As a beginner snowboarder, I found the intermediate runs at the top of the mountain to be a ton of fun, good for a 4-hour pass. Don't start later than 10 in the morning, as by 2pm it gets a little wet and slushy.
It was also pretty affordable, and they have rental boot sizes for us large foreigners - up to 29.5cm.
The one huge con to this place is the looooong flat beginner run that goes to the bottom of
Ani is the ski-jo that I go to most often. It's not the closest to where I live, but definately the most economical.
Economical because for me it's under a 2 hour drive, it's pretty cheep (4 hour lift pass only 2500 yen, and I've heard the rental costs aren't too bad), it's never crowded and the snow conditions are usually great.
The mountain has a reputation for always snowing (and snow monsters). I have boarded at Ani and it's