Onbara Kogen resort review (Kagamino Town, Okayama)

Onbara Kogen
恩原高原
Kagamino Town, Okayama
Submitted by andrewl on 23rd February 2008
Onbara Kogen review by Canadian Dave
This hill definitely isn't the Alps or Hokkaido, and if you are driving up on the expressway it's really not even a whole lot further to continue on to Daisen. But if you are in the neighborhood and want a fun little place to ride for the day, then Ombara could be just what you are looking for.

I snowboarded there 5 or 6 times over the 2008 season since I worked (teaching English) in the town. I would mix up my weekends with a day at Ombara and a day at Daisen. For the most part, I enjoyed Ombara every bit as much as Daisen. It's a friendly local spot where after a day or two you begin to know the staff and your fellow riders.

Pros:

The snow was fantastic. I'm told they had an abnormally snowy winter so maybe in other years I wouldn't have been so lucky. But every time I went up there was tons of fresh knee deep powder. The snow was actually far better than anything I ever seen in the 50ish times I've snowboarded in Whistler, Canada.

For such a small resort, there is also a surprising amount of variety. Every run has a different character and grade, so you can mix things up during the day and everyone can find at least one run that they really like.

For the most part, there was rarely a wait at the lifts. Usually you could just go straight into the lift. Around noon, when the morning and afternoon skiers overlap, it can get a bit busier on the more popular lifts and you might have to wait 2 or 3 minutes.

There are 3 restaurants that serve up the standard Japanese ramen and curry and a few western style snacks. I was pleasantly surprised by the reasonable prices.

Other pros - parking is only 500 yen. Lift prices are reasonable. A half day for 2800 gives you 5 hours from 8-1 or noon til 5, which is usually plenty. I think a full day is 4300 which isn't too bad if you put in the full day. Not sure about rentals, but I suspect they are comparable to other resorts.

Cons:

Well we can't pretend that this is a big resort. While it's bigger than the others in the area, and there is enough variety for a day or two, in the grand scheme of things, it's still a small hill. There's really only 6 or 7 runs and they are all short. You do feel sometimes that you are on a snowboarding conveyor belt just going up and down every 10 minutes. The two biggest runs are not too bad in length (and the views from the top are great), but they end with a rather long flat track back to the lift. I'm not sure about night skiing as I've never been, but judging from where the lights are placed, I think you will have a pretty limited area to ski on, and you'll probably be bored after an hour or two.

The lifts are not well kept. The lifts themselves are fine and sufficient, but the on/off loading is horribly kept. It's usually pure ice or while getting off, the lift swings around waayyyyy too early. I'm quite confident in my offloading abilities and I haven't fallen getting off a lift in years... until I came to Ombara. Almost always, the lift hits me on the ass as it swings around. On one of the lifts, before I got to even fully stand up, the lift began to swing and caught me in the stomach, pulling me back down the hill with me hanging off it. I fell on my back with the lifts passing above me a foot in front of my face. Not a good situation.

But all and all, Ombara is not a bad place to go for a day. Dispite being small, it's got more than enough to entertain most people who are just out to have some fun - even myself who's standards are based on Whistler.

If you are in the area, check it out.
Date visited: From January, 2008 To February, 2008
Snow condition on visit: Fantastic knee deep powder, not a patch of ice
Things I liked: Great snow, Friendly folks
Things I didn't like: Small, Short runs, Horrible lifts
Tags:

Onbara Kogen

恩原高原
Kagamino Town, Okayama
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Average Rankings

General score: 0
Snow conditions: 0
Courses/Terrain: 0
Lift system: 0
Apres ski: 0

Basic Resort Statistics

Max. elevation: 900m
Min. elevation: 739m
Vertical: 161m
Steepest slope: 28°
Longest course: 900m
Number of lifts: 5

Other resorts nearby

Tsuguro Kogen 31.70km
Hiruzen Kids Snow Park 45.70km
Hiruzen Bear Valley 47.40km

Location of Onbara Kogen