Paid a visit to Aizu Kogen Takahata, a skier-only resort in Fukushima. I was curious about what a skier-only place would be like. What kind of secret goodies would be on tap?
Slinging my two planks over my shoulder, I employed bipedal locomotion over the squirrel-encrusted bridge from the parking lot to the base area.
There are 4 lifts, all fixed pair lifts, with one up from the base and the other three reachable from up there. There was a slalom competition going on to far looker's left of the top left lift. Later in the day, when the poles were taken down, that became a great high-speed carving run.
Nice sunny day. Early-spring skiing textured snow in most places, with some ice bahn patches in some shadowed areas.
Being an all-skier hill, I expected find lots of mogul fields and other stuff boarders would hate. But in fact, there weren't any big, ungroomed natural bump fields. Apart from some carefully spaced artificial mogul lines here and there, it all seemed to be fairly smooth carving runs. Actually seemed like a place boarders would love. Too bad for them.
From the top of the Orange Line chair, there is a view out over the sea of hills that make up southern Fukushima. One can also see Takatsue ski area in the distance. And in the opposite direction, Nikko-Shirane-san, the mountain behind Marunuma Kogen.
The road over the mountain pass to Okutadami, Niigata behind the ski area is closed in winter, so the area feels kind of like a giant cul-de-sac.
The main restaurant is in the base lodge, with a second one on the hill. Some skis and signatures from famous skiers decorate the lobby and restaurant entrance.
The negitoro-neba-don was delicious: negitoro, natto and yamaimo on rice with wasabi and shoyu.
They were selling these cloth things you can use to turn your skis and poles into a chair. Try that, boarders! They also had a bunch of local omiyage on sale, for example, Akabeko no Hanakuso. And bags of apples. I really liked that local feel to the place. A bit of a roundabout drive to get to, but feels quiet homey when you get there.
And now for some big news: For all the boarders dying to check this place out, they have lately started opening the place up to the single-plank crowd for two days only, in early April. Bring on Яeverse Mode!
From 21 March, 2015
Snow condition on visit:
Early spring skiing conditions.
Things I liked:
Views, local feel, free parking
Things I didn't like:
Fewer moguls than expected
Authentic Japan experience