Ski Jam


Fukui's biggest ski area by quite a long shot, Ski Jam offers a decent amount of terrain to explore. This is the only resort in Fukui that comes anywhere close to its European and North American counter parts in size. It's also one of the highest, which means it opens first, closes last and offers the longest runs.


It's size however is a double edged sword; marketed as the biggest ski area in west Japan, Ski Jam attracts big crowds from Osaka and Kyoto who can swarm the place on a Sunday. It's also the most expensive ski area and charges a premium for parking and a short length of toll road. This place can be noticeably busy, much more so than any of the other ski areas so expect a few bottle neck lift lines on the way up to the top.

Ski Jam could be classed as a resort rather than just a ski area. There is a hotel complex at the base of the slope and there are several mountain restaurants and cafes. It also offers mountain biking and paragliding come summer making it an all year round destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

The mountain itself can be quite beautiful, with some lovely runs through deciduous and pine tree lined slopes. Unfortunately a lot of the best terrain is cordoned off, and be careful when ducking ropes, as the ski patrol tends to be quite strict here and will clip or even confiscate your ticket if you persistently offend. At least one ALT has broken his leg riding through trees here, putting an early end to his ski season, so be careful if you do chose to enter off piste areas.

Most of the runs aren't particularly steep, and are generally quite wide. Although you could have a decent long run from the top to the bottom, the upper half of the mountain tends to have the best snow, and the least people, so those in the know stick to the top.

If you can hit this place on a weekday, then it's definitely the best place in Fukui, as you should find it relatively empty, and will have the pick of the runs, without the crowds. The overall area is quite sufficient to keep even advanced riders happy for a few days as there is a fair bit of exploring to be done, and it's only the weekend volumes of people that can sometimes let this place down.

Freestylers will have fun on the various terrain park features. Two different areas are maintained - one with smaller jumps and rollers, the other with several rails and boxes, and some larger jumps, though Ski Jam does not have a half pipe.

I don't recommend Ski Jam for complete beginners as it can get very crowded and icy, especially on the lower slopes. Beginners will have a better time visiting one of the smaller, quieter and cheaper areas, such as Rokuroshi, Karigahara or Kadohara. That being said, there is gentle terrain available if you feel like braving the masses, and ski jam offers lessons with English speaking instructors.

If you're going just for the afternoon, it's definitely worth hanging around the entrance of car park and asking people who are leaving, if they want to sell their ticket. The going rate is Y1000, and occasionally, if you're very lucky, you may get it for free.

PROS:
Fukui's biggest ski area by far, some lovely terrain for all abilities, good terrain park and some beautiful tree lined runs.

CONS:
The crowds can spoil this area, and expect to queue at certain lifts on weekends. The most expensive area by far, a cheeky Y1300 just for the "toll road" and parking.

Lifts

Getting There
From Fukui city take route 416 to Katsuyama, then take 157 and follow signs to Ski Jam.

Drive Time from Fukui city: approx 1h10m.

Costs
Adult Day Pass: Y4500
Adult 2 Days: Y8000
Morning/Afternoon only: Y3500
11 runs: Y4000
Single run: Y400
Car Parking/Toll Road: Y1300
Board + Boots + Bindings Hire: Y4500/day

Season
Late December - late March