Sugadaira is one of my local resorts and so I usually get in at least 10 days here a season. Like I mentioned in the title, it's not the biggest area, and I personally wouldn't make a day of riding there, but for a morning or afternoon I can have a ton of fun!
The resorts themselves are small (compared to Hakuba sized resorts), but they do interconnect so the one pass is good for at least 20 pistes. It's also a real easy drive from the Ueda I.C. so it's super easy to get to if you're coming from afar. And, there are lots of pensions/hotels to chose from if you plan on staying!
I love riding pow and trees, and Sugadaira does offer some, but conditions need to be perfect. The area doesn't get anywhere near the amount of snow as Nozawa/Hakuba/Myoko but when it does, it can be a blast!
On bluebird days, and if riding piste is your thing, with all the interconnected resorts, you could be pretty content.
My personal favourite area is Pine Beak. The pistes are the steepest. There are some nice areas they don't groom. The trees can be fun to play in. The quad lift is fairly quick and whisks you up in no time. The park is also will maintained with plenty of jumps, boxes and rails. And lastly, the food in the restaurant is great, and last year they even had an outdoor kebab wagon! Mmmmm... Kebab....
Davos resort offers a Cat Tour up to the top of Mt. Neko (~2000m) for a few thousand yen, and that gives you access to a super long groomed line from the mountain top. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, you can make your own way back down the mountain! I have to point out that the hike up Mt.Neko is real nice thanks to the groomed track, so you can stomp up to the top in less than 2hrs for free quite easily...
Sugadaira also has some fantastic areas for cross-country skiing, too! There's a great little wooded area between Pine Beak resort and the junior high school that during the summer is a nature trail, but with the snow it's great for an afternoon xc-skiing or snowshoeing. The same goes for the golf courses on the slopes of Mt. Neko. They're just perfect for hiking around in the snow on a sunnny day!
No specific date.
Snow condition on visit:
Things I liked:
Variety of things to do up there!
Things I didn't like:
Not enough pow days!
Authentic Japan experience