Alternative ski experiences in Japan

19 Dec 2019 in In immersion

Fancy freestyling in a pro park? Skiing with cutting-edge apps? Or an urban ski adventure? Head to Japan this winter!

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Looking for a ski experience with a difference? This winter, you can hone your freestyle skills in a world-class terrain park – even if you’re just a beginner. Or how about hurtling down the slopes while making videos and chatting with up to 10 friends? You can even ski 2 resorts in a single day.

It’s all part of the experience on Mt. Bandai in Honshu’s Fukushima Prefecture – where the ski season runs for 150 days!

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Alternatively, you can test a unique urban ski experience in Hokkaido. Based in Asahikawa, you’ll make the most of the city’s famed nightlife while skiing at a different resort every day.

Powder snow and halfpipes

Stay at Hoshino Resorts Bandaisan Onsen Hotel and you’ll have a ski paradise on your doorstep – including one of Japan’s very best terrain parks.

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This stylish highland hotel overlooks Lake Inawashiro and offers easy access to 2 ski resorts. It’s also the perfect option for post-ski rejuvenation thanks to its spa, hot spring baths and Japanese-style hospitality.

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And it’s just 3 and-a-half hours from Tokyo on public transport or by car.

This season, a snow trail has been created linking the 2 ski resorts: Alts Bandai on the southern face of the mountain and Nekoma Snow Park on the north side – famed for its powder snow. The new path means you can walk between the 2 resorts in just 15 minutes, rather than having to drive an hour between the two.

Freestyle festival

Whether you’re a freestyle first-timer or a seasoned pro, there’s a terrain park for you at Mt. Bandai. Both resorts on the mountain feature jibs and jumps for skiing and snowboarding. Never tried before? Sign up for the Beginner’s Park session. You’ll be taught the basic rules and tricks so you can experience the adrenaline rush of jumping over your first kicker.

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And you’ll learn how to handle undulating terrain such as banks and waves in the Flowable Park.

If you’re a confident freestyler, there’s plenty to test your mettle. The slope-style Monster Park at Nekoma features triple kickers and all sorts of jibs.

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And the Global Park at Alts Bandai has been designed by the team behind the Pyeongchang Olympic Games. It’s regularly used by pro snowboarders such as Miyabi Onitsuka, who won the 2018-19 World Cup Women’s Snowboard Park & Pipe category.

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As well as a 20-metre kicker and 15-metre long jib, the park features a new kicker that launches you diagonally in the air.

Hi-tech skiing

Together, the 2 resorts on Mt. Bandai provide plenty of top-quality downhill runs – and thanks to a new offer at Alts Bandai, you can experience the powder snow in a whole new way! Fun Ride + is a service that lets you change your snowboard to suit the conditions of the day. What’s more, you’ll be able to equip yourself with cutting-edge technology so you can take photos, film videos and talk with your friends while speeding down the slopes.

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With GoPro HERO 7, you can record top-quality images of your time skiing in Japan’s famed powder snow. The camera comes with image stabilization technology and is voice-operated so you don’t have to remove your gloves.

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And to enrich your day on the slopes, how about equipping your group with BONX earphones? This hands-free device connects with your smartphone to provide a communication network for up to 10 people. You’ll be able to talk to everyone in your group as you weave your way down the mountain, sharing your experiences in real time.

Urban ski adventure

If you prefer your skiing with a dash of urban excitement, head to Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa this winter. Set in Asahikawa, Hokkaido’s second city, this contemporary-design hotel is offering a special package so you can make the most of both the local nightlife and the local skiing.

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Free shuttle and pick-up services give you easy access to 4 varied resorts in Japan’s “powder belt”, including Hokkaido’s largest ski area in Furano and the island’s highest peak Daisetsuzan Asahidake (2291m).

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You can read the morning ski report and pick the destination with the best conditions.

And, back at the hotel in the evenings, you’ll test the city’s exuberant side. Simply follow the hotel’s insider experts to the most buzzing bars and best places to eat in town.

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Proof once again that Japan’s skiing experience is about much more than simply gliding down the slopes!

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