Weekend 16/17 December in Yuzawa

Another winter week has ticked past in Snow Country. Very much a case of "Be careful what you wish for." Everyone was keen for more snow, and then a big storm comes through and drops half a meter of snow on the whole town. Hours of shovelling to get to your buried car and fresh snow doesn't seem that fun anymore!

Due to that big snowfall conditions are great at the moment so hopefully you are coming to the snow in Yuzawa or Minami Uonuma this weekend. Kagura and Tashiro are open. Naeba has managed to open up the long course from the top of the No. 2 gondola back to the base. Maiko opened today and are running the gondola and the lifts at the top. Yuzawa Kogen, Nakazato, and GALA Yuzawa are also opening tomorrow. It promises to be a great weekend. Unfortunately Iwappara are waiting a little longer and will reassess after seeing how much snow falls over the weekend.

It is a good time to grab a lesson. The snow is in great condition right now and the cold temperatures should keep it that way. The beginner slopes in most resorts are starting to open so there are some gentle options for those that are just learning to ski or snowboard. There are sure to be lots of people coming up to enjoy the snow on Saturday and Sunday but with more resorts open everyone should spread out a bit this weekend. And it is still early season so resorts are emptier now than they will be during the holidays in Japan.

Our instructors have been out and about all over the slopes of Snow Country already and are available for lessons throughout the weekend for both ski and snowboard. Time for a quick refresher before winter gets into its stride. Drop us a line if you would like to make a booking.

Snow Country Instructor Naeba Filip - Edited.jpg

Cat Skiing in Naeba

Once you have mastered your technique on the groomed slope, you might start testing yourself in the soft snow at the side of the run. One of the joys of skiing and snowboarding in Japan is the huge amount of snow the resorts receive every year. Powder skiing or powder boarding are the holy grail of snowsports, with riders going to great lengths to access fresh snow that no one else has ridden.

Mikuni Cat Skiing in Naeba.png

Hiking up to untouched powder is one option, or if you are lucky enough, jumping in a helicopter to get dropped at the top of a difficult to reach peak. Out the back of Naeba Ski Resort is an abandoned ski area called Mikuni, and this year there will be a cat skiing operation using it for backcountry tours - Mikuni Cat Skiing. Climb in the back of a snowcat and let it drive you to the top of some of the unused runs. From there you will get the chance to carve your own lines into the untracked snow. It is a great way to get some experience in a backcountry environment accompanied by trained professionals and is suitable for upper level skiers and snowboarders who are looking to take their first turns in the deep snow of Japan. Or if you are an expert rider looking for a fun experience up at Naeba and of course, a great day out.

If you are not sure whether you are ready for cat skiing we'd be happy to take you out for a powder lesson and fine tune your technique in the soft snow. We can also book the Mikuni Cat skiing for you too if you require.

The cat skiing tours will run this winter from December 27th 2017 until March 4th 2018. The tour fee is 35,000 yen per person, with a limited number of spots per day. Full details can be found on the Mikuni Cat Skiing page

Weekend 9/10 December in Yuzawa

The weekend is drawing closer and there seem to be plenty of people planning to hit the slopes of Yuzawa in the near future. We are getting lots of emails about current conditions, so we thought an update before the weekend would be helpful.

Main slope at Kagura on Thursday December 7th 2017

Main slope at Kagura on Thursday December 7th 2017

Mitsumata/Kagura Ski Area is open. The snow mats in Mitsumata were mostly uncovered until the snowfall of a couple of days ago. They are now mostly covered apart from a few patches, and there is more snow on the way. The top slopes of Kagura are good hardpack at the moment. The queue for the Mitsumata ropeway early in the morning last weekend were pretty impressive, but with Tashiro area opening up on Saturday 9th, that should help to spread people out.

Mitsumata on Thursday December 7th 2017

Mitsumata on Thursday December 7th 2017

Naeba is going to open on Saturday 9th too, but it is likely only the beginner slope at the bottom of the mountain. Hopefully the predicted snow will come in, and more runs will open up shortly.

Iwappara were hoping to open on Saturday but are not going to do so due to lack of snow. They will be monitoring conditions and hope to open to some extent as soon as possible.

Okutadami Maruyama is also open.

Conditions are pretty good for early December and with more snow due Friday we think conditions will be fun for this weekend. We have plenty of ski instructors and snowboard instructors in Yuzawa right now who are ready and waiting to put their experience to good use and help you get more out of your time on the snow, whichever Yuzawa snow resorts you decide to use.

Get up here and start sliding!

Okutadami Maruyama Ski Resort for early season

The season is officially underway here in Snow Country. Kagura opened on schedule with a nice layer of natural snow. Things have been a bit milder since opening day but there was another sprinkling of fresh snow overnight.

For those looking to get some early turns in, Kagura is a great choice. There are also runs open in Karuizawa, Nozawa Onsen, Hakuba resorts, and Shika Kogen. An often overlooked option up here is Okutadami Maruyama. It's up in Uonuma and close to a big dam and lake that is well known for its great scenery and pleasure cruises.

The drive up there is impressive as much of the final stretch is through tunnels. The resort opens early season, and then shuts during the snowiest parts of winter. It opens up again in spring, which is a great time to check out the stunning views from the resort. Okutadami Maruyama tends to have a great terrain park too.

We do a few lessons up there every year and are always keen to send our coaches up there.

The closest bullet train station is Urasa Station.

If you are interested in a day out at Okutadami Maruyama this winter, please let us know.

Okutadami Maruyama Ski Area.png

New Rental Shop in Yuzawa

We were a bit surprised the other day to be walking down the main Onsen Street in Yuzawa, and see a new sign for a ski and snowboard rental business going up over one of the unused shopfronts. It seems that they will have Chinese speaking staff, and will also offer resort shuttles like the other town rental shops.

Chenda Rental Yuzawa Chinese.jpg

 

The website for Chenda Rental seems to be a work in progress at the time of writing but we will update with any details that we discover.

Chenda Rental Yuzawa.jpg

Discount Lift Tickets in Yuzawa

We've had snow for the last few days and the whole town a little dusting of white over it at the moment. (You can check out some photos on our Instagram page.) Things are looking good for the opening day of Kagura Ski Area on Thursday 23rd November.

We are getting a few emails from people coming to Yuzawa for their winter snow trip asking about discount lift tickets. This region is yet to have a really good option for lift tickets but you can pick up discount vouchers for most resorts. Have a look in your hotel, rental shop or in some of the tourist information offices around the area. Most discount voucher are for 500 yen off.

The rental shop that we usually recommend also have some discount tickets available for some resorts though these are of a limited number so may or may not be available when you arrive in Yuzawa for your ski lesson or snowboard lesson with one of our international instructors.

If you are heading to Mitsumata/Kagura/Tashiro at any point in the season there is a coupon that includes lift ticket + a 1,000JPY lunch/shopping voucher that can be used in most places in the resorts, that will get you a bit of a discount. Either print it out or show it to the ticket office on the screen of your smartphone.

The first turns of the 2017/18 Winter Season in this region of Japan are just days away!

First Snow in Yuzawa Town

We had our first snow flurries of Winter 2017/18 in Yuzawa town yesterday, and even though it is mid-November the region is starting to get that winter feeling. Later in the day we were driving back from Minakami and as we came out of long tunnel under the mountain to the Yuzawa side there were signs warning of snow. Sure enough as we emerged, there were large flakes falling and what could be seen of the mountain sides under the clouds was dusted in white. We managed to grab a quick shot to put on our Instagram page.

Our team of experienced international ski and snowboard coaches are drifting into town, ready to give lessons in all resorts in the Yuzawa area and Minami Uonuma area. Kagura have announced that they are definitely opening on November 23rd on schedule, and checking their webcams is become a bit of an obsession. We are ready and waiting to give lessons as soon as that first lift opens. The water pipes that keep the snow off the roads are being tested, and the snow clearing machines are getting a cleaning and a spin round town. The last few years we have had very mild Novembers so it is good to have some cold weather this year, and fingers crossed for all resorts opening on schedule. You can find the list of opening dates on this post.

As always Christmas & New Year, and Chinese New Year are looking busy so if you are planning on being in any of the areas we cover, and are looking for English-speaking ski or snowboard lessons (or Chinese-speaking ski or snowboard lessons) please get in touch sooner rather than later. If you need further information on any aspect of your Japan snow trip, or have any questions about ski lessons or snowboard lessons in Yuzawa, please feel free to contact us.

Hotel & Lift Ticket Package 2017-18

Suberi-meguri is a plan arranged by the local tourist office that offers an accommodation and lift ticket package for those coming to Yuzawa. It tends to be a really good value package and is a yearly offering by the Echigo Yuzawa Onsen Tourist Association (Snow Country Tourism) and local hotels. This year's leaflet is hot off the press so if you are planning your winter snow trip to Japan, this could be just the thing for you.

The lift ticket comes as two half day tickets which can be used however you like - either two half days at different resorts (on the same or different days), a full day at one resort, or exchanged for a gift voucher that can be used locally. The lift tickets are valid for 8 of the resorts in Yuzawa - Yuzawa Nakazato, Yuzawa Park Ski Area, Iwappara, Kandatsu Kogen Ski Resort, NASPA Ski Garden, Ipponsugi, Yuzawa Kogen, or GALA Yuzawa, and you get two half day tickets with each night of accommodation.

The accommodation comes at two different levels: ryokan/hotel, and minshuku. 

Ryokan/Hotel accommodations are the upper end of what is available in Yuzawa. The participating places are Nakaya, Honjin Sakuratei, Yuzawa New Otani, Takahan, Inamoto, Otowaya Ryokan, Taki no yu, Yuzawa Grand Hotel, Hotel Futaba, NASPA New Otani, Kagetsu, HATAGO Isen, KKR Yuzawa Yukiguni, and Yuimakura. There are about 4 different price levels depending which standard of accommodation you stay at, and varying prices per person, with supplements if staying on a holiday. The prices are for one night of accommodation with dinner and breakfast included (as well as the lift tickets.) The cheapest offering in this class for two adults sharing on a weekday would be 15,300JPY per person. With 4 adults sharing it would be 12,000JPY per person.

Suberi meguri ryokan hotel price.jpg

The Minshuku level offering is available at 34 different lodges around the town, (so we won't be listing them all here!) You can choose to stay room only (8,000 yen per adult per night), with breakfast included (9,000 yen per adult per night), or with dinner and breakfast included (10,000 yen per person per night. All these prices include the lift ticket offer for each night of your stay. The tickets can be upgraded for an additional charge to one which covers Yuzawa Kogen, GALA Yuzawa, and Ishiuchi Maruyama.

With lift tickets, accommodation and meals included, whichever level you decide to go for, it is a pretty good package. There are quite a few options available, so if you need help with anything, please feel free to let us know.

Yuzawa Suberi Meguri Value Packages.jpg

 

 

第一次参加滑雪课程?给您介绍一些技巧

前往日本滑雪,第一次滑雪,感觉有点紧张?想知道怎样才能让自己消除这种心理?别害
怕,你会爱上滑雪的,这也可能只是您终身爱上滑雪的一个开始。
  滑得最好的人往往能享受到最大的快乐!
  别忘了,一切都是为了快乐。

汤沢町冬天的雪

汤沢町冬天的雪


  尤其是日本,冬天在山上的感觉非常棒,特别是还有美味料理和历史文化在吸引你的同时
。但在上山之前,确保您已经补充满了足够的食物和水份。山上会比较寒冷,所以衣服要穿的
合适,但是不要太担心,如果您自己带去的滑雪装备不够,您可以在山上租到几乎一切您可能
需要用到的设备。而且,当您开始运动起来后,身体会发热,所以试着不要把自己裹得太厚。
没错,您是在被积雪覆盖的山上,但是这里并不会特别寒冷难耐。
  各种装备,尤其是雪靴可能需要您一段时间来适应,但这个适应时间不会太久。设备比较
沉,所以携带起来比较困难,但我想这应该是您一天中可能遇到的最困难的事情了。所以,尽
情的去享受冰雪吧。
  了解您的教练,并让你的教练也充分了解你的个人情况。如果您身体过去受过伤,心里害
怕或恐惧,或者任何疑问、担心,请直接告诉您的教练。我们的目的在于让您度过舒适并开心
的一天。
  放松,追随自己的节奏出发。每个人都有自己的学习方式和速度。如果您对某个环节不太
清楚,欢迎随时请教连再讲解一遍。如果您是在团队课程中,并且您感觉别人都比您学习进步
的要快,请别担心,因为我们经常看到乌龟在最后超过了兔子。
  安全第一。
  放松精神,享受滑雪的乐趣和山上的美景。

朝前看。深呼吸,享受美丽的景色。

朝前看。深呼吸,享受美丽的景色。


  如果您玩的很开心 – 微笑起来。因为微笑不会让你跌倒不是。(还是跌倒了再停止微笑
……???)
  不要害怕跌倒。失败是成功之母。人人都会摔倒,并且人人都会不止一次的摔倒。你不是
唯一一个会摔倒的人。

你不是一个人在战斗。

你不是一个人在战斗。


  前几堂课通常效果都是最好的。您在前几堂课中会进步的非常迅速。也正是这几节课的努
力,能给你带来巨大的满足感。
  在一般的初学者课程中,我们首先会让您在一片平坦的雪地上熟悉设备的感觉和使用。之
后,我们会教您如何起步、刹车和转弯。只要你有信心,有基本的技能,能够控制自己的速度
。相信您在不久后就可以坐上魔毯开始真正的滑雪了。我们会建议您反复练习,只要身体允许
,滑下来后再坐魔毯上去滑。您可以在乘坐魔毯的时候做以短暂的休息,因为真正滑下的那一
刻才是您能够真正练习到自己滑雪技能的时候。
  没有绝对的教学时长。因为这个时间想多长就可以多长。其中最大的乐趣就是不管您的水
平处于什么等级,滑雪都能给您带来无限的快乐。不管您是刚刚入门,或是已经身经百战,不
管您滑的是快还是慢,这中间都有着无限的趣味。享受时间。
  帮助别人学习滑雪对于教练来说也是一件趣事,您的微笑和进步也是教练们的目标。

  一些家庭跟我们说一家人一起学习滑雪绝对是最开心的时刻 –「度过了一段愉快的时光,
非常感谢。最开心的部分就是孩子们吃完饭马上就迫不及待再去继续滑雪了。」
  我们的雪国教练期待着在不久的将来能在南鱼沼市的汤沢町滑雪课程中见到您,我们在这
里的全部滑雪场都可以为您提供教学服务。
  在我们的博客中还有更多相关详细信息,如果您有任何问题,欢迎随时联系我们。

Index of Useful Posts

We try to keep our main site clean and simple while updating the blog with other information. We haven't done a very good job of organising the information on our blog I'm afraid. There is a search box, index, tag cloud, and category list in the side bar (or at the bottom on mobile) but it is getting quite hard to find all that information! Hopefully this post will group together much of the more useful posts for those of you who are planning, or already on, your Yuzawa/Minami Uonuma/Snow Country winter trip. So here goes...

Many people coming to Yuzawa are here to see snow for the first time. Not sure what to look for in a beginner resort? Looking for some tips for your very first ski or snowboard lesson? Or wondering whether Yuzawa is a good choice for your first snow destination? We've got you covered, and are always happy to answer any questions you may have.

One of the great joys of Yuzawa is its easy accessibility from Tokyo - getting here is simple, via train, bus, or car (but please don't go to Yuzawa Station which is in Yuzawa City in Akita Prefecture!) Don't forget that both Echigo-Yuzawa Station and GALA Yuzawa Station are covered by the Tokyo Wide Pass which is one of the best value ways to get up here if you are on a short trip.

Day trips from Tokyo to the snow in Yuzawa are easy, or there are plenty of accommodation options.

You might be bringing your own ski or snowboard equipment, you might be looking to buy winter sports gear in Tokyo, or to rent while you are here. You might just be looking for some wide powder skis for that infamously deep Japanese snow

Kagura has the longest season, usually running from late November to late May -here is an overview of the winter is the region as a whole. Or if you are looking for more details on snow fall in the Yuzawa area....

Snow Country Instructors have an awesome team of fun and friendly coaches to help you get the best out of your time on the snow. We teach ski and snowboard lessons in all resorts in the region and are happy to suggest which of those might be a good fit for your needs. If you are starting out on skis, a resort with a magic carpet lift is often the best. We have a quick overview of many of the more popular resorts too: Maiko Snow Resort, Ishiuchi Maruyama, Iwappara, NASPA Ski Garden, GALA Yuzawa, Yuzawa Nakazato, Yuzawa Kogen, Mitsumata/Kagura, Joetsu Kokusai, Kandatsu Kogen, Hakkaisan.

Getting around is easy either by resort shuttle bus or with the free service provided by some rental shops in Yuzawa. You might also be interested in driving yourself around (need help with directions?), or catching a taxi.

Many people are here for the skiing and snowboarding, but there is also plenty to do for non-skiers, people just looking to play in the snow (not just kids either!) or people looking to try other activities while in the Snow Country Tourism Zone in Japan.

And never forget the fun to be had off the slopes: food, onsen, restaurants, parties, and festivals!

There is not much in the way of money changing at hotels in Yuzawa but a couple of banks can help out with major currencies. If you are looking to use your international bank card then there are a couple of ATMs in Yuzawa that can keep you stocked up with Japanese yen.

We hope that helps...? Should you need further information on anything we are in Yuzawa year round and happy to be of assistance, or answer any questions.

一个学习滑雪的完美目的地。作为初学者的您应该注意些什么 ?

如果您是滑雪的入门者,那么在五花八门种类繁多的选择中可能会感到有些迷茫。尤其是在汤沢町,因为这里是整个亚洲滑雪业最繁忙的地方。多种多样的住宿选择、种类繁多的滑雪场地,是选择在町上的滑雪场还是周边的滑雪场?所以,作为初学者的您,应该怎样选择呢?


  几乎全部的滑雪场都配有为初学者准备的滑道和设备。当然质量有好有坏。您的第一堂滑雪课非常重要,因为您需要让这节课来得越简单越好,哪怕第一天或者前半天选择在稍微远一点的滑雪场练习。

20160111131834.jpg


  不管是双板滑雪还是单板滑雪,都是要从平坦雪地开始练习,在这里首先锻炼您对设备的熟悉程度、平衡控制能力、开始滑动等等。这一系列都完成之后,您需要登上一个不太陡峭的雪坡。双板初学者需要从缓坡开始练习,单板初学者要从稍微陡峭一点的滑道开始练习。


  魔毯 – 我们之前提到过魔毯电梯。就像是传送带一样,可以带您前往滑道的顶部。如果没有魔毯的帮助,您很快就会在爬山过程中消耗掉大量的体能。配有魔毯的滑雪场可以让您的学习体验变得更加愉快。


  不要太拥挤 – 不必多说,作为初学者的您要时刻都能控制住任何可能发生情况。让您的周围时刻都有一些空间,以便发生任何情况的时候能有更多的处理余地,同时也会让您感到更加轻松。有些滑雪场在周末或假日的时候会变得非常拥挤。如果一条滑道上人太多,您会发现练习起来非常费力。所以我们建议您最好前往人较少的滑雪场地,这样能够帮助您更好地练习,享受滑雪带来的快乐。

Iwappara Ski Lessons Yuzawa.jpg

     多种适合初学者的滑道选择 – 当您在平坦雪地上练习的游刃有余,可以控制自己的速度和刹车,甚至可以做一些简单的转弯动作后,下一步就是前往山顶开始您的初学者实践练习。您需要缓慢起步,这样才能给您增加信心同时还能提高水平。如果您练习的是单板滑雪,您可能需要选择一个更加陡峭的滑道。无论您学习的是哪种滑法,刚开始就上到比较陡峭的滑道必然在一些方面会削弱您的信心,让后续的学习变得非常困难。


  温馨的休息区域 – 如果运用了正确的技巧,滑雪看起来会非常轻松、毫不费力。但是,如果您是第一次滑雪或者已经很久都没有锻炼了,您的身体各项机能可能会消耗的非常快。这时,能够在一个安全温暖的休息区域,补充一点食物和饮料,就显得非常重要了,这也对您的身体能量恢复非常有帮助。不过还好,目前大部分滑雪场都配有非常不错的休息区域和各项配套设施。


  能讲您语言的教练 – 坚实的基础知识是一切的关键。因此,一名经验丰富、素质过硬的教练会让您的学习过程更加愉快并有成效。而且,在滑板上的初次体验好坏会直接决定在未来几年您对体育运动的热情与态度。所以,以开心的方式起步,培养自己的运动兴趣。我们的团队成员都有着多年的实操经验,并且都前往过世界各地旅行,非常善于帮助别人提高运动、爱上运动。


  如果您还没有好主意选择哪家滑雪场,或者对您这边旅程的任何环节有疑问,请随时联系我们。我们将十分乐意为您解答您遇到的任何问题。

Unbiased Advice from Snow Country Instructors

We are always happy to answer questions about the Yuzawa area, Minami Uonuma area, Snow Country Region, or skiing and snowboarding in Japan in general. Often when we are dealing with enquiries from clients about their winter snow trip to Japan, we look at their plan and make a few suggestions. We would just like to make clear that those suggestions are based on our opinion of what would fit their needs the best. We don't make commission from our clients using restaurants/rental shops/hotels/resorts.

All our coaches and instructors here in Yuzawa love snow. They want everyone that they teach to share that feeling and to come skiing or snowboarding again. It doesn't have to be here, or with us; but we are trying to create fellow fans of these sports. So making sure you have the best time possible in the Japanese snow is our goal.

RENTAL EQUIPMENT - We tend to recommend the rental shops in town because they offer good value and also a free shuttle service to and from the resorts each day which makes moving around really convenient. No waiting for that resort bus in the snow. You may be able to get a good deal renting from your accommodation, or you might prefer the newer equipment available at most rental shops at the resort. If you are looking for top of the range powder skis then the Moment Demo Center in Yuzawa might be a better choice.

RESORTS - There are many different reasons for choosing a resort, but the most well-known resorts may not be the best for your requirements. If we know a little about what you are trying to achieve we can help you choose. Especially for beginners and lower level skiers and snowboarders, having the most suitable slopes to practice on is really important. Of course we can and do teach anywhere, so if you are set on your choice of resort we will make the best of the slopes available on that day.

ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTORS - We frequently suggest adding an extra instructor to your group or family. This is not us trying to sell you more lessons for the sake of it but is to make your experience better and your progress faster. For a family, children and adults learn in different ways and are often better off with separate instructors. This applies too to children of vastly different ages due to difference in muscle development, attention, and coordination. Very young children require lots of hands-on attention and require 1-on-1 assistance. For a group, having a large number of participants with one instructor is cheaper, but not cost-effective. While one person is performing and receiving help from the instructor everyone else is watching and waiting. The group can only move at the pace of the slowest learner so if there is one person unable to master a certain task it will slow the progress for everyone, and this is no fun for anybody.

TAKING LESSONS WITH SNOW COUNTRY INSTRUCTORS - OK, so this one might have a little bit of bias! We genuinely believe that we have the best instructors out of any international ski school in the region. There are other English speaking coaches and instructors around if you go to Naeba, Gala Yuzawa, or NASPA Ski Garden for your lessons though we would hope you would choose our team for their quality and great value. We go out of our way to recruit awesome coaches who have been in the industry for many years. Experienced coaches who are great with people will ensure that you have fun in the Japanese snow. We don't just have English speaking ski coaches here in Yuzawa but try to have a broad selection of languages available.

Feel free to ignore any suggestions we make :) but please remember that we have your best experience in mind, and are offering advice from our many years of experience teaching skiing and snowboarding in resorts in Yuzawa and the rest of the region.

As always, please feel free to contact us if you have any questions on anything, or need any advice. We look forward to seeing you in the ski resorts of Yuzawa when then snow comes.

2018 Winter Season Resort Opening Dates in Yuzawa and Minami Uonuma

Resort Opening Dates 2017/18 in & around Yuzawa

It is a sure sign of impending winter - long dormant ski resort websites get a refresh, pre-season discount lift ticket sales, and most importantly, opening dates for the coming season. (These dates are the planned opening dates and for almost all resorts will depend on the amount of snow that has fallen.)

Kagura/Mitsumata - 23 November 2017

Tashiro, Naeba, Iwappara, Joetsu Kokusai - 9th December 2017

Yuzawa Park Resort, Maiko Snow Resort - 15th December 2017

GALA Yuzawa, Yuzawa Kogen, Yuzawa-Nakazato, Kandatsu - 16th December 2017

Ishiuchi Maruyama - 21st December 2017

NASPA Ski Garden - 22nd December 2017

Hakkai-san - 23rd December 2017

We've still got a few resorts to get dates for, but hopefully this gives you enough information to plan your ski trips for this coming winter for Japan. Snow Country Instructors cover all the above resorts so if you are looking for ski lessons or snowboarding lessons around the Snow Country Region, do let us know. We'll also travel if our schedule allows and often pop up in Nozawa Onsen, Karuizawa, Shiga Kogen, and Myoko resorts. We're looking forward to the opening of Lotte Arai Resort on December 16 too.

Time to start counting the days...

 

Winter Season 2017/18 in Yuzawa

The summer heat and humidity seems to have passed for another year and autumn is setting in.  Long sleeves are coming out and the thicker blankets are back on the bed again. The rice harvest is underway and there are whole bunch of harvest festivals coming up. Winter is still a way off but definitely getting closer.

Snow Country Yuzawa.jpg

As we hit September a bunch of resorts start their pre-season sales of discount lift tickets. Gala Yuzawa, Iwappara, and Kandatsu have all got offers running at the moment. 

Kagura/Mitsumata will be the first resort opening in this area on Thursday 23rd November, which just happens to be a National Holiday. We'll update on other resort opening dates in this region. So far we have Tashiro on December 9th, and GALA Yuzawa on December 16th. Our ski and snowboard lessons will be available every day of the winter at all resorts in the region from when Kagura opens at the end of November until it closes at the end of May.

Booking are starting to come in, and as usual it looks like Christmas/New Year, and Chinese New Year are going to be very busy. If you are coming at these times and are going to be having ski or snowboard lessons, it would be a good idea to get your bookings in early.

If you are heading to different areas other than Yuzawa, do let us know. We often hit the road to help clients who are keen to keep consistency with instructors. Last winter we could be found at Karuizawa, Shiga Kogen, Nozawa Onsen, as well as resorts in Myoko and Hakuba. We even did a trip to Niseko, Furano, and Rusutsu. We are also very excited for the reopening of Arai, or as it is now known Lotte Arai Resort.

We have a great team of experienced instructors coming out this winter.  The quality of our team is what sets us apart. We go to great lengths to find ski and snowboard coaches with exceptional people skills and a love of teaching. They've been in the industry for a long time, and have top level qualifications. They are dedicated to making sure you have very best time possible while in Yuzawa or on your ski holiday in Japan.

Finally, we are keeping our prices the same as the previous two seasons so lessons with Snow Country Instructors will still be the same great value.

We look forward to seeing you on the snow this winter.

Coming to Yuzawa? Some suggestions....

So of all the great places to visit the snow in Japan this winter, you have opted for Yuzawa. Good choice. We have a few suggestions of what to check out to make the most of your trip!

Onsen

The 'yu' in Yuzawa stands for hot water, and the town itself grew up around the discovery of a hot spring source in the mountains where a traveller was looking for ingredients for medicine. (That hot spring is still gushing out hot water and feeds the onsen at Takahan Hotel and Yama-no-yu.) A soak in an onsen is an absolute must while you are in Yuzawa. If you have been out in the snow all day you will feel yourself heated up and refreshed in no time. There are lots of different types of onsen (including one with sake in it inside Echigo-Yuzawa Station!) so if you get a taste for this very Japanese way of bathing you have lots of exploring to do.

If you are unsure what you are supposed to be doing, check out this explanation from The Japanese Ryokan Association, who have a whole bunch on useful information if you are looking at staying at a ryokan.

Food

Japanese food is amazing wherever you go in the country. Yuzawa is no exception with an abundance of great restaurants and a food culture that has been influenced by long winters buried under the snow. Pickles and preserved foods are a speciality, as is the hearty, warming Kenchin soup. The area is famous for rice, growing some of the most well known Koshihikari rice in the whole of Japan. As a result the sake produced here is also highly regarded. There are lots of restaurants in the town serving many different styles of cuisine (though they can get busy on the weekends and Japanese holidays) so plenty of choice. Indulge, and burn it off on the slopes!

Yuzawa Restaurant Food.jpg

Try a different resort

We often get emails asking us about the same two or three well-known resorts in the Yuzawa area. They are certainly great places to spend a day but be aware that there are plenty of different resorts here and some that may suit your needs better. Exploring new resorts is always fun, and you may well find a new favourite, as well as skip the crowds at a more well-known neighbouring ski area. Travel a little bit further up the valley or over the hill and there are even more places to discover. Be adventurous! Have a look on the Snow Japan Yuzawa Resort page, as well as the Minamiuonuma Resort page for a full list of the options.

Experience the local culture

Yuzawa has a little culture museum (Yukiguni-kan [Japanese]) in the main street that has a traditional room from a house in the area from days gone by. There is also a collection of memorabilia from life throughout the four seasons. It is an interesting look at the history of the town and how people used to cope with the snow. Another section of the museum deals with the novel Snow Country whose author, Yasunari Kawabata, stayed in the town and drew inspiration from the area. If you are interested in the book there is also a walk around Yuzawa that calls in at areas that feature in the book, and there is the room where the author stayed as well as another small museum at Takahan.

Festivals

If you are lucky, or plan it right, your trip to Yuzawa this winter could coincide with one of the festivals, either in the town, or close by. The Yuzawa Winter Festival sees a torchlight parade down a local mountain, a portable shrine carried around the town, and impressive fireworks. Other festivals in the region see semi-naked men jostle to gain entrance to a temple (Urasa Naked Man Festival), or recently married men thrown off a snowbank (Matsunoyama Onsen Bridegroom Tossing [which happens to be on the same day as the Nozawa Onsen Dosojin Fire Festival]). There is also an awesome firework and light snow which is an art project linked to the Echigo-Tsumari Art Field.

Yuzawa Festival Firework.jpg

Take a day trip

If you fancy a day off the slopes while you are staying in Yuzawa there are lots of other things to do. Niigata City is within easy reach by bullet train, and Sado Island is a popular draw off the coast - check out the introduction to Niigata and Sado on Undiscovered Japan.

Closer to home the Snow Country Tourist Office offer a whole range of tours throughout the region. Yuzawa is part of the Snow Country Region which is made up of several different towns which have all been influenced by the heavy snow. There is an abundance of history and culture around the region and a day tour is a great way to check some of it out. Snowshoeing through hidden valleys, touring works of art at the Echigo Tsumari Art Field, visiting Akiyamago - a remote area deep in the mountains that experiences a different kind of winter to the resort towns, or riding along in one of the giant snowclearing machines that keep the roads passable. There is lots on offer and sure to be something to interest most people. These tours have been specially designed to highlight the best of the region.

Get a lesson

If you are looking to make the most of your time on the snow then a ski lesson or snowboard lesson is the perfect solution. No matter what level you are at with your skiing or snowboarding there is plenty of fun to be had and progress to be made. If you are just starting out, some work on your technique is going to boost your technique and enjoyment. If you are getting more comfortable it could be time to challenge yourself on some different kinds of terrain - steeper slopes, deeper snow, bumpier pitches, or even some basic park skills. Or how about trying a different discipline? Skiing, snowboarding, or telemarking. If you are accompanying people of a different ability level, trying a new sport is a great way to keep things interesting, and also a great reminder of how steep everything can look when you are just beginning with snowsports.

What ever you do, have fun!

 

 

 

7 个理由告诉您为什么说汤沢是您日本滑雪之旅的首选目的地。

来日本滑雪,有许多的目的地可以选择,但是为什么我们向您大力推荐位于南鱼沼市的汤 沢町呢,下面就为您解释一下。

交通便利

坐高铁抵达汤沢只需要 80 分钟从东京火车站到上野火车站的车程。大宫站也是上越新干 线上的一站。当您抵达后,越后汤沢站就位于汤沢町的中心,Gala 汤沢站(ガーラ湯沢駅) 就位于 Gala 度假村的下面。因为如此方便的交通,与其他滑雪目的地相比,会帮您省下更多 在路上的时间,更好地享受滑雪带来的快乐。如果您计划的旅行时间比较紧凑,那么您可以从 东京早上过来晚上回去,非常方便。如果您手中持有日本铁路东京地区通票,那么这张通票的 旅行范围是包括越后汤沢站和 Gala 汤沢站(ガーラ湯沢駅)的。如果您打算坐飞机落地后直 接过来,那么您可以选择乘坐出租车。

住宿选择丰富

无论您此次行程的预算是高或是低,在这里都能找到满足您情况的产品。在汤沢这个度假 小镇有着各类绝佳的住宿场所。在当年东京/关东地区到谷川岳的隧道修建之后,许多旅馆酒 店也随之应运而生。经典的日式旅馆、大型西式酒店、自助式公寓、温馨式家庭旅馆、爱彼迎 (AirBnb)式的民宅出租,甚至这里还能找到传统与现代混合风格的度假酒店。

温泉

在忙碌游转了一天后,最美不过享受一下在温泉浴中浸泡所带来的舒适和快感了。汤沢町 建立在温泉泉眼之上,而这些温泉早在 900 多年前被人们意外的发现。即使是在今天,町上 和周边地区的各类温泉仍然是吸引游客们光临的一大亮点。坐在天然的温泉水中,雪花就落在 你的周围,体验这神奇的感觉。

Takahan 露天女士温泉(女汤)更多信息,访问 - http://www.takahan.co.jp/english.html

美食

美味的日本料理一直都是日本旅游中最受期待也是最必不可少的环节之一,甚至很多游客 只因为日本的美食而来。这里有着独特的气候和季节,也有着丰富的美食文化遗产。当地产的 大米被评为全日本最佳大米,用大米酿成的清酒和这里的清泉水也广受好评。汤沢町里餐厅数 量众多,有着多种口味和风格供您选择。如果时间允许,您可以在这里住上几个星期,体验不 同的餐厅,因为在日本,一切都非常美味。

汤沢町 Kikushin 餐厅的蘑菇天妇罗搭配米饭

滑雪场选择多样

汤沢町每年冬季全町都会被白雪覆盖。町内及周边有许多滑雪胜地,在一小时内时车程外 甚至还有更多滑雪场可供选择。滑雪场内设施功能齐全,从初学者需要使用的缓坡雪道,到专 业滑雪所需的高级滑道,给不会滑雪的游客准备的玩雪区域,再到各种极限挑战设施,一应俱 全、应有尽有。让各种不论是专业还是业余的游客都能享受在这里的欢乐时光。

雪之国文化

这里的冬天会被大雪所改变。食物天然保鲜、独特的节日和传统、应对恶劣天气的各项措 施——这是一个迷人的地方,您对这里的文化和历史越理解,您就越不想离开这个度假天堂。 参观庄重的寺庙、游览有趣的画廊或是博物馆,或者就是简单地尝试一下当地的街头美食。这 趟冰雪之旅绝对可以向您充分地展示冬季日本与众不同的一面。

国际滑雪学校

如果您来日本的目的是学会或者提高您的滑雪水平,那么找到一名拥有丰富经验的教练就 是您此行的关键。我们来自世界各地的教练都有着专业的滑雪能力,因为滑雪也是他们生活中 最大的乐趣。他们可以为您传授他们对运动和日本这个国家的热情。我们的团队有着多年的丰 富经验积累,能够为您提高滑雪水平带来积极有效的帮助。无论您是先报名初级滑雪教程、家 庭式滑雪教程、公园课程、儿童课程亦或是仅仅一天的简单辅导,我们都有着相应的专业方案 来帮助到您。这些来自雪国的教练也对自身的价值而感到自豪。我们尽力保证学费价格与日本 当地的滑雪学校学费一致,让您用自己熟悉的语言学会滑雪。

我们在这里的全部滑雪场都可以为您提供教学服务,并且我们十分乐意帮助您解决途中所 遇到的任何问题或是难处。我们的公司就位于汤沢町中,所以如果您需要任何信息或者想提出 意见,我们随时欢迎您的到来。如果您需要任何信息,欢迎随时联系我们。我们我期盼着在 17-18 年的冬天能够在汤沢町见到您。

Snow in Yuzawa December 2017...?

Bookings are coming in for our winter season 2017/2018. One of the common questions at this time of year is "What will the snow be like in Japan in early December?" Unfortunately we don't have the answer to that question, but if you are debating an early December trip to Yuzawa for skiing or snowboarding here are a few thoughts.

The first resort in this area to open is Kagura which usually aims to be open to some extent by late November. This could mean with natural snow, man-made snow, snow mat, or a combination of all three. It really varies from year to year. For a look at snow data from previous years SnowJapan's Yuzawa Now page has plenty of statistics from previous winters (at the very bottom.)

Some other resorts aim to open as early in December as the snow allows - (Iwappara and Joetsu Kokusai both posted very early opening dates for last season), though these resorts rely on early natural snowfall to open so may miss their planned openings. These tend to be better choices for first timers and beginners if they are open. If they are not available, our experienced team of instructors will do their very best with you on the terrain that is available at Kagura or other resorts.

If you are unsure about where to stay this early in the winter season in Yuzawa we would suggest that the center of town is probably the best bet. You are then free to pick the resort with the best snow conditions on that day, whether it be Kagura or a different resort that has managed to open. There are rental shops that will drive you around between accommodation and resort so transportation is not too much of an issue.

If you are not sure that you want to book here in Yuzawa then it is possible to stay in Tokyo, Takasaki, Niigata or anywhere else close to a Joetsu Line Bullet Train Station and come up to Yuzawa on a day trip. That way you can lock in your hotel reservations, and should it be a mild winter with not much snow, you can spend the day elsewhere. (There are also some great side trips from Yuzawa if you decide you don't want to ski while you are here.) We expect that Echigo-Yuzawa Station will be on the Tokyo Wide Rail Pass again this year so if you are staying in Tokyo or Takasaki the train trip will be good value too. Echigo-Yuzawa Station is only about 80 minutes from Tokyo or Ueno Stations by bullet train so it is easy to do as a day return trip.

Other options around Japan could be Karuizawa, the top of Nozawa Onsen, or the resorts up in Hokkaido. The weather is very hard to pick at that time of year so it is fingers crossed and hope for the best. As we get into autumn and the start of winter gets closer we can certainly tell you how things are looking up here in the mountains. 

2016/2017 Ski Season Finished

With Kagura closing on Sunday our winter season here in Snow Country has officially come to an end. It has been 6 months of good snow, lots of ski and snowboard lessons, and masses of fun. A big thank you to all our customers, crew, and all those who have helped us over the winter!

It is now time to pack the ski gear away until the end of November when Kagura should open up again for the start of Winter 2017/2018. We have a summer of hiking the peaks of Snow Country,  summer skiing on the snow mat at Kagura, mountain biking, and bicycle touring around the Echigo Tsumari Art exhibitions in front of us, and not to forget the Fuji Rock Festival 2017.

If you are getting a head start on planning your winter trip for winter 2017/18 we are always here to answer any questions that you may have, and also have lots of information on our blog. We will be up and running with our ski and snowboard lessons as soon as the first resort opens and are already recruiting really experienced instructors from around the world to complement our team. We are also looking forward to checking out Lotte Arai Ski Resort when it opens again this winter.

Thanks for a great season and we look forward to seeing you on the ski resorts of Yuzawa, Minami Uonuma, and the whole of Snow Country next winter.

20 Days Left!

Golden Week has been and gone for 2017 with 5 days off for most people, and 4 of those were sunny in Yuzawa. The end of Golden Week on Sunday also saw the end of Tashiro, GALA Yuzawa, and Kandatsu. We are now in the final straight for the season with only Kagura hanging on in there until Sunday 28th May. Conditions are still good though, so if you fancy a last slide for Winter 2016/17 there are 20 days to go.

Check out the Kagura website to find out exactly what is open and when.

Cherry Blossoms in Yuzawa

Spring is well and truly here in Yuzawa. We've had some temperatures up to 23 degrees, and the cherry blossoms are now in full bloom here in the valley. It is a rare chance to combine skiing and cherry blossom viewing. Luckily there are a few resorts still open. Kandatsu, GALA Yuzawa, Tashiro, and Kagura are still going strong and skiing well. They all plan to be open until the end of Golden Week, and Kagura until almost the end of May.

If you happen to be in Yuzawa this weekend there is also the Yuzawa Flower Festival on Saturday in Chuo Park by the Culture Centre, which also happens to be one of the best cherry blossom viewing areas in town. There'll be local food, a few different performances, and a really laid back atmosphere. It should run from about 1030 -1500, so get some skiing in at one of the Yuzawa resorts and then come for a delicious late lunch and some cherry blossoms.