Rusutsu Resort is a small resort dominated by a massive Vegas-like hotel complex next to an amusement park (sadly closed during the winter). It contains three mountains: West Mt (next to the hotel and offers night skiing), East Mt, and Mt Isola. You should ski at Rusutsu if you want powder that's slow to get tracked out, and you don't mind dodging trees and Keep Out signs to get at it.
- 1 Location
- 2 Pros
- 3 Cons
- 4 Contacts
- 5 Planning
- 6 Resort Facilities
- 7 Ride Guide
- 8 Other
- 9 Resources
Vaguely near Niseko (1 hour away), on the other side of Mt Yotei.
- Hokkaido powder that takes days to be tracked out
- Usually not very crowded
- Good lift placement (by Japanese standards)
- Limited selection of runs
- Off-piste officially banned (but not enforced). If you injure yourself off-piste, you're on your own
Phone: PLEASE EDIT
Fax: PLEASE EDIT
Postal: PLEASE EDIT
Buses available to/from Chitose Airport, Sapporo and Niseko. Some operators offer day trips from Niseko.
Rusutsu Resort includes a massive hotel complex that offers a little bit of Vegas right here in Hokkaido, including a singing tree, animatronic bear bands (both 'dixie' and oompah), and an indoor carousel. The Resort also runs Rusutsu Tower, which is connected to the main complex by monorail - yes, monorail. Those who are not fans of tacky should stay elsewhere: there are a number of small pensions across the highway from the hotel complex (on the same side of the highway as the tower). If you're staying at one of the pensions and someone in your party complains that you're not in the hotel, take them to the hotel's lobby and force them to sit through two minutes of the musical tree's extravaganza.
Available from the hotel lobby and East Mt. base.
Rental (Salomon only) is available from the main hotel at exorbitant prices. It is also available from a number of places on the other (Tower) side of the highway, presumably at more reasonable rates.
There's a carpark at the base of East Mt. 4WD or chains needed.
The resort offers a bunch of non-ski/boarding activities. For most of these, you have to book before 5PM the day beforehand.
- Ski orienteering
For 5700 yen (includes cross-country ski rental) you can go ski orienteering with the resort, which they claim will take 1.5-2 hours.
- Stuff making
The hotel runs thing-making classes (leather trinkets, caramel, ice cream, etc) for bored rich spouses who are too timid to ski.
Possibly only on groomed terrain?
- Dog sledding
20 minutes, including lecture.
The hotel complex offers lots of meal options for around 4700 yen (Feb 2011). Ordering a la carte you can lower this to around 2000 pp. Or you can leave the complex and walk down the road to a few small restaurants for a much more reasonably priced meal (~800 yen) that will still be tasty.
On-mountain lunch facilities all offer similar menus, and offer basic cheap and tasty food.
Bars & Entertainment
Nup. There's a sports bar called 'Cricket' in the hotel, which looks like a closed airport bar. There's a friendly small bar/restaurant called Rodeo Drive just down the road, but like most places in Rusutsu you'll probably have to bring your own crowd.
If you like tacky merchandise, you've come to the right place! N.B. it seems to be cheaper to buy gloves, goggles, etc. from the on-mountain cafeterias than from the shops in the hotel complex.
They will love either Mr Tree and friends or burst into tears. Otherwise there's the nightmare-inducing snarling pigs of the carousel, or the endless rows of skill-testers in Game World.
There don't seem to be any magic carpets, but there was a secluded flat area for first timers. Non-first timer beginners will enjoy the many flat groomed runs, particularly on West Mt and lower East Mt.
Rusutsu offers a variety of groomed runs, mostly suitable for beginners and intermediates. For lower intermediates, East Mt. offers two decent length runs. Upper intermediates have the run of Mt Isola,
The grading of the runs, like many things at the resort, seems a little on the conservative side: green runs are almost so flat that you have to skate along them, and most reds would be green runs elsewhere. Heavenly Ridge A on Mt Isola offers good fall-line skiing.
Officially, off piste skiing is totally prohibited at Rusutsu, and there are many signs and ropes to this effect. But this does not seem to be enforced at all. The ski patrol even seem to ignore the particularly brazen individuals who duck ropes under the top of the chairlifts, or drop out of the trees, past the ski patrol office into the lift queues.
If you're prepared to be a naughty rule-breaker, Rusutsu offers great gladed skiing with light Hokkaido powder. There's far fewer powder hounds than [Niseko], so you can still find good untracked lines a day or two after a fall. Mt Isola offers the best terrain, and is almost entirely below the tree line. The runs mostly lie on ridges and valleys, so dropping through the trees into a valley will usually find you fresh snow.
Out of Bounds
Technically anything off piste at Rusutsu is out of bounds, and out of bounds skiing is VERBOTEN. As for actual out of bounds, it is possible to climb the ridge to skier's left of West Mt. for the sweet lines you can see from the resort.
There are a few groomed cross country tracks in the Tower grounds, and Ski Orienteering is even offered (if you book a day in advance and pay 5700 yen!).
Parks & Pipes
There is one small-looking terrain park on West Mt.
You've come to the right place. The uppermost runs between Isola and East Mt. are steep and become bumpy quickly. Rusutsu No. 1, though short, is steep and mogully. There is sometimes a very long tight zipper-line down Isola-B.
Anywhere in the trees, especially on Mt Isola. The valley under Isola Quad No. 1 is a good playground for the powder-hungry.
Rusutsu is supposedly not a great place to be when it's particularly windy. All the main lifts are covered but most of the runs are along ridges. All the off-piste is in the trees and therefore should be protected from the weather.
Snowball makers are available for purchase, snow is provided for free.
On a clear day, you can see the ocean from the top of Mt. Isola.
- Official website (n.b. snow quality appears to be permanently stuck on 'Powder Snow')
- Snow Japan forecasts
- Rusutsu Now! Snow Japan snow report
- Wikipedia entry