Connected to Tohachi so you can ride both mountains, although Sky Valley has better snow, better terrain, longer runs and shorter lines. I still haven't been to Hachi Kogen/Hachi Kita so I can't copmare, but this replaces Kannabe's Nashiki Kogen as my top pick for Hyogo. On Sunday, Tohachi had a 15-20 minute line at the bottom whereas Sky had none. Off the peak there is some pretty good steeps with easy acess to trees and some fun wind blown snow waves. On the lifts up, it's easy to see the potential lines where you can drop in through the trees from one course to another. The long windy cat track to the bottom was a fun racetrack with a right bank to carve frontside turns off.
Timing is what it is all about! Left Shikoku late Fri night and arrived at 2:00am Sat. monrnig. Dry roads and no until the last 10 km where it was just starting to snow. Woke up to 30cm of fresh snow at 8:00am. Missed first tracks(lifts start early), but had a great day picking out those untracked lines at the sides of the runs and in the trees. Overall, the snow was soft and the runs were in good condition all day. Went to sleep in camper at top parking lot at 11:30pm just after the tractor plowed the lot down to the concrete. Woke at 7:00am Sun to another 30cm of fresh snow. Got a few hours of the fresh stuff off the peak, sold my day pass for 2000 yen at 11:30 am (they don't have morning half-day passes) and headed home before the inevitable after-ski, mega-traffic jam(it can be 2 hours+ from Hachi areas to Wadayama Interchange of the Bantan Expressway.
Caution: Arrive very early and leave either early or late on weekends to avoid the killer traffic jams between the ski area and the expressway. Also, parking is limited at the top of the valley near the lifts so if you aren't early, you are going to be waiting in line for a shuttle bus, have no midday acess to your car, and wasting a lot of time getting to the lifts and dealing with the crowds. This lack of parking might be what was keeping the lift-lines short.
Good place for a Hyogo trip.
From 26 February, 2005 To 27 February, 2005
Snow condition on visit:
Snowing-freshies both mornings
Things I liked:
Terrain (on/offpiste), short lift lines, beautiful location
Things I didn't like:
Parking (if you're late, you have to park at the bottom of the valley and take a shuttle