This place is similar to Hakkodo in Aomori, with it's single cable car and backcountry all areas decent vibe. However, this comes at a cost; if you don't know the mountain it is pretty difficult to access the good stuff. Therefore, if you are heading up there for a one off, it'll probably be well worth trying to find a guide to get the most for your time.
If you don't know the mountain so well, there are plenty of areas between the diamond shaped groomed courses to be ripped up without too much fear of getting into trouble. However, as already noted in these reviews; by doing this, even on the gentler slopes, you are risking triggering a slide that may affect the skiers on the groomed runs below. So please be very careful.
To get to the most interesting terrain you will need to turn right out of the cable car station, up the short hill and then hit off the groomed run to your left, up onto the ridge that is facing you. This is marked on the printed map available at the ticket counter as the high avalanche risk area, so you should take the proper precautions of knowing what you are doing and carrying the right equipment if you are going into this area.
Wherever you are riding, you will need to use the groomed runs as access routes at some times and these vary from flat to uphill, which can get a little frustrating.
Basically, I heartily recommend this place, but try to find someone to show you the ropes, if you really want to get the best out of it.
From 17 February, 2007
Snow condition on visit:
Deep, light fluffy snow
Things I liked:
Good snow conditions
Things I didn't like:
Many flat areas, some serious uphill on the groomed runs