I went to snowboard in Hokkaido after a 4 years hiatus with my sister. M decided red eye flights were not for him so he stayed back with the kiddos. It had been a few years since me and my sister went on a trip together so it was quite refreshing.
This time we went to Rusutsu. It was much less westernize with less facilities compared to Niseko (although that will soon change) and retained its small town Japanese feel. It was also quite good for sidecountry trail routes. The lift tickets were also quite inexpensive compared to Canada, at $70 Cad a day. Rusutsu itself has plenty of sidecountry to keep any skier or snowboarder busy for several days; and Niseko which is the much larger resort is only an hour bus ride away.
Unfortunately this was Japan’s worst snow year to date. 50% less than normal for most resorts. However, a bad year was still plenty of powder for us, especially in the woods where we spent the majority of our times. It was my first time snowboarding primarily in the woods and it was great fun as it felt like an obstacle course. Until next year, because I will undoubtedly be back.