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ISSUE 62 | WINTER 2017 | FREE

Jietai: The Other Skiers of Japan Forging Deus Powder Tools Interview with Akira Sasaki Beyond Niseko

The

Way East

2017 Japan snow guide KNOWLEDGE IS POWDER THINK DEEP


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I N S I D E I S S U E 6 2 ■ W I N T E R 2 017

14 THE WAY EAST 東へ

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F E AT U R E S

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Jietai: The Other Skiers of Japan

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Forging Deus Powder Tools

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Interview with 4-Time Olympian Akira Sasaki

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Japan Snow Guide 2017

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Beyond Niseko

INSIDE

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From the Editor

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Outdoor Japan Adventures

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Market Watch

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Beer Buzz

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Local Brew

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Explore Shinetsu Shizenkyo

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Winter Tour & Travel Notes

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Adventure Directory

Cycling Japan


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■ FROM THE EDITOR Gardner Robinson, Editor-in-Chief gardner@outdoorjapan.com

w

hen the first snow began to fall on cedar trees here in northern Nagano Prefecture, dark maple leaves were still clinging to branches and stubbornly sticking to the pavement. It was an early tease to the snow season but a reminder seasons change here in Japan suddenly, sometimes even before they are ready. The transformations that take place from one season to the next vary greatly. Autumn to winter can be the most grim, as green hills turn brown and clouds creep down from the mountains and settle into valleys. Yet, I love the anticipation of winter; there’s nothing quite like it. In our Winter Issue, we travel from the great north, where regular contributor and adventurer Aaron Jamieson embarks on a journey 10 years in the making. His patience paid off; first finding traveling mates to join the journey, and then coming home with some stunning images and experience.

We stay in Hokkaido and check out our friends at Black Diamond Lodge & Tours. Clayton and his guides are always up for taking things to the next level and, this year, in addition to their heli service, they have powder sessions at their very own ski resort. We also ta l k t o t he man behind D eu s E x Machina’s new snowboard designs and interview 4-time Olympic skier Akira Sasaki about life after the Olympics. Contributing Editor Bill Ross looks at Japan’s SelfDefense Force skiers and the challenging training they must complete. In addition to our regular columns on organic markets and good beer, we also have our annual Japan Snow Guide plus lots of news and notes to help you enjoy the winter season in Japan. We are also very excited to launch our new tour and travel booking engine called Outdoor Japan Adventures. The beauty of Japan is colorful seasons that make Japan Asia’s four-season playground, and we hope to

help travelers find and choose from fun tours with some of Japan’s top guides and outdoor operators. The winter “beta” version of the site is out, and the full site with green season tours and activities will be online in February. Enjoy the latest issue of Outdoor Japan Traveler, and hopefully we’ll bump into you—or at least slide by you—on the slopes this winter at one of Japan’s great resorts. Get out there and enjoy the season.

コプターサービスに加え、クレイトンとガイドたちはつ ねに最高のツアーを用意してくれている。

つくしい四季の国日本での、さまざまなアウトドアツ アーやガイドを探す助けになると願っている。現状ベー タ版がリリースされており、二月には緑の季節へむけ たツアー情報満載の本オープンとなる予定だ。

ちら長野の杉に最初の雪が降りつもるころ、カエ デの葉はまだ必死に枝にぶら下がり、歩道にしつ こくくっついている。早めに訪れた雪は、季節自体に準 備ができていようがいまいが、突然季節が変わること もあるということを思い出させた。季節の移り変わりは さまざまだ。秋から冬への変容はもっとも冷酷かもしれ ない。緑の丘は茶色になり、雲が山から谷へと降りてく る。でもぼくはそんな冬が大好きだ。このワクワクする 気持ちは他にない。 冬号では、10年の準備期間を経た冒険家アーロン・ ジャミーソンの旅が読みどころだ。旅の仲間を探し、 待ったかいもあって、すばらしい経験と写真を残すこと ができた。北海道の友人ブラックダイアモンドロッジ& ツアーズでは、リゾート内でのパウダーを楽しめるヘリ

新しいスノーボードデザインについてデウスの担当 へのインタビューや、オリンピック出場経験4回の佐々 木明にはその後の人生についてインタビューもぜひ読 んでいただきたい。編集者のビル・ロスは自衛隊のス キーチームと厳しいトレーニングについて取材してくれ た。連載コラムやオーガニックマーケット、そしておい しいビールの情報のほか、日本の冬を楽しむための情 報や、今年のジャパンスノーガイドもぜひ利用していた だきたい。 そして、ツアーや旅の予約サイト、アウトドアジャパ ンアドベンチャーズもスタートした。アジアにおけるう

OUTDOOR JAPAN TRAVELER Published Seasonally Publisher Outdoor Japan Media

Media Coordinator Rie Miyoshi

Editor-in-Chief Gardner Robinson

Contributing Editors Wayne Graczyk, Shigeo Morishita

Editor Bill Ross

Translators Kumiko Kurosaki, Yoshine Lee, Eri Nishikami, Kazusa Murai, Lana Sofer

Designer Justin Sereni

Contributors Joan Bailey, Lee Dobson, Eddie Gianelloni, Bryan Harrell, Neil Hartmann, Abdel Ibrahim, Pauline Kitamura, Takashi Niwa, Tim Rock, Robert Self, Justin Stein, Bonnie Waycott, Craig Yamashita Sales & Marketing media@outdoorjapan.com

©2016 OUTDOOR JAPAN INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS PROHIBITED. VIEWS EXPRESSED HEREIN ARE NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF OUTDOOR JAPAN INC. PRINTED IN JAPAN.

AIRLINE PARTNERS

Traveler magazine is available at selected lounges, reservations counters and in-flight libraries with the following airline partners.

トラベラーマガジンは、空港ラウンジや予約カウンターや、右記航 空会社インフライト・ライブラリーにてお読みいただけます。

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というわけで、雪山で読者のみなさまと、日本のすば らしいリゾートで一緒に滑べるのを楽しみにしていま す。ともに冬を楽しみましょう。

Outdoor Japan Media

6-6-55 Higashi Kaigan Minami Chigasaki-shi, Kanagawa 253-0054 〒253-0054 神奈川県茅ヶ崎市東海岸南 6-6-55 Tel: (0467) 81-3212 Fax: (0467) 81-3213

EDITORIAL: editor@outdoorjapan.com ADVERTISING: ads@outdoorjapan.com SUBSCRIPTIONS: subscribe@outdoorjapan.com

www.facebook/japantraveler www.twitter.com/outdoorjapan www.youtube.com/outdoorjapan

Cover Photo:“The Way East" Photo by Aaron Jamieson.


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JAPAN WINTER ADVENTURES START HERE First-time travelers to Japan are invariably drawn to the iconic imagery that make the country such an interesting place to travel. From Tokyo’s immense skyscrapers to Kyoto’s ancient temples and shrines, not to mention the amazing food, Japan is full of world-famous attractions.

Asia’s Foremost Destination? But for the intrepid that look beyond the well-trodden tourist paths, the land of the rising fun comes into focus outside the major cities – in the hidden hot spring villages, winding rivers and soaring mountains. An incredibly diverse geographical landscape (around 70% of the country is mountainous) combined with an ancient culture rich in diverse traditions, more and more people are discovering that Japan is an untapped land of unlimited adventure. In fact, we reckon that Japan is leading the continental pack as Asia’s four-season adventure playground. Spring, summer, fall winter; there’s plenty to get your adrenaline pumping.

Go Off-Piste with an Olympic Skier For the first time ever, leading ski and snowboard brands Salomon and Atomic will be hosting Salomon Experience, a unique tour where riders can explore the backcountry with Akira Sasaki, Olympic slalom skier, while testing the latest QST ski models.

Ski Through an Onsen

Start Your Own Adventure A new booking engine devoted entirely to outdoor travel and adventure in Japan makes it easy to find great tours throughout the country. With one click you could be making your first turns in some of Japan’s top ski resorts, exploring hidden backcountry spots with experienced guides, or wandering through quaint hot spring villages deep in the mountains if that’s more your speed. Outdoor Japan Adventures will help you discover the best tours and travel with professional guides in incredible destinations across the country.

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Up in Niseko, Black Diamond Tours, which was recently awarded the world’s best heli-ski operation at the World Ski Awards this year, will take serious powder chasers on a private tour to the newly acquired Chisenupuri slopes. Chisenupuri is known for its surrounding hot springs, and there’s even a point where riders can ski across a bridge with the onsen steam rising from both sides.


Experience the Full Winter Course How about enjoying delicious chocolate fondue under the falling snow? Evergreen Outdoor Center with its three winter brands, Evergreen International Ski School, Evergreen Alpine Academy and Evergreen Backcountry Guides, takes children, amateurs and professionals on guided lessons, tours and courses around Hakuba.

About Outdoor Japan Adventures

Outdoor Japan Media has been promoting travel, adventure and inbound tourism to Japan for nearly two decades through Outdoor Japan Online, TRAVELER magazine and the annual Japan Snow Guide. Outdoor Japan Adventures, the new tour and travel booking engine, is the next step in connecting travelers to local operators more directly, while promoting local tourism throughout Japan. Outdoor Japan Adventures introduces local tour operators passionate about providing authentic, unforgettable experiences for travelers wanting to explore Japan in depth. Whether you are traveling independently, wanting to meet people on a group tour, are on a family holiday or a quick business trip, Outdoor Japan Adventures can help you find and book your next Japan adventure.

Hit the Slopes with New Friends

Solo traveler? Tokyo Snow Club starts its weekend tours from Shinjuku, Tokyo, and within hours you’ll be transported to the mountains for a fun getaway. These English-guided tours are a great way to meet new friends while hitting the slopes, watching the snow monkeys, listening to live music and attending cultural festivals. For participants new to snowboarding and skiing, one free lesson is included in the package.

Whether you’re visiting for the first time or looking for a new adventure in Japan, make sure you check out the growing number of tours Outdoor Japan Adventures has to offer. The winter launch of the new site was in December and the four-season launch is coming in February 2017!

Work With Us Outdoor Japan loves sharing stories of people doing extraordinary things. Travelers will find videos and articles about tours, tour operators and destinations, and can also share their experiences with each other. Submit travel and adventure stories to Outdoor Japan and you may even get published.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you. www.outdoorjapanadventures.com

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Discover Winter Outdoor Japan Adventures Book these great tours, and many more at www.outdoorjapanadventures.com

Backcountry Fun with Rising Sun Go Local in Nozawa Onsen Myoko Backcountry ​ oing off-piste for the first time can be G daunting. With Dancing Snow at Myoko, Niigata, you’ll be introduced to your first powder experience with an easy hikeup, learn how to use avalanche gear and enjoy lunch and a coffee break. There are also multi-day tours further into the Myoko backcountry, Tateyama, Oze and even Mt. Fuji for advanced riders. You’ll be in good hands with guide Bill Ross, long-time resident of Myoko and advisor for BCA, the premier manufacturer of snow safety goods.

J​ oin local powder couple Manami and Yuta Ueno as they take riders on an unforgettable backcountry tour through their backyard in Nozawa Onsen, Nagano. Yuta, Manami and Yuta’s brother Take Ueno (also an accomplished telemarker) run Mt. Dock, the ski and snowboard rental and retails shop they operate, is located across from Nagasaka Gondola. Test out the latest Armada, Blastrack and Vector Glide models on the slopes and then relax in one of the thirteen free hot springs around the village. You’ll also want to drop in their main shop in the lower village called Compass House for bike rentals, tours and tune-ups.

B​ ased on the doorstep of one of the best backcountry areas in the world, Rising Sun Guides in Niseko offers off-piste and backcountry ski, snowboard and splitboard tours to untracked powder terrain. While providing the usual day tours, they also organize awesome powder vacations like the ladies-only Powder Room, a nine-day trip across Hokkaido with a mix of backcountry ski touring and lift-accessed powder laps. If you have a lot of time off work and want to venture beyond Hokkaido, hop on a twoweek road trip from Niseko to Tokyo, visiting epic backcountry terrain along the way. Avalanche skills training, search and rescue courses and backcountry rentals are also available.

Ski Central Hokkaido’s Epic Peaks ​ ant to ride some of the lightest powder W in the world while seeing dramatic volcanic smoke rising in the background? Hokkaido Outdoor Adventures takes travelers to Asahidake, Hokkaido’s highest mountain at 2,291 meters. Most tours take place in the less-crowded central Hokkaido including Furano and Tomamu. Looking for something less mainstream? Head to the high mountain pass of Nissho Toge at the north-end of the Hidaka Mountain Range. If you’re not sure where the best conditions are that day, HOA can create a personalized tour following the snowfall so you can get in as much fresh powder as possible. All guides are bilingual and certified in Wilderness First Aid and Canadian Avalanche Association. When the snow melts in the green season, sign up for kayaking, rafting and canyoning in the Hidaka and Asahikawa areas.

Wajima Asaichi By Joan Bailey

Hours: 8 a.m. – noon Closed 2nd and 4th Wednesday

MARKET WATCH ​O n the west coast of Japan is the Noto

the red bean paste decorates the outside.

​T ake Furukawa’s bakery, Nufurukawa

Peninsula, where steep hills, terraced fields

From July to September, visitors will find

Panya, features an abundance of sweet and

and a wildly beautiful coastline run with

the regional specialty, sasagemochi. An outer

savory offerings. His ikanoshiokara (salted

abandon. There, too, is a traditional asaichi

covering of slightly salty yellow rice, (the color

squid) roll sounds intimidating, but it is worth

(morning market) that has been a bustling

comes from cooking the grains with Cape

gathering the gumption to try. A crispy outer

daily affair for more than 1,000 years.

Jasmine pods) wraps around a sticky rice

crust yields to moist bread where squid and

center for a savory-sweet delight.

potatoes combine for a satisfying snack. His

A few streets in from the port, the Wajima

​Pickles that cleverly combine sea and land

each day with an assortment of flowers, local

are well represented in Wajima. Seasonal

​F ish—fresh, dried or marinated in soy

lacquerware, fish, seasonal vegetables, still-

vegetables get mixed with dried konbu or

sauce—dominate the market. While they

warm baked goods, local sake, homemade

freshly harvested seaweeds and bright slivers

can be shipped home as a souvenir, it is also

pickles and handcrafted items.

of citrus peel and whole red peppers for a bit

possible to eat them on site. Hungry visitors

of zip.

can choose a selection of fugu, grouper,

​Those who arrive early should head directly to Tanaka Mochiten’s stall and see what treats

One particularly unusual recipe featured

lobster, and nodoguro among others and head

can be found in their old-fashioned wooden

takenoko (bamboo shoots) pickled in umesu (the

to a grilling area located midway along the

display cases. Made fresh daily, standard

vinegar left behind after making umeboshi).

market street.

and local versions of this traditional sweet

Made daily by local women who raise and

Started about five years ago, four grills

disappear the moment they appear.

prepare everything themselves, these recipes

surrounded by benches are available on a

represent a long tradition of making good food

first-come, first-served basis.

Yomogi ( Japanese mugwort), regular and grilled are favorites, along with ohagi, where

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mochi donuts are no slouch, either.

Asaichi fills the main street for a few hours

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from what is at hand.


Cycling Japan:

A JOURNEY TO EXPERIENCE THE LOCAL LIFE

サイクリング—それは 土地の暮らしを感じる旅

Cycling Around Japan’s Southern Island Ishigaki-jima, Okinawa 石垣島一周(沖縄県)日本最南エリアの島を走る By Takashi Niwa - Translated by Sakae Sugahara

The road leading to Hirakubozaki Cape, on the northern tip of Ishigaki Island. 島の最北端、平久保崎へ向かう道

After a three-and-half-hour flight from Haneda Airport, humid tropical air will welcome you at Ishigakijim—even in winter. You might wonder if this is really Japan. The sea here is a breathtakingly blue and the rain forest will entertain the eyes of cyclists as you pedal by. A full circle of the Island covers 77 kilometers. Add a round trip to Hirakubozaki, the northernmost cape, and you’ll travel a total distance of 104 kilometers. ​M y advice is to reserve two nights at an accommodation in Ishigaki City and ride the entire route in one day. Early birds can cover the complete 104-kilometer tour in one day. You can, of course, ramble on and off at your leisure, overnight along the way or even pack light and enjoy some day tours. There is no particular long ascent on the route; instead there are a number of gentle ups and downs with elevation gains and losses of about 50 to 80 meters each. After the ride and a refreshing shower, enjoy a night on the town in Ishigaki City. There are many Okinawan restaurants and colorful drinking spots to enjoy. A full Ishigaki tour is not complete until you savor some local dishes and toast with Orion beer.

東京、羽田空港から 3 時間半。石垣島に降り立 つと亜熱帯特有の湿気に、異国を感じざるを得な い。息を飲むほど美しい海の色、熱帯雨林が展開 する素晴らしいサイクリングを楽しもう。石垣 島は一周約 77km。これは島の最北端、平久保崎 へ向かう半島を含まない距離で、それを含むと 104km である。  プランは石垣市内の宿に連泊し、1 日で一周す るとよい。のんびりと走りたい人は、途中で泊ま ることもできるが、早朝に出発すれば 104km も 可能。そのほうが荷物を少なくして、身軽に走る ことができる。  一周のルートには大きな峠はないが、標高 50 ~ 80m 程度のアップダウンが繰り返す。心して 挑みたい。島を一周した後はシャワーを浴びて、 街に繰り出そう。石垣市内は飲食店が多い。島な らではの美味しい料理を注文し、オリオンビール で乾杯したら、石垣島一周のサイクリングは完璧 だ!

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BEER BUZZ

By Justin Stein

Stillwater Runs Deep From its memorably crafted flavor profiles to its striking label designs, Stillwater Artisanal Ales stands out from the bevy of American craft breweries that have sprung up in recent years. It is the brainchild of Brian Strumke, who toured Europe and North America as a progressive house DJ under the name Brian Stillwater in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Between tours, Strumke began home brewing unconventional ales in his native Baltimore, winning renown for his saisons, a highly drinkable Belgian ale known for its expressive yeast character, to which he added unusual herbs, including lavender, chamomile and honeysuckle. In 2010, Strumke followed Danish brewery Mikkeller to become one of the world’s first “gypsy brewers,” who contract or collaborate with established breweries to produce their recipes, rather than having a dedicated brewery of their own. Strumke says he uses breweries now like he used studios in the music days as a borrowed space to perform his art and get it out to an appreciative audience. S t r u m ke’s gy p s y b rew i n g h a s p u t him among the North American brewers collaborating with Japanese breweries (Issue 60, Summer 2016, “Toasting Trans-Pacific Cooperation”). In 2014, Strumke made a tart saison called Soukaisyu (5.5%) with Kiuchi Brewery, and more recently he collaborated with Ushitora Brewing (see also Issue 58, Winter 2016) on a sour IPA with plum and yuzu and Ise Kadoya for a jasmine-accented saison with real terroir – it was fermented with a wild yeast they cultured from local periwinkle flowers. Strumke draws inspiration from Japan in other ways. Extra Dry (3.8%), a “sakestyle saison,” uses sake rice in the mash and Japanese iconography on the can design (spelling out ドドド in katakana and including a red circle that evokes the Japanese flag). While it doesn’t quite taste like a sparkling nihonshu, its hop character of bright citrus and white wine, light bitterness, rice flavors and mild spice contributions from the yeast does give an overall impression of a hybrid between a dry, fruity sake and a light Belgian ale. Extra Dry’s sparse label design is

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emblematic of Stillwater’s recent rebranding. Their early beer labels, such as Stateside Saison (6.8%), which lays fruity New World hops atop saison yeast’s earthinesss, and Cellar Door (6.6%), a summer saison that incorporates white sage, were in the “new world psychedelic” style of Strumke’s childhood friend, Baltimore-area tattoo artist Lee Verzosa. In contrast, Stillwater’s recent c re a t i o n s , s u c h a s E x t r a D r y and Mono (5.2%), a dry-hopped pilsner that (again) uses fruity New World hops to give a nice spin on a European style, come in cans marked by graphic designer Mike Van Hall’s bold minimalism. As Strumke approaches his art synesthetically (i.e. seeing tones and flavors as colors), it is not surprising he explores new visual territories as he moves into new taste profiles. He says he has “always liked the open mindedness of the Japanese when it comes to new ideas and tastes,” which he accounts for its progressive craft beer movement and its warm reception of Stillwater.


By Bryan Harrell ブライアン・ハレル

Tradition Meets Innovation in Nozawa Onsen 野沢温泉における伝統革新的新手法の出会い

The Anglo Japanese Brewing Company seems to be going against the grain of Japan’s craft beer world. The small brewery located deep in the mountains of northern Nagano Prefecture has created some unusual approaches to brewing, many of them based on traditions that have largely been abandoned. ​AJB is the effort of Tom Livesey, originally from the Derbyshire-Staffordshire area of the U.K., and his Japanese wife Emiko Sugiyama. Tom began homebrewing in his teens as a hobby, which has turned into a passion for enjoying and brewing good handcrafted beer. ​All of AJB’s beers are naturally conditioned with yeast, and some feature various microorganisms as well to impart a variety of flavors in the same way that an artist uses a variety of colors and shades on a palette to paint complexly beautiful scenes. ​One of Japan’s newest and smallest breweries, AJB got its start in January of 2014 with its tiny three-barrel brewhouse. However, as they’ve outgrown their original system, they are now

into a sour. In their first year alone, Tom brewed nearly 40 recipes, including numerous sour beers destined for barrel aging. ​At present, AJB beers are available in a select few places, so your best bet is to jump on the bullet train from Tokyo to Iiyama (an hour and 50 minutes) and then hop the Nozawa Liner Bus to cover the final 15 kilometers to the traditional hot spring village at the base of one of Japan’s finest ski resorts. This is where you’ll find Libushi, the cozy taproom just opposite the main free hot spring in the village that fronts the original brewery.

installing a larger brewing system in the lower part of the village near the Chikuma River. While they are expanding to increase their capacity, head brewer Tom admits they have little intention of becoming a large-scale brewery. ​Since its founding, AJB has made efforts to use local ingredients, with soba (buckwheat) finding its way into a stout, rhubarb making its way into a grand cru and even local peaches incorporated

アングロ・ジャパニーズ醸造会社(以後 AJB)は 日本のクラフトビール界の方針とは、別方向をた どっているようだ。長野県の北部の山奥にあるこ の小さな醸造所は、ビール醸造にかんして、変わっ た取組み方をしている。だが実をいうと、この手 法の多くは、かなり前に見捨てられた伝統に多く 基づいているのだ。  AJB は英国のダービーシャー・スタッフォード シャー地域出身のトム・リブシーと彼の日本人の 妻、杉山えみこさんによる共同開発だ。トムは、 10 代の頃から趣味として家庭醸造をはじめ、それ にたいする情熱が本格的な手作りビールとなった のである。  AJB のビールはすべて天然発酵で、ものによっ てはあらゆる微生物でさまざまな味をつけている。 これはアーティストが美しい景色の微妙な色を出 すためにパレットで数多くの色を使うのとおなじ ようなものだ。  AJB は日本の醸造所としては比較的新しく、 2014 年の1月にはじまり、最初は樽3つからとい う、ひじょうに小さい規模だった。しかしながら オリジナルのシステムでは間に合わず、現在、千 曲川の近くにある村の麓に大型の醸造システムを 設置中だ。醸造量を増大するためのシステム拡大 をするいっぽうで、醸造長のトムは、大規模の醸 造所になるつもりはまったくないと話している。  AJB は設立以来、地元の原料を使うように努め

てきた。蕎麦(そば)はスタウトに、ダイオウは グランクリュ、さらには地元の桃さえもサワービー ルに使われている。初年度だけで、トムは 40 種に 近いレシピを醸造し、そのなかには樽で熟成する サワービールもいくつか含まれている。  現在、AJB のビールは厳選したわずかな数の店 だけで販売されているため、東京からであれば、 新幹線に乗って飯山で下車し(1時間 50 分) 、野 沢温泉ライナーのバスで 15 分、日本でもトップ クラスのスキー場の麓にある温泉村まで行くのが お勧めだ。オリジナルの醸造所があった村の無料 温泉の向かいにあるこぢんまりした里武士タップ ルームは、和やかな雰囲気で、独特のビールを味 わうには最適た。ハーフパイントで 650 円にどん な文句がつけられるというのだ。うしとらのウェ ブサイトは基本、その日に飲めるビールをリスト アップしたブログである。日本語が読めるなら行 く前に目を通しておくと便利だ。 Anglo Japanese Brewing Company and Libushi Taproom Address: 9347 Toyosato, Nozawaonsen-mura, Nagano-ken 389-2502 里武士 タップルーム 〒 389-2502 長野県下高井郡野沢温泉大字豊郷 9347

Tel: 080-6930-3992 Web: www.anglojapanesebeer.com

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The

Way

East

Photo Essay by Aaron Jamieson 写真と文 : アーロン

T

he idea of this journey began to form shortly after I arrived in Japan nearly a decade ago. Spurred from a love of wild mountains and perfect waves, the trip lay dormant until I met Lena Stoffel and Aline Bock. Hokkaido’s mixture of rugged culture with pristine wilderness attract some special people and, after spending some time with these kindred spirits, I knew we’d been brought together to embark on The Way East.

もそもこの旅のアイデアは 10 年ほど前にすでにあった。 それは私が日本に訪れて間もない頃で、レナ・ストフェル

とアリン・ボックに会って冬眠から目覚めたという感じだ。それ だけでなく自然の山々やパーフェクトな波への愛情がこの旅の実 現に拍車をかけることになった。北海道には人々を惹きつける無 垢な原野と、そこに暮らすたくましい文化がある。ここでしばら く仲間と共に過ごしてから、東へと向かう旅が始まった。

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t

ン・ジェームソン

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15


​While loading our packs full of camping gear, food and film equipment, none of us had any idea how far the journey would take us or what we might discover along the way. We would begin in Niseko, the well-known ski town that has become something of a global cliché for powder hounds. We’d hike from the comforts of our Niseko lodge across the Annupuri Range, trekking and snow camping toward the Sea of Japan. Descending from the mountains to the sea, we’d follow the coastline in search of waves, until we reached the apex of our adventure: the floating mountain of Rishiri Island. ​It didn’t take long for the scale of the challenge to become apparent. Halfway through day one, a dense white-out in the high alpine forced us to take a meandering course toward our first camp. After a much longer day than planned, and a much colder night than expected, we were forced to reevaluate the situation and re-plot our course.

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キャンピングギアや食料そして撮影機材を

  光景は、人間の絶えることのない欲望か由来

パックしているときでさえ、私たちにはこの旅が

するエネルギーの供給と産業への需要が危ういバ

どのくらいの距離になるのか、どんなことに遭遇

ランスで成り立っているように見えた。

するのかさえも予想がついていなかった。私たち

  とにかく私たちは旅の第二段階へと進むこと

は有名なスキーの町ニセコから旅を始めた。ここ は世界中のパウダースキーヤーたちの定番とも なったスキー場だ。私たちの計画は居心地の良い ニセコロッジからアンヌプリの雪山のエリアを日 本海までキャンプとハイクで横断そして海岸線に 着いてからは、私たちの最終目的である北の海に 浮かぶ利尻島まで波を探して海岸線を調査すると いうものだった。   さて山行だが、そのスケールがどのくらいに 及ぶか明確になるのには時間がかからなかった。 一日の半分が過ぎても、ホワイトアウトの吹雪が 吹きすさぶ山の高所で私たちは最初のキャンプ地 を求めてさまよったからだ。この日は予想したよ りも過酷かつ寒い夜となり、私たちは行程の計画 を再検討することに迫られた。   とにかく私たちは満載の荷物を背中に歩み続 けた。海から吹き上げてくる凶暴な風に立ち向 かって雪山を進むと、頂上の雪は吹き飛び、我々 の魂の熱意をも奪おうとした。だが私たちの団結 と決意は3日間に及ぶキャンプとハイクを経てこ のトラバースを踏破した。   海を見た瞬間の我々の気持ちは言葉では言い

ができた。私たちは 2 台のバンにキャンピングギ アとサーフボードそしてスキー用具を積み込んで 出発した。私たちは北海道の最北端を目指した。 数日間を費やしたが西海岸の波は風波とぬかるん だ雪だけで期待外れのコンデションだった。   その北へと向かう途中、美し���景色だけが退 屈の紛らわしとなった。地平線に続く森林は強風 によって花綱状にうねり、点在する広い空き地に はソーラーパネルも見られた。とにかく今は焦ら ずに前に進もうという直感だけが頼りだった。私 たちはサーフィンというよりほとんど車の運転に 没頭した。サーフセッションは寒く、期待外れだっ たが、それでも我々の情熱は冷めることはなく、 もっと良いコンデションに巡り合うという希望は 捨ててはいなかった。   そして私たちは旅の核心といえる利尻島にた どり着いた。それはまるで別世界に足を踏み入れ るような心持ちとなった。日本最北端の町、稚内 で車をフェリーに乗り入れる。この海の先にはも うロシアだ。ここまでの数百キロの海岸線にはコ ンクリート製のテトラポッドがいたるところに点 在していた。そこでは小さな風波がブレイクする だけで、私たちが求める自然の波は存在してはい

尽くせられないほどだった。海岸線のすばらしい

なかった。

景色に向かって下る途中に泊原子力発電所がクリ

  私たちは期待と失望が入り混じった状態で利尻の港に近づい

アーに見ることができた。荒野に佇むその建物の

ていった。オンショアの白波が港に打ち寄せる光景が見える。私 WINTER 2017

17


​We continued on for the next few days with

boarded the ferry in our vans in Wakkanai, the

fully loaded packs. We tackled the highest passes

northernmost town in Japan. From here the sea

while ferocious winds roared in from the ocean,

stretches out to Russia. On our way here, we

stripping the peaks of snow and the spirit from

watched hundreds of kilometers of coastline drift

our souls. Our shared spirit carried us through.

by with wind-affected ocean, very little surf and

After three nights camping, digging into the

the ubiquitous concrete tetrapods diffusing what

mountainside along the way, we completed the

natural surf break may have existed.

traverse. ​We were still fueled by hope and the constant ​The elation we felt upon setting eyes on the

pulsing anxiety of what may lie around the next

ocean was beyond description. The ride down

corner when the ferry pulled into the port at

toward the coastline provided spectacular

Rishiri. Here we glimpsed the wispy white caps

vistas across Iwani Bay as well as a clear view to

of offshore waves rolling into the harbor. Weary

the Tomari Nuclear Power Plant. It was a stark

from a full day’s drive, very little sleep and,

contrast and powerful reminder of the tenuous

tempted by an onsen and an early night sleep,

balance between nature and the seemingly

we inexplicably decided to take a short drive and

endless demand of energy and industry.

explore a bit more. We were rewarded.

​Armed with a renewed sense of possibility

Only a few kilometers from the port, we pulled

as a collective, we embarked on the next phase

up to a headland to see perfect waves peeling

of the journey. We set off north in two vans

off into a gentle off-shore breeze—it was unlike

filled with camping gear, surfboards and ski

anything we’d seen during the journey so far.

equipment. We were headed toward the northern

Despite the sun dipping low on the horizon and

tip of Hokkaido, spending several days hunting

the temperature soon to drop, the girls suited up

for waves along the western coast only to find

and slotted into some perfect peeling rights as

wind-chop, wet snow and generally unappealing

the skies turned purple and evening fell upon the

wintery conditions.

magical island of Rishiri.

​C ontinuing to push north, the scene was

​Our next few days were spent chasing offshore

hopeful; the often-forested horizon festooned

breezes around the perimeter of the island. When

with large wind turbines and open fields dotted

the swell was absent, we’d pursue perfect lines

with solar panels. Signs of a perception shift

on the leeward flanks of the mountain. A volcano

began to take hold. We did more driving than

rising steeply from the ocean, Rishiri is a perfect

surfing, surf sessions were cold and uneventful,

equilibrium of surfing and skiing. Our days here

yet our camaraderie kept our spirits high, holding

were dictated by the mood of the mountain and

out hope we’d luck onto better conditions.

the direction of the winds.

​As we reached the pinnacle of the trip, Rishiri Island, it felt like stepping into a new reality. We

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Our time in Rishiri was magical, enriched further by our mountain guide Toshi with his open and honest nature and his connection to the rhythm of the island. He talked openly about his life being dictated by the seasons, the beauty of accepting instead of trying to shape the world to our own will. Perhaps in this pure vision lies the hope of future generations. ​L eaving Rishiri, our journey home was a long, reflective drive. Leaving our surf and snow nirvana, the realization seeped in that the best of our trip was now behind us. As the afternoon light began to slip into the blue, we lucked upon a beachside camping spot with offshore wind and perfect waves tumbling over shallow reefs just off shore. The stoke was high as Lena and Aline slotted into wave after wave of small but perfect lefts. ​S itting around the fire on the beach that evening, our last of the trip, the sound of waves peeling mechanically off the reefs around us, we laughed and relived the highlights of the trip— none more special than the one we were sharing at that very moment. ​Our search for new adventures is what draws us to unseen places, unclimbed mountains and unridden waves. This same spirit of exploration can drive us toward undiscovered technologies and a sustainable future. This bond we share can push us beyond the peaks we have already summited.

Our search for new adventures is what draws us to unseen places, unclimbed mountains and unridden waves. This same spirit of exploration can drive us toward undiscovered technologies and a sustainable future. This bond we share can push us beyond the peaks we have already summited.

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光景は、人間の絶えることのない欲望か由来

夜の暗闇がこのマジックアイランド利尻にすぐに

するエネルギーの供給と産業への需要が危ういバ

訪れようとしていた。

ランスで成り立っているように見えた。

  それからの数日、私たちは島のオフショアの

  とにかく私たちは旅の第二段階へと進むこと

風になるところを探して周遊した。波が小さくな

ができた。私たちは 2 台のバンにキャンピングギ

ると私たちは山の風下側に行って雪にパーフェ

アとサーフボードそしてスキー用具を積み込んで

クトなラインを描いた。ここの火山は海から切り

出発した。私たちは北海道の最北端を目指した。

立っている。利尻はサーフィンとスキーが両立し

数日間を費やしたが西海岸の波は風波とぬかるん

て楽しめる島だ。ここで過ごした日々の行動は山

だ雪だけで期待外れのコンデションだった。

の気分と風向き次第だった。

  その北へと向かう途中、美しい景色だけが退

  私たちが過ごしたここで過ごした期間はまさ

屈の紛らわしとなった。地平線に続く森林は強風

にマジックだった。さらにこの島に住むマウンテ

によって花綱状にうねり、点在する広い空き地に

ンガイドのトシによって、この旅はさらにすばら

はソーラーパネルも見られた。とにかく今は焦ら

しいものとなった。彼のオープンマインドと島の

ずに前に進もうという直感だけが頼りだった。私

リズムに合わせた生活。彼は季節の変化に従順に

たちはサーフィンというよりほとんど車の運転に

過ごす彼のライフスタイルを語ってくれた。それ

没頭した。サーフセッションは寒く、 期待外れだっ

は自分たちの都合でしか考えない現代社会のあり

たが、それでも我々の情熱は冷めることはなく、

方とは真逆のスタイルだった。おそらく、 このピュ

もっと良いコンデションに巡り合うという希望は

アな彼の展望は未来の世代への希望として伝えら

捨ててはいなかった。

れていくだろう。サスティナブルなエネルギー利

  そして私たちは旅の核心といえる利尻島にた

用、そして自然と人間の進化がバランスをとって

どり着いた。それはまるで別世界に足を踏み入れ

共存していく。

るような心持ちとなった。日本最北端の町、稚内

  利尻を離れて長い家路につく、それは思慮に

で車をフェリーに乗り入れる。この海の先にはも

耽る運転でもあった。サーフィンとスノーの天国

うロシアだ。ここまでの数百キロの海岸線にはコ

から戻って、この旅は我々の想い出となって心に

ンクリート製のテトラポッドがいたるところに点

染み込んだ。午後の光が青の中に入り込もうとし

在していた。そこでは小さな風波がブレイクする

ているとき、私たちはビーチサイドのキャンピン

だけで、私たちが求める自然の波は存在してはい

グスポットを幸運にも発見した。そこは岸に近い

なかった。

リーフにパーフェクトな波がオフショアの風の中

  私たちは期待と失望が入り混じった状態で利

でブレイクするビーチだった。レナとアラインは

尻の港に近づいていった。オンショアの白波が港

小さいけれどそのパーフェクトなレフトブレイク

に打ち寄せる光景が見える。私たちは丸一日の運 転とわずかな睡眠だけで疲れていた。だから温泉 と早めの就寝という魅力に苛まれたけれど、私た ちはもう少し車を駆って先に進む決断をした。そ して幸運が訪れた。   港からほんの数キロ走ったところにある岬に パーフェクトな波がオフショアの風の中でブレイ クしているのを発見したのだ。それはこれまでの 旅程で最も非現実的ともいえる光景だった。だが 太陽は水平線に近く、気温はすぐに下がるだろう と思われた。でも女たちはすぐに着替えて波に向 かってパドルを開始した。空はもう紫色に変わり、

で夢中でサーフし最高潮の喜びに達した。   そのビーチで燃やした焚き火を囲んで、私た ちは最後の夜を過ごした。波がリーフにブレイク する音は規則正しく聞こえてくる。私たちは旅の 楽しかった思い出を笑いそして語り合った。この 瞬間こそ何物にも変えがたい最高な時間なのだ。   人々を新しい冒険へと誘う情熱を導くもの は、まだ見とことのない場所、未登頂の山そして バージンウェーブなどだろう。その情熱を人類は 科学開発や持続可能な未来へと向ければ、人類に 立ちはだかる新たな未踏峰をも越えることができ るだろう。

WINTER 2017

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100 Minutes from Tokyo to an Amazing Winter Playground With the Hokuriku Shinkansen expansion now in its second winter, and a network of buses ferrying visitors from Iiyama to dozens of ski resorts, it’s never been easier to explore the area.

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PAID PUBLICITY

Kamakura

Nozawa Onsen Village

T

he Shinetsu Shizenkyo Nature Park is a vast region that includes 39 ski resorts in more than 21 resort areas in Nagano and Niigata prefectures. The park features timeless natural landscapes where you can feel the soul of Japan and enjoy some of the heaviest snowfalls in Japan. The Hokuriku Shinkansen, which extended to Iiyama Station in 2015, now makes it easy to jump off and explore the major ski areas in Iiyama, Nakano, Iizuna, Shinano, Yamanouchi, Kijimadaira, Sakae and Nozawa Onsen in Nagano Prefecture and Myoko in Niigata Prefecture. While this region is most famous for its light, deep powder snow, travelers can also enjoy a

Shinetsu Shizenkyo Activity Center

variety of natural and culture experiences. Many travelers enjoy visiting the popular snow monkeys who warm up in the hot springs in Jigokudani. In mid-winter, visitors can sit in kamakura (Japanese igloos) and enjoy dinner or drinks, participate in cultural festivals such as the Fire Festival in Nozawa Onsen, held every Jan. 15, and of course soak in one of the many local onsen after a day on the slopes. The area is also popular in autumn for hiking, trekking and enjoying the beautiful fall colors. In the green season, guests flock to the mountainous resort areas to escape the heat and enjoy the rivers, lakes and fresh mountain air. Jigokudani Yaen-Koen

SHINETSU SHIZENKYO SUPER VALUE TICKET The Super Value ticket allows visitors to choose from 38 ski resorts. Each Super Value ticket (Price: ¥21,000) includes a packet of five tickets which can be exchanged at any of the 38 resorts for a one-day lift ticket. For lift tickets priced less than ¥4,200, visitors will receive an additional meal and/or onsen ticket. Super Value tickets are available at “TIC Tokyo” at Tokyo Station’s Nihonbashi Exit or “Shinetsu Shizenkyo Activity Center” inside Iiyama Station.

SNOW AREA CONNECT PASS Navigating through the park can be time and money consuming, but with the Snow Area Connect Pass, hop on and off buses with ease. The one-day and twoday passes are available at the Tourist Information Center located in Iiyama Station. Starting from Iiyama Station, participating buses include the Nagaden Bus, Nozawa Liner (and local Nozawa Onsen Bus), Iiyama City’s community bus and Kijimadaira shuttle bus.

ACCESS AND INFORMATION

Shibu Onsen

The Shinetsu Shizenkyo Nature Park is easily accessible from the Hokuriku Shinkansen Iiyama Station with buses connecting the station to each village. It takes approximately 100 minutes from Tokyo to Iiyama Station by bullet train. The Shinetsu Shizenkyo Activity Center and Tourist Information Center are open year ’round. Here you can discover tours and more information on mountain trekking, cycling, water sports, snow activities, cultural tours and rentals. Outdoor gear and off-road fat bike rentals are also available here. You may have enjoyed snowboarding or night skiing at Togari Onsen, but how about snow biking? Fat bike rentals and transportation to Togari Onsen is available from Iiyama Station on Jan. 21 and 28 and Feb. 4, 11 and 18 for just ¥6,500 per person.

Fatbike Rentals

To enjoy some fat tire fun, visit www.shinetsu-activity.jp/en/.

SHINETSU SHIZENKYO TOURIST INFORMATION CENTER Tel: (0269) 62-7000 (9 a.m. – 6 p.m.) E-mail: info@shinetsu-shizenkyo.com Web: www.shinetsu-shizenkyo.com/en/

*These photos are images

WINTER 2017

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THE OTHER SKIERS OF JAPAN By William Ross

日本のフツーじゃない スキーヤーたち ウイリアム・ロス

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Y

ou can’t miss them in their style-less camouflage clothes and olive helmets. Their

straight white skis, fat white fiberglass poles with monster rings and leather-strap bindings holding in what looks like a light leather mountain boot. “We’re just skiers,” insists Ryoji Sasaki. Make that Expert Instructor, Sergeant Major Ryoji Sasaki of the Jieitai, Japan’s Self-Defense Force. Every member of the country’s entirely defensive (for the time being, at least; the possible goals of Mr. Abe and the general pronouncements of Mr. Trump notwithstanding) armed forces must try their hands at sliding on snow. This being a mountainous nation where snow falls over almost every island, skiing is seen as an important part of the defensive soldier’s skills, but that does not mean they’re your average skiers out for fun on the hill. ​“Everyone has to at least pass san-kyu (level three) of the Ski Association of Japan (SAJ ) training,” Sasaki explains. “The only difference is that they have to do it in our gear, which is not easy.” ​Skis, he says, are seen as the best way to move swiftly through the snowy and hilly nation, so they can’t be too fat, and have to work with what you’ve already got, meaning standard-issue, polishthem-up army boots.

モフラージュのウェアとオリーブ色のヘル メット。細長いスキーは無地の白で、ファ

イバーグラス製のストックは太く、その先のリン グは巨大だ。皮革の登山靴とビンディングは革ひ もで固定されている。もしそんな出で立ちのス キーヤーがいたらだれだって見過ごしにはできな いだろう。 「でも私たちはただのスキーヤーです よ」とササキ・リョウジは主張する。   スキーのエキスパート・インストラクターであ るササキ・リョウジは、日本の自衛隊の上級曹長 でもある。この国防軍(この言葉がいずれ適切に なるかどうかはミスター・アベとミスター・トラ ンプのこれからの思惑にかかってはいるだろうけ ど、今のところはそう言わせてもらおう)の隊員 がかならず取り組まなければならない訓練、それ は雪を滑ることだ。  山の多いこの島国では、ほとんどの島で雪が降 るためにスキーの技術習得は自衛隊員にとって必 須科目。つまり、楽しみで丘を滑り降りようとす る一般スキーヤーとは目的が異なる。   「目標は最低でも SAJ(全日本スキー連盟)の 3 級を取ることなんです」とササキは説明する。 「で も装備が違うので習得はなかなか難しいんです よ」  雪国ではスキーでの移動手段がもっとも有効な のだと彼はいう。だから体重が太ることは許され ないし、標準装備の軍靴などで雪に対応できなけ ればならないのだ。  自衛隊の現行のスキーは長さが 170cm、ティッ プとテールの幅は 100mm で中心が 95mm だと いう(最新のスキーと比較すると固い雪用はもっ と中心がくびれていて、粉雪用はもっと幅広) 。 このスキーは第一世代のスキーヤーたちが使用し てものと大きな違いはない。つまり木製で形も真 直ぐ、長さも 1 種類だけ。

WINTER 2017

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​The current Jieitai ski comes in one length: 170 cm. Its tips and tails are 100 mm., the waist 95 mm.

drive from a major base in Joetsu City, on the Sea

training, and must also go through the Cold

of Japan coast.

Weather Combat Training School.

(Most modern skis, by comparison, either have a

​Then comes the surprise of seeing huge groups

​“ That is really cold and tough,” Sasaki

more hourglass shape for hard snow or are much

of dark-clad troops out on the slopes on those

remembers. “All the tests are challenging—40

wider for powder). It basically looks unchanged

skinny little skis. If they’re new to the snow, there

percent of the people fail.”

from the long-used first generation, which was

will be a lot of old-fashioned turning with hands

​T aking a break from the skiing, we head

wood, completely straight and likewise came in

high for balance, sliding backwards with heels

inside to warm up. Sasaki fires up a DVD

one length.

in the air and face on the snow (people who have

featuring some of the graduates of the course.

tried telemark skiing will identify with this) and

“This is kind of a PR thing, really,” he says with

general tumbling across the snow.

typical understatement, but it’s obvious he is

For years, many people told me that they were wood, so they could be used for firewood, and

​“We basically follow SAJ training, but the early

proud of the professional-looking video. In it, the

stages are a lot harder than if they were using

instructors, on those unlikely skis, totally wimpy

​“The second generation was still straight, but

modern gear,” Sasaki says. “We start with physical

bindings and floppy boots, fly through high-

in fiberglass,” he says. “The biggest thing with the

stretching, then show them how to put on the

speed, crisp formation skiing.

third generation, introduced only four years ago,

bindings (which are a bunch of leather straps and

​Most of the time, at most ski areas where this

was the sidecut. You can hardly see it, but it does

a jam-in toe). We get them used to moving around,

happens in Japan, you’re not likely to see that

make it a lot easier to get people skiing.”

then start teaching the wedge position.”

level of skiing by the soldiers, unless you happen

were equipped with leather bindings that could be boiled and eaten—although Sasaki laughs at this.

​The skis also have scalloped bases, because the

​That does not mean everybody is falling all

to be at the area where they do the advanced

troops not only study downhill techniques, but

over the hill. Sasaki, a native of Hokkaido and, like

cold-weather training (think Hokkaido). But

also must go cross country and climb on them.

lots of Japanese, a skier since he could walk, can

it may well happen that, among the groups of

hold his own with any hard-booted, shaped-skied

beginners, suddenly an identically clad soldier

slider on the hill.

comes down the hill confidently cutting a series

​“They can’t have too much shape,” Sasaki says. “They’re great for walking, but not that good for

of clean arcs through the group.

skiing, to be honest, and not many people today

The style is a little old-fashioned, but then so

could use them. That means we have to practice a

is the gear, and he can do a drop-knee telemark

​That is the third observation to be made of

lot,” he laughs. “That’s why we go to ski areas all

turn, or noodle his way in an old-fashioned,

these skiers in camo: they are quiet, polite, and

over the country, where it’s a lot easier to teach

knees-together style through some pretty big

they keep to themselves, pretty much like the

and learn.”

bumps.

Jieitai itself.

​This technical information helps explain what

​T he 500 top skiers in the Jieitai who, like

​“After all, we are military skiers, so we don’t

you’re likely to see on weekdays at many ski areas

Sasaki, have reached the Instructor or Expert

want regular people to think about us too much,”

in Japan. The first hint is the drab olive trucks

Instructor levels, have passed the SAJ’s top exams,

Sasaki says—reflecting, too, the unique idea of a

unobtrusively placed at the edge of the parking

so after leaving the military, they can teach skiing

defensive army in what still is a pacifist nation.

lot. It’s something we see a lot at the areas around

anywhere in the country. For the Expert level,

“Like I said, we’re just skiers, too.”​

the base of Mt. Myoko, which also is just a quick

they also add on avalanche and winter emergency

26

T R AV E L E R


私がいろいろな人から聞いた話では、昔は木製 のスキーをマキにして燃やし、ビンディングに付 ゆ

いていた革は茹でて食べた。だがそれについてサ サキは笑い飛ばした。   「第二世代のスキーは真直ぐだったけれど、ファ イバーグラス製に代わりました。第三世代では大 きな変化が起きました。まだ 4 年ほど前のことで す。見た目にはそれほどわかりませんが、サイド カットが代わってスキーの習得が以前よりも簡単 になったんです」

りんじょう

 自衛隊のスキーには鱗状のベースが付いてい る。隊員たちはダウンヒルを学ぶだけでなく、斜 面を登ったりするクロスカントリーもおこなえる ようにならなければならない。   「見た目は良くないでしょう」とササキ。 「でも 歩行には最適なんです。つまり滑り降りる能力は 低いんです。最近ではこういうスキーをだれも使 いませんね。つまりこのスキーは練習がたくさん 必要なんです」と彼は笑う。 「だから全国のスキー エリアに行って練習をたくさん積むんです」  この貴重な技術情報は平日に日本中で見かける あの不思議なグループの解明に役立つだろう。そ の最初のヒントはオリーブ色のトラックが駐車場 の隅の目立たないところに置いてある。それをよ く見かけるのが妙高高原のエリアで、そこは日本 海に面した上越市からも簡単にアクセスできる。  細くて短いスキーに乗ってゲレンデのスロープ にたたずむ彼らは、まるで黒装束を身につけた大 隊で驚くに値する。彼らはもし雪について経験が なければ、お約束どおりのターンで手をバンザイ させてバランスを崩したり後ろ向きに滑ったかと かかと

思うと、踵を上に向け顔面から雪に突っ込んだり、 または転げまわったりする(この光景はテレマー クスキーに挑戦した者ならば想像しやすいだろ う) 。   「基本的には SAJ のトレーニングを基本として います。でも初歩のトレーニングは装備が最新で ないために過酷なものとなります」とササキ。 「ま

ずはストレッチを入念におこない、次はバイン

なその映像に彼は自信があるようだ。そのなかで

ディングの装着方法を学びます(何本もの革ひも

インストラクターたちは現代ではスキーとは言え

で靴のつま先に結びつける) 。装着が終わったな

ない代物と役に立たなそうなバインディング、そ

らばそれで周囲を歩き、それからウエッジポジ

して締まりの悪いブーツで空を飛ぶように鮮やか

ション(八の字)を学びます」

なスキーを披露している。

 だが隊員全員が初心者で坂を転げ落ちるという

 それは日本のスキー場ならば一般スキーヤーが

わけではない。たとえばササキは北海道出身だ

日常的におこなっていることだけど、でも自衛隊

し、彼のように子供の頃にすでにハードブーツを

員がそんなハイレベルのスキーを披露するところ

所有していたり、スキースライダーで斜面を滑っ

を見ることはないだろう。もし見られるとしたら、

た経験をしている者もいるからだ。彼らは道具が

それはコールド・ウェザー・トレーニングの場所

古くさいスタイルでも、ドロップニーのテレマー

のみである(たとえば北海道) 。

クターンができる。また大きなバンプは膝を合わ

 でも、ビギナーの部隊のなかに、その服装はお

せた伝統的なやり方で滑り抜けたりする。

なじでも斜面を自信ありげに滑り降りクリーンな

 自衛隊のトップスキーヤーたち 500 名は、サ

弧を描く隊員を見ることがあるかもしれない。そ

サキのように SAJ の試験をパスしてインストラク

れは彼らのカモフラージュで、特定の人物を偵察

ターやエキスパート・インストラクターのレベル

の目からそらす意味も含まれている。彼らは寡黙

かもく

に達している。だから彼らは自衛隊を除隊しても

()で礼儀正しく常に冷静だ。それは自衛隊の姿

日本のどこでもスキーを教えることができる。さ

勢そのものだといえる。 「とにかく私たちは軍事

らにエキスパートレベルでは、雪崩や救急トレー

的スキーヤーですから、あまり一般の人々からは

ニングなどを含んだコールド・ウェザー・コンバッ

注目されたくはないのです」とササキは説明した。

ト・トレーニング・スクールを受講しなければな

そして平和主義国家の国防軍というユニークな存

らない。

在の立場からの考えにたいしては「 (軍隊ではな

  「これは本当に寒くて過酷です」とササキは回

いという視点に立てば)こんな格好に見えてもた

想する。 「受講しても 40% は挫折します」

だのスキーヤーだよとも言えますよね 。 」

 スキーの練習をひとまず終えると、私たちは屋 内に入って暖をとり DVD を観賞する。 「ちょっと した PR みたいなものですけれど」と彼は控えめ に言うが、プロフェッショナルスキーヤーのよう WINTER 2017

27


“My boards are like driving a stick versus an automatic car”

Forging Deus Powder Tools

By Rie Miyoshi Photos by Woody Gooch

M

otorcycles and surfboards may seem like an unlikely marriage, but Deus Ex Machina

has taken their love building custom bikes and

surfboards again. His signature psychedelic paint swirls and drip patterns reflect his avant-garde style.

boards into an international brand from Australia

“My boards are my own style. They might be

to Bali, Italy to L.A. Deus has drawn inspiration

a bit harder to maneuver—I don’t mean to make

from each of these locales, creating bicycles in

them hard to ride—but they have aji (flavor) which

Italy and crafting surfboards at the Deus Temple

gives riders an exciting and different experience,”

in Canggu. This winter Japan’s powder will be the

he says.

canvas for Deus Powder Tools.

“My boards are like driving a stick versus

Shaper Takuya “Tappy” Yoshikawa is one of

an automatic car,” he adds.​While snowboards

the masterminds behind Deus’ new snowboard

are often shaped for easy balance and riding,

models. His designs reflect his approach to the

Deus’ snowboards are inspired by their surfing

yokonori (board-riding) lifestyle: classic, elusive

roots. Each model has a unique outline design,

at first, but extremely fun once you find your

while keeping the board suitable for various

groove.

snow conditions. This season, Deus is launching

One day, 12-year-old Tappy followed his

three boards: the Pike (a camber fishtail board),

sister’s boyfriend ( Japanese pro surfer Nobuyuki

the sleek Mule and the flatter Drifter made in

Tezuka) to the beach. After Tezuka finished work,

collaboration with Death Label snowboards.

Tappy would join him and ride the waves in

Deus Ex Machina will open a pop-up shop

Fujisawa or watch him shape surfboards. At 17, he

in Niseko’s Hirafu 188 from Jan. 13 to Feb. 5 from

shaped his first board.

noon to 8 p.m. Swing by for a coffee or beer, then

Although he pursued graphic design as a

get your hands on one of this season’s boards

career, he stayed connected to board sports,

and get a special test ride on one of next season’s

shaping skateboards and riding backcountry in

models. Batsugun, in Alts Bandai Ski Resort, will

Hokkaido, Nozawa Onsen, Myoko Kogen and Seki

also offer test rides of Deus Powder Tools.

Onsen. At 30, with some encouragement from his wife, he moved to Chiba and started shaping

28

T R AV E L E R

For more information, visit www.deuscustoms.com.


“My boards are my own style. They might be a bit harder to maneuver— I don’t mean to make them hard to ride—but they have aji (flavor) which gives riders an exciting and different experience”

WINTER 2017

29


An Interview with 4-Time Olympic Skier Akira Sasaki With Rie Miyoshi Photos by Neil Hartmann

After nearly three decades of competing, Olympic slalom skier and Hokkaido native Akira Sasaki returns home to share Japan’s powder skiing with the world.

30

T R AV E L E R


An Interview with AKIRA SASAKI

“By the time I was in middle school, I was the fastest skier in Japan, even though I hadn’t really been taught by anyone.”

Your path to become Japan’s top alpine skier was a bit unconventional.

When did you start competing globally? ​ ​I m a d e m y d e b u t a t 1 9 a t t h e Wo r l d

I’m from a small town called Hokuto, which is

Championships and then went to the World

right next to the more famous city of Hakodate.

Cup the following year. The timing was amazing

We don’t get a lot of snow there, but my family,

because all the races were held in Austria. It felt

especially my mom, loves to ski. We would travel

like a sign.

four hours to Sapporo and ski near there.

​When I was 20, I went to the Olympics at Salt

At the time, there wasn’t much hype about

Lake City. Until then, I had skateboarded, surfed

powder snow in Japan. When people talked about

and played soccer but still had no formal physical

skiing, they were mainly focused on racing. So

training. I was like Pinnochio, “faking” it but

for someone like me who had been skiing since

really excited at the same time. I also had a big

childhood, it was natural for me to race.

mouth, telling everyone I was going to the World

By the time I was in middle school, I was the

Championships.

fastest skier in Japan, even though I hadn’t really

When I got there, I performed poorly. I

been taught by anyone. I had my own style and,

succeeded in Japan because the level is overall

before I knew it, I was representing Japan. At 16,

lower here, but on a global scale, I was nowhere

I went to a ski high school in Otaru and casually

near the top. I got discouraged, thinking alpine

decided, “I guess I’ll become an alpine ski racer.”

ski racing wasn’t for me, and I should go into free riding.

You were based in Austria for most of your adulthood. When did you move there?

However, my coach encouraged me and gave me some wisdom when he asked me, “You’ve worked hard to get to where you are today, right?”

​After high school, I was sent to a college in

I realized…no, I hadn’t. I had no formal training.

Tokyo. It was a huge culture shock. It was hot,

This is when I got serious about physical training

there’s no snow, and I was crammed in a train

my body. It was kind of late, right?

every day. All I wanted to do was ski. I told my parents I was going to Europe to train. I bought a

Well, the training paid off.

one-way ticket to Austria and told them I couldn’t come back.

​Physical training is so important. I reached the

​A lpine skiing’s origins are in Europe, and

World Cup podium at 22 and was in the world’s

they have good training there. As Japan’s

top 15 alpine skiers for five years. There were ups

representative, I was assigned an Austrian coach

and downs in between, but I managed to race

who lived near me and trained me for eight years.

until the recent Sochi Olympics.

WINTER 2017

31


After Sochi, you stopped racing at 32. What are you doing now? ​I ’ m a b i g m o u n t a i n s k i e r . N o m o r e competitions. What’s important to me now is to smile and enjoy life, skiing and other activities such as surfing and skateboarding. I moved back

“​I made my debut at 19 at the World Championships and then went to the World Cup the following year. The timing was amazing because all the races were held in Austria. It felt like a sign.”

to Japan three years ago and have been enjoying the powder here. ​As an athlete, taking care of your body is vital. In Tokyo, I run two physiotherapy and stretch studios under the Re-Ra-Ku brand. ​I couldn’t represent Japan one year and ran out of money. But one sponsor who didn’t drop me was Re-Ra-Ku. They really supported me then. After I stopped racing, the president gave me one of the shops, saying it’s important to continue running something. and training is something I want to educate people about. ​I also run an eyewear goggles brand called MC, which I launched when I was 22. S o u n d s l i ke yo u ’ ve b e c o m e a s u c c e s s f u l businessman. Honestly, I’m not interested in making a whole lot of money. In fact, I run the goggles brand just barely enough so it doesn’t crash. What I really like is creating new things or sharing knowledge I find important or interesting – that’s enough for me. Starting this season, your sponsors Salomon and Atomic are starting Salomon Experience, where you’ll be taking people on backcountry tours. Racing is my backbone, but riding powder is something close to my heart and what I’ve been doing since I was a kid. You won’t find mountains as accessible to the city as you do in Hokkaido. It snows consistently, so instead of clamoring with other people for the slopes, we’re blessed with fresh tracks every day. We’re also surrounded by the ocean, so we get really rich, fine powder. When people ski with me, I guarantee they’ll have fun. I love snow, so I teach people about it. It’s important to learn about the weather so you can enjoy riding even more. Hokkaido is very local and of course there are lots of great hidden spots, but it’s also very big, and these secret backcountry slopes are generally easy to access. So maybe, if they’re lucky, I’ll take my guests there. Over the last decade, Japan has made a name for itself as a ski destination; what do you see for the future in winter sports tourism here? ​For the longest time, Japan lagged far behind Europe and the U.S. regarding winter tourism culture, technology and hospitality. But with inbound travelers increasing, we Japanese people need to recognize the value of our culture, history and powder and share these treasures with travelers. It’s important too to see what these visitors are looking for and improve what we offer.

32

T R AV E L E R

If you are interested in joining a backcountry tour with Akira Sasaki this winter, visit Outdoor Japan Adventures where you’ll find tours by Salomon Experience and other top tour companies in Japan.

Web: www.outdoorjapanadventures.com


WINTER 2017

33


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 37% 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: 1,200m Niseko Village Base Elevation: 240m Longest Course: 5,000m Top Elevation: 1,175m Base Elevation: 280m

40% 5 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)

34

Niseko Village Resort

25% 3

11

courses

63%

12%


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 Nov. 26 - May 7

www.cks.chuo-bus.co.jp/annupuri 8:30 - 20:30 (16:30 - 20:30)

1 DAY Adults ¥5,000 TICKET Kids ¥2,900

Park

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

NISEKO GRAND HIRAFU (0136) 22-0109 www.grand-hirafu.jp Nov. 23 - May 7 8:30 - 20:30 (16:30 - 20:30) 1 DAY Adults ¥5,200 TICKET Kids ¥2,900

Park

By Train: 120 minutes from Sapporo Station ACCESS to Kutchan Station By Car: 160 minutes from Sapporo City and 180 minutes from New Chitose Airport

NISEKO VILLAGE (0136) 44-2211 Dec.1 - Apr. 2 1 DAY TICKET

www.niseko-village.com 8:30 - 20:00 (16:30 - 20:00)

Adults ¥5,000 Youth ¥3,950 Kids ¥3,100

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) 21-6655 Dec. 3- Apr. 2

www.hanazononiseko.com 8:30 - 16:00

1 DAY Adults ¥5,200 TICKET Kids ¥2,900

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 2017

35


JAPAN SNOW GUIDE

Rusutsu

TRAVEL NOTES

Norn Minakami

HOKKAIDO Rusutsu welc omes T he Nor th Fac e a nd Salomon stores. Travelers can now pick up the latest gear and wear from these two great brands. The Burton store, which also opened last season, is located nearby. On the piste, taste fresh sushi from the resort’s latest eatery before heading out for more runs. In the evening, relax with jazz during Rusutsu’s annual 100 Days Music Night, held from 7:30 -8:10 p.m. and 9-9:40 p.m. from Dec. 23-April 1. Niseko Grand Hirafu has made it easier to access the top of Hirafu and the scenic flower garden with the King #3 Lift, now seating four people instead of three and starting 170 meters lower than before. Have an entire mountain to yourself without worrying about lines with the Niseko Weiss Powder CAT team or go backcountr y skiing with the Hanazono Powder Guides at Niseko Hana zono Resor t. Du r ing lunchtime on t he weekends, enjoy live music at the Hanazono 308 restaurant and café.

F r om D e c . 10 - M a r c h 31, r i d e To m a m u Resort’s First Tracks tour operates from 7:308:30 for ¥3,500. If you’re a beginner wanting to improve your riding skills, test the resort’s 710 - m e t e r- l o n g c o u r s e F a i r y Wo o d s o n the piste along Tower Mountain. One-day backcountry powder tours accessible only by CAT are available for ¥45,000 between January and March every Friday to Sunday. Tours come with a lunch course and an optional wine and cheese tasting. Treat yourself to s’mores and coffee from Tomamu’s Muhyou “Rime” Terrace overlooking endless powder from 1,088 meters high. For a fancy evening out, drop by the Ice Village for fine dining, a hotel made from ice and a delightful chocolatier. Av id r ider s s hou ld look i nto t he Roc ky Mountain Super Pass Plus. In partnership with Tomamu’s sister snow resort Cardrona in New Zealand, Tomamu is offering this year-round pass for ¥42,000 per person, so you can ride all year in Hokkaido or New Zealand.

Ski first tracks at Niseko Annupuri from Jan. 1-3 and 7-9 with the gondola especially open from 7:20-8:20 a.m. Travelers can also ski while watching the sunrise at Sapporo Teine. Lift service on Jan. 1 starts from 6 a.m.

NIIGATA C e l e b r a t e N A S PA S k i R e s o r t ’s 25 t h Anniversary. Guests 18 to 24 get 50 percent off a one-day lift ticket: just ¥2,500 for a full day. There are also flags hidden in the piste; if you find these during the weekend or public holidays, you’ll receive a fun prize.

Niseko Village continues to grow every year, catering to riders of all levels and making it an ideal spot for beginners. Check out upgrades including two “Magic Carpet” “walkalators” between the bottom lift station and the Niseko Kids beginner area, two all-season lifts (with a single glass-bottomed gondola) and a 1.2-km. beginner-friendly course connecting The Green Leaf Niseko Village to the shopping and dining area. There’s more to explore in Sahoro with its additional five courses (N1 Downhill Course, N2 Dynamic Course, N3 Challenge Course, N4 Expert Course and N5 Romance Course), three powder courses and a quad lift.

Hakuba Iwatake

Myoko Suginohara has a new gondola line with a 3.5-kilometer course complete with a spine, hip, wave, bank and other fun slope park items. The resort will also celebrate the Dontoyaki Festival, a traditional gathering where men and women whose zodiac signs align light a bonfire. Niseko Village

GUNMA Minakami Okutone is expanding its piste w it h a No. 4 l i f t goi ng up t he 90 0 -meterlong “Bu na nok i” Cou rse for beg i n ners a nd intermediate riders. Take a break and pick up a discounted lunch pack coupon for every one-day lift ticket you purchase. Nothing quite says “outdoors” like a day on the slopes followed by a hearty barbecue meal at Norn Minakami’s barbecue terrace on the third floor. If you’re not up for barbecue, the main restaurant is also renewed with Americanstyle meals and all-you-can-eat curry.

Niseko Grand Hirafu

36

T R AV E L E R


uests can also enjoy live paint artists and massage therapists and staying in local hotels and inns with rel

Tangram Madarao

Hakuba Iwatake

TOHOKU

Tangram Madarao

Shiga Kogen

Ski first tracks every day at Alts Bandai for just ¥1,000. From Dec. 28 to Mar. 20, the resort will open its lifts early (8:30 a.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. on weekends and public holidays).

NAGANO O n e o f S h i g a K o g e n ’s 13 s k i r e s o r t s , Higashi Tateyama has a renewed gondola l i f t c on ne c t i ng t he 2,0 0 0 -meter-h igh Mt . Higashitate to Hoppo Onsen. A 6,000-meter course connecting Higashi Tateyama and Happo Bunadaira will also make the Higashi Tateyama Olympic Course more accessible. Snowboarders will also be happy to hear the snowboard ban at Okushiga Kogen has been lifted.

Spend an authentic Japanese New Year at APPI, catching the first sunrise of 2017 from the slopes (Jan. 1) and mochi pounding (Jan. 2). The festivities continue on Jan. 21 at the APPI Jazzysport Music Concert, Chinese New Year fireworks on Jan. 28 and a magical Hachimantai and APPI Snow Festival from Feb. 18-28. Want to explore the backcountry? On Feb. 5, 25 and 26 and March 12 and 19, APPI will be hosting backcountry ski tours.

Sapporo Teine

At Grandeco, the Snow Adventure Park will be open Dec. 17-April 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Located right next to the hotel, it’s a perfect place for your kids to play. Other activities including snow rafting (¥1,000 per person) and 50 cc. and 250 cc. snow mobile rentals (¥2,000 per person).

Skiing at Hakuba just got easier with the Hakuba Valley all-season pass and a ticket and gate system at select ski resorts in Hakuba Valley (Hakuba 47, Hakuba Happo-one, Hakuba Iwatake, Tsugaike, Hakuba Norikura, Cortina). With this all-season pass (¥130,000 for adults and ¥70,000 for children), hop on lifts at the six resorts all season.

Tomamu Resort

WINTER 2017

37


RUSUTSU RESORT

Rusutsu, Hokkaido

(0136) 46-3331 http://en.rusutsu.co.jp Nov. 26 - Apr. 9 9:00 - 21:00 (16:00 - 21:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥5,500 TICKET Kids ¥2,750

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% 7

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. 21 - May 8 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 ¥5,500 TICKET Kids ¥2,800

Kiroro is a relatively new (opened in 1992) ski resort just 30 kilometers west of Sapporo. 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. Kiroro makes up for its lack of challenging terrain by offering a few powder pockets and plenty of gentle slopes for beginners and children. The ""Powder Zone"" opens middle of January to 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

37% 1

3

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

37% 4

37% 1

Advanced

10

courses

Longest Top Ele Base E

26% 4

Park

NOZAWA BACKCOUNTRY TOURS

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

Sapporo, Hokkaido

080-9083-2172

1 DAY Adults ¥3,200 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.

Untracked powder, BC knowledge, Riding tips, Professional guides

nozawaskischool@gmail.com

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

10

SAPPORO KOKUSAI (0115) 98-4511 www.sapporo-kokusai.jp Nov. 18 - May 7 9:00 - 17:00 (-18:00 on weekends)

www.nozawaski.com

Advanced

Park

ACCESS

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

Advanced

Park

30% 2 Park

Beginner Lifts

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

www.sapporo-teine.com 9:00 - 21:00 (16:00 - 21:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,900 TICKET Kids ¥2,400

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)

38

Advanced

Sapporo, Hokkaido

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. ACCESS

60% 1

30% 2

SAPPORO TEINE (0116) 82-6000 Nov. 19 - May 7

Intermediate Gondola

6

15

courses

3

Longest Top Ele Base E


SAHORO RESORT (0156) 64-4121 Dec. 1 - Apr. 9

Shintoku, Hokkaido

www.sahoro.co.jp 9:00 - 18:00 (15:00 - 18:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥5,000 TICKET Kids ¥4,000

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 2 Beginner Lifts

30% 1 2

Advanced

17

courses

1 DAY Adults ¥5,400 TICKET Kids ¥3,800

30% 1

SNOWBOARD WITH THE LOCALS Nagano ◊ Niseko Alaska ◊ USA ◊ Canada

Beginner Station Intermediate ACCESS By Train: 70 minutes from New Chitose Airport to Tomamu Lifts Gondola By Car: 90 minutes from New Chitose Airport

www.cloudlinetours.com

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).

25% 1 2 Beginner Lifts

25% 1 2

Advanced

30% 1

Longest Course: 3,000m Top Elevation: 1,030m Base Elevation: 420m

Longest Course: 3,000m 17 Top Elevation: 1,030m courses Base Elevation: 420m

HOSHINO RESORTS TOMAMU

Intermediate Gondola

45% 2

Advanced

15

courses

45% 2

30% 5

Longest Course: 4,500m Top Elevation: 1,210m Base Elevation: 699m

30% 5

Longest Course: 4,500m Top Elevation: 1,210m courses Base Elevation: 699m

15

FURANO RESORT

Furano, Hokkaido

www.princehotels.co.jp/newfurano 8:30 - 19:30 (17:00 - 19:30)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,000 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 (0166) 72-2311 Dec. 1 - Apr.2

40% 2 1

Advanced

Shimukappu, Hokkaido

(0167) 58-1111 www.snowtomamu.jp Mid December - Apr. 2 9:00 - 19:00 (16:00 - 19:00)

(0167) 22-1111 Nov. 19 - May 7

Intermediate Gondola

40% 2 1

Intermediate Gondola

40% 1

Advanced

40% 25% 1 52

15 23

courses

40% 45% 12

20% 30% 52

Longest Course: 4,000m 4,500m Top Elevation: 1,209m 1,210m Base Elevation: 699m 245m

20% 2

Longest Course: 4,000m Top Elevation: 1,209m Base Elevation: 245m

Asahikawa, Hokkaido

www.kamui-skilinks.com 9:00 - 17:00

1 DAY Adults ¥3,100 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: 150m

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: 150m

More information online at www.outdoorjapan.com/snow WINTER 2017

39


Beyond Niseko with Black Diamond Tours

Photo by Niseko Photography

By Rie Miyoshi

I

t’s a chilly winter day in Tokyo, but Clayton Kernaghan is comfortable in a T-shirt, laughing about how warm is the city. After all, he’s the founder of award-winning Black Diamond Lodge and Tours, operating world-famous heli-skiing, CAT skiing and backcountry tours in Hokkaido. Originally from Canada, Kernaghan always knew he would work in the winter sports industry after riding his first snowboard at 14. Wanting to start a guiding company for Japanese snowboarders coming into Canada, he moved to Sapporo, almost two decades ago to learn the language and culture. He never left.

Photo by Glen Claydon

40

T R AV E L E R

e dg i r ab s ros es.” c a ki h sid s ven n bot e can ngs o u yo spri , t oin g hot p one bblin t “A h bu wit

Photo by Glen Claydon


“I don’t like to ski just one mountain. I’m always looking for the new place: bigger, better and farther away.”

Photo by Jordan Manley

While making extra cash teaching English, Ker-

Photo by Niseko Photography

Photo by Niseko Photography

ourselves to find new areas to take customers.”

the backcountry industry with Hokkaido Back-

While Niseko has plenty to offer, Black Dia-

country Club (HBC). Currently Black Diamond’s

mond turns it up a few notches by encouraging

special ops and mechanized wing, HBC was born

“I wanted to offer foreigners what I always

visitors to explore beyond the area and even

four years ago when Kernaghan and Makoro Koi-

wanted in a lodge and tour company,” Kernaghan

brings guests to Rusutsu and Moiwa for free once

zumi launched heli skiing tours.

explains about Black Diamond’s beginnings. “It’s

a week.

naghan explored Hokkaido’s mountains and ski resorts before purchasing a lodge in Niseko.

a true ski lodge for like-minded people who are serious about skiing and snowboarding.” Having grown up during the snowboard boom, Kernaghan knew most riders discovered

It won world’s best heli-ski operator this year

“We empower small towns by introducing

in Kitzbühel, but Kernaghan hopes HBC achieves

customers to untapped terrain and local hot

more than that by one day being a meeting point

spring lodges—there are some amazing spots

for all backcountry users and the local govern-

along the coast of Japan,” he said.

ment to facilitate better communication.

their next powder destination via magazines and

The latest example is Chisenupuri which

There’s so much Hokkaido has to offer, and

movies. He invited media to explore Hokkaido’s

Black Diamond acquired this season. Niseko may

Black Diamond has paved the way to exploring

backcountry slopes, but non-stop calls started

be the Vail and Whistler of Asia, but Chisenupuri

it from guided tours to rental car services for

coming after Poor Boyz productions came and

on the back side of Moiwa offers a contrastingly

winter road trips. And Kernaghan has no plans to

filmed “Reasons,” featuring professional skiers

authentic Japanese experience.

move. “When you’re in this industry, you’re sell-

Chris Benchetler and the late J.P. Auclaire.

“Before Chisenupuri closed three years ago, it

The name “Black Diamond” represents North

used to be my secret go-to place to take guests,”

America and extreme to expert skiing. While

Kernaghan recalls. “It’s 275 vertical meters long,

attracting a whole spectrum of riders from ski

four runs and no development around it.

bums on a budget to the wealthiest people in the

“At one point, you can even ski across a bridge

world, the lodge remains affordable and serves as

with bubbling hot springs on both sides.” Starting

a great resource for travelers looking for the best

this winter, riders can head here on Black Dia-

snow conditions.

mond’s CAT ski day trips specifically for begin-

“I don’t like to ski just one mountain. I’m al-

ing happiness. At the end of the day, there’s nothing I’d rather be doing right now.”

To book one of Black Diamond’s epic tours, log on to www.outdoorjapanadventures.com.

ners and intermediates.

ways looking for the new place: bigger, better and

As Hokkaido tourism flourishes, Kernaghan

farther away.” Kernaghan says. “We really push

works to unite the fiercely local community with WINTER 2017

41


TOHOKU Hakkoda Ropeway

Hachimantai Resort

Tazawako

HAKKODA ROPEWAY

Hakkoda, Aomori

(017) 738-0343 www.hakkoda-ropeway.jp Middle of Dec. - Beginning of May 9:00 - 15:20

Appi Kogen

Gran Deco Miyagi Eboshi Alts Bandai Yamagata Zao

APPI KOGEN

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.

Hachimantai, Iwate

(0195) 73-6401 http://www.appi-japan.com/ Dec. 10 - May 6 8:00 - 20:00 (16:00 - 20:00) 1 DAY Adults ¥5,400 TICKET Kids ¥3,100

1 DAY Adults 5 Times (on Ropeway) ¥5,050 TICKET Kids ¥2,250 Park

Park

Tour Route Area Tour Route Area

20% 1

60% 1

20%

30% 2 1

Park

40% 3

Longest Course: Longest Co APPI5,000m is a giant resort (41K of trails) with a The eight peaks of Hakkoda attract Japan's 5 Top Elevation: 21 Top Eleva 1,324m(thanks to the many north-facing Beginner Intermediate Advanced Beginner Intermediate Advanced long season most devoted powder lovers. It is basically courses courses Lifts Gondola Lifts Gondola Base Elevation: Base Ele slopes) 660m 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 Tour length at APPI is 2,100m; the longest 5,500m. It’s possible to "Forest" trails. You won't get many Route blueAreabird days here, and 1 1 2 3 11 Tour Route Area 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 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 the two natural hot springs after a day on the mountain. across the parking lot from the gondola, is the closest 5 Top Elevation: 1,324m ofFamilies 21 Top Elevation: 1,328m Beginner Advanced Beginner Intermediate Advanced will appreciate the Kids Park. accommodation. Up the road, Sukayu Onsen Intermediate is a mixed hot courses courses Gondola Lifts Gondola Base Elevation: 660m Base Elevation: 828m spring with a 300-year history and aLifts 1,000-person bath. Park

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. 17 - Mid Apr. 8:30 - 16:30 (12/27-1/4 everyday 16:30-21:00. 1/10-3/21every Saturday.)

TAZAWAKO SKI RESORT

Tazawako, Akita

(0187) 46-2011 www.tazawako-ski.com Dec. 16 - Apr. 2 9:00 - 16:00

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

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

Park

Park

40% 1

PANORAMA

30% 1

20% 5

30% 2

30% 4

SHIMOKURA Park

Longest Co Longest Course: 2,700m When it snows in Tazawako, and it usually It’s easy to get confused because there are 13 Top Elev 14 Top Elevation: 1,130m Beginner Intermediate Advanced Beginner Intermediate Advanced does, there is deep powder and a good variety of two Iwate Hachimantai resorts and another in courses Base Ele courses Base Elevation: Lifts Gondola Lifts Gondola courses 540m 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. 40% 30% 30% in Japan, with Lake Tazawa below providing a stunning backdrop. 40% 30% 30% PANORAMA 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 1 4 1 5 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 SHIMOKURA 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 everyone happy; on one side is a beginner and intermediate area, speed lifts servicing mostly beginner or intermediate courses 14 13 Top Elevation: 1,186m Top Elevation: 1,000m Beginner Intermediate Advanced Advanced and on the other is a more challengingBeginner advancedIntermediate course. Powder that are wide open, so plenty of breathing room for beginners courses courses Lifts Gondola Lifts Gondola Base Elevation: 540m Base Elevation: 608m lovers won’t want to miss the Komagatake Panoramic Cat Tour. or kids wanting to bomb down the hill. Park

Park

Park

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)

42

T R AV E L E R


EBOSHI RESORT

Zao-machi, Miyagi

(0224) 34-4001 www.eboshi.co.jp Early Jan - Early Apr 9:00 - 22:00 (17:30 - 22:00)

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

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

30% 1

20% 6

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

50% 1

30% 1

Advanced

10

courses

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

20% 6

Park

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

Yamagata-shi, Yamagata

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

1 DAY Adults ¥5,000 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

Advanced

26

courses

ALTS BANDAI 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.

26

courses

20% 5 1

Longest Course: 10,000m Top Elevation: 1,660m Base Elevation: 780m

20% 5 1

Longest Course: 10,000m Top Elevation: 1,660m Base Elevation: 780m

Park

35% 1 1 Park

Beginner Lifts

Advanced

GRANDECO SNOW RESORT

Intermediate Gondola

35% 1 1

Park

By Train: 82 minutes from Tokyo Station to KoriyamaBeginner StationIntermediate Lifts Gondola By Car: 60 minutes from Fukushima International Airport.

(0241) 32-2530 www.grandeco.com Nov. 29 - May. 7 8:30 - 17:00

40% 3 27

Advanced

40% 3 27

Bandai, Fukushima

(0242) 74-5000 www.alts.co.jp Dec.21 - Mar. 27 8:00-21:00 (17:30-21:00) Night Ski 17:30-21:00

ACCESS

Intermediate Gondola

40% 1 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% 1 3

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 ¥4,700 TICKET Kids ¥3,500

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

40% 1

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

40% 1

8

45% 4

Advanced

8

45% 4

15% 2

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

courses Base Elevation: 1,010m

15% 2

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

courses Base Elevation: 1,010m

More information online at www.outdoorjapan.com/snow

WINTER 2017

43


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 (0261) 75-2101 Dec. 9 - May 7

Hakuba, Nagano

www.hakubagoryu.com/e/index.html 8:00 - 22:00 (18:00 - 22:00)

Nozawa Onsen

Togakushi

Okushiga

Madarao

Hakuba Cortina

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 8:00 - 16:20 Dec. 12  - May 7 1 DAY Adults ¥4,800 TICKET Kids ¥2,500

1 DAY Adults ¥5,000 TICKET Kids ¥2,700

Park

Park

35% 1 1

40% 3

25% 9

30% 1

4

Longest Course: 5,000m Longest Hakuba 47 is a relatively new resort (opened Hakuba Goryu is not the largest resort in 16 Top Elevation: 8 Top Ele 1,624m 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 Base Elevation: 950m Base E 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 1 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: 6,400m 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 Lifts Gondola Lifts Gondola Base Elevation: 820m Goryu also shares a common lift pass with Hakuba 47. Park

Park

Park

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-ONE (0261) 72-3066 Dec. 8 - May 7

Hakuba, Nagano

www.happo-one.jp 8:00 - 21:00 (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 SNOW FIELD (0261) 72-2474 Dec. 16- Mar. 26

Hakuba, Nagano

iwatake.jp 8:00 - 17:00

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

1 DAY Adults ¥4,200 TICKET Kids ¥2,400

Park

Park

Park

30% 1 2

50% 5

20% 4 Park

30% 1 12

5

South Side North Side Longest Course: 8,000m Longest If the crowds at Happo are too much for you, Happo is a huge resort that is heaven for 13 Top Elevation: 15 Top Ele 1,831m 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 Base Elevation: 760mup at Hakuba’s highest peaks for Base E resort looks 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 4 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 2 12 1 lines are relatively short by Hakuba standards, and you can narrow paths leading down the mountain. If you need a South Side 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 Lifts Gondola Lifts Gondola on long weekends. Park

Park

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 SKI RESORT

Hakuba, Nagano

(0261) 82-2236 www.hgp.co.jp 1 DAY Adults ¥3,600 Dec. 12 - Apr. 2 8:30 -17:00 (Sun-Fri: 17:00 - 20:00, Sat: 17:00 - 21:00) TICKET Kids ¥2,000

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). Beginner Intermediate ACCESS By Train: From Shinjuku to Minami Otari: 4 hours (ByLiftsAzusa)Gondola By Car: 90 minutes from Nagano I.C. to hotel

Advanced

Professional Guiding and Instructing

Park

40% 2

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

16

Longest Course: 2,025m Top Elevation: 1,402m Base Elevation: 872m

30%

Otari, Nagano 1 DAY Adults ¥4,900 TICKET Kids ¥2,800

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. Park

Beginner NaganoIntermediate Station ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen from Tokyo Station toLifts Gondola (1 hour, 45 minutes), then a shuttle to Hakuba Cortina (80 minutes)

MT. NORIKURA (0263) 93-2645 www.norikura.co.jp Dec. 10 - Mar. 9 8:30 - 16:30

16

courses

Hakuba, Nagano, Japan

30%

Longest Course: 2,025m Top Elevation: 1,402m Base Elevation: 872m

HAKUBA TSUGAIKE KOGEN (0261) 83-2515 www.tsugaike.gr.jp Nov. 19 - Early May 8:00 - 17:00 (8:00 - 20:50 on Sat.)

30% 5

40% 2

courses

Advanced

30% 5

Advanced

Park

50% 1 1

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

30% 1 9

50% 1 1

Advanced

14

courses

30% 1 9

20% 9 2

Longest Course: 4,630m Top Elevation: 1,704m www.evergreen-hakuba.com Base Elevation: 800m

20% 9 2

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

14

Norikura Kogen Onsen, Nagano 1 DAY Adults ¥4,100 TICKET Kids ¥2,000

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

30% 2 1

Park

Beginner Lifts

30% 2 1

Intermediate Gondola

40% 1

Advanced

20

40% 1

30% 5

Longest Course: 5,000m Top Elevation: 2,000m

courses Base Elevation: 1,500m

30% 5

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

NOZAWA

Ski goods,Ski Rental

OPEN 8:00~10:00/15:00~20:00 TEL 0269-67-0224 www.compasshouse.jp More information online at www.outdoorjapan.com/snow WINTER 2017

45


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. Starting this year, a common ski lift pass will be available for Shiga Kogen Resort’s 13 ski areas which are part of the “Shiga Kogen Resort Chuo Area.” These resorts include Sun Valley, Maruike, Hasuike, Giant, Happo Bunahira, Higashi Tateyama, Teragoya, Takamahara Mammoth, Nishi Tateyama, Tanne-no-mori Okojo, Ichinose Family, Ichinose Diamond and Ichinose Yama-no-kami. 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.facebook.com/ 志 賀 高 原 リ ゾ ー ト 開 発 株 式 会 社 -297506993698844/

Mid-Dec. - Beg. of Apr. 1 DAY Adults ¥4,800 TICKET Kids ¥2,400

50% 1

8:30 - 16:30

Park

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

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

Advanced

40% 3

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.3- Apr. 2 8:00 - 16:00 (18:00 - 20:00) 1 DAY Adults ¥5,000 TICKET Kids ¥2,500

45% 2

Park

35% 2

20% 1

Park

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

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

Advanced

14

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

courses Base Elevation: 1,550m

OKUSHIGA KOGEN SKI FIELD (0269) 34-2225 www.okushigakogen.com Dec. 13 - May 2 7:30 - 16:30 1 DAY Adults ¥5,000 TICKET Kids ¥2,500

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)

46

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 MOUNTAIN RESORT

Iiyama, Nagano

(0269) 64-3214 www.madarao.jp Dec. 17 - Apr. 2 8:30 - 21:00 (17:00 - 21:00)

1 DAY Adults TICKET Kids

¥4,500 ¥1,500

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

TANGRAM SKI CIRCUS Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

30% 2 1

40% 3

Advanced

30% 2 1

29

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

29

courses

TANGRAM SKI CIRCUS

Madarao, Nagano

(026) 258-3511 www.tangram.jp/foreign/english.html 1 DAY Adults ¥4,200 TICKET Kids ¥3,200 Dec. 17 - Apr. 3 9:00 - 16:30 (from 8:30 on Sat.&Sun.) (16:30 - 20:00 on Saturday) 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

MADARAO MOUNTAIN RESORT Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

30% 2

29

courses

30% 5

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

30% 1

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

14

courses

TOGAKUSHI

40% 3

Advanced

40% 3

Togakushi, Nagano

(026) 254-2106 www.togakusi.com Dec. 17 - Apr. 2 8:30 - 16:30

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

Togakushi is an interesting, medium-sized resort. The name “Togakushi” means “hidden door,” it derived from the Japanese myth and the resort is owned by Nagano City, 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, course is variegated 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, 30 minutes), then less than 1 hour to Togakushi by bus

Advanced

NOZAWA ONSEN

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%

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

19

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

(0269) 85-3166 www.nozawaski.com Dec. 9 - May 7 8:30 - 17:00 (16:30 - 20:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,800 TICKET Kids ¥2,200

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 (109 minutes), then 36 Intermediate ACCESS Iiyama Line to Togari-Nozawa Onsen St. (60 minutes) andBeginner taxi or shuttle bus to Advanced courses Gondola Nozawa Onsen. By Car: 75 minutes from Nagano Station Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

30% 5 1

Advanced

36

courses

30% 5 1

40% 3 1

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

40% 3 1

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

More information online at www.outdoorjapan.com/snow WINTER 2017

47


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 GALA Yuzawa

Iwappara

Charmant Hiuchi

Seki Onsen Akakura Myoko Suginohara Kagura Tashiro Mitsumata

GALA YUZAWA SNOW RESORT YUZAWA KOGEN GALA YUZAWA STATION

NUNOBA

Mt. NAEBA KAGURA • MITSUMATA

Naeba

NUNOBA FAMILY IPPONSUGI SKI RESORT

Mt. NAEBA KAGURA • TASHIRO

ECHIGO YUZAWA STATION

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

Mt. NAEBA • SHIRAKABA Mt. NAEBA • ASAGAI

GONDOLA ROPEWAY

MT. NAEBA

Yuzawa, Niigata

(0257) 89-2211 www.princehotels.com/ski/naeba Dec. 10 - TBD 8:00 - 17:00

KAGURA - TASHIRO - MITSUMATA

Yuzawa, Niigata

(0257) 88-9221 www.princehotels.co.jp/ski/kagura Nov. 19 - May 28 8:00 - 17:00 1 DAY Adults ¥5,000 TICKET Kids ¥2,500

1 DAY Adults ¥4,700 TICKET Kids ¥3,800

Park

Park

To Naeba

30% 3

40% 5

30% 5

Kagura Area Park

Tashiro Area To Naeba

45% 3 1

3 5

Longest Course: 4,000m Longest These three connecting ski areas form one Mt. Naeba calls itself "The Station Moritz 22 Top Elevation: 23 Top Ele 1,789m 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 Base Elevation: 900mhectares. From Naeba, you’ll be Base E area is 368 trendsetters wishing to get away for a convenient lifted above Lake Tashiro to wider and less ski weekend. The crescent-shaped Prince Hotel Kagura 40% 35% 30% crowded slopes and better snow quality, but the area closes 20% 30% 45% cuts an imposing figure at the base of this classic ski-in/skiArea at 4 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 5 5 5 A better option is to access the Tashiro Ropeway on Route a Prince-managed resort hotel. Off the mountain, there are To Naeba Tashiro Area 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. To Naeba 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 22 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 Lifts Gondola Lifts Gondola 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

Park

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)

Mikuni, Yuzawa-machi, Minami-

48

T R AV E L E R

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)


GALA YUZAWA SNOW RESORT (0257) 85-6543 Dec.17 - May 7

Yuzawa, Niigata

www.galaresort.jp/winter/english 8:00  - 17:00

1 DAY Adults ¥4,600 TICKET Kids ¥2,300

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

40% 1 4

16

courses

40% 1 4

25% 3

Longest Course: 2,500m Top Elevation: 1,181m Base Elevation: 358m

25% 3

Longest Course: 2,500m Top Elevation: 1,181m Base Elevation: 358m

IWAPPARA

Yuzawa, Niigata

(025) 787-3211 www.iwa-ppara.com 1 DAY Adults ¥4,000 Dec.3 - Apr. 9 8:00 - 20:00 (17:00 - 20:00) (Saturdays: 8:00 - 21:00) 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.

Park

40% 2

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

40% 2

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

Advanced

40% 7

20

courses

40% 7

20%

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

20%

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

NASPA SKI GARDEN

Yuzawa, Niigata

(025) 780-6888 www.naspa.co.jp/ski/ Dec.22 - Apr. 9 8:30 - 18:00 (17:00 - 18:00)

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

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

Park

Park

Beginner Lifts

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 (025) 782-1028 www.jkokusai.co.jp Dec. 17 - Apr. 9 8:00 - 21:00 (17:00 - 21:00)

38% 2

Intermediate Gondola

37% 1

Advanced

37% 1

25% 2

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

8

courses

25% 2

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 2017

49


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MYOKO SUGINOHARA (0255) 86-6211 www.princehotels.co.jp/ski/myoko Dec. 23 - Mar. 26 8:30 - 16:30

Myoko, Niigata 1 DAY Adults ¥4,500 TICKET Kids ¥3,900

NIIGATA

Park

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.

40% 1

40% 2

20% 2

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

40% 2

40% 1

Advanced

16

courses

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

20% 2

Park

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

Advanced

16

courses

AKAKURA ONSEN (0255) 87-2125 Dec. 10 - Apr. 2

Akakura Onsen, Niigata

www.akakura-ski.com 8:30 - 22:00 (17:00 - 22:00)

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

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. Park

Beginner Advanced (1 hr., 45Intermediate min.), then take 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

Park

50% 2 Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

30% 4

50% 2

Advanced

20

courses

30% 4

20% 9

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

20% 9

English Ski & Snowboard Lessons Snowshoe tour

Longest Course: 3,000m 20 Top Elevation: 1,200m courses Base Elevation: 650m

SEKI ONSEN (0255) 82-2316 Dec.23 - May 7

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

Seki Onsen, Niigata

www.sekionsen.com 9:00 - 17:00

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

Park

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.

20% 1

Beginner Lifts

20% 1

Intermediate Gondola

30% 1

Advanced

A little-known place awesome for

50%

Skiing & Snowboarding

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

Itoigawa, Niigata

(025) 568-2244 http://charmant-hiuchi.jp Dec. 22 - May 7 8:30 - 16:30

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

Park

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.

20% 1

45% 2

35%

Park

Beginner Lifts

20% 1

Intermediate Gondola

45% 2

Advanced

16

courses

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

35%

Park

Beginner Intermediate From Advanced is inconvenient. ACCESS Car access is recommended: Train and bus serviceLifts Gondola Tokyo it takes 4 hours by car, depending on traffic and weather

www.canyons.jp

Longest Course: 1,600m 6 Top Elevation: 1,620m courses Base Elevation: 1,000m

Longest Course: 1,600m 6 Top Elevation: 1,620m courses Base Elevation: 1,000m

CHARMANT HIUCHI

50%

+81-80-9083-2179

Park

Park

Beginner(1 hr., Intermediate Advanced 45 min.), then ACCESS By Train: Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Nagano Station Gondolaby taxi take the JR Shinetsu Honsen Line to Sekiyama Station,Lifts then 20 min.

30% 1

Longest Course: 2,700m 16 Top Elevation: 1,009m courses Base Elevation: 501m

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

For more Niigata information visit OJ Online (www.outdoorjapan.com) WINTER 2017

51


Kawaba

Minakami Houdaigi Okutone Snow Park

GUNMA

Tenjindaira Tanigawadake

Oze Iwakura

Norn Minakami Manza Onsen

Kusatsu Kokusai

W

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 as the popular Oze Iwakura, Hotaka Bokujo, a boarder’s park, and Oguna Hotaka, a nice mid-sized 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

OKUTONE SNOW PARK

Minakami, Gunma

(0278) 75-2557 www.hodaigi.jp Dec. 17 - Apr. 9 8:00 - 16:30

(0278) 72-8101 Dec. 12 - Apr. 2 1 DAY Adults ¥4,200 TICKET Kids ¥2,800

Minakami, Gunma

www.okutone.jp 8:00 - 22:00 (weekends & holidays 6:00 - 24:00)

(17:00-22:00) (Until 24:00 on Fridays, Saturdays, and the days before National Holidays)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,200 TICKET Kids Free for children <12

Park

Park

50% 2

30% 5

20% 1

30% 5

4 1

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. Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate

Advanced

Park

Longest Course: 1,400m Longest If rails, pipes and jumps are your thing, 16 Top Elevation: 10 Top Ele 1,400m Beginner Intermediate Advanced Beginner Intermediate Advanced Okutone ski area is the place to go in courses courses Lifts Lifts Gondola Base Elevation: 830m Base E Minakami. The park staff takes good care of guests who come to perfect their style at the 30% 20% resort’s park. The night sessions are popular, since they keep 50% 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: 1,400m 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 Lifts Gondola weekdays. Park

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.snowjapan.com/japan-ski-resorts/gunma/minakami/norn-minakami Dec. 17 - Mar. 31 8:00 - 22:00/24:00 (16:30 - 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 - 16:00

1 DAY Adults ¥4,500 TICKET Kids ¥3,600

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

Park

Park

30% 2

50% 2

30% 1

20%

4 4

Park Park

Longest Longest Course: 2,000mTenjindaira is better known to Although Situated just three kilometers from the 10 Top Ele 5 Top Elevation: 1,220m 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 Base E Base Elevation: 820mhikers, the resort is a popular stop packed with 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% 20% relatively small, but lift lines are usually short and the snow 20% 60% 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 Lifts Gondola Lifts Base Elevation: 750m Base Elevation: 820m enjoy some "Japow!" Park

Park

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)

52

T R AV E L E R


KAWABA (0278) 52-3345 Dec. 3 - Apr. 16

Kawaba, Gunma www.kawaba.co.jp 8:30 - 16:00

1 DAY Adults ¥4,500 TICKET Kids ¥3,200

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.

Park

20% 3

40% 1

40% 1

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

20% 3

40% 1

Advanced

10

Longest Course: 2,000m Top Elevation: 2,020m

courses Base Elevation: 1,290m

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. 17 - Apr. 09 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.

Park Heliport

20% 1

50% 2

30% 8

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

20% 1

50% 2

Advanced

Longest Course: 8,000m Top Elevation: 2,171m

9

courses Base Elevation: 1,245m

30% 8

M.O.C Nagata

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

Advanced

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

9

MANZA ONSEN (0279) 97-3117 Dec. 10 - Apr. 2

Tsumagoi, Gunma

www.princehotels.co.jp/ski/manza/ 8:30 - 17:00 (Saturdays 8:30 - 20:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,300 TICKET Kids ¥0

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

40% 5

20%

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

40% 1

40% 5

Advanced

Longest Course: 2,100m Top Elevation: 1,994m

9

courses Base Elevation: 1,646m

20%

Park

Longest Course: 2,100m 9 Top Elevation: 1,994m 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

Katashina, Gunma

(0278) 58-7777 www.oze-iwakura.co.jp/ski/ Dec. 10 - Apr. 09 8:00 - 21:00 (16:30 - 21:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,600 TICKET Kids ¥2,500

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

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

Advanced

Park

30% 11 9

Park

Beginner Lifts

30% 11 9

Intermediate Gondola

40% 1

Advanced

16

40% 1

30% 2

Longest Course: 3,200m Top Elevation: 1,703m

courses Base Elevation: 1,006m

30% 2

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

16

More information online at www.outdoorjapan.com/snow WINTER 2017

53


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 regions. 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

Takasu, Gifu

(0575) 72-7000 www.takasu.gr.jp Dec. 15 - Mid Apr 8:00 - 16:30

1 DAY Adults ¥4,900 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.

Park

35% 1

35% 3

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

35% 1

35% 3

Advanced

12

courses

Longest Cours Top Elevatio Base Elevat

30%

Park

BeginnerTakasu Intermediate and ACCESS By Bus: A bus leaves Nagoya at 8 a.m. stopping at both Gondola Dynaland. The trip takes about 2 hours, 45 minutes Lifts

Advanced

12

courses

Longest Course: 4,800m Top Elevation: 1,550m Base Elevation: 950m

DYNALAND

Takasu, Gifu

(0575) 72-6636 www.dynaland.co.jp Dec. 10 - Apr. 2 Weekdays 8:00 - 16:30 (18:00 - 23:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,900 TICKET Kids ¥2,000

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.

Park

40% 3 Park

Beginner Lifts

40% 3

Intermediate Gondola

32% 2

Advanced

28%

Park

Beginner Intermediate Takasu and ACCESS By Bus: A bus leaves Nagoya at 8 a.m. stopping at both Gondola Dynaland. The trip takes about 2 hours, 45 minutes Lifts

Advanced

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

20

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

54

T R AV E L E R

32% 3

18

courses

Longest Cours Top Elevatio Base Elevat


WINTER 2017

55


TRAVEL & ADVENTURE DIRECTORY HOKKAIDO

HOKKAIDO

TOKYO

HOKKAIDO

Amazingly Dry Powder Snow

Head to Hokkaido's last frontier ' ' www.facebook.com/HokkaidoPowderBelt NAGANO

56

T R AV E L E R

NAGANO


GUNMA

TOKYO

CELEBRATING HUMAN POWER AND INTRODUCING THE QUIET BACKSTREETS, BEAUTIFUL PARKS AND UNIQUE CULTURE OF TOKYO NOT FOUND ON TOURIST MAPS.

freewheeling.jp OKINAWA

SHIZUOKA

TOKYO

NARA

SHIZUOKA

TOKUSHIMA

WINTER 2017

57


TRAVEL & ADVENTURE DIRECTORY KOCHI

PPYRA A H

MICRONESIA

MICRONESIA

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OKINAWA

BALI 癒しの空間で... 波を心いくまで満喫...

サーフィンガイド サーフィンコーチ ラグジャリーな宿泊施設

Surf Guiding Surf Coaching Luxury Accommodation

Feel at home... Enjoy the ride... VIETNAM

OKINAWA

58

T R AV E L E R

www.thechillhouse.com VIETNAM



Outdoor Japan Traveler - Issue 62 - Winter 2017