Just an update to our information on Summer Skiing & Snowboarding in Snow Country as we now have a bit more information on the GALA Summer Park. If you can't wait for the first of the Yuzawa ski areas to open in November 2016 (hopefully Kagura Ski Resort with some real snow) then a bit of summer skiing on snowmats might just tide you over.
The GALA Summer Park is open on certain days throughout the period from July 23rd until September 25th - the orange days on the calendar below - from 10:00 until 16:00.
You can rent all the equipment you need there so no need to bring anything with you. The slopes are at the top of the gondola so you get to enjoy the summer views of Yuzawa and Minami Uonuma as you ride up, and you can buy a return gondola ticket if you just want to do some summer sightseeing. Hopefully it will be a bit cooler up there too. There is also a trekking course and some kids craft activities during the summer holidays. (When the Japanese schools are on vacation there are quite a few good places to enjoy for families in this region with water parks, lake activities, river play, and nature trips dotted around. Loads of great campsites and camping areas if you are keen for some of the great outdoors.)
If snow and winter is more your thing, GALA Resort is likely to open in the second half of December 2016. We'll be around to teach ski and snowboard lessons all winter if you are looking to learn for the first time, or if you are aiming to improve your technique. GALA is a popular destination because of the bullet train link making it really easy access skiing from Tokyo. If you are looking for skiing or snowboarding close to Tokyo, Yuzawa is a great choice. It is part of the Tokyo Wide Pass area in winter so getting up won't break the bank, and you can enjoy a cheap ski trip from Tokyo.