Ani is the ski-jo that I go to most often. It's not the closest to where I live, but definately the most economical.
Economical because for me it's under a 2 hour drive, it's pretty cheep (4 hour lift pass only 2500 yen, and I've heard the rental costs aren't too bad), it's never crowded and the snow conditions are usually great.
The mountain has a reputation for always snowing (and snow monsters). I have boarded at Ani and it's sister resort Moriyoshi (on the other side of the mountain) about 20 times and have only had clear skies about 3 times. At times the visibility can be a problem at the top and it's hard to make out the contours of the snow when everythings white, but often the snow conditions actually improve during the day as fresh powder just keeps on falling.
Ani is a great place to learn or just play around, but not for the hardcore who really want to push the limits. There are no advanced courses and the mountain isn't that big (though the longest run is 4kms, I think) so the 4 hour lift pass is great as any longer and it does get boring. The biggest pain in the arse is the flat area in the middle of the main green course down the mountain, but they have just added some jumps to that to liven it up.
This year things have improved considerably as they have stopped grooming so much of the courses. The intermediate courses at the top of the mountain now have substantial areas to the sides where they are ungroomed and a ton of fun to play in. The challenge course is completely ungroomed. Try not to fall, as getting up again is challenging!
After Ani check out Quince onsen in the Ani Maeda station building.
No specific date.
Snow condition on visit:
Usually some powder, sometimes tons!
Things I liked:
Great snow, not crowded, gondola to take you to the top of the mountain, great san sai shio ramen.