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I have been checking out webcam images and photos daily for the last few weeks now and am almost surprised every day at how empty the slopes look. On a weekday it's as if there are just a handful of riders out there.


Case in point - I just looked at the Happo-one one and there were all of about 5 people in the whole shot!!! Unbelievable.


The question is, how are the resorts going to survice. If even big famous places like Happo are hurting, how must the other small places be doing? Must be pretty "kibishii" for them.......

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There must be some really anxious managers out there. Really happy riders though.


I acually heard from a Japanese "source" (although this person may be better described as a "sauce") that Hakuba 47 is in severe financial trouble and may be heading for the whatever you call it when they can't continue operating.


Sure there must be many resorts in a similar pickle. Or is that sauce?

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Looking at some of the resorts, you would wonder how on earth they stay open. Most of them are probably owned by bigger organisations (see Prince), keeping them open that way.


Brings to mind - who does actually own many of the bigger resorts in Japan?

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WHo is it that runs Niseko Hirafu?

and do they run any other resorts?


prince hotels run Shizukuishi in Iwate (93 downhill worldcup venue) ......


what are the big players here in the industry?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Read this with interest.

Manza Onsen this last week was really empty.




Very few people on the hill, never queued once. More staff than skiers/boarders. Really don't know how they can keep open with that kind of business. Missing something?!

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Hey montoya


Thanks for the heads up. Good read.


One thing though, it talks about Hachimantai RESORT, a different skijo to Hachimantai, the so-so popular place that backs onto Appi Kogen. Rather than the resort closing, it says that the resort's major backer, JR East Japan, is pulling out. It suggests that the resort will stay open thanks to private companies or private-public ventures, but getting more punters in remains a big problem.


At the end of the article a JTB representative says that most Tokyoites think Tohoku is too far and that the increasing availability of cheap packages to Hokkaido is talking a larger proportion of the folk who still go out further north. With internal flights starting to come down at last (from riduculously expensive to expensive), things don't look good for Tohoku.

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I've been thinking about this alot, and

i've decided that it's not such a bad

thing if some resorts close, or at least

suspend operations for a few years or so.


There are like 700 resorts in Japan - that's

100 more than the number of resorts in all of

North America. And Noth America is

Approximately 100 times the size as Japan,

with 3 times as many people.


Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that

during the 80's, Japanese had the wealth and

interest in skiing/riding to support all

of these fun places, but people are more

concerned with saving their money now, so

what can you do ?


It really wouldn't be such a big deal if 200

resorts closed their doors, just so long

as your favorites stayed open. The

backcountry would become more popular as

well, which is the direction snowboarding is

moving anyways.


I only hope that when these resorts do close

their doors, that the land isn't used for

some other development.

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barok, if what you hope for would lead to genunine, focused competition between resorts, then I hope for the same thing.


Some resorts are looking for ways of making money in the summer with mountain biking, moutainboarding and other less obvious things, so maybe it's not just a winter issue anyway.

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I heard Senhata skijo in Akita(Owned by Price, I think) might close from next season (by my cousin who live in 5 min away from Senhata skijo) 'cos Local government gave up to give some money to keep running slopes. Senhata is not that bad slope considering one of Local slope in countryside in Akita. And snow is not that bad either.


Next from Senhata, is Odai skijo. it has many local snowboard-kids, and skijo allow kids to bring 'Rails' from somewhere.(I don't where they get the rail from...) So many kids making OWN park on the slopes, I was so shocked about making OWN PARK on the slope on New years day.

Cousin and his pals told me Odai lost many costmers because local economic is bad but for me, odai runs okay.


I know many local slopes in Tohoku has some financial problems, 'cos local government used to give some money to slopes for keep goin' but now.... 'cos the budget is tight, so they start to stop... Typical japanese economic system and business, huh?


Some major slopes sold 'Spring Season pass' from March last year. I assume some slope will do again this year for getting customers.....





[This message has been edited by Nat (edited 21 February 2002).]

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My Japanese friend introduced me to a manager at 47 the other week - forgot to mention this - and he had a stern face and was saying "kibishiiiii", "kibishiiiii" when asked about how the season was. Grumpy old fella, but certainly "komatte iru"...!



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hey nat...

your post got me thinking...


so if a resort were to close for a season,

and you happened to have a snow-cat at your

disposal, (or snowshoes if the cat is asking

for too much), could you just ski freshies

all day...basically have the entire mtn to



so who here owns a snowmobile...or maybe a

good 4x4 would do...can't wait for that mtn.

to shut down...





pray for snow

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Ah... danz....


If you go to slopes which closed for a season....

A) No Mt. Patrol = great time for back country

B) No one goes = Good snow

C) If local people find you, either Policeman or Layer will come and see you for some reason.... No?

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those big scary japanese policeman

and powerful nippon lawyers don't scare

me... (i don't think they scare anybody...)


so lets keep track of those sinking resorts

for our powder benefit




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Originally posted by Nat:

C) If local people find you, either Policeman or Layer will come and see you for some reason.... No?

My local resort, Omachi Skijo, has been closed for the past two seasons. The main slope currently features half a dozen kickers, one of which was about 5 feet high the last time I looked. There's also a "rail" that someone has built by placing a piece of pipe on a snow support. No-one cares if you go up there, and now there's no more pow, you can get up there pretty easily without snowshoes.
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