I had been planning to save Minowa for later in the season after their snow monsters have developed, but they had two of their three lifts running and the kid was up for trying somewhere new, so that is where we started our season.
The first real snowfall of the season was just winding down when we arrived, and visibility up top was not great at first, but what could be seen was nice and white.
Clear spells highlighted the nascent snow monsters at the top. Actually more developed than I was expecting for early December.
There are two base stations, the lower one near the main parking lots, and the upper one near the hotel. The lower one, where we started out, has a mainly intermediate run down from the left-most lift.
Had an early lunch after a few runs at the restaurant in the lower base. Chimaki was a nice surprise -- good side dish to ramen.
After lunch, we took the mid-hill connecting course over to the hotel side.
Two lifts on that side, a lower one serving beginner-level courses, and an upper one serving expert-level courses, and offering the best access to the snow monsters in season. Only the lower one was running.
The trail back from the hotel side to the lower station passes under the road.
Weather cleared up a bit more in the afternoon.
The left-hand main course, Maple Street, starts just below the snow monsters as a beginner-level course, then gradually steepens to an intermediate 25 degrees by the end.
Not a very large place, but not too small, either. A bubble-era resort, not of massive scale, rather seems to have been designed in a more intimate style. (Boutique-ish?) Now just cozy and friendly atmosphere. Should be worth another visit when the top lift is open.
From December, 2014 To December, 2014
Snow condition on visit:
Packed powder with side stashes of powder and sasa. Bit of bush lower down in steep section towards end of day.
Things I liked:
Baby snow monsters.
Things I didn't like:
Top lift being closed. (But hey, it's the first week of December.)