Option 1: Rusutsu Resort

- Nearly all inclusive - 

 

Includes:

7-nights lodging in double rooms at the Westin Rusutsu Hotel (ski in ski out)

Breakfast and dinner included each day at your choice of various restaurants (over 12 restaurants)

Private transfer between the hotel and the Sapporo CTS airport

5-day lift tickets at Rusutsu Resort (includes 3 skiable peaks and night skiing)

US$ 4,385 per person

 

 

About Rusutsu Resort:

Rusutsu Resort is a large ski resort complex on Hokkaido that is made up of 2 hotels and 3 lift-serviced peaks. The Rusutsu Resort North and South Wing hotel is across the street (connected by a monorail) from the Westin Rusutsu Tower hotel and both are connected to the Rusutsu Ski Area. Both hotels were originally owned by Kamori Kanko until the Westin purchased the all-suite tower hotel in 2015. You can use the facilities of both hotels regardless of which one you are staying in. There are over a dozen restaurants in the resort complex, with a wide range of different cuisines. 

Rusutsu itself is located an easy 90 minute bus ride from Sapporo, the population hub of Hokkaido and scene of the 1972 Winter Olympics. Rusutsu is easy to get to and it's large and modern, but it doesn't have the same international reputation of neighboring  Niseko. This keeps the crowds manageable and the snow pristine. In traditional Japanese style, no detail is overlooked at this resort. From a luxury 24-story all-suite tower to the adjacent hotel complex, and all of the amenities and activities in between, it's impossible to feel bored here. 
 

Typical day

Morning:

  • Breakfast is included and is buffet style.

  • Chances are good that it snowed overnight, but no powder panic here. Take your time to get out and enjoy the snow.

  • The lifts open at 9:00am and there is no accurate snow depth reporting in the morning. You don't know just how deep it is until you get up there.

Day/Afternoon:

  • Ski -- you can ski till 8:00pm (night skiing) everyday if you want.

  • There are various mid-mountain and base lodges where you can eat lunch. Or, you can return to the resort complex to eat within one of the hotels. Lunch is NOT included in the price quote, but on mountain lunches are tasty and much more affordable then North American ski resorts.

  • Other activity options are listed below

Dinner:

  • With included dinners, you will have a voucher that is accepted at various restaurants throughout both hotels. Some restaurants are buffet style, and others will offer a set menu that the voucher covers with the option to always add on items and drinks from the regular menu. Still other restaurants will assign a monetary value to the ticket voucher and allow you to order anything you want from the menu.

  • There is a traditional Japnese style restaurant, a Japanese pub 'Izakaya" style (recommended), French, Italian, Korean BBQ, multiple buffets with an assortment of choices and a sushi restaurant. In addition, there are other food shops and stands within the resort and still others outside the resort that are privately owned.

  • There are 2 main bars in the resort, one being a very nice whisky bar with a wide range of famous Japanese whisky.


Activity Options - The Rusutsu campus is filled with activities and if you have any energy leftover following your day skiing, or if the weather doesn't cooperate and it didn't snow 30cms overnight,  then you can have your pick from: snowmobiling, dog-sledding, snow rafting, snowshoeing, horseback riding, sledding or exploring the snow-covered amusement park.  If you prefer an indoor activity,  you can tour the bars, restaurants, shops, sensory-overload arcade, merry-go-round (within a mock indoor village), onsen (Japanese hot bath), pool, water slide, wave-pool,  gym, more restaurants, another onsen, singing wax tree, and whatever else you happen to find inside this sprawling complex. Massages and spa treatment services are available as well. Then retreat to your room and wait for the snow to fall again because it's never long between storms.

Sushi dinner at Rusutsu
Rusutsu Resort sushi

Videos From Rusutsu

Guided ski days / Niseko day trip / Mechanized Extras

  • Lift-accessed or backcountry guiding:

From Rusutsu Resort, the popular destination of Niseko is only 45 minutes by car, just on the other side of the towering Yotei volcano. 

  • I would recommend at least one day of guided skiing for some of the group. To change tings up and to see another part of Hokkaido, this guided day can be arranged so that one or two guides drive you to Niseko for a day of skiing and an afternoon of exploring the village/apres.

  • A private guide for your group would cost about US$ 175 per person (exact cost depends on number of people going and number of guides needed).

  • A second guided day at Rusutsu would also be helpful if you wanted to learn the mountain and find some secret spots you may not find on your own.

 

  • Heli Skiing:

There is only one heli skiing operation in Japan and the peak that they fly you to is just next to Rusutsu Resort

  • For US$ 1,700 per person you can get 6 helicopter drops with a guide on Mt. Shiribetsu.


Option 2: Niseko

- Ski town & private chalet - 

 

Includes:

7-nights lodging in a private chalet (1 minute walk to the lifts)

5-day lift Niseko United Lift ticket (valid at 4 connected ski areas)

Private transfer between Niseko and the Sapporo CTS airport

Up to 2 people per room in separate beds 

US$ 2,971 per person

*price based on a group of 8 in a specific chalet. Price can change depending on the property available*

gondola chalets snowlocals
gondola chalets snowlocals
gondola chalets snowlocals
gondola chalets layout

About Niseko:

Niseko is the largest ski town on Hokkaido and the most popular ski destination in Japan. There is plenty of terrain to ski (4 connected mountains) and the facilities are modern and cater to western tourists. For these reasons however, Niseko is more crowded with foreigners than every other ski area in Japan. Niseko is a lot of fun and is the place to be if any kind of après scene is key to your ski vacation. There are many great restaurants (both traditional and international) to choose from, and you will have all of the amenities that you imagine would be at a world class ski resort. The only downside again is that there can be lift lines (unheard of in the rest of Japan) and the pow might be tracked out quickly. 

 

TYPICAL DAY

Morning:

  • Breakfast is not included with the chalet, but there is a full kitchen that you can stock with breakfast supplies from the supermarket. Or, you can walk 4-5 minutes to a cafe or coffee shop in town for a morning snack.

  • Chances are good that it snowed overnight, and if so there will be a little powder panic as people line up to get first chair. There is a lot of terrain, but get out there earlier than you would at Rusutsu because some guy from Sydney is looking to ski the same line as you.

  • There is the same perfect, light and deep snow, so ski all morning and then stop for ramen and a beer around noon.

Day/Afternoon:

  • There are various mid-mountain and base lodges where you can eat lunch. Or, you can return to town and take walk to find some food. Lunch is NOT included in the price quote.

  • Night skiing is offered if you have the energy and certainly try it once if you have never been night skiing before.

Dinner:

  • Dinner is not included in the price quote, but again you can buy food to cook at the chalet, or you can eat out at an endless number of restaurants within the Hirafu Village. There is no shortage of good food in Niseko.


Activity Options - Niseko has all of the activities you would imagine at any world-renown ski resort. Of course there is the option to shop and wander around the village when not skiing. More options include renting fat-tire bikes, relaxing in the hot springs (onsen), some cultural activities like sake brewing, whisky distillery visits, and traditional restaurants. If you are interested in any backcountry skiing, then I would recommend a guide to show you some nearby zones, or you can take a day to hike and ski the neighboring Yotei volcano.

 

Guided ski days / Mechanized Extras

  • Lift-accessed or backcountry guiding:

  • A private guide for your group would cost about US$ 175 per person (exact cost depends on number of people going and number of guides needed).

 

  • Heli Skiing:

  • For US$ 1,700 per person you can get 6 helicopter drops with a guide on Mt. Shiribetsu (next to Rusutsu Resort)

  • Cat Skiing:

  • There are a few cat skiing operations near Niseko and Rustutsu.

  • A full day of guided cat skiing would cost about US$ 610 per person.


Option 3: Furano

- a little less crowded - 

 

Includes:

7-nights lodging in New Furano Prince Hotel in double rooms (ski in ski out)

Daily breakfast at the hotel

Private transfer between the hotel and the Sapporo CTS airport

5-day lift tickets to Furano Ski Area (includes night skiing)

US$ 3,535 per person

furano night ski snowlocals
furano ski area snowlocals
Furano from above snowlocals
furano new prince

About Furano:

Furano is like a less-touristy Niseko. It is still a ski town, but it is further away from the airport and only boasts one ski area instead of 4. Furano is towards the center of the Hokkaido island where the mountains get a little larger, and still receive the same great snow. The New Furano Prince Hotel (pictured above) is ski in ski out, but lies about 10 minutes outside of the main Furano village. A quick taxi can take you to the town for a dinner out or a wander around, or you can eat at the hotel at 3 different restaurants. There is an onsen in the hotel and when the snow is falling in true Hokkaido fashion, then there is everything you need close by -- skiing, food, onsen, town, and more skiing. The Furano Ski Area is larger than many expect and has lots of hidden terrain that can be explored. I recommend at least one guided day to get a better idea of the mountain and terrain. 

It is also an option to look for accommodations in the Furano village if you would prefer to be closer to town. 

 

TYPICAL DAY

Morning:

  • Breakfast is included and is buffet style.

  • Chances are good that it snowed overnight, but not much powder panic here. There won't be any real lift lines to worry about.

  • Again, there is no accurate snow depth reporting in the morning. You don't know just how deep it is until you get up there.

Day/Afternoon:

  • There are various mid-mountain and base lodges where you can eat lunch. Or, you can ski to town and take walk to find some food. Lunch is NOT included in the price quote.

  • Ski some more after lunch, and then end at the bar with a view on the top level of the hotel .

  • There is night skiing at Furano as well.

  • There is also a 'crafts village' just next to hotel where various local artists and craftsmen are selling unique creations. It is a nice place for a stroll and the perfect place to pick up your souviniers/gifts.

Dinner:

  • Dinner is not included in the price quote to allow you some more choice in where you go. There are 3 restaurants in the hotel, and then plenty more in Furano a short taxi ride away.


Activity Options - Furano doesn't quite have the non-skiing activity options that Niseko and Rusutsu offer. On a down day in Furano, I recommend seeing some traditional Japanese onesns in the surrounding mountains, or maybe try to visit a nearby ski area for a change of scenery (although transportation can be pricey). When the snow is good then Furano has a great ski area that you won't get bored on. However, if the conditions are bad for a few days, then Furano can seem a little isolated. 

 

Guided ski days / Cat Skiing

  • Lift-accessed or backcountry guiding:

  • A private guide for your group would cost about US$ 175 per person (exact cost depends on number of people going and number of guides needed).

  • Cat Skiing:

  • There is a great cat skiing operation nearby Furano

  • A full day of guided cat skiing would cost about US$ 610 per person (typically around 12 runs).