Having bought a 2-day Alpen pass at Happo-one, I decided to check out Iwatake (and Tsugaike Kogen).
I caught the first (8.20am) shuttle bus of the day from Happo Information Centre to Iwatake and was at the top of the gondola (and therefore the resort) by 8.50am. There was no new snow but I enjoyed exploring all of the runs (especially those on the back side) before they got too busy and chopped up. Not all of the runs or lifts were running, which was a shame but perhaps to be expected this early in the season. I was about to head back down when I spotted a small but relatively untouched section of powder between and under the 2 lifts accessing the Kamo4 and East runs. Nothing special but enjoyable nonetheless.
I then tried to get lunch at the top restaurant (but it was rammed - one of the disadvantages of having a gondola that runs all the way to the top of a resort.
Having read about the narrow, bottleneck that links the top and bottom sections of the resort, I decided to beat the rush and get the bus back to Happo.
Although I only had a morning there, I enjoyed Iwatake though that bottom-to-top gondola is a double-edged sword and I would not like to go there on a weekend.
From 29 December, 2011
Snow condition on visit:
Things I liked:
Gondola to the top = easy access to some interesting runs