Visited here on a day trip from Sapporo, using the handy shuttle bus service from one of the downtown hotels, to which I walked from my hostel. The “Bus Pack” cost 4,800Yen which included the return bus journey and day pass. On the day I went the sun was out and warming things up quickly, frustratingly turning the 20-30cm of off-piste snow into sludge. Many of the easily-accessible tree runs were on south-facing slopes so after a few, unsuccessful attempts at finding some decent snow (including a hike out of a gully I got sucked into), I spent the rest of the morning exploring the resort and playing on the groomers. The latter are nice and wide, so good to practise on, especially for beginners, though there's nothing steep to challenge the more advanced.
Although it didn’t deliver the goods on the day I went, Kokusai had lots of trees to play in and I would love to return during more favourable conditions. One criticism I have is the limited number of lifts. Access to the top of the resort is either by gondola or a longer, around-the-houses route using 1 quad and 2 double chairs. Needless to say the gondola was busy, which I can imagine would be much worse on a weekend though that wouldn’t put me off from coming as I think the tree runs worth be worth the wait for a gondola car.
Like the nearby resort of Kiroro (and for that matter, Teine), Kokusai is definitely worth a visit if you fancy a change of scene from Niseko or are in Sapporo for a few days. I’ll be going back for those tree runs!
From 27 February, 2014
Snow condition on visit:
Lots of snow in the trees but Spring-like conditions.