Regular readers, and anyone who has skied there already, will know how good Appi’s grooming is. In our “Best of Japan” ipad issue in 2014 we rated it the country’s best, and after a 16 resort Ski USA trip, the home of great grooming, are happy to report it stacks up with pretty much anywhere on the planet.
For example, even at Deer Valley (aka ‘Deer Valet’ for the level of service) I’m not sure they triple groom some runs daily, which Appi often do on their Shirakaba area green runs out front of the hotel complex. That makes it pretty unbeatable as a first timer/start your kids at resort, because hero snow doesn’t get much more heroic than Appi’s “Aspirin Powder” massaged into perfect corduroy by a phalanx of grooming machines.
But sometimes green corduroy runs don’t cut it, so how about new snowcat accessed back and side country skiing and riding in the Appi/Hachimantai area?
Yes, that’s the big story for next winter there, with the new programs planned to run through February and March.
We have mentioned it to them that a lot of Aussie school holiday date visitors would of course be keen who have to come in January, and they are well aware the potential demand is high, so stay tuned for more. Obviously you need sufficient snowpack build up to set cat roads and cover obstacles, and some other logistical details remain to be finalized. But it sure sounds tasty!
On previous visits we have looked enviously at the abundance of great terrain in the area like that shown above.
Still, it will be icing on the cake, as the lift accessed powder here is pretty legendary most of the time too. I’ll never forget our first ever Appi day back in 2010. After an intro morning on the groomers, with us ducking off the sides to access the untouched knee deep snow pretty much everywhere they hadn’t groomed, our guide, Ski School Director Eiichi Kodama, came out after lunch with his fat boards and just motored off the summit of the Mt Nishimori peak without a word. No way we were going to catch him, he wasn’t stopping, but we followed the lone track he laid through the completely untracked trees to pop out way down on the lower mountain main runs above the hotel complex. He was waiting with a huge grin creasing his 70 year old face. Yoda theory.
It worked, us young-uns (relatively speaking) we were hooked, and while you would have to be super lucky and/or early to get quite as lonely a line these days, you still get plenty of shots at fresh snow. It snows often, and the quality is excellent.
The Salomon Terrain Park is worth a lap or several if you or your kids are into park. You can check them out lapping back to the gondola on the groomer beside it. The upper mountain groomers are huge carving fun too, with enough pitch to really rip it up on the upper 50% or so of the respectable 828m total vertical. As you would expect, Appi is popular for race training.
Because they always groom inwards, starting from the ‘2nd Appi’/Mt Sailor far side of the resort, the runs there often get covered in virtually a full night’s snowfall, offering a 2.3km black run to smash in these conditions. Fast lapping on the yellow gondola works well on days like this, then just head over to the Mt Nishimore area and the tree zones there to keep finding tracks all day.
No question, this one of the top handful of Japanese resorts for foreigners of all levels and snow tastes, with a unique blend of terrain, snow, facilities and attitude that set it apart.
The new cat skiing just adds cream.
Our tip, get on the early bird deals while they last from the operators listed below including 7th night free, bonus free lift day and more.
getting to Appi
Super easy, we have skied after lunch off overnight flight to Tokyo (and that was from Narita, even quicker now to grab the shinkansen flying into Haneda); or fly to Aomori 1hr 15min from Haneda, then 1hr 50min to Appi.
where to stay at Appi
Plenty of varied options in the slopeside hotel complex.
more info Appi
for packages contact your Appi travel agent or preferred Japan specialists including