Rusutsu is a large ski area in Hokkaido, with excellent deep powder snow off piste and satisfyingly long, groomed on-piste. It is a favorite of powder fans who love the way the resort layout allows them to so easily hop on and off manicured runs and into anything from boot deep to over-the-head snow, before slipping just as effortlessly back onto the slopes right near the base of a chairlift. Rusutsu indeed offers the kind of snow and terrain that keeps many a rider on the hill well after thigh muscles start complaining.
Rusutsu receives about 42 feet (13 m) of snow each winter, making for an average 10 feet (3 m) base and producing a season running from late November to early April. The generosity from the sky combined with the vast terrain means powder stashes can be found days after a fresh fall. Clear days deliver dramatic views all the way to the Pacific Ocean, encompassing Mt Yotei towering beyond Mt Shiribetsu and the surrounding plains.
Just as famous as the skiing here is the Rusutsu Resort Hotel, full of whimsical attractions on the inside and, on the outside, a sizeable summer-operation-only amusement park. Complete with a huge roller coaster, ferris wheel, and more, the amusement park’s snow and ice-covered fixtures are quite spectacular, visible from most places on the mountain, and a big part of what makes Rusutsu particularly memorable.
Rusutsu Resort Hotel’s head-turning features include a carousel, a singing tree surrounded by a choir of chirping creatures, and a Disneyland-style shopping mall.
There is a small town beyond the Rusutsu Resort Hotel offering atmospheric restaurants and bars. There are a few well-stocked convenience stores, perfect for snacks, buying that phone charger you forgot to pack, and inexpensive meals.