Rusutsu Ski Resort
For fall-line, powder-endowed tree skiing and beginner-friendly groomers, Rusutsu is one of Japan’s greatest. With 552 inches of snow annually, Rusutsu satisfies powder-hungry skiers and riders. In addition to the skiing, one of Rusustu’s claims to fame is its unique Japanese kitsch, which includes an antique merry go-round and a snow-covered amusement park, which is only open during the summer.
Rusutsu’s off-mountain activities are namely kid-centric, with a snow park for snow tubing, snow tubing and other fun activities. However, advanced adult skiers and riders can have their own fun with Shiribestu Heli Skiing, who’s tenure is located on the mountain adjacent to Rusutsu.
Located 90 minutes from Sapporo’s airport, Rusutsu enjoys unbeatable proximity for travelers and cultural explorers alike. Additionally, Niseko is just a 30-minute drive from Rusutsu, so it’s very easy to experience Japan’s most renowned ski resort during your vacation. You can even hop in a shuttle and take advantage of a guided mountain tour to take all the guesswork out of a day trip to Niseko.
The reason why Rusutsu’s tree skiing is notable, particularly for snowboarders, is the continuous, fall-line pitch and easy accessibility from the lifts, which reduces unpleasant traversing and allows the skier or rider to get more turns in. Nothing is too steep in the trees, so it’s also a great place for intermediate skiers and riders to start trying out powder skiing—plus, the light, abundant snow is very forgiving.
Like Niseko, the winter weather in Rusutsu is cold and snowy, which is why conditions are almost always stellar. A well-developed lift system offer modern comforts, so you don’t have to worry about being uncomfortable while skiing or riding in this unbelievable snow globe. Of the 18 lifts at Rusutsu, four are gondolas and five of the six high-speed quads feature hoods.
A bizarre, but cool feature, Rusutsu’s summer amusement park makes for an interesting landscape to ski among.
Rusutsu Dining + Nightlife
Dining in Rusutsu is a cinch for vacationers, as there are many great options in the hotels, but it’s also possible to experience traditional Japanese cuisine at the restaurants near the base of the resort. The nightlife is quite tame, especially in comparison to neighboring Niseko’s Hirafu base village.
Language + Culture
Plenty of English is spoken at Rusutsu among the resort staff, and there’s well-marked signage in English. However, only private ski or snowboard lessons are available in English and childcare providers do not speak English.