White World Oze Iwakura resort review (Katashina Village, Gunma)

White World Oze Iwakura
Katashina Village, Gunma
Submitted by Bushiman on 17th March 2014
Oze Iwakura - The 'White World' Indeed!
Having spent the last 10+ years riding your typical big/popular resorts in Nagano/Niigata/Hokkaido, this season I fancied a change...
Pre-season I'd spent a good long while looking at Google Earth, and topographical maps searching for the kind of resort I like... Something a long the lines of Hakuba Cortina.

For any of you that have ridden at Cortina, you'll know that the whole resort centers around a large bowl with everything (pretty much) funneling down to one run in the middle. No traverse ins/outs. Steep. Trees. Perfect.... Only problem is that over the last 3years, Cortina has become the Mecca for powder hounds from home & abroad and the resort is too small to deal with this influx of new customers. I went this season in early FEB and got maybe 8 lines in the entire day due to queues for lifts!? Shocking. /rant
Anyway, my search was on...

That search led me to Oze Iwakura 'White World'.
From the satalite images/topo map it looked perfect. One giant bowl. Steep. Trees. Perfect... I googled photos of the resort, and was instantly keen to give the place a whirl. Now, I needed winter to turn up and the opportunity to go....

That opportunity came thanks to a SnowJapan giveaway!

The week prior to going it rained... Pretty much everywhere... So my expectations weren't high, even though I knew that region of Gunma had been forecast snow...

My buddy NECK & I headed off early that morning full of anticipation, and after 3hrs, rocked up into the carpark just before 10am where we met Gunma Boarder -who had provided us with lots of useful info on the SJForums... It was snowing... It was getting heavier....

We hopped on the shuttle bus that took us the 5mins from carpark to resort, and jumped in the (single!?) line for tickets. That took a while. Then onto our first lift up the mountian... Potential tree lines everywhere! I was hyped indeed -especially as I couldn't make out a single track in any of it, and it was gone 10am!?

First line. Steep. Bottomless. Tight trees. Easy in, easy out. Perfect.
Second line. Steep. Bottomless. Tight trees. Ridge line. Gully. Amazing.
Third line. Steep. Tight trees. Bottomless. Cliffs. No patrol. Big smiles all round!
Rinse & repeat...
We explored a bunch of areas, safe in the knowledge that eventually we'd get spat out somewhere inbounds thanks to the bowl layout.
The one and only piste line we did all day (the Milky Way,) was, er... good!? Hahaha! We only rode it to scope some more trees, but the piste itself was fairly wide, open, long, with mild gradient -perfect for beginners...

For those of you into riding piste, I did note that they actually closed off Champions Course A&B during lunch and re-groomed them for the afternoon...

Lunch was decent, cheap and just off the main piste halfway down. What impressed us was that they had two large heating stoves in the restaurant with plenty of coat-hangers, pegs and hooks so everyone could de-layer and get things dried before heading back out.

After lunch, thanks to it absolutely puking fat chunks of snow, our tracks had filled...
We rode till almost last lifts, and only then did patrol come have a word... Unfortunately for him, we'd had the most epic day and were just leaving so threatening to take our tickets was met with much laughter! Hahaha... Poor chap. It kind of flummoxed him, and he skied off muttering angrily to himself....

I wish White World was closer than 3hrs away...
Date visited: From 08 March, 2014 To 08 March, 2014
Snow condition on visit: Bottomless powder
Things I liked: Great off-piste snow. Steep. Fun terrain (mounds, cliffs, gullies, ridges, tight trees etc.). Great layout. No competition for powder. No lift lines. Nice restaurant with great drying facilities.
Things I didn't like: One ticket booth!? Gondola queue was a little long. Some lifts a little slow.
Recommended for: Intermediate riders
Advanced riders
Off-piste opportunities
Not recommended for: Beginner riders

White World Oze Iwakura

Katashina Village, Gunma
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Average Rankings

General score: 80
Snow conditions: 83
Courses/Terrain: 81
Lift system: 77
Apres ski: 25

Basic Resort Statistics

Max. elevation: 1703m
Min. elevation: 1006m
Vertical: 697m
Steepest slope: 40°
Longest course: 3200m
Number of lifts: 10

Other resorts nearby

Katashina Kogen 1.20km
Snow Park Oze Tokura 7.30km
Marunuma Kogen 18.90km
Oguna Hotaka 21.90km
Hotaka Bokujo 22.10km
Kawaba 41.90km
Akagisan Daiichi 43.70km
Tambara Ski Park 48.90km

Location of White World Oze Iwakura