Lotte Arai Resort even better than Myoko for japow fans

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Lotte Arai Resort is drawing Myoko skiers and riders like the japow magnet it is. Myoko has exploded in popularity with western skiers over the past decade. When Snow Action first dropped in back in 2008 we didn’t see another westerner, or any English signs around the village, and still less English actually spoken.

Be super quick and you can save 50% on a package here – check Deep Powder Tours, this one expires 28 June (it’s 15% off after that book by August 31).

Skiing Lotte Arai Resort in-bounds off piste powder terrain with view to Mt Myoko
Sure, it’s great to day trip over from Myoko, but waking up to this is much better! © Phil Tifo / Lotte Arai Resort

Now it’s transfomed. Western skiers and boarders flock to the slopes. The funky main street boasts western owned bars and restaurants, or locally owned ones tapping into our market with happy hours and specials. Around the village plenty of western owned accommodation options have appeared. Which is all great for the vibe and nightlife, but does add to the competition on the numerous pow days.

Lotte Arai Resort is only 30 – 40 minutes away, but as the word spreads about how good it is it’s amazing to see how many Myoko daytrippers are heading over.

Nothing wrong with that, but why not just stay there as your first choice?

Lotte Arai Resort view from the base hotels
Enjoy delicious breakfast, walk over for first gondola staying here © Carmen Price

Sure, it’s unashamedly upmarket. This is as exclusive a ski in/ski out resort set up as you will find in Japan. Designed as 5 star by the original builders, who got their timing totally wrong launching just as the Japanese ski boom came to a grinding halt, it was shut down for a decade.

So as Myoko grew and boomed afresh, and like never before with western markets, Arai sat in mothballs. Only backcountry enthusiasts ventured there, enjoying it all to themselves. We saw it still in that pristine state 3 years back and salivated at the possibilities.

Seriously stylish accommodation: splurge on a Club Suite © Lotte Arai Resort

Then South Korea’s premier resort hotel group, Lotte, took over and rebirthed it with a makeover that made it even better than the original. Refurbished and relaunched, the accommodation is superb.

Even better still, their attitude to the mountain is 100% powder-proactive. A massive amount of terrain is inbounds off-piste, setting a new standard for Japanese ski resorts in doing that. It’s not extreme terrain, mostly not even very steep. But it is a huge amount of fun – endless rolling gullies and trees so sparsely spaced I though it was an alpine zone till my guide, local Marketing man Tomo Yasuda, told me the forest was just buried!

So many options when the gates are open © Phil Tifo / Lotte Arai Resort

Myoko gets a lot of snow. Lotte Arai Resort gets even more. Why? It’s the first real range in from the Sea of Japan – you look clear across to the coast on fine days. So when the Siberian Express blows in it gets first and most.

Two seasons on the word has spread. So many Myokans are making the trek they can choke things up at the bottom till they get up higher and spread out a bit.

They have excellent beginner terrain, and good progression to early intermediate levels out front of the hotels also.

For intermediate cruisers who like wide open groomed runs it’s not so good, with a few long wide road runs from the summit down the main option for intermediates. The second double chair up from the base has a decent fast intermediate run off it too, which is lit for nighta night skiing.

But for average punters wanting to have a lash at the powder there are plenty of easy options for that to get your act together on. On and off the sides of the trails around the upper mountain Zendana lift area, and in the easier tree lines up there, are good places to start. If it’s socked in and snowing bombing under the Zendana lift makes for fast pow laps.

If you are super quick, you can still enjoy staying here ready to head out the door after a magnificent buffet breakfast for first lift for less than the price of an average accommodation package in Myoko.

Yes, get 50% off if you book and pay by June 28 with Deep Powder Tours.

The deal is as follows:

Ski Arai Resort from $AUD 1246 pp, twin share
7 nights in a superior twin room at Lotte Arai Resort. Based on super EB special, up to 50% off, book and pay by 28 June.
Daily breakfast
6 day lift pass pp
Package based on travel dates 01-08 Mar, 2020. 

Miss out on that cut off and the next best deal is 15% off, or $AUD 1,775 same package as above, booked by 31 August (subject to space).

For a look at some of the unlimited backcountry options in the area check out our Senior Photographer Shaun Mittwollen’s feature on doing the Myoko Grand Traverse.

Lotte Arai Resort trail map