White World Oze Iwakura is a nice sized resort in Katshina Village, Gunma Prefecture. They have a nice variety of runs for both intermediate and advanced riders. There are also a few runs for beginners at the bottom, but I think the hill is more geared toward intermediate riders.
Though it is a little harder to get to from Tokyo than some of the other hills in Gunma and Yuzawa, I think that people who make the trip will not be disappointed. I have driven out there from Nagano a couple of times and it takes a good two and a half to three hours, but it has been worth the journey both times.
I went there for the first time last season and scored an epic powder day with 'Bushiman' and 'Gunma Boarder'. Lots of really nice, steep powder lines if you know where to look. That was pretty much my best day last season!
This is a more general review of the resort, based on my second trip right at the end of the 2014/15 season. I was lucky enough to have won a day pass for Oze from one of the amazing SnowJapan giveaways, so I finally got around to using the ticket at the end of the season. It was spring conditions but the resort was still more or less in full operation and we had a great day. Thanks SnowJapan!
White World can be broken down into two main areas. A front and back side. The front side is a large bowl with all the runs leading back to the bottom. The backside is smaller but adds nice variety. The runs on the frontside tend to be longer and steeper while the runs on the backside are shorter, but still a descent length and seem to usually be less crowded.
Some of the highlights include an ungroomed 40 degree slope, for those that like the steeps, with a nice intermediate run beside it. There is also a long ungroomed course coming of the top of the gondola which is amazing early in the day after big snow.
There are also a couple of mogul courses for those skiers that like them. One thing I did appreciate was on the side of one of the mogul courses on the backside there was a groomed side course. Nice for mixed groups of skiers and snowboarders I'd say.
My personal favorite groomed run is the really long intermediate coming off of the gondola. It has so much variety in a single run! steep areas, waves both natural and built, cruisy spots with amazing views, some nice turns and some big steep walls to ride. I generally lose interest in groomers after a run or two, but I rode this one almost all day late season under spring conditions and had a great time!
Overall if you are looking for a good place to ride outside of the more famous areas, White World Oze Iwakura might be the place for you. It's definitely worth that little extra time on the road if you are driving from Tokyo.
No specific date.
Snow condition on visit:
Things I liked:
Uncrowded, cheap, friendly staff, large parking area, lots of options on a powder day, long groomers, almost full operations late season.
Things I didn't like:
Distance from my house, crowded highway exit during peak season.