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Best ski resorts in Japan

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Heading out to Japan this season to instruct! Stoked.

Wondering if anyone has experience working for resorts in Japan and can share some insight on where we can find the most varied terrain, we like steeps, but want that pow experience! As well as the ability to work for an English speaking school!

Really not much info out there so an interesting topic to open!!

Thanks Very Happy
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Which part of Japan are you heading to? Do you have a visa sorted?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Yeah I’ve just got my working holiday visa! And open to any part of Japan! Have heard about Hakuba and Niseko.
I worry Niseko will be too mellow. And there are so many resorts around the Hakuba Valley and within a couple of hours distance of there I’m struggling to find information on where would be worthwhile to work as well as provide varied, quite expert terrain!
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I'm not gnarly but loved Rusutsu and there's a few steeper spots off piste at Kokusai. There will undoubtedly be those with a bit more knowledge (musehead being one) but I think Japan is less well know for it's steep terrain, it's more just slashing powder amongst the trees. Suspect Honshu might give more opportunity for work than Hokkaido too...although I've not based that on any fact Embarassed Laughing
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Amylouise1207, Happo one and the surrounding areas are known for having steep freeride terrain although I haven't skied there myself. Check out the evergreen guides website. It's possible that the snow there isn't as consistent as in Niseko
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I don't know enough about Japan to recommend any specific resorts. But keep in mind powder and steep don't always go together. Mainly because dry fluffy powdery snow don't stick on steep faces.

Japan isn't known for steeps. The impression is that's their geography. But I suspect it may also have to do with the quality of their powder. Most famous regions of steeps in the world are in area with wet snow: the Alps, Alaska.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Amylouise1207, my stepson worked his first season (BASI L2) for Evergreen outdoor centre in Hakuba Happo One. I’d say that was a good option. They provided basic accommodation and food too, which took the hassle out of finding somewhere to stay. He had a great time. As others have said, there are some proper “alpine” mountains behind the resort for proper steeps and OP if that is what you crave. Snowfall quantity is not quite as much as Niseko, but it’s still huge compared with the Alps. One of my best days ever was lapping thr trees and slopes of Hakuba Cortina about 20 mins away by bus. The accumulated snow was so deep they had had to dig a trench so the chairlift had sufficient clearance to go uphill!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Thanks all. Looking into it Rusutsu does look like it has a lot of what I would be looking for, seems like it has the most varied terrain!

I will check out Hakuba Happo as I did hear about evergreen whilst doing a couple of seasons in Canada! So they must be good to work for Eh oh!
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The Aussie ski forum has the best Japan snow info available. Enjoy
https://www.ski.com.au/xf/forums/japan.51/
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1. Have you had your working holiday visa approved?

2. Do you speak Japanese?

If not, then look at the more international areas like Niseko, Rusutsu, Hakuba, Myoko

3. I can't remember whether the Hakuba or Myoko areas have night skiing, but the Niseko United night skiing is some of the best in the world.

This may be a factor as lots of your ski instructing day will be spent with beginners or lower intermediates on piste.

4. From an instructing perspective, Kiroro, Rusutsu, Hanazono in that order has the best terrain for progression on Hokkaido IMHO.

5. The 'Hakuba is steeper than Niseko' phrase which gets bandied about is misleading. The side & backcountry terrain accessed by lifts is steeper and longer in the Hakuba area but the terrain within the resort area boundaries is quite similar.

What's not in doubt is the snow is far more consistent on Hokkaido

Still no movement on easing of entry restrictions for individual tourists to Japan, and it's already August.

Some are quietly worried that Japan may stay closed this coming winter. If that is the case, then this will have massive implications on work.
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@Amylouise1207, You write "we" are you two?

You got it without a sponsor? Puzzled
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Amylouise1207, some beta on Myoko and Hakuba from a couple of years back
https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=151727
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@Mike Pow, Thanks for that, super informative!

I had my visa approved just under a month ago

I don’t speak Japanese unfortunately.

I think I am leaning towards Rusutsu!

I understand the opportunity for work will be extremely difficult if the boarders do not open for tourists. Fingers are crossed and we can only hope for the best! And if not more time to improve my own technique!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Amylouise1207 wrote:
@Mike Pow, Thanks for that, super informative!

I had my visa approved just under a month ago

I don’t speak Japanese unfortunately.

I think I am leaning towards Rusutsu!

I understand the opportunity for work will be extremely difficult if the boarders do not open for tourists. Fingers are crossed and we can only hope for the best! And if not more time to improve my own technique!


My pleasure

Have you applied for work with Rusutsu?
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Mike Pow, Not yet! I am planning to get my application in on Monday! So fingers crossed Eh oh!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Amylouise1207 wrote:
@Mike Pow, Not yet! I am planning to get my application in on Monday! So fingers crossed Eh oh!


Good luck
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Amylouise1207, bear in mind that Niseko is a full scale ski town with all the extras (restaurants, bars, nightlife...and opportunities to make friends and share experiences) that go with it.
It is a major tourist draw and if overseas tourists are restricted then Niseko will get a disproportionate percentage of those that can come, and consequently you will have more opportunity for work (and work=money).
My daughter worked for Go Snow a few years ago and had a wonderful time...within a few weeks she was put in charge of all their Kids programme and on peak weekends had 80 staff working for her!
Not bad for a BASI 2 aged 23...

Rusutsu skiing is good, well worth a go, but it is a 1 hotel (big and very strange hotel) resort with a small village nearby that staff live in.
It really does not have any of those town activities to speak of.

Honestly speaking...just speak to Mike Pow, he knows all that side of living/skiing/working in Japan (Hokkaido especially) so well...he is The Guru,
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Are you only allowed to apply to one resort?

Given the high uncertainty of this coming season, I’d thought it’s paramount to get ANY instructor job offers first before worrying about which one is better?
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rungsp wrote:

Rusutsu skiing is good, well worth a go, but it is a 1 hotel (big and very strange hotel) resort with a small village nearby that staff live in.
It really does not have any of those town activities to speak of.

Honestly speaking...just speak to Mike Pow, he knows all that side of living/skiing/working in Japan (Hokkaido especially) so well...he is The Guru,


+1 - on the Rusutsu feedback - talk to Mike Pow - you don't want to find yourself isolated. It will be tough. Niseko (Grand Hirafu) has a lot going for it if you an get a job there. As a seasonnaire that would be my choice on Hokkaido - can't comment on Honshu.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
On being isolated - depends on preferences - my ideal winter would be skiing Rusutsu and then each evening finishing at Makari Onsen. Their outdoor onsen has a direct view on Mt Yotei - can’t imagine getting bored of a sunset with pink/red looking snow from the setting sun. Honestly, would love a challenge of getting bored with it Smile
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And after that dinner in Maccarina! Toofy Grin
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Ha, indeed!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@rungsp, thanks for the info! I’ve just spent 2 seasons in Banff, Canada which I found myself avoiding the nightlife scene! Meeting people through skiing is much more appealing to me than on a night out! Smile @mooney058, and the Onsens I am already dreaming of them!!

As for the work side of things I have enough to support myself without working for the season.

It is preferable to work but if the situation doesn’t allow many or any tourists will being in Niseko with 80+ instructors be a benefit?? @Mike Pow, what’s your take on that?

@abc, you can apply for as many resorts as you like, but when you work at a resort you do spend most of your time there so I want to make sure it’s actually a resort that I’m going to enjoy skiing as that is the No1 priority! Smile Smile
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
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We have made a pretty detailed guide you can find here, if it helps
https://www.brealpa.com/travel-highlights/top-ski-resorts-in-japan
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
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If this is a more a holiday working visa scenario then kudos to you

It's all about the package

See which job offers the best in terms of accommodation, lift pass, possibly food, training

I spent a winter based in Kiroro

Loved it

Quiet in the evenings but more than enough going on if you wanted it

Cheap accommodation, 2 meals a day for 2000 yen, private room with sink, onsen & shower to start and end the day

5 minute drive to work

You'll have a ball in the Niseko Resort Area

You'll have more chance of meeting Japanese people and learning Japanese in Rusutsu

And if you get a Kamori K-Winter Pass you're covered for Rusutsu; day trips to Nakayama Toge and Sapporo Teine; and road trips to the Central Hokkaido resort of Sahoro
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@Amylouise1207, I'm quite surprised you had a working holiday visa approved, given how many barriers to entry Japan seems to have constructed the past 2.5 years!

I would probably agree with the others that Niseko could be a good place for the season, especially as your first time skiing in Japan. Niseko is close to Rusutsu, so you can easily ski there too. Plus it's not far from Kiroro and maybe Teine for day trips, and there's lots of interesting backcountry touring etc around there if you're into that.

I don't know what the best chance would be for English speaking instructor work if Japan remains closed, @Mike Pow might have some thoughts.

I've been following Japan quite closely the past year or so, reading various forums, news sites, twitter etc. I'm desperately hoping for a reopening, but I don't feel optimistic at this point.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
musehead wrote:
@Amylouise1207, I'm quite surprised you had a working holiday visa approved, given how many barriers to entry Japan seems to have constructed the past 2.5 years!

I would probably agree with the others that Niseko could be a good place for the season, especially as your first time skiing in Japan. Niseko is close to Rusutsu, so you can easily ski there too. Plus it's not far from Kiroro and maybe Teine for day trips, and there's lots of interesting backcountry touring etc around there if you're into that.

I don't know what the best chance would be for English speaking instructor work if Japan remains closed, @Mike Pow might have some thoughts.

I've been following Japan quite closely the past year or so, reading various forums, news sites, twitter etc. I'm desperately hoping for a reopening, but I don't feel optimistic at this point.


Best chance of work is to apply to a resort

Niseko Village
Niseko Hanazono
Rusutsu
Kiroro
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