Ok, so Hachimantai Resort is not to me the ultimate picture of skiing in Japan. I have been there a few times over the past few years, mostly to accompany skiing comrades who were still novices, or to teach classes in skiing at the schools where I work at.
For that purpose, Hachimantai Resort is quite good. I have been there many times and seen large groups of ski students, usually from schools, to get their ski lessons. The large groups are not just local, I have seen them come from as far away as Tokyo, from that I gather that Hachimantai has a national reputation as a good place to learn.
Why not? It is a small ski area with a few chairlifts and some wide well-cut trails ranging from nearly flat to reasonable intermediate trails where the advancing student can experiment a little more. The high-speed quadruple chairlift that is the main lift for the mountain is pretty decent for keeping one warm on those cold miserable days. On nice days Hachimantai Resort has a view of Mount Iwate, that is simply breath taking, as none of Iwate Prefecture's Ski Areas are closer. Resort (as it is called to differentiate it from neighboring Hachimantai Ski Area) is right at the base of the mountain. I have memories of going up the chair with a snowboarding friend, pointing out the steaming side cone of Iwate (Yes, Iwate-San has been "a little" active in the past few years), and her absolutely refusing to look at it.
For skilled snowboarders, who don't necessarily need as much of the "steeps" as an accomplished skier, it appears to be popular, especially among the younger crowd, who most likely enjoy the budget-friendly prices for tickets here. Unlike skiers, who are most likely novices, their teachers, or "roped in by my friends" experts, skilled snowboarders can be seen enjoying this mountain.
The night skiing, while not as good as Geto and Appi, the two best places in the prefecture to night ski, is pretty decent, and better than most in the prefecture. It has been a popular mid-week place to night ski with my friends, though I have never tried it.
The facilities, rental, cafeteria, etc. are not exactly outstanding, but not especially bad either. The adjoining hotel to the ski area and the other hotels, pensions, and such in the area are quite good. It is quite popular with my non-skiing friends, and my guess is that the general areas reputation is built as much on the spectacular mountain view, onsens in the area, and the local resorts ability to host large groups as much as the ski area itself. Call it a resort area that just happens to have a ski area. That ski area is quite decent for learning, or a good compromise if a bunch of friends who have noticeably lower ability than you (or vice versa) want to go skiing/boarding, and you don't want to leave them "eating your tracks". It is also one of the first places I would consider taking a large group of people to. Hachimantai Resort, when taken at the face value of it's "Resort" (as opposed to "Ski Area") appelation, fits the bill.