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PMG

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My facebook feed is increasingly getting these sort of posts on it.
Screenshot_2017-10-30-14-27-21-73.png
Oh ****. There goes the neighbourhood.
 

Heinz

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My facebook feed is increasingly getting these sort of posts on it.
Screenshot_2017-10-30-14-27-21-73.png

Looks like owners invited that magazine along. Can't say I was aware of the magazine, have hardly taken any notice of these for years. There is another story on Shizukuishi. Not going to link.
 

Ramenman

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It's a dilemma. We don't want our favorite ski resorts to get crowded but Geto surely need more guests to survive. When we were talking about Aomori Spring ski resort, I wrote the owners have changed a few times and its name in the last 15 years or so. It's because the previous owners couldn't attract enough guests. Geto Kogen is the same. A local government used to own Geto Kogen ski resort, but they couldn't attract enough guests, and they sold the ski resort to Kamori Kanko. Kamoi Kanko couldn't attract enough guests either then X-project Group bought Geto Kogen in 2014.

There are three companies that have been buying dying Japanese ski resorts. X-Project Group is one of them. If the ski resorts can't attract enough guests even under those ski resort saving companies like X-Project Group, what will happen?. The ski resorts will be closed. I'm in my 20s, and I'll be skiing in 2060, so I want more people to visit ski resorts in Tohoku so that they can survive till 2060.
 
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Ramenman

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It's a dilemma. We don't want our favorite ski resorts to get crowded but Geto surely need more guests to survive. When we were talking about Aomori Spring ski resort, I wrote the owners have changed a few times and its name in the last 15 years or so. It's because the previous owners couldn't attract enough guests. Geto Kogen is the same. A local government used to own Geto Kogen ski resort, but they couldn't attract enough guests, and they sold the ski resort to Kamori Kanko. Kamoi Kanko also couldn't attract enough guests then X-project Group bought Geto Kogen in 2014.

There are three companies that have been buying dying Japanese ski resorts. X-Project Group is one of them. If the ski resorts can't attract enough guests even under those ski resort saving companies like X-Project Group, what will happen?. The ski resorts will be closed. I'm in my 20's, and I'll be skiing in 2060, so I want more people to visit ski resorts in Tohoku so that they can survive till 2060.

And, I think previous owners didn't make the most of the terrains and a huge amount of snowfall that Geto Kogen has. Since X-project Group bought Geto Kogen, Geto Kogen started opening their official tree run zones to make the most of the terrains and huge amount of snow. Geto is great for powder tree run lovers like me:thumbs:
 

PMG

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It's a dilemma.We don't want our favorite ski resorts to get crowded but Geto surely need more guests to survive. When we were talking about Aomori Spring ski resort, I wrote the owners have changed a few times and its name in the last 15 years or so. It's because the previous owners couldn't attract enough guests. Geto Kogen is the same. A local government used to own Geto Kogen ski resort, but they couldn't attract enough guests, and they sold the ski resort to Kamori Kanko. Kamoi Kanko also couldn't attract enough guests then X-project Group bought Geto Kogen in 2014.

There are three companies that have been buying dying Japanese ski resorts. X-Project Group is one of them. If the ski resorts can't attract enough number of guests even under those ski resort saving companies like X-Project Group, you know what will happen?. The ski resorts are closed. I'm in my 20's now, and I'll be skiing in 2060, so I want more people to visit ski resorts so that they will be able to survive till 2060.
I understand where you're coming from ramenman but a large influx of powder hungry foreign skiers will not make a relatively little place like Geto Kogen a better place to ride. Sure it gets plenty of snow but that's a blessing and a curse if it's tracked out by 11 am. Like a lot of Japanese resorts it would become just another smallish resort with average vertical and little variation in its terrain due to its large snowfall. Albeit with a nice view. I for one will be going back in 2018 but with some trepidation.
 

PMG

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And, I think previous owners didn't make the most of the terrains and a huge amount of snowfall that Geto Kogen has. Since X-project Group bought Geto Kogen, Geto Kogen started opening their official tree run zones to make the most of the terrains and huge amount of snow. Geto is great for powder tree run lovers like me:thumbs:
No trees at Zao? ;)
 

PMG

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No offence intended to you ramenman. You and Sandy go above and beyond as Japan residents. Just putting another point of view.
 
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Ramenman

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Haha, I don't worry about Zao Onsen at all. I mean, Zao's Juhyo has been attracting Asian tourists who have never seen snow. There are many mountains in Japan where you can see Juhyo but you need to hike to see Juhyo in most of those mountains. There are only a few ski resorts where we can see Juhyo without hike. They are Zao, Hakkoda and Ani. There might be some more, though. Hakkoda is too far and even if those Asian tourists visit Juhyo at Hakkoda, they can't ski there because Hakkoda mountains are not for beginners. Ani is too far and too small. Zao is relatively accessible and big, and it has a popular onsen village, so Zao will never go bankrupt and be closed;). And, fortunately, those Asian first-timers to snowy resorts won't make our favorite slopes of Zao crowded because most of them just come to see snow & Juhyo, rather than to ski:p.

And yes, Zao should open up some tree run zones for me:whistle:
 

bluestick

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Oh ****. There goes the neighbourhood.
It has not taken long for tohoku to start getting on the radar. This year may be interesting but I’m not expecting huge numbers of powder hungry punters just yet. The resorts do need the patronage. guess all good things can’t go on indefinitely. The number of less visited gems is getting less & less but they are still around.
 

Tanuki

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Just picked this up at a shop in Melbourne. Interesting read, nothing about Tohuku (in fact its a blank space on the map) but there are some more out of the way places that may not have got a mention a few years back e.g Aizu
DSC_7561.JPG
DSC_7559.JPG
 
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Tonester

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I understand where you're coming from ramenman but a large influx of powder hungry foreign skiers will not make a relatively little place like Geto Kogen a better place to ride. Sure it gets plenty of snow but that's a blessing and a curse if it's tracked out by 11 am. Like a lot of Japanese resorts it would become just another smallish resort with average vertical and little variation in its terrain due to its large snowfall. Albeit with a nice view. I for one will be going back in 2018 but with some trepidation.
IT's a double edged sword, for sure.
Populate or perish, as they say. But in so doing you might ruin the good thing that was Geto.
I'll be there! I'll be interested to see what crowds there might be.
 
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Heinz

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Just picked this up at a shop in Melbourne. Interesting read, nothing about Tohuku (in fact its a blank space on the map) but there are some more out of the way places that may not have got a mention a few years back e.g Aizu

You mean no mention of Tohoku by name. Aizu is in Fukushima (and understandably they neglected to mention that name) which is part of Tohoku.
 
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Heinz

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IT's a double edged sword, for sure.
Populate or perish, as they say. But in so doing you might ruin the good thing that was Geto.
I'll be there! I'll be interested to see what crowds there might be.

Yes, those good times will gradually come to an end as they did in Niseko 15 years ago. Saw no foreigners at Geto in 2010 and still none in 2016 but I suspect next year will be different.
 

Tonester

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You mean no mention of Tohoku by name. Aizu is in Fukushima (and understandably they neglected to mention that name) which is part of Tohoku.
It would be marketing death if the F-word was mentioned in promotional material.
I'm finding that I need to explain my decision to visit Fukushima prefecture to friends. They're still very freaked out.
 

geeoff

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Heres another website, so you guys know where to be and where not to be
http://minttours.com/japan/japan-snowboard-tours/
Heading back to this area (Tohoku) in late January after last being there in 2011. Saw that add a while ago and was a bit non-plussed given we will be at Appi for 3 days the same week. Then worked out they going to "day trip" on the 2 days we plan to be at Appi and stay at Appi when we plan to "day trip". Yay! That said given Appi's marketing drive I had assumed that it won't be "off the beaten" track anymore.
 

Ramenman

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By the way, you see "百沢コース" on the southern side. There is a tiny ski resort "Hyakuzawa ski resort" there. It's a tiny resort for the local people living in and around the base village, not for the Japanese people from the other prefectures, let alone tourists from abroad. But, if you are interested in backcountry skiing from near the top of Mt.Iwaki to the south, you can use the lift of the ski resort to shorten the length to hike. 百沢コース : Vertical drop = 1180m, Course length = 5.5km. 長平コース = The Aomori Spring ski resort side : Vertical drop = 1250m, Course length = 10km. So, 百沢コース is steeper and more challenging, I guess. But this backcountry map was made for the local people to enjoy "SPRING time" backcountry skiing, not for winter. So I'm not sure if you really can enjoy the backcountry courses in winter or not.
map.jpg


12346595_1906437542915307_8346519255308010456_n.jpg


1004926_1482817175277348_1374770741_n.jpg
 

Heinz

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Heading back to this area (Tohoku) in late January after last being there in 2011. Saw that add a while ago and was a bit non-plussed given we will be at Appi for 3 days the same week. Then worked out they going to "day trip" on the 2 days we plan to be at Appi and stay at Appi when we plan to "day trip". Yay! That said given Appi's marketing drive I had assumed that it won't be "off the beaten" track anymore.

Appi is to be expected as it is the biggest resort and one with the most facilities. It is already well known, and well catered for foreigners so you get several independent foreign skiers heading there. It is the smaller areas in the region are the ones that the powder hunting tour groups are now starting to invade.
 
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Vermillion

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Haha, I don't worry about Zao Onsen at all. I mean, Zao's Juhyo has been attracting Asian tourists who have never seen snow. There are many mountains in Japan where you can see Juhyo but you need to hike to see Juhyo in most of those mountains. There are only a few ski resorts where we can see Juhyo without hike. They are Zao, Hakkoda and Ani. There might be some more, though. Hakkoda is too far and even if those Asian tourists visit Juhyo at Hakkoda, they can't ski there because Hakkoda mountains are not for beginners. Ani is too far and too small. Zao is relatively accessible and big, and it has a popular onsen village, so Zao will never go bankrupt and be closed;). And, fortunately, those Asian first-timers to snowy resorts won't make our favorite slopes of Zao crowded because most of them just come to see snow & Juhyo, rather than to ski:p.

And yes, Zao should open up some tree run zones for me:whistle:

And make the ropeway an absolute nightmare to get up on during the day. Not the second one to the top (gondy) but the first ropeway from the village.
 

Vermillion

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I really dont see the issue with the odd tour group coming through the Tohoku region and skiing at the odd resort. I dont think you'll ever see the same level of westernisation of these ski resorts as we've seen in Hakuba/Nozawa/Nagano or Niseko, the hills are just too isolated. Niseko is big because really it was the first one, Hakuba has a huge mountain range and numerous seriously big and good ski hills, and Noz was in a similar vein with a big mountain and a traditional village with the fire festival. Tohoku region resorts are also not easy to get to, which puts most people off. Have a look in the Hakuba thread on how much pain people go through to nail down their travel plan to get there, and most of us know it's a piece of piss to get to Hakuba or Noz. Those people arent making the effort to get themselves around to Yamagata, Aizuwakamatsu, Morioka or Aomori. Then hiring a car. Then organising accom where no one speaks English. Then getting themselves to the resort each day. Then organising food. Then planning their next moves. Tour groups will go there, cos operators can make a lot of money taking people to 'unknown' places, but that's not widespread intrusion like Hakuba or Noz, and you can easily deal with that.

At the end of the day, there's always another ski hill in Japan with no gaijin on it. Most gaijin that go to Inawarshiro and to Alts arent going to Nekoma, it's around the back, the road is a bit dicey, it looks small, it's a long drive etc. I've heard of 1 other person on this board who has skied one of the 4 Aizu resorts. They're not going to get overrun.
 
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Ramenman

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And make the ropeway an absolute nightmare to get up on during the day. Not the second one to the top (gondy) but the first ropeway from the village.

Yes, but we don't need to use the gondola. I use lifts instead. The gondola is for tourists who come to Zao for seeing Juhyo, not skiing;). Actually, I don't feel Zao's ski slopes are crowded. I think the gondolas can be crowded, though.
 

Vermillion

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Yes, but we don't need to use the gondola. I use lifts instead. The gondola is for tourists who come to Zao for seeing Juhyo, not skiing;). Actually, I don't feel Zao's ski slopes are crowded. I think the gondolas can be crowded, though.

It ends up being 4 lifts to get to the same spot, and some skiing around (which isnt really skiing on any slope you actually want to ski on) and it takes about 40-45mins to get up to the top of the ropeway that way, so if they say the wait for the ropeway is more than 40-45mins I too take the lifts up, but it's still a pain in the ass. Of course it's better to take one of the other ropeways up, but that's not always possible depending on where you're staying. There's not much you can do about it.

Also, pro tip if you want to see the juyho at night without paying to take the ropeway up and down. Ski until about 4:30-4:45 on your daily ticket then take the gondy to the top, have a drink and something to eat at the cafe at the top, then when the sun goes down and they turn on the coloured lights for the juyho, take your photos and stuff and then get the gondy and ropeway back down. We were able to gaijin-smash our way down without a ticket by playing dumb and said we were skiing for the day and didnt know you had to buy a different ticket to see the juyho at night. I'm not sure if you can still get away with this with all the tourists that go there now, but 2 years ago it was possible.
 
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Ramenman

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I highly doubt that Appi will become "crowded". You feel ski resorts in Myoko on weekdays crowded?. I don't think so. Tokyo to ski resorts in Myoko is roughly 150mins, right?. Tokyo to Morioka = 2 hours 30mins, Morioka to Appi by bus = an hour, so Tokyo to Appi is 210mins. So, Myoko is a lot more accessible. And once you go to a ski resort on Mt.Myoko, there are several ski resorts. Madarao / Tangram, Nozawa Onsen, Arai, etc are also within an hour by car. So, most foreigners choose Myoko over Appi, but even Myoko is struggling to attract enough tourists to renew their lifts.

Grandeco can be crowded on weekends and Japanese holidays sometimes because Fukushima is the southernmost prefecture of Tohoku, which means, the most accessible prefecture in Tohoku from Tokyo. But the people who make Grandeco a bit crowded on weekends and holidays are Japanese, not foreigners. Grandeco never gets crowded at all on weekdays. 90% people in Japanese ski resorts are Japanese, only 10% or less are foreigners. So even if the number of foreigners doubles in the future, you won't feel Japanese ski resorts crowded, let alone ski resorts in Tohoku.

Anyway, for most foreigners,

First trip = Niseko - Rusutsu area

Second = Nozawa - Myoko area

Third = Hakuba valley

Fourth = Furano - Tomamu area

Fifth = Southern Tohoku = Fukushima + Zao

Sixth = Shiga Kogen

Seventh = Northern Tohoku

There are Alps in Europe and there are many world class ski resorts in North America too, and Japan are very far from Europe and North America, so they won't come to Japan for skiing, I guess. I mean, they might come to Japan three times. But three times mean it's not enough for them to start invading Tohoku region, especially northern Tohoku. Australian / New Zealander can't make Japanese ski resorts get crowded even more, because the population of Australia and New Zealand is small, so not much room to send more tourists to Japanese mountains.

Anyway, for the time being, it's not the time for us to worry that Tohoku ski resorts will get crowded but it's the time for us to worry that Tohoku ski resorts will go bankrupt and get closed:p
 
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Donza

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I highly doubt that Appi will become "crowded". You feel ski resorts in Myoko on weekdays crowded?. I don't think so. Tokyo to ski resorts in Myoko is roughly 160mins, right?. Tokyo to Morioka = 2 hours 30mins, Morioka to Appi by bus = an hour, so Tokyo to Appi is 210mins. So, Myoko is a lot more accessible. And once you go to a ski resort on Mt.Myoko, there are several ski resorts. Madarao / Tangram, Nozawa Onsen, Arai, etc are also within an hour by car. So, most foreigners choose Myoko over Appi, but even Myoko can't attract enough tourists to renew their lifts.

Grandeco can be crowded on weekends and Japanese national holidays because Fukushima is the southernmost prefecture of Tohoku, which means, the most accessible prefecture in Tohoku from Tokyo. But the people who make Grandeco a bit crowded on weekends and holidays are Japanese, not foreigners. Grandeco never gets crowded at all on weekdays. 90% people in Japanese ski resorts are Japanese, only 10% or less are foreigners. So if the number of foreigners double in the future, you won't feel Japanese ski resorts crowded.

Anyway, for most foreigners,

First trip = Niseko - Rusutsu area

Second = Nozawa - Myoko area

Third = Hakuba valley

Fourth = Furano - Tomamu area

Fifth = Southern Tohoku = Fukuhima + Zao

Sixth = Shiga Kogen

Seventh = Northern Tohoku

There are Alps in Europe and there are many world class ski resorts in North America, and Japan are very far from Europe and North America, so they won't come to Japan for skiing, I guess. I mean, they might come to Japan three times. But three times mean it's not enough for them to start invading Tohoku region, especially northern Tohoku. Australian / New Zealander can't make Japanese ski resorts get crowded even more, because the population of Australia / New Zealand is small, so no much room to send tourists to Japanese mountains.

Anyway, for the time being, it's not the time for us to worry that Tohoku ski resorts will gets crowded but it's the time for us to worry that Tohoku ski resorts will go bankrupt and get closed:p

There was pronounced scandanavian influx post 2010 or so.
Youtube and Vimeo had alot to answer for.
They travel in packs...smashing the powder.
 
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Ramenman

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It ends up being 4 lifts to get to the same spot, and some skiing around (which isnt really skiing on any slope you actually want to ski on) and it takes about 40-45mins to get up to the top of the ropeway that way, so if they say the wait for the ropeway is more than 40-45mins I too take the lifts up, but it's still a pain in the ass. Of course it's better to take one of the other ropeways up, but that's not always possible depending on where you're staying. There's not much you can do about it.

Also, pro tip if you want to see the juyho at night without paying to take the ropeway up and down. Ski until about 4:30-4:45 on your daily ticket then take the gondy to the top, have a drink and something to eat at the cafe at the top, then when the sun goes down and they turn on the coloured lights for the juyho, take your photos and stuff and then get the gondy and ropeway back down. We were able to gaijin-smash our way down without a ticket by playing dumb and said we were skiing for the day and didnt know you had to buy a different ticket to see the juyho at night. I'm not sure if you can still get away with this with all the tourists that go there now, but 2 years ago it was possible.

I also think they need to think seriously about the lift layout, though. There are several lift operating companies in Zao and they don't work jointly enough. Now they have started attracting tourists from abroad, it's time for them to think about it more seriously, I mean, better lift layout with new faster lifts, official tree run zones, etc.

Zao is an exceptional ski resort in Tohoku for three reasons or more. Reason one = It's the biggest. Reason two = They have the biggest Juhyo along with Hakkoda. Reason three = It's in the capital city of the prefecture. Zao is in Yamagata city, which is the capital city of Yamagata prefecture and it's the most populous city. The downtown of Yamgata city to Zao is only 30mins by car and it's only 30mins from the nearest Shinkansen station too. So Zao tends to be crowded by both local Japanese and foreign tourists "compared to the other Tohoku ski resorts". Zao is an exceptional ski resort in Tohoku, so even if Zao gets crowded, it doesn't mean the other Tohoku ski resorts will become crowded too.
 

Tonester

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There was pronounced scandanavian influx post 2010 or so.
Youtube and Vimeo had alot to answer for.
They travel in packs...smashing the powder.
I definitely felt a strong northern Euro presence in and around Kiroro, Furano , Kamui the last couple of visits.
But I think @Ramenman is right, for the time being at least. I dare say most westerners would view Tohoku as too much off the beaten track. As my 15 y.o. boy would say "...it's a trek", and head down paths already well trodden. I guess we'll see in just a matter of a few weeks.
 
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Tonester

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....
....Anyway, for the time being, it's not the time for us to worry that Tohoku ski resorts will get crowded but it's the time for us to worry that Tohoku ski resorts will go bankrupt and get closed:p
It's a delicate balance between economic sustainability and not overcrowding. It's tough for the operators, for sure.
 
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Vermillion

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I also think they need to think seriously about the lift layout, though. There are several lift operating companies in Zao and they don't work jointly enough. Now they have started attracting tourists from abroad, it's time for them to think about it more seriously, I mean, better lift layout with new faster lifts, official tree run zones, etc.

Zao is an exceptional ski resort in Tohoku for three reasons or more. Reason one = It's the biggest. Reason two = They have the biggest Juhyo along with Hakkoda. Reason three = It's in the capital city of the prefecture. Zao is in Yamagata city, which is the capital city of Yamagata prefecture and it's the most populous city. The downtown of Yamgata city to Zao is only 30mins by car and it's only 30mins from the nearest Shinkansen station too. So Zao tends to be crowded by both local Japanese and foreign tourists "compared to the other Tohoku ski resorts". Zao is an exceptional ski resort in Tohoku, so even if Zao gets crowded, it doesn't mean the other Tohoku ski resorts will become crowded too.

I dont consider the terrain (in bounds) to be very exciting at Zao. So many flat spots, and moving from one area to another is a pain (especially if you're a boarder). Of course that can change with lift upgrades and movements, but it's a lot of work. The top part of the mountain has half-decent out of bounds terrain, but the weather means that your days to be able to ski it are very much limited. To me it's a poor man's version of Hakkoda or Asahidake.
 
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Ramenman

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I dont consider the terrain (in bounds) to be very exciting at Zao. So many flat spots, and moving from one area to another is a pain (especially if you're a boarder). Of course that can change with lift upgrades and movements, but it's a lot of work. The top part of the mountain has half-decent out of bounds terrain, but the weather means that your days to be able to ski it are very much limited. To me it's a poor man's version of Hakkoda or Asahidake.

I agree, as I wrote, the reasons why Zao onsen has been attracting tourists are because of the location = in the capital city of Yamagata pref, the very accessible Juhyo, onsen, and its big size too. A bigger resort means more accommodations. So Zao can be a good destination for Asian tourists who have never seen snow. And Zao is not for powderhounds. We have a lodge there, so we often ski there, though.
 

Heinz

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I definitely felt a strong northern Euro presence in and around Kiroro, Furano , Kamui the last couple of visits.
But I think @Ramenman is right, for the time being at least. I dare say most westerners would view Tohoku as too much off the beaten track. As my 15 y.o. boy would say "...it's a trek", and head down paths already well trodden. I guess we'll see in just a matter of a few weeks.

Yeah, same. Quite a few Euros at Asahidake also, so they are getting around Hokkaido, but so far not to Tohoku.
 

Vermillion

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Tough to increase the village size of Zao too. Sure, there's a lot of very old buildings that could be torn down and larger buildings put in, but it's already a very tight village, much like Nozawa. Development would also mean it loses some of its charm, which is part of the reason people like the place.
 

Tonester

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Yeah, same. Quite a few Euros at Asahidake also, so they are getting around Hokkaido, but so far not to Tohoku.
Oh, yes. I forgot to mention Asahidake. In fact, I think that was the epicentre of the Euros, including a few from further south. Those crazy Italians are just as nuts as the Scandos!
 

Ramenman

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Tough to increase the village size of Zao too. Sure, there's a lot of very old buildings that could be torn down and larger buildings put in, but it's already a very tight village, much like Nozawa. Development would also mean it loses some of its charm, which is part of the reason people like the place.

I think they don't need to increase the village size, though. I mean, between late 80's and early 90's, Zao onsen had a lot more visitors than now. I highly doubt Zao can attract more people than early 90's, when there was a crazy ski boom in Japan.
 
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Heinz

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I also think they need to think seriously about the lift layout, though. There are several lift operating companies in Zao and they don't work jointly enough. Now they have started attracting tourists from abroad, it's time for them to think about it more seriously, I mean, better lift layout with new faster lifts, official tree run zones, etc.

Zao is an exceptional ski resort in Tohoku for three reasons or more. Reason one = It's the biggest. Reason two = They have the biggest Juhyo along with Hakkoda. Reason three = It's in the capital city of the prefecture. Zao is in Yamagata city, which is the capital city of Yamagata prefecture and it's the most populous city. The downtown of Yamgata city to Zao is only 30mins by car and it's only 30mins from the nearest Shinkansen station too. So Zao tends to be crowded by both local Japanese and foreign tourists "compared to the other Tohoku ski resorts". Zao is an exceptional ski resort in Tohoku, so even if Zao gets crowded, it doesn't mean the other Tohoku ski resorts will become crowded too.

Yes, the lift layout is certainly poor especially in the transitions between areas, but that is what happens when a resort is developed by several different lift companies working in isolation. There is plenty of scope for improvement, either need the lift companies if still separate to work together or else a new owner to take over the lot.

Access is certainly easy, Shinkansen to Yamagata and frequent busses up the hill from the station.
 
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Ramenman

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Another good example is Shizukuishi. They used to have 1 ropeway, 2 gondolas and 15 lifts, but now only 1 ropeway and 5 lifts. The 2 gondolas Shizukuishi used to have are the longest gondolas in Japan. Please look at this trail map. You see the pink slopes on the right side. Now they are only for CAT tours, and you need to pay additional fee to ski there. There used to be a gondola there. And the bottom gondola station was at 420m above sea level and the top gondola station was 1220m, so one gondola = 800m vertical. One gondola has 800m vertical rise, I can't see that long gondola in Japan. The other gondola was also very long. As I wrote above, they used to have the 2 longest gondolas in Japan, but both of them were removed because Shizukuishi ski resort couldn't attract enough guests to renew the gondolas unfortunately. Plus, Shizukuishi ski resort is located between Tazawako ski resort and Appi. Shizukuishi to Tazawako is roughly 50mins and Shizukuishi to Appi is roughly an hour. So if they had the 2 long gondolas and 15 lifts just like back in 90's, nothern Tohoku = Tazawako - Shizukuishi - Appi or + Geto would be a great 2 week ski trip destination.
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Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
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I dont consider the terrain (in bounds) to be very exciting at Zao. So many flat spots, and moving from one area to another is a pain (especially if you're a boarder). Of course that can change with lift upgrades and movements, but it's a lot of work. The top part of the mountain has half-decent out of bounds terrain, but the weather means that your days to be able to ski it are very much limited. To me it's a poor man's version of Hakkoda or Asahidake.

Yeah, it is firstly about the Juhyo and the Onsens. The trails down to the lower part are good and reasonably extensive, but for off-piste terrain it isn't even on the same page as Hakkoda & Asahidake.
 
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