Japan Ski Guide powered by SURF&SNOW

Japan has many ski resorts, differing in size and location, all across the country. With so many options available, it's a good idea to narrow down your choices by considering who to go with, how you want to ski, and what you want to do. If you think about who to go with, for example, like-minded friends, family, and same-sex friends, it becomes easier to decide where to go and what kind of facilities you need. Also, considering whether you'll return home on the same day or book some accommodation and whether you'll take a train or drive, further narrows down the options. Here, we introduce important points to check by giving four examples. Use these points to the ski resort that best suits your needs.

If you want to enjoy powder snow and natural terrain

If you're a “hardcore skier” and want to take on some superb powder snow and natural terrain, choose the ski resort by considering the amount and quality of snow, and whether the ski resort offers non-compacted snow or tree-run areas. Areas that get heavy snowfalls can offer you soft, deep powder snow, whereas high-altitude or cold regions are the places to go for smooth, fine powder snow. Although the amount of snow in non-compacted areas varies depending on the time of year and the weather, if the timing is right, you can indulge in some superb powder runs. If you’re looking for tree runs in natural terrain, be sure to check if the slope is suitable for your level. For example, beginners will want gentle slopes that are easy to try, while advanced skiers will be searching for more technical slopes. This way, you can enjoy skiing safely and securely.

If you're planning an overnight trip, check the accommodation information

If you’re planning an overnight ski/snowboard trip, be sure to check accommodation information first. Accommodations operated directly by ski resorts are connected to or located next to the ski fields, making it easier to check in after skiing and head out onto the slopes straight from your accommodation. One of the best parts of an overnight trip is that you can customize the stay to your liking, such as by choosing accommodation with a resort-like atmosphere, luxurious meals, and a high-quality onsen. Some accommodation facilities offer packages that include the lift ticket, so check the plans on their websites.

If visiting with your family, check if the ski resort offers extensive facilities for parents and children

If you like skiing/snowboarding with your family, the most important thing to check is whether the ski resort has a gentle slope that’s easy for kids to ski on. Another thing to consider is whether there’s a kids’ park where kids who aren’t ready to ski can play and enjoy fun activities together with their parents. Also, don't forget to check if the ski resort has an indoor rest area where you can take shelter when the weather is bad or rest when your children are tired. Ski resorts offering extensive rental ski equipment and ski classes are great for kids to improve their skills fast.
What’s more, you can narrow down your choices by considering the distance from your home to the ski resort, whether the size of the ski field suits your needs, and whether the location has a stable climate. Also, for safety, we suggest that children wear a helmet while skiing.

If you're planning a cheerful girls' trip

If a girls’ trip is on your mind, why not plan a skiing/snowboarding trip filled with tasty meals, sweets and sightseeing. When it comes to dining out, you might want to check if restaurants offer meals using local ingredients or have something famous on the menu. And be sure to find out if the ski resort has an observatory deck or a fancy café to spoil yourselves. Take in the appeal of a girls’ trip to the fullest, such as by shopping on the way to and in the ski resort, treating your skin to something special with a soak in a high-quality onsen, and dropping in to all sorts of fun as you chat away together. Many ski resorts have a ladies’ day where lift tickets for women are discounted, so don’t miss any information specially for women!

Before you go, check the list for things to bring

To make the most of your skiing/snowboarding trip, you need the right equipment and clothing. If buying it all is too expensive, check the information on what you can rent. Although ski/snowboard clothing can usually be rented at a ski resort, you need to check if you can rent a beanie, goggles, or gloves. If you’re a frequent skier or boarder, buying this equipment reduces the total cost and saves the time taken to rent it. Be sure to choose highly waterproof ski/snowboard clothing and gloves. Considering these points, see the checklist below for things to bring and get totally ready to embark on your winter trip.

Checklist of things to bring

Basic items needed when skiing

When you’re out on the slopes, you need ski/snowboard equipment and clothing, as well as gear for protecting your head, eyes, and hands. What’s more, since ski resorts are located in cold regions, it’s best to layer your clothes for good heat retention under the outer-wear.
□Ski set (skis, boots and stocks)
□Snowboard set (board and boots)
□Middle layers (fleece top or sweatshirt)
□Underwear (ones with good heat retention)
□Thick socks
□Waterproof gloves
□Neck warmer

Items needed for a stay at accommodation

If you’re going on an overnight trip, you’ll need extra clothes. Prepare clothes considering when you’ll wear them, such as items to wear in the accommodation and others to put on the following day. Also, it’s good to bring a bathing set, which will come in handy if you drop by a one-day onsen after skiing.
□Bathing set
□Extra clothes
□Amenity set
□Household medicine

If you go with your family, bring these too

If you go with your family, don’t forget to bring extra clothes for children. When kids get wet after playing in the snow and sweating, make sure to change their clothes before they get too cold. Also, it’s a good idea to bring extras in case their gloves and socks get wet. And bringing something to play with adds to the fun of playing in the snow.
□Extra socks and underwear for children
□Extra gloves for children
□Plastic bags (for putting wet clothes in)
□Snow play equipment (a shovel, a bucket, and items for making snowballs, etc.)
□Backpack (for carrying belongings)

Handy things to bring

Since the snow reflects sunlight during winter and exposes you to ultraviolet rays from above and below, be sure to wear sunscreen to protect your skin. And since lips easily dry out in the cold, also bring a chap stick for comfort. Also, bring an insurance card in case you fall ill or get injured. If you’re driving to the ski resort, it’s a good idea to bring a blanket to help keep you warm in the car.
□Chap stick
□Blanket (for staying warm inside the car)
□Insurance card

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Article List in Terms of Ski & Snowboard