niigata’s most popular of winter sports areas, due to the easy access from Tokyo (77 minutes) and the variety of ski resorts a snowball’s throw from the station. Just over the border from Nagano Prefecture, in the southeastern part of Niigata, the Myoko Kogen area is one of Japan’s best-kept secrets. This scenic, mountainous area stretches all the way to the Sea of Japan coast and features some great resorts in its own right.

Joetsu Kokusai NASPA Ski Garden Iwappara

Charmant Hiuchi

Seki Onsen Akakura Myoko Suginohara Kagura Tashiro Mitsumata

GALA YUZAWA SNOW RESORT YUZAWA KOGEN GALA YUZAWA STATION

NUNOBA

Bi#C6:76@6<JG6™B>IHJB6I6

NUNOBA FAMILY IPPONSUGI SKI RESORT

Bi#C6:76@6<JG6™I6H=>GD

GALA Yuzawa

Naeba

:8=><DNJO6L6HI6I>DC

NASPA SKI GARDEN

IWA-PPARA WINTER RESORT

KANDATSU KOGEN LUDENS YUZAWA SKI

YUZAWA PARK SKI YUZAWA NAKAZATO KAYAMA CAPTAIN COAST NAKAZATO SNOW WOOD Mt. NAEBA

Bi#C6:76™H=>G6@676 Bi#C6:76™6H6<6>

GONDOLA ROPEWAY

MT. NAEBA

Yuzawa, Niigata

(0257) 89-2211 www.princehotels.com/en/ski/mtnaeba/index.html Dec. 7 - May 6 8:00 - 21:00 (16:00 - 21:00)

KAGURA - TASHIRO - MITSUMATA

Yuzawa, Niigata

(0257) 88-9221 www.princehotels.com/en/ski/mtnaeba/index.html Nov. 23 - May 25 (Tashiro May 8) 8:00 - 17:00

1 DAY Adults ¥5,000 TICKET Kids ¥2,500

1 DAY Adults ¥4,200 TICKET Kids ¥2,100

Park

Park Kagura Area Park

To Naeba

Tashiro Area To Naeba

These three connecting ski areas form one Mt. Naeba calls itself "The Station Moritz Beginner Intermediate Advanced Beginner Intermediate Advanced big resort. If you count Naeba, the total rideable of the East" and is a popular choice for Kanto courses courses Lifts Gondola Lifts Gondola area is 368 hectares. From Naeba, you’ll be trendsetters wishing to get away for a convenient lifted above Lake Tashiro to wider and less ski weekend. The crescent-shaped Prince Hotel 40% 35% 30% crowded slopes and better snow quality, but the area closes at 20% 30% 45% cuts an imposing figure at the base of this classic ski-in/ski4 p.m. and the lift line back to Naeba can be long, so beware. out resort and features all the trappings you would expect from 14 3 3 15 7 5 A better option is to access the Tashiro Ropeway on Route a Prince-managed resort hotel. Off the mountain, there are 17. You can then traverse across Tashiro in about 40 minutes children’s services, hot springs and other amenities and, on the 1 to Kagura, a popular backcountry zone and a great option for mountain, a terrain park, kids park, family snow park and more. Longest Course: 4,000m Longest Course: 6,000m early and late season skiing. The Mitsumata area has a small Naeba is connected to Kagura, Tashiro, and Mitsumata ski areas 27 Top Elevation: 1,789m boarder's park, a few jumps and twoBeginner 23 Top Elevation: 1,845m Beginner Intermediate Intermediate Advanced good slopes for learning. via the "Dragondola," which travels 5.5 kilometers in just 15 Advanced courses courses Base Elevation: 900m Base Elevation: 620m Accessible by the Mitsumata Ropeway on Route 17. minutes, so there are 44 trails explore if you have the time. Park

ACCESS By Train and Free Shuttle: Joetsu Shinkansen from Tokyo to Echigo Yuzawa Station (77 minutes) then free shuttle bus to Naeba Resort (50 minutes)

ACCESS By Train and Shuttle Bus: Take the Joetsu Shinkansen to Echigo Yuzawa Station (77 minutes) then shuttle bus to the resort (approx. 30 minutes)

For more Niigata information visit OJ Online (www.outdoorjapan.com)

52

T R AV E L E R


GALA YUZAWA SNOW RESORT

Yuzawa, Niigata

(0257) 85-6543 www.galaresort.jp/winter/english Dec. 21 - May 6 8:00 - 17:00

1 DAY Adults ¥4,500 TICKET Kids ¥2,200

If you want a quick, convenient day-trip from Tokyo, you can’t get any easier than GALA Yuzawa. The ski resort has its very own bullet train and train station that doubles as the ski lodge. The amazing efficiency means you won’t be alone on the hill. However, get up to the mountain, get in a few runs with friends and be back in time to buy your favorite designer goods in Harajuku. The resort is geared toward recreation and families with kids, but it does connect to other resorts, so there are more options for serious skiers. And if you just want to have fun in the snow for a day with friends, you can’t beat the convenience. Park

Beginner Station Intermediate ACCESS By Train: 77 minutes from Tokyo Station to GALA Yuzawa Lifts Gondola By Car: 5 minutes from Yuzawa I.C. (Kanetsu Expressway)

Advanced Descent Course

Park

35% 1 2

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Advanced Descent Course Gondola

35% 1 2

16

courses

45% 1 3

16

courses

45% 1 3

20% 4

Longest Course: 2,350m Top Elevation: 1,181m Base Elevation: 358m

20% 4

Longest Course: 2,350m Top Elevation: 1,181m Base Elevation: 358m

IWAPPARA

Yuzawa, Niigata

(0257) 87-3211 www.iwa-ppara.com Dec. 7 - Apr. 6 8:00 - 21:00 (17:00 - 21:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,000 TICKET Kids ¥2,500

Although Iwappara looks like a relic of Japan’s bubble era, with big pink apartments along the course, it is still one of the more popular resorts in the Yuzawa area. It’s super convenient from the station (seven minutes) by shuttle bus, so it is quite possible to do a day trip from Tokyo. The main course is very wide open, making it a great place for beginners to practice their turns without fear of being run over by a speedy skier (or vice versa). The views from the top are nice, and the village area around the ski area has a nice selection of restaurants.

Beginnerto Echigo Intermediate Advanced Yuzawa ACCESS By Train and Shuttle Bus: 77 minutes from Tokyo Station Lifts(7 minutes) Gondola Station then shuttle bus from Echigo Yuzawa Station

Park

40% 2

Beginner Lifts

40% 2

Intermediate Gondola

Advanced

40% 6

11

courses

Snow-Country

20%

Super Pass

Yuzawa, Niigata 1 DAY Adults ¥4,000 TICKET Kids ¥3,000

NASPA is a relatively new ski resort (opened in 1992) whose claim to fame is being one of the last skiers-only resorts left in Japan. The ski hill is behind the deluxe New Otani Hotel. The resort definitely caters toward families who ski and want to stay in luxury. Guests can enjoy the excellent hot springs, Jacuzzis, a swimming pool, fitness center and a selection of restaurants. Its location near the station makes for a quick, convenient ski weekend from Tokyo, if you want to get in a few turns (on skis) with the family. Park

(025) 782-1028 www.jkokusai.co.jp Dec. 7 - Apr. 6 8:00 - 21:00 (17:00 - 21:00)

38% 2

Park

38% 2

8 BeginnerYuzawa Intermediate StationAdvanced (77 courses ACCESS By Train and Free Shuttle Bus: Joetsu Shinkansen to Echigo minutes) then free shuttle bus to NASPA Ski Garden (5Lifts minutes)Gondola

JOETSU KOKUSAI SKI RESORT

YUZAWA;

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

37% 1

Advanced

20%

Longest Course: 4,000m Top Elevation: 985m Base Elevation: 400m

Longest Course: 4,000m 11 Top Elevation: 985m courses Base Elevation: 400m

NASPA SKI GARDEN (025) 780-6222 www.naspa.co.jp/ski/ Dec. 21 - Apr. 6 8:30 - 17:00 (17:00 - 19:00)

40% 6

8

courses

25% 2

01. NAEBA 01. NAEBA-ASAGAI 02. KAGURA 03. LUDENS YUZAWA 04. NAKAZATO SNOW WOOD 05. YUZAWA NAKAZATO 06. YUZAWA PARK 07. IWAPPARA 08. NASPA SKI GARDEN Longest Course: 2.2km 09. IPPONSUGI Top 10. Elevation: 690mKOGEN YUZAWA Base 11. Elevation: GALA430m YUZAWA 12. MAIKO

37% 1

25% 2

MINAKAMI; 13. NORN

MUIKAMACHI; 14. MUIKAMACHI 15. HAKKAISAN

TOKAMACHI; 16. MATSUNOYAMA-ONSEN

SAKAE VILLAGE; 17. SAKAE CLUB

Longest Course: 2.2km Top Elevation: 690m Base Elevation: 430m

Minamiuonuma, Niigata 1 DAY Adults ¥4,000 TICKET Kids ¥2,500

To the north of Yuzawa Town is a 634-room, European-style hotel that anchors the Joetsu Kokusai Ski Resort. The runs are relatively short here, but there is a long 6K trail and a 38-degree “Daibetto Slope” that will challenge anyone’s courage. The resort also has an extensive terrain park and two half-pipes; one used for the World Cup, and regularly hosts events such as the Nippon Freeskiing Competition. It’s also a great place for kids featuring the Kids Paradise areas with snow tubing and air slides, Sori Land (Sled Land), the Sponge Bob Kids Park and a “day nursery.” Park

Beginner Intermediate Echigo Yuzawa ACCESS By Train and Bus: Joetsu Shinkansen from Tokyo toLifts Gondola Station (77 minutes) then train to Joetsu Kokusai (15 minutes)

Advanced

Park

30% 3 Park

Beginner Lifts

30% 3

Intermediate Gondola

50% 4

Advanced

22

courses

50% 4

20% 18

Longest Course: 6,000m Top Elevation: 1,017m Base Elevation: 200m

20% 18

Longest Course: 6,000m Top Elevation: 1,017m courses Base Elevation: 200m

22

More information online at www.outdoorjapan.com/snow WINTER 2014

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MYOKO SUGINOHARA

Myoko, Niigata

(0255) 86-6211 www.princehotels.com/en/ski/myoko_kogen.html 1 DAY Adults ¥4,000 TICKET Kids ¥3,000 Dec. 21 - Mar. 30 8:30 - 16:30

Myoko Kogen is simply one of the naturally prettiest ski areas in Japan. Suginohara is part of the Prince Resorts family (although there is no hotel here), and the facilities are well maintained. The runs above the gondola are where advanced skiers and powder hounds will have the most fun, and there are English backcountry guides available. The resort has 16 trails, a terrain park, kids sledding area (ask about kids skiing free), hot springs and six on-hill restaurants. Suginohara also boasts Japan’s longest top-to-bottom, an 8.5-kilometer thigh burner that will test anyone’s meddle if left for the last run of the day. The stunning view of Lake Nojiri below from the gondola makes it worth the trip alone.

Park

40% 1

4 2

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

40% 2

40% 1

Advanced

16

courses

Longest Top Ele Base E

20% 1

Park

Beginner Station Intermediate ACCESS By Train: 120 minutes from Tokyo Station to Myoko Kogen Lifts Gondola By Car: 160 minutes from Tokyo

Advanced

AKAKURA ONSEN

Skiing & Snowboarding

MINAKAMI GUNMA Alpine Lodge Ski & Snowboard Lessons Backcountry tours Snowshoe tours

Longest Course: 8,500m Top Elevation: 1,855m Base Elevation: 731m

Akakura Onsen, Niigata

(0255) 87-2125 www.akakura-ski.com Dec. 14 - Mar. 23 8:30 - 21:00 (17:00 - 22:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥3,900 TICKET Kids ¥2,700

Akakura Ski Resort is located at the bottom of Mt. Myoko and is the largest resort in the Myoko Heights area. The resort has a nice variety of courses as well as powder stashes and some challenging courses on the old “Champions” side of the mountain. The town’s hot springs date back to 1814, and there is no better way to finish off a day on the mountain. The Akakura Resort & Spa sits majestically on the slopes. It’s a great place to stay if you want ski in/ski out luxury. The area averages about 13 meters of snow annually, so there is plenty of fluffy stuff, and it has a pleasant natural beauty. Akakura has a nice variety of courses, but the most challenging runs are on the old “Champions” side of the mountain.

A little-known place awesome for

16

courses

Park

50% 2 Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

30% 4

50% 2

Park

15 Beginner Advanced (1 hr., 45Intermediate min.), then take courses ACCESS By Train: Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Nagano Station Lifts10 minutes Gondola the JR Shinetsu Honsen Line to Myoko Kogen Station, then by bus

SEKI ONSEN

Advanced

15

courses

3 4

Longest Top Ele Base E

20% 8

Longest Course: 3,000m Top Elevation: 1,200m Base Elevation: 650m

Seki Onsen, Niigata

(0255) 82-2316 www.sekionsen.com Dec. 14 - May 6 9:00 - 17:00

1 DAY Adults ¥3,500 TICKET Kids ¥2,800

Seki is the highest ski area in the Myoko Kogen area and, even though there are just two lifts, there is access to many powder runs. This is a locals mountain, and they check the weather reports and know when the storms will hit, sometimes dropping one or two meters of new snow overnight. It pays to get up early if you want first tracks. Don’t expect groomers; this is natural terrain and free riding at its finest: tree runs, natural pipes and some good hits.

Park

20% 1

3 1

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

30% 1

20% 1

Advanced

Longest Top Ele

6

courses Base Ele

50%

Park

+81-278-72-2811 www.canyons.jp

Longest Course: 1,600m 6 Top Elevation: 1,620m Beginner(1 hr., Intermediate Advanced 45 min.), then courses ACCESS By Train: Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Nagano Station Gondolaby taxi Base Elevation: 1,000m take the JR Shinetsu Honsen Line to Sekiyama Station,Lifts then 20 min.

CHARMANT HIUCHI

Itoigawa, Niigata

(0255) 61-4588 http://charmant-hiuchi.jp Dec. 6 - May 14 8:30 - 16:30

1 DAY Adults ¥3,800 TICKET Kids ¥2,800

Charmant is a locally owned and operated ski resort most of your friends do not know about but may wish they did. The resort is literally right on the Japan Sea (you can see it from the top lifts) and gets some of the heaviest snow dumps around. It is also a healthy drive from Tokyo (four hours), but is worth the trip if you enjoy short lift lines and uncrowded slopes. There are lots of ungroomed areas and advanced terrain including a 1,000-meter powder course. The proximity to the sea means there is some excellent seafood nearby as well, and you can ski straight through Golden Week.

Park

20% 1 Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

20% 1

45% 2

Advanced

35%

Park

17 Beginner Intermediate From Advanced is inconvenient. courses ACCESS Car access is recommended: Train and bus serviceLifts Gondola Tokyo it takes 4 hours by car, depending on traffic and weather At Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort Below Hikage Area Mos Burger

54

T R AV E L E R

www.shirakaba8.com/rental

4 2

Longest Course: 2,700m Top Elevation: 1,009m Base Elevation: 501m

For more Niigata information visit OJ Online (www.outdoorjapan.com)

17

courses

Longest Top Ele Base E


Minakami Houdaigi

Kawaba

GUNMA

Okutone Snow Park Tenjindaira Tanigawadake

Oze Iwakura

Norn Minakami Manza Onsen

W

Kusatsu Kokusai

hile neighboring Niigata gets most of the attention, Gunma quietly has some great snow resorts of its own. Located in northeast

Gunma near the border with Niigata, Minakami has 10 ski resorts and is just 90 minutes from Tokyo. Oze Katashina is another quality area that flies under the radar. Katashina Town lies in the shadows of mighty Mt. Hotaka and Mt. Shirane and features nearby resorts such the popular Oze Iwakura, Hotaka Bokujo, a boarder’s park, and Oguna Hotaka, a nice midsized resort. Manza, to the east of Katashina, the popular ski and onsen areas of Manza and Kusatsu Resort & Spa are great places to relax before or after a good day on the mountain.

MINAKAMI HOUDAIGI

Minakami, Gunma

(0278) 75-2557 www.hodaigi.jp Dec. 14 - Apr. 6 8:00 - 16:30 (17:00 - 21:00 Jan.only)

OKUTONE SNOW PARK (0278) 72-8101 www.okutone.jp Dec. 20 - Mar. 30 8:00 - 22:00 (17:00 - 22:00)

Minakami, Gunma (weekends & holidays 6:00 - 24:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,000 TICKET Kids ¥2,500

1 DAY Adults ¥4,000 TICKET Kids Free for children <12

Park

Park

Park

Minakami Houdaigi ski resort is the largest in the Minakami area. The resort, due to the higher elevation, also gets good quality snow. Although there are many beginner and intermediate runs, there are a few advanced courses as well, including a killer 40-degree slope and a 2,600-meter cruiser. Parents can let their kids have fun safely on tubes and airboards in the “Kids Land,” and older kids can enjoy the “Action Land” with tabletops, waves and banks. Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Park

If rails, pipes and jumps are your thing, Beginner Intermediate Advanced Beginner Intermediate Advanced Okutone ski area is the place to go in courses courses Lifts Lifts Gondola Minakami. The park staff takes good care of guests who come to perfect their style at the 30% 30% resort’s park. The night sessions are popular, since they keep 40% 40% 30% 30% the lights on until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights 1 2 5 5 1 and before national holidays. The north-facing courses have nice snow quality, and you can enjoy some turns on the 3,000-meter long course. Okutone is just two hours from Longest Course: 2,600m Longest Course: 3,000m making it super convenient. They offer free tickets to 16 Top Elevation: 1,400m Tokyo, 10 Top Elevation: 1,083m Intermediate Advanced kids under 12 and free coffee if you Beginner come before 10 a.m. on courses Base Elevation: 830m courses Base Elevation: 550m weekdays.

ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen to Jomo Kogen (75 minutes) then bus to Houdaigi (70 minutes)

NORN MINAKAMI

Minakami, Gunma

(0278) 72-6688 www.norn.co.jp Mid Dec. - Mar. 30 8:00 - 16:30 (16:30 - 22:00 / 24:00)

ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen to Jomo Kogen (75 minutes) then bus to Okutone (40 minutes)

TENJINDAIRA TANIGAWADAKE

Minakami, Gunma

(0278) 72-3575 www.tanigawadake-rw.com End of Nov. - Late May 8:00 -16:30 1 DAY Adults ¥4,200 TICKET Kids ¥3,400

1 DAY Adults ¥3,500 TICKET Kids ¥2,000

Park

Park

Park Park

Although Tenjindaira is better known to Situated just three kilometers from the Beginner Intermediate Advanced most for trekking in summer, when the tram is Beginner Intermediate Advanced Minakami Interchange, Norn Minakami is the courses courses Lifts Gondola Lifts packed with hikers, the resort is a popular stop most convenient of the Minakami Resorts if on the backcountry trail. The resort itself is you are coming by car. The resort is great for 40% 30% 30% 30% relatively small, but lift lines are usually short and the snow 20% 50% families. They’ve created “family zones” where the average quality can be excellent if it’s not too windy up top. However, slope is just 13 degrees and a Day Care Center where parents 1 4 2 2 the secret to “Tenjin” is off the main trails. Those who like can drop off the little ones and enjoy some time on the their riding steep and deep head for the backcountry. This mountain themselves. Norn is open from 7 a.m. to midnight is “enter at your own risk” territory and not a place to go on weekends, so you can enjoy a long day on the slopes and, Longest Course: 4,000m Longest Course: 2,000m avalanche gear (and the knowledge how to use it). like all Minakami resorts, it is not far from some great hot 10 Top Elevation: 1,500m 5 Top Elevation: 1,220m without Beginner local Intermediate Beginner Intermediate Advanced Better yet, hire one of the knowledgeable guides andAdvanced courses springs. courses Base Elevation: 820m Base Elevation: 750m enjoy some "Japow!" ACCESS By Train: 150 minutes from Tokyo Station to Minakami Station, then free shuttle. By Car: 90 minutes from Tokyo (Nerima IC) via Kanetsu Expressway

ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen to Takasaki Station, then change to the Joetsu Line to Minakami Station, then 20 minutes by bus to Tenjindaira

For more Gunma information visit OJ Online (www.outdoorjapan.com) WINTER 2014

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WINTER 2014

3


NOZAWA ONSEN

KAWABA

Kawaba, Gunma

(0278) 52-3345 www.kawaba.co.jp/snow/ Dec. 13 - Apr. 13 8:30 - 16:00

1 DAY Adults ¥4,200 TICKET Kids ¥2,700

There’s something different about Kawaba. You’ll notice it the first time you pull into the covered parking area of the eight-story Kawaba City center house. There are six floors of parking and the seventh and eighth floors are filled with restaurants and ski/board shops. On the mountain, Kawaba is progressive as well with a nice balance of park and powder. Within the 10,790 meters of skiable terrain is the “Powder Zone,” a section of the mountain left ungroomed for powder lovers. There is a good mogul course, the Free Ride Park (back by popular demand) and a 3,300-meter trail for cruising. Kawaba City also includes a ski school, kids corner and locker rooms.

ENGLISH SKI & SNOWBOARD LESSONS

Park

20% 3

4 1

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

20% 3

40% 1

Advanced

10

Longest Top Ele

courses Base Ele

40% 1

Park

Longest Course: 2,000m 10 Top Elevation: 2,020m Beginner Intermediatethen Advanced (75 minutes), a courses ACCESS By Train and Shuttle Bus: Shinkansen to Jomo Kogen Lifts Gondola Base Elevation: 1,290m 50-minute shuttle bus ride to Kawaba

KUSATSU KOKUSAI

Kusatsu, Gunma

(0279) 88-8111 www.kusatsu-kokusai.com Dec. 14 - Apr. 13 8:30 - 21:00 (17:00 - 21:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,000 TICKET Kids ¥3,200

Although Kusatsu is famous as one of the country’s best onsen resorts, the area also features a quality ski resort that has been around since the Taisho Era and is open nearly six months out of the year. Kusatsu Snow & Spa has an eight-kilometer downhill course, one of the longest in Japan (along with Myoko Suginohara), a Kids Square where the little ones can enjoy activities such as snow tubing, and a variety of Heliport courses for all levels. However, the best part of being at Kusatsu is the fact you can enjoy some world-famous hot springs after a great day on the mountain.

+81-80-9083-2172 www.nozawaski.com

Park Heliport

30% 1

5 2

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

30% 1

50% 2

Advanced

Longest Top Ele

9

courses Base Ele

20% 8

Park

Beginner Intermediate from Tokyo (72 ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen to Karuizawa StationLifts minutes), then 55 min. by direct bus from Karuizawa Station Gondola

NOZAWA

Ski goods,Ski Rental

Advanced

Longest Course: 8,000m Top Elevation: 2,171m courses Base Elevation: 1,245m

9

MANZA ONSEN

Tsumagoi, Gunma

(0279) 97-3117 www.princehotels.com/en/ski/manzaonsen/ Dec. 14 - Apr. 6 8:30 - 17:00 (Sat.17:30 - 20:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,000 TICKET Kids ¥3,000

Manza Onsen is another of Prince Resorts signature properties, and the hotel’s buildings command an imposing presence at the bottom of the hill. The resort features a lot of good beginner and intermediate runs and is a great place for families. There are not a lot of challenging runs for advanced skiers, but the scenery is beautiful, the snow quality excellent as it is one of Japan’s highest resorts and the hotel has a nice rotenburo (outdoor bath) for after-ski soaking. The facilities and amenities are on a par with what you’d expect from Prince Resorts, making for a stress-free ski experience.

Park

40% 1

5 7

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

40% 1

50% 7

Advanced

14

Longest Top Ele

courses Base Ele

10%

Park

OPEN 8:00~10:00/15:00~20:00 TEL 0269-67-0224 www.compasshouse.jp

English Ski & Snowboard Lessons Snowshoe tour

Longest Course: 1,500m 14 Top Elevation: 2,008m Beginner Intermediate Advanced Manza-Kazawaguchi courses ACCESS By Train & Bus: Takasaki Line from JR Ueno Station to Lifts Gondola(50 min.) Base Elevation: 1,646m Stn. (160 min.) then change to the Seibu Kogen Bus to Manza Onsen

OZE IWAKURA (0278) 58-7777 Dec. 14 - Apr. 6

Katashina, Gunma

www.oze-iwakura.co.jp/ski/ 8:00 - 21:00 (16:30 - 21:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,600 TICKET Kids ¥3,600

Oze Iwakura is the largest of the Katashina ski resorts. It was also one of the longest skiersonly holdouts. The mountain itself has a timeless, genteel feel to it, where visitors enjoy breathing in the fresh air and taking in the views. This year Oze Iwakura celebrates its 40th anniversary, and with the new Shisaka Tunnel, access from Numata I.C. has never been easier. If you get tired of groomers, you’ll find some nice powder on the fringes while some areas outside the lines will be tempting. Yet Iwakura remains a skier's mountain at heart, and skiers will enjoy the long, cruising runs, moguls and some challenging steep terrain.

Park

30% 1 Park

Beginner Lifts

30% 1

Intermediate Gondola

40% 2

Advanced

30% 10

Park

+81-80-9083-2179 www.canyons.jp

56

T R AV E L E R

Beginner then byIntermediate bus to Oze ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen to Jomo Kogen (75 minutes) Lifts Gondola Iwakura (90 min.)

Advanced

4 2

Longest Course: 3,200m Top Elevation: 1,703m courses Base Elevation: 1,006m

18

More information online at www.outdoorjapan.com/snow

18

Longest Top Ele

courses Base Ele


GIFU Takasu Snow Park Dynaland

A

s far as resorts in central Honshu go, Gifu gets much less attention than Nagano, Niigata and Gunma. Nonetheless there are a number of quality resorts in the region that primarily service the Nagoya and Kansai region. Less than a couple hours from the main Gifu ski resorts is the Edo-style town of Takayama, known as “Little Kyoto.” Takayama’s master carpenters built some beautiful shrines and temples here at the base of the Japan Alps. Also in the region, along the border of Gifu and Toyama prefectures are the World Heritage villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokoyama, known for the thatched roof houses built in “gassho-zukuri” (praying hands) style. These A-frame farmhouses are constructed to withstand the heavy snowfall that blankets the region each year. If you are looking for good skiing and mixing in some great cultural experiences, Gifu is a great winter destination.

TAKASU SNOW PARK (0575) 72-7000 www.takasu.gr.jp Dec. 7 - Apr. 6 8:00 - 16:30

Takasu, Gifu 1 DAY Adults ¥4,800 TICKET Kids ¥2,000

Takasu is well known to park riders. The resort has a large free ride park that includes kickers, rails, boxes and one of the biggest super pipes in Japan. There is also a 600-meter professional boarder cross course and a mogul course. The resort is the training grounds for many of Japan’s rising stars and has hosted a number of competitions including the FIS Snowboard World Cup. Aside from the amazing pipe and park, winter sports enthusiasts of all levels can enjoy the openfaced free ride terrain including a 4,800-meter trail, one of longest in western Japan, and several other 4,000-meter trails. There are even some backcountry tours through Dainichi Valley. Beginner Intermediate ACCESS By Bus: A bus leaves Nagoya at 8 a.m. stopping at both Takasu and Dynaland. The trip takes about 2 hours, 45 minutes

Advanced

Park

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

35% 1

12

courses

courses

30%

Longest Course: 4,800m Top Elevation: 600m Base Elevation: 950m

DYNALAND

Takasu, Gifu

(0575) 72-6636 www.dynaland.co.jp 1 DAY Adults ¥4,800 Dec. 7 - Apr. 6 Weekdays 8:00 - 16:30, Weekends 5:00 - 16:30 TICKET Kids ¥2,000 (18:00 - 23:00) Dynaland is the largest of the Takasu ski resorts. There are 19 runs; the longest a 3,200-meter thigh burner. There is a shared ticket to neighboring Takasu Snow Park and two places on the mountain that connect the resorts. If you want to get out on the slopes first thing in the morning, the Hotel Villa Mon-Saint is right in front of the resort, and there are 5 a.m. openings for first tracks on selected dates. The resort has featured a resident DJ who will take music requests, and you can do some good for Mother Nature while having a lunch break since the Dynaland Eco Project collects proceeds from resort restaurants to support a Gifu tree planting project. Night skiing runs until 11 p.m. Beginner Intermediate ACCESS By Bus: A bus leaves Nagoya at 8 a.m. stopping at both Takasu and Dynaland. The trip takes about 2 hours, 45 minutes

35% 3

Advanced

Advanced

Park

Park

Beginner Lifts

40% 3

Intermediate Gondola

32% 2

Advanced

courses

28%

Longest Course: 3,200m Top Elevation: 1,430m courses Base Elevation: 983m

18

For more Gifu information visit OJ Online (www.outdoorjapan.com) WINTER 2014

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Japan Snow Guide 2014