I came here by car from Yuzawa, which had noticeably different (and worse) weather - maybe worth remembering if you're in the area searching for the best conditions. The previous review by foofighter1981 gives some great practical info which, unlike me, you should try to follow as I ended up snowboarding down the skiers-only "Blue run" and paying separately for lunch!
On this occasion, unseasonally warm temperatures had affected the condition of the snow, particularly off-piste, so I stayed on-piste for most of the day. The gondola gives you a good, top-to-bottom workout, with a variety of courses to choose from including a powder/ungroomed course and a mogul course, as well as the normal groomers. The former didn't look fun (at least for this rider!) and sunshine was doing its worst to the latter, so we spent the morning, if not the day as a whole, trying to avoid the sticky patches on-piste. One run that seemed to be holding up well and which I particularly liked was the Rose bottom run, the lower section of which you could access by taking the #5lift thereby avoiding the gondola. As previously mentioned the gondola lines can get long and this day was no exception. However, hardly anyone was using the singles line and given that the gondolas are for 6 people, this meant you could often catch the next gondola by splitting up. Problem solved!
After lunch at the TongFang restaurant (good sauce katsu-don, though would have tasted better with a discounted ticket!), the conditions seemed to get a little better due to a slight drop in temperature. I therefore did three, consecutive, top-to-bottom runs before my legs cried enough and I headed to the base for a black sesame ice-cream!
Overall I had quite a good day at Marunuma Kogen. The condition of the snow wasn't great so I didn't venture off-piste but the groomed runs were ok plus there were some good views from the area around the top gondola station. With what seemed to be a big/decent park, the mogulled/ungroomed steeper runs up top and the wide, beginner-friendly (and skier-only) slopes lower down, the resort has something for everyone. Just remember to get that discounted ticket!!
From 23 February, 2015 To 23 February, 2015
Snow condition on visit:
Spring-like both on and off-piste.
Things I liked:
The long, top-to-bottom run; views from the top gondola station; TongFang's sauce katsu-don.
Things I didn't like:
The long gondola lines (though they weren't that bad and on this occasion were easily circumvented by using the singles line) and not buying a discounted lift/lunch ticket!
Authentic Japan experience