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Fukui Ski and Snowboard Guide
Though not necessarily the first country that springs to mind when you think of snow – Japan has a huge number of ski areas. The extremely mountainous terrain and the huge volume of snow that much of Japan receives, means that regular skiing and snow boarding is a feasible option for many people living here.
If you have ever visited any of the large ski resorts in Europe or North America, you will find that, like much else in Japan, things over here are smaller.
Vertical drops tend to be less here, so tiny ski areas consisting of just one or two lifts and a handful of runs are very common. There exists much bigger areas in Nagano and Hokkaido, but the majority of ski areas have less terrain than their European and North American counterparts. However – don’t let this put you off – Japan has some of the best powder conditions in the world; and for those in the know, the country has long been a destination for powder hounds.
So, for all those winter sports fans out there, welcome to powder country – you’ve landed in the right place; and unless you're very unlucky, there’s bound to be a ski area within range of your town.
This guide was compiled during the winter of 2005. It came out of a need for detailed information in English on what Fukui could over the snow lover. It is largely based on the opinion of myself and my small team of winter enthusiasts, and our own experiences of snow boarding and skiing in this area.
I have tried to include as much information as possible, but bear in mind that things change: prices go up, old lifts get replaced, terrain parks differ from season to season, occasionally ski areas close down and snow fall will vary from year to year. If you have any new additions, comments or corrections to make, please email the webmaster to keep this guide as relevant as possible.
The driving times given are only approximate, and are based on my own driving experiences with no traffic and good road conditions. It may take longer depending on traffic and road conditions. If there is heavy snow, (which is fairly often) the roads may be covered, so slow down and take it easy, but most of the roads to the ski areas are kept fairly well cleared. You do not need snow chains to get to any of the Fukui ski areas, and a front wheel drive yellow plate will get you there with no problems. It is wise however to carry a shovel in the boot just in case you do have to dig yourself out, as it’s not unknown to get stuck.
THE RATING SYSTEM
IMPORTANT– all ski areas featured are reviewed and rated purely in comparison to the other ski areas within THIS guide. It is NOT a comparison to other ski areas in Japan, or the rest of the world. The max score is 5, and this is based on my overall opinion of the area, taking into account the size of the area, the terrain, crowds, price, average conditions and general fun factor.
Thanks to Sam, Brandon and Lewis for their input, photograph posing, and patience and thanks to webmaster Kim for her cyber skills.
All words and photographs by Sam Baldwin unless otherwise stated
Sam Baldwin was an Okuetsu ALT from 2004-2006. He now works and lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. His latest project is a skiing and snowboarding website that has achieved critical aclaim worldwide. www.snowsphere.com