I've ridden at Suginohara off and on for the last 13yrs, and it is one of my favourite mid-winter resorts. I've written mid-winter powder reviews of the place from a snowboarders perspective, but seeing as (as my buddy puts it,) I've gone to the dark-side during the spring, aka skiing, I'll write about my experiences with that.
First off, Suginohara is big! There are pistes everywhere so you have a huge choice of slopes from super mellow greens, to crazy steep
Great potential, just need the right conditions...
I like Akakura Kanko, but I'd like it a lot more if I could hit it with the right conditions... Being a weekend warrior, that seems to have eluded me so far... But still, it's a great resort!
Akakura Kanko is a large resort with plenty of slopes, and lots of fun terrain out in the designated 'off-piste' section. The cool thing about Kanko is that even if the conditions aren't the best (like when I went), there's plenty of
This place hidden in it's own corner of Niigata Prefecture opens early season and late season. Usually it closes between mid January and mid March. I don't know if it is because of particularly huge amounts of snow or just that the costs involved in keeping the roads open in mid-winter would just be too silly, but that's the deal.
So it's known as the first and last place to go in a season for some folk.
Last season I spent a week in Tokamachi city meeting some friends, and during that time a day at this fairly small ski-jo. It was a weekend but still not really busy and there was no waiting for lifts - not more than a minute any way. There had been a lot of snow the week before we went and a bit the day before, so conditions were excellent. Not much to say about this place other than it's definitely decent for at
Last year my buddy and I both won tickets to visit White World, and this year thanks to another SJ Giveaway we were lucky enough to snaffle some more...
This place is a gem.
It's like how Hakuba Cortina used to be before the word got out. Great out-of-bounds terrain, easily accessed, straight forward exits back to piste. Nobody else going anywhere near the trees... Coming from riding in Nagano & Niigata, this is completely unheard of.
Madarao seems to just be getting better and better. What with all the tree runs they've cut through the forests, mellow glade runs, plus all the features they've built -log rides, jumps etc. out in the trees, you can't but not have a fun time at Madarao. There are also a whole bunch of pistes that are left ungroomed, which make for the perfect warm-up before hitting the trees.
The lifts are decent and speedy, all except the one that actually
Seki Onsen is a small resort in the Myoko area, with a very friendly feel to it and a pretty solid group of local riders. The whole resort has only 2 lifts and they turn pretty slowly, but the lifties are really funny older guys who like to joke around and make small talk.
I have visited Seki Onsen about six or seven times over the years, always during peak season and always when the place seems to have been