Rusutsu is one of Japan's most popular resorts all the year round. Just 90 minutes by bus from Sapporo's Chitose International Airport and one hour from Niseko, SkiJapan.com operates regular day tours to Rusutsu throughout the winter, plus we offer great accommodation packages.
If you don’t like sharing when it comes to untracked powder then Rusutsu is the place for you. The main advantage Rusutsu has over other resorts in Hokkaido is the accessibility of the tree runs and back country. It's possible to ski straight off the lifts and into the best tree skiing in Hokkaido and then ski straight back out onto the lifts. This means on any given day, you get more powder turns and thus more "bang for your buck".
For those not quite ready to negotiate deep snow the groomed runs are amazing. Groomed to perfection they resemble gigantic freeways with long consistent fall-lines, perfect for those wanting to warm up their powder legs. For the kids there is a host of activities in and around the Rusutsu Resort hotel including tubing, dog sledding and snowmobiling.
The town of Rusutsu comprises the Rusutsu Resort Hotel and a handful of pensions, restaurants and a new sports bar called the 'Cricket Bar' that serves pizzas, boutique beers and has a large screen TV. Rusutsu has 3 main mountains - East, West and Mt Isola. They offer amazing variety and some awesome natural terrain features not found in other resorts. The backcountry is superb, with just a 20 minute hike you can access long steep chutes or a myriad of tree runs. There's also night skiing till 8pm. Add to this one of the best half-pipes and snow-parks in the area and you have a resort which offers everything that the other resorts offer without having to share.
The Rusutsu trailmap is quite deceiving and makes Rusutsu look very steep. Whilst Rusutsu is no steeper than other resorts in Hokkaido, it is renowned for the best tree skiing in Japan.
Rusutsu is made up of 3 main mountains:
•West Mountain - appearing to be the smallest of the 3 located right near where the main resort hotel is located. It does have a great terrain park and halfpipe, as well as some interesting backcountry. Runs are shorter but some of the runs have interesting pitches. The backcountry is superb being located next to Shiribetsudake Mountain. A 20 minute hike along a steep ridge takes you to the option of two steep long chutes or a myriad of tree runs.
•East Mountain - the next biggest but quite a flat hill with only 2 runs. Mainly it is used as an access point to get to Mt Isola. There are two secret runs off this mountain which are worth the effort.
•Mt Isola - easily Rusutsu's best mountain. It's furthest away from the hotels, and is a treasure trove of incredible tree skiing opportunities and perfect groomed pistes. There are some awesome natural terrain features not found in other resorts. And best of all, there is so many different lines that its one of those places where you can happily get lost and not know where you are, then find a new run that you keep to yourself for the rest of the day!
|Ski Season||December - April|
|Area||42km of groomed slopes|
|Steepest Run||37 Degrees|
|Number of Courses||37|
|Number of lifts||18 ski lift|
|Terrain||Beginner: 30%, Intermediate: 40%, Advanced 30%|
In summary, Rusutsu is a great place to visit for a day trip or a week and enjoy the quiet solitude of perfect powder.
For diversity of terrain, Rusutsu poses a great alternative to Niseko: and for a change, Rusutsu is a great place to visit, if only to get back to what Niseko was like about 8 years ago in terms of more untracked snow, very few foreigners and hardly any English language signs.