Living semi-locally to this resort I was disappointed it took me so long to visit. A regular customer at the nearby Appi resort, I had heard all year that when Appi is too windy, Shimokura is the spot. Come March 8th I found out that what I had heard was right on.
We got there nice and early the day after a 30cm dump and found that the valley the resort was in was perfectly sheltered from the wind which was lashing Appi and Hachimantai resort. Lift tickets were cheap and with our Appi season pass discount we got it even cheaper. Waited for a friend to hire some skis then headed up the lift.
It took three lifts to get to the top where we were presented with three courses down, one of which was closed for a ski tournament. The main ungroomed run allowed access back to the start of the top lift whilst the other half-groomed option took us to the second lift before continuing to the bottom of the resort. We lapped the top lift a few times which was knee deep until about lunchtime before taking the long run back to base for lunch.
The cafe was amazing, some of the best food I'd had ona any mountain all year. There seemed to be some connection with Canada as there were BC and Alberta? flags, Canadian flags and some meals were advertised as canadian for some reason. While we were eating it started dumping again and continued all afternoon. Before we went back out ski-hire friend decided to change to powder skis which the staff did for only an extra ￥500.
Headed back up to the top where we were got bored lapping the same course so decided to get adventurous and head into the trees. We found stacks of great runs, some narrow, some nice and wide with plenty of mushrooms (pillows?), drops and natural kickers to hit. There were signs in English saying "don't enter the trees" but the ski patrol was few and far between and when we did see them they didn't seem to care.
Overall, whilst it was a small resort there was an abundance of variety and enough to keep most people occupied for at least a day. I'm not sure what access is like without a car, but there seemed to be buses coming and going throughout the day. If you make it to Iwate and it's too windy at Appi this place is definitely worth a look.