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Advice for family ski-ing in Japan or NZ.

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boandbob
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Advice for family ski-ing in Japan or NZ.

Postby boandbob » Tue, 14 Sep 2010 9:37 am

Looking for family friendly recommendations for ski-ing in Japan or NZ. Would require ski-school for the children - any advice greatly appreciated, thanks!

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carteki
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Postby carteki » Tue, 14 Sep 2010 10:04 am

When do you plan on going? New Zealand's winter has just ended and Japan's will start shortly - guess that will make your choice easier...

Not sure where you're from either and how old your kids are. I haven't been to Japan, but I have heard that the skiing there is not what you would expect in the US / Europe. I've heard that it is a bit of a free-for-all and each man/woman for himself. If anyone else has been there can you confirm / deny?

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Postby Grumpy77 » Tue, 14 Sep 2010 10:17 pm

I went with family to Joetsu which is 2hrs from Tokyo by bullet train last Jan. It's on the same train line as Nagano but you take the north spur at a Y junction.

We all loved it and while we went with a Japanese friend, I do believe you could do it without an interpreter as the signs and buses etc are all quite clearly marked. And when in doubt, ask and someone will help.

The snow was plentiful but pretty heavy low on the hills but up top it was good. Coastal snow, if you know what I mean. If you want light powder you'll need to go to Sapporo but that involves a flight and will cost a bit more.

Here is the website of the resort with lots of info.

Skiing in Kiwi would be a lot easier, but Japan is an amazing place to visit if you haven't gone already.

Cheers,

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mu-ee
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Postby mu-ee » Sat, 16 Oct 2010 3:23 pm

Hey Grumpy77!

I will be in Japan late Dec, any other tips for me? Planning to cover Tokyo, Hokkaido and Hakone (near Mt Fuji), which you think is a better place for ski? Will see if I can check out those places you mentioned (Kiwi, Joetsu)
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Postby QRM » Sat, 16 Oct 2010 4:55 pm

Went to Niseko last year, brilliant, going again this year. Alot of the teachers are English or Australian. Food very good. I believe it was the second most snowiest resort in the world. We broke the journey to Japan in HK so the kids can go to Disney land.

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Postby mu-ee » Sat, 13 Nov 2010 1:11 pm

Happened to come across another ski place, Zao Onsen. Seems interesting to ski among the snow monsters. Should I just go for it or Niseko is better?
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JR8
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Postby JR8 » Sat, 13 Nov 2010 1:17 pm

Did many weekends from Tokyo up at Naeba.

Great fun. Google it if heading to JP!

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Postby uksnowman » Mon, 03 Jan 2011 4:46 pm

Contrary to popular belief the snow conditions at resorts that are easily reachable by bullet train from Tokyo can be just as good with just as plentiful snow as in Hokkaido. Although if you crave powdery conditions you may prefer the slopes in Hokkaido resorts due to the low moisture level of the snow due to Siberian winds coming across the sea towards northern Japan (it means it can get pretty cold too!).

You can see the daily snowfall on this site below (no affiliation).

http://www.snowjapan.com/e/daily/A_TO_Z ... wDepth.php

If you wait until later in the season or even February onwards, the snow depths can be pretty serious. I remember last season some resorts not far from Tokyo such as in Niigata and Nagano prefectures as well as in Hokkaido were over 5 metres!

If you just want to go skiing for the whole time then you may find it better to go to Hokkaido where you will get amazing powder snow conditions and probably more English spoken due to the higher numbers of Aussie/Kiwi ski/boarders who also own a lot of winter holiday homes there.

If you have never been to Japan before you could combine the ski trip with a few days in Tokyo or Kyoto for the cultural side and good shopping in Tokyo (and plenty for the kids to marvel at). It can be expensive to travel by bullet train from Tokyo to the mountains which only takes 1-1.5 hours but what the Japanese do very well is organisation. You can buy a package for a few days or weekend which includes the train, bullet train, hotel, ski pass, ski rental and even ski clothing, gloves etc.

I recommend paying a bit more for a better hotel or traditional style ryokan where dinner may be included in the overnight price and getting a hotel with a good onsen (hot spring pool) is a must. It's the perfect way to relax after a long day blasting the slopes. The outdoor onsen (think they are called rotenburo) are amazing with the snow all around you yet sitting in a really hot pool taking in the sights of the mountains. Will be a truly unforgettable experience. Makes me want to go back there for a bit of snowboarding! :D

In my experience ski trips in Japan are never cheap and although it's a case of you get what you pay for, the quality of food and service is generally very high so I don't think you can go too far wrong.
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