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Rusutsu Resort 2020 - thoughts and report

Discussion in 'Japan' started by trappers, Jan 12, 2020.

  1. trappers

    trappers Safety not guaranteed Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    so arrived at Rusutsu last night after flying into CTS from Tokyo. Our flight was delayed and we had to wait 2 hr at airport for bus ride which takes 2 hrs to get to resort so we didn’t arrive until 9 pm.

    Old hotel room, boiling and no thermostat, on or off only. Turned AC off opened balcony door went looking for bar. Found it. They wanted a 600 yen cover charge per person for the privilege of paying 900 yen for small draft beers. A hotel bar requires a cover charge?! Wtf? In my reasonably extensive travel I have never ever come across such a thing!

    So we went to vending machine,grabbed a couple of 410 yen beers and went back to our now cooler room. Fitful nights sleep on hard beds with loud fridge (which we turned off) and humidifier.

    Up at 7 for a reasonable shower and down to breakfast venue which, of course, was closed ina Sunday. This meant the entire hotel had to have breakfast at Oktoberfest breakfast venue which had a line 10 min long out the front for the privilege of paying 3200 yen for a pretty standard fare buffet no knives to be seen, ordinary coffee ... which is where I am right now.

    Needless to say, not the greatest introduction to Japanese skiing, it is snowing very lightly outside, let’s hope the skiing is better later today!
     
  2. chicski

    chicski A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Where are you staying? We stayed in a cute little Japanese place near the 7-11.
     
  3. trappers

    trappers Safety not guaranteed Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Rusutsu resort hotel.Not cheap.
     
  4. trappers

    trappers Safety not guaranteed Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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  5. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Y400 vendo beers...you need to find that 7-11 pronto.
     
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  6. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable Ski Pass: Gold

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    Is that the Westin hotel?
     
  7. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    I liked Rusutsu, good fall line skiing with minimal traversing.
     
  8. chicski

    chicski A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah my brother stayed in the Tower, we just used their lockers and onsen. I prefer local style accommodation.
     
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  9. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Always.
     
  10. LDJ

    LDJ One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Sounds like you are in the main hotel. The Westin tower is awesome and much better. In fact the whole tower hotel is so much better we didn’t go to the other hotel after going 1 night and realising it cost more and was worse. All the best food is the little Japanese pensions and restaurants on the main road. I was there in 2017 but can’t have changed much. Skiing from Tower was also much better
     
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  11. Ozgirl

    Ozgirl A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Oh dear, that definitely doesn't sound like the greatest of experience.

    Please try to have an open mind for the rest of your stay. I am sure you will have a great time!

    How long are you there?
     
  12. Olgreg

    Olgreg One of Us

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    So that’s the main hotel with the animated tree etc.?.
    I haven’t been to Rusutsu for a couple of years, but go out the front, turn left through the snow banks and you will find a line of izakayas that are reasonably priced. My faves were the first one with the stairs up to the door, and the last on the left, which did great hotpots. In the middle was Rodeo Drive, a very small bar that did a good happy hour at around 5 pm. You needed to book last time I was there for the restaurants and even the bar if you wanted to stay on for a bit.
    There was a bar in the middle of the hotel that did 100 nights of jazz every time I visited, pretty good local singers, it was my night cap on the way home place.
    Hope it’s all still there
     
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  13. chicski

    chicski A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    This. We ate in the main hotel our first night after being unable to get in anywhere else (party of 8). We then prebooked the entire week at various places. Might be easier with a smaller group.
     
  14. Olgreg

    Olgreg One of Us

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    found it. Ahhh, hokke
     
  15. trappers

    trappers Safety not guaranteed Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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  16. trappers

    trappers Safety not guaranteed Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Longish lift lines today. It is a long weekend though. Snow reasonable but old.
     
  17. trappers

    trappers Safety not guaranteed Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Alright, first day completed - I think we may have lucked out because my first day of skiing japan was nothing to write home about. Not the worst day I have had on the slopes by a long way, but certainly not the best.

    This is an old resort, dated infrastructure, lack of maintenance is evident with lots of rust on chairlifts and poor quality ammenities on mountain. The runs are very short, and not at all steep. The "Double blacks" would be a blue or maybe a red at any other resort in Europe or US ... it was laughable at times!

    Managed to ski 24km today with 5km of vertical over 5 hrs. To put that in context, last year at Vail I averaged 30 km per day while on a very heavy dose of Chemo THerapy. My ski buddies averaged 45-50 km per day in Vail and Beaver. Here we spent a LOT of time on chairlifts and in lines because the runs are so short. We can clearly see how good it could be with deep powder snow - but no sign of that.

    The Mountain is currently packed- probably because of a long weekend in Japan. It meant long lift lines, and despite waiting until 1:45pm for lunch, the lunch line was 25 minutes long for a fairly average Katsu. I'm hoping that changes later in the week.

    The snow is ok. Depthwise it is not great but the quality of the groomed runs is reasonable. THrough the trees is chopped up fairly heavy crap but the groomers are hard packed but ok. We bumped into some others who had come across from Niseko for the day and said it was lots better here than there. There are rocks and bamboo showing through in lots of places, and we heard a lot of people saying "this is just not normal" well that doesnt help us with no new snow on the horizon either :(

    We are going to do a bit more exploring of the area and away from this old dated hotel tonight, hopefully we find somewhere good, as TBH this has been a very underwhelming introduction to Japan - hope it improves after the long weekend and a magic unpredicted dump of snow!

    Some pics later if I get a chance!

    James
     
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  18. Ozgirl

    Ozgirl A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Re infrastructure. Yes it’s old in Japan.

    Which side were you skiing?

    This was my day at the zoo in March.

    You hotel is over at the start arrow.

    I’m pretty sure we only had a 4hr pass.

     
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  19. trappers

    trappers Safety not guaranteed Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    I guess that was another thing, we skied the whole mountain it is fairly small, East side to West side in one day- I am fairly sure we skied every double black both sides and most of the reds ...
     
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  20. trappers

    trappers Safety not guaranteed Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    BTW That 24km is downhill ski distance- does not include lifts.
     
  21. Ozgirl

    Ozgirl A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah again most resort in Japan are on the small side.
    Its def not like US or Europe in that regard.

    And they do say Honshu is steeper.
     
    #21 Ozgirl, Jan 12, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
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  22. Ozgirl

    Ozgirl A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    That day above was one of the best days of our trip. It is what you make of it.
     
  23. Ozgirl

    Ozgirl A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Whoops wrong day above.

     
  24. Ozgirl

    Ozgirl A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    How long are you there? I’m at Niseko from Monday (on snow) but can come over to the zoo.
     
  25. trappers

    trappers Safety not guaranteed Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Here until Saturday :) We are going to another resort on Wednesday though ... not niseko, have forgotten name, will look it up. More than happy to have a few runs!

    The Americans we met on the chairlift today said here was a lot better than Niseko at the moment, and they were staying there.
     
  26. Ozgirl

    Ozgirl A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Oops should have said next Monday!
     
  27. chicski

    chicski A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    I loved Rusutsu, first time I ever skied thigh deep fluffy through trees. Totally different feel to the big mountains in North America (and Europe I assume). It’s all about the whole experience, the food, the people, the onsens.
     
  28. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you are comparing distance or vert to North America or Europe. You're always going to come away underwhelmed.
    Lift infrastructure is pretty typical of Japan.
     
  29. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    You don't get it, until you do.
     
  30. trappers

    trappers Safety not guaranteed Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Well with the snow quality at the moment with no more on the horizon then I guess we wont get it :(

    I think if you are a beginner it would have been fun, but we are not beginners.
     
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  31. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    First of all, welcome to Japan Trappers!
    I am really sorry you’ve not had the best introduction to Japan skiing. The snow is not something we can do anything about but the hotel service could certainly be better - what a shame.

    Was it snowing at the zoo today?
    Snowed lightly but consistently with no wind all day today in Hirafu. Not enough to fix the bare patches yet but I’m hopeful.

    I can’t get over there this week - fully committed I am afraid. But I hope it picks up for you.
     
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  32. trappers

    trappers Safety not guaranteed Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    It was snowing very lightly most of the day- no real depth though maybe 1cm at most?

    We will have fun, just probably not skiing unless a mega dump unexpectedly turns up! COME ON HUEY!!
     
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  33. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Unexpectedly and snow in Japan happen often.
    I wouldn't put any faith in snowforecast for instance.

    However you need the onshore fetch. That needs to establish.
     
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  34. trappers

    trappers Safety not guaranteed Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Fingers crossed!! :)
     
  35. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook! Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sounds like you're not doing it (much at all) right. What's with the cheap hotel, I know you can do better?
     
  36. Ozgirl

    Ozgirl A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Are all lifts open?
     
  37. MisterMxyzptlk

    MisterMxyzptlk Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Snowed all day here at Kiroro
    Maybe a couple of cm which is more than Snow Forecast gave us
    Not sure they deal with the Lake Effect for Hokkaido very well on that site
    Still need 10-20cm to change the snow though which I think is pretty much the same for all the Central resorts including Rusutsu
     
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  38. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Trappers, you know it’s your fault.





    ;)
     
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  39. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    If in doubt seek the truth about sake.
     
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  40. Tanuki

    Tanuki A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Opposite
     
  41. Tanuki

    Tanuki A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes, this.
     
  42. MisterMxyzptlk

    MisterMxyzptlk Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    When I saw he'd booked for this year I desperately tried to unbook
    But as we know with snow, once booked it cannot be unbooked:(
     
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  43. trappers

    trappers Safety not guaranteed Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    skifree likes this.
  44. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    LOL
    I reckon after his last comment...
    He might be rethinking his plans!
     
  45. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    A few comments....
    If you've only ever come to Japan on business, and stayed in hotels that your company pays for, then you would often be in for a shock with Japanese hotels at snow resorts!! ;)
    For example, I'm on a weekend bus ski trip out of Tokyo, in a budget japanese hotel..... Tatami mats and futons are normal. This place doesn't have western toilets, only squat toilets!!!!! So Trapper's, mate, don't complain about the room!!!! :D ;)
    That no breakfast Sunday is crazy, and I've never seen that, nor the bar cover charge... This may be a Japanese interpretation of US price gouging. The "double black" runs are also a US artifact. Black runs in some parts of Japan are determined more by difficulty more than just absolute steepness. i.e. They are usually steeper powder runs that end up with moguls until the next dump, which is usually not far away.

    Yes, Japanese lift infrastructure is often a mix of old and very old. In the 1980s and 90s, there were 16 million skiers, now there's only 5-6 million skiers and snowboarders. It's the way it is. Go to Niseko, and even with huge investments, there's still two ancient single lifts!!

    Japan attraction of Japan is more about deep powder, than long steep runs, and culture. You need to embrace that, because otherwise, japa will just seem weird.
     
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  46. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable Ski Pass: Gold

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    Rusutsu Apre of 21yr Taketsuru on Hokkaido powder.



    You won't find that in Vail ....
     
  47. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    Having been to Japan on one short trip in a low snow year my ‘sample’ is extremely small. I would have to say that one would have to try really hard to have a bad overall experience of skiing in Japan. I understand it is a bit one dimensional in that if there is no powder the terrain and size of resorts generally falls short compared to Europe and North America. But if you do get some snow and that combines with low crowds (as I experienced at Sapporo Teine) you are likely to be skiing fresh until you last lift - and that’s pretty special in my experience. If you couple that with the overall quirkiness and the wonderful Japanese locals* most people will appreciate the difference that Japan provides. And that is probably the point - it’s refreshingly different to it’s competitors.

    That said if I had to choose one continent for MY family to ski on for the rest of my days I would make the call that North America offers the best combination for us. It has generally a good chance of decent conditions and variety of terrain from gentle cruisers to gnarly steeps. The size of the (fully avalanche controlled) hills doesn’t compete with Europe but they’re big enough to hold your interest.
    I’ll definitely be back to both Japan and Europe though.

    *My fourteen year old daughter has told everyone she can about the nice Japanese lifties that bow to you as you enter the lift corral.:)

    One last thing. Is there a better ski lunch anywhere than a bowl of hot ramen?
     
    #47 Sbooker, Jan 13, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
  48. teckel

    teckel Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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  49. trappers

    trappers Safety not guaranteed Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    but if there is no powder, no fresh snow and huge crowds?

    Love the culture. We had a ball in Tokyo and had a great night last night out in the town, but are seriously wondering what to do today. Bomb short groomers all day?!
     
  50. chicski

    chicski A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Beats working.