My first trip to Naeba, and I had a blast. Incredible amounts of snow had fallen before the weekend making off-piste skiing incredibly deep. Naeba is known for the prince hotel and insane crowds...there are insane crowds, and the main face is packed and hard to navigate (people slalom). There are lifts everywhere so it is actually really easy to get around the mountain.
The real goods, however, are to be found in the trees. Easily
Happo is gigantic...one of the biggest in Japan. That said, it is not hard to find a lot of varied terrain there. The groomers are great, but could be a bit wider (considering the size of the resort...). Only problem with groomers are the crowds...happo attracts lots of people and it can get crowded fast...be careful when skiing fast!
The off-piste is great...nice tree runs and looks like plenty of other treasures around as well..
This resort is gigantic...the groomers are long and fast.
The good stuff, however, is off-piste... the tree skiing here is incredible offering steep and deep chutes. There is also a "double-black diamond club" run area that is amazing, but I am unclear of the rules on how to get permission to ride it. Like kagura, I got the same "wow" effect by the sheer amount of terrain that is not accessible by lifts...it's a gigantic area..
Kagura is a very interesting resort. Let me start with the cons.
Cons: Poor resort design...the lifts are horrendous...slow doubles...it takes about 45min. to get from the base of mitsumata to the top! That is insane...getting back to the bottom is also a major pain. Also, they were not running the top lift which absolutely boggles the mind....there was NO WIND...it was a beautiful calm day! What gives???
Pros: Tons of terrain, although mainly back-country. They
I really like the layout and the fact it is connected to Goryu...
Some excellent pitches for high speed carving, and fantastic long mogul run, and loads of tree skiing...the park seems nice (although I don't use it), and the pitch of the mountain is actually sustained from top to bottom, which I find a rarity in Japan...Good place
Hunter is a decent resort. It reminds me of some of the east coast skiing I did back home... man-made snow, hard pack and icy conditions, lots of crowds...
It is good for high speed carving, and not much else...the gondola is a waster - moves too slow and has ridiculous lift lines, but that usually draws the crowd away from the other lifts... which is good for me :)
I like Takatsue...and it has wonderful potential...if only they would run the lift going to the top..its always closed, yet has at least 1/3 of the mtn vert...anyway, the tree riding is superb with good snow when I was there, and there is an awesome cut trail that has been abandoned by the resort, which means fresh lines all day after a 10min hike...deceptively big, but most of the resort is not worth riding...stick to the top areas and have
Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu review by danz
This resort is truly a magical place.
I have ridden there 8 times this season, and have had 8 powder days. The consistency and quality of the snow that falls there is unparalleled in my opinion. The tree runs, especially strawberries, tetu's, onne, and hanazono 3 are perfect...The runs available off the peak (with a ~30min) hike are fantastic always providing deep turns on wide open, perfect pitched runs...the type of runs I dream about. Night
I can not really consider this place a "Resort"...the only "real" trails are at the very bottom. The entire mountain, however, is skiable, which is nice. Anything is game to ride, as long as you can get there, and as long as you know how to get out!
The snow is fantastic (except for when it's bad...), and Hakkouda does not seem to lack in quantity. The biggest problem is the lack of "real" vertical at the