Good for day trip out of Tokyo, decent 4km course accessible via gondola
Marunuma (or Malnuma as it's sometimes called) Kogen hasn't been reviewed in awhile so I thought I'd give my two cents. The primary highlight is the long gondola-accessible 4km course that you can spend most of your day on. While the resort itself isn't huge, this main course is a good way to warm up your season in December or wind it down in April.
Try to get there early-- I've noticed on many trips here that the courses tend to be more packed after lunch (i.e. beginner snowboarders camping out in the middle of courses) than before lunch.
For skiers, there is a short run toward the bottom of the resort that is designated skiers only. However, according to my skier friend, it was nasty icy and not worth the trouble during our trip.
Definitely go for the lift ticket + lunch + drink set, as it'll save you a couple hundred yen. Another reviewer mentioned you can buy this at 7Eleven, but as of last weekend you can buy it at the resort as well. Lift tickets are IC cards, which is a nice touch: just don't forget to return it to get back your 1000 yen deposit.
There is at least one lodge at the foot of the resort for overnight stays, but Marunuma is definitely a spot for day trips, if not one of the best balanced day trips (by car) out of Tokyo aside from Yuzawa.
If you leave around 5:00 from western/central Tokyo on a weekend, you can expect to get there past 9:00 with moderate traffic on the Kanetsu, earlier with light traffic and/or if it's a weekday. A tunnel was opened in late 2013 on Route 120 between Numata IC and Marunuma, which eliminated the need to traverse a nasty set of mountain curves, so this increases the chance of making it safely to Marunuma on regular tires early/late season.
There are usually really good bus + lift ticket deals out of Shinjuku early/late in the season for around 4000 yen, so those are worth looking into. Train trips don't seem like a practical option.
From 18 January, 2014 To 18 January, 2014
Snow condition on visit:
Packed powder near summit, icy toward bottom
Things I liked:
-Long 4km course -Relatively easy drive from Tokyo -Decent food options, although still variations on the regular curry or ramen themes.
Things I didn't like:
-One curve in the course about midway down from the gondola: there is a intermediate-level dropoff where a lot of clueless beginners camp out, followed by a narrow merge before a left turn onto the main face. -Nasty, slippery toilets secondary parking lot: use the ones in the main lodges. Plus, they're washlets ;)