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Grandeco Snow Resort, Tohoku Japan

Emma 21.05.2024

 Tips for Getting Off The Chairlift From a Pro Snowboarder

No crowds , cheap day tickets and excellent ski and snowboarding instruction. Besides an awesome location, these are just some of the reasons visitors are considering Grandeco Snow Resort for next season. Why not head north of Tokyo and see for yourself?

  1. No crowds

The Tohoku region is lesser known than busy snow resorts in Nagano or Niseko areas so you’ll experience next to zero waiting times on every lift and gondola. The area itself boasts 8 snow resorts so if you’re keen to stay and explore, the hotel shuttle bus can take you to other resorts nearby for a day, or drive your rental car there yourself.   

  1. Beautiful Grandeco Hotel

This beautiful hotel has a North American-style high ceiling interior with stunning views of the forest from tall windows. A true ski-in ski-out location, it’s great for all ability skiers  or families with young children tag-teaming the childcare. Facilities include indoor and outdoor onsens (one out in the snow), a 25 metre indoor pool, massage chairs, multiple common lounge areas to hang and read, meet or work from a laptop day or night. The hotel has two restaurants to choose from, a bar with snack menu (pizzas etc), a ping pong table and plenty of activities such as banana sledding, Finnish sauna and snow shoeing. Hot coffee on tap available free all day is a massive plus for coffee-addicts. 

The hotel has generous sized room suites, 36 standard twin rooms  with 3 person capacity, 2 Japanese modern twin rooms (capacity 4) and a full range of family rooms, luxury rooms, junior suites and economy rooms with a variety of 2 – 6 person capacity. Email them directly if you have questions.

Grandeco is part of an incredible group of hotels across Japan, called EN Hotels. You can read about EN Hotel Shibuya  here if you’re considering a stopover in Tokyo. 

  1. Cheap day tickets 

Grandeco Resort lift tickets are very reasonably priced. Kids 6 and under can ski all day for free on the magic carpet at the base, Prices for 2024 are 3900 yen  (for age 6 – 12), 5900 yen (age 18-49), 4900 yen (age 13-17), 5400 yen (age 50-65) and 5400 yen (age 65 and over) with a modest price increase for 2025. Morning tickets are even cheaper and season passes are available if you’re staying for a while. Purchase your tickets from the ticket window down in the centre or email  the hotel if you have questions. 

  1. Plentiful ski and snowboarding school

Grandeco Resort is lucky enough to have two ski schools and one snowboarding school, which gives you plenty of choice: 

 SIA

 Located inside Grandeco Hotel, instructors are available for both skiing and snowboarding and have a full range of snowboards, skis and equipment for hire. If you’re interested in tree skiing, staff take a maximum of 4 people in a group. For private lessons for adults or kids choose from1 hour, 2 hour or 90 minutes. For all bookings head to the SIA counter and book directly at least a day or two prior and if you’d like to trek up in the back country and see the snow monsters, hire a local guide from here. 

SAJ

This ski school is located down at the mountain centre, 1 minute in the hotel shuttle bus from the hotel lobby or ski down from the hotel. Class size and times are flexible, they tend to run in 2 hour time slots, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, which gives you time for lunch and a rest. You can also request tree skiing or private lessons, book a separate lift ticket on top of the lessons and bookings can be made on the website or on the phone.

JSBA

This snowboard school is located down at the mountain centre as well.  Private lessons are available, and a lift ticket purchase is required. Clothing is also available for hire, quality and fashions are updated and very decent. Please note no coaching is available in English.  

For children 6 and under they are not allowed on lifts but can access the magic carpet at the base of the mountain for free all day as mentioned. There is a library and indoor play area inside the mountain centre available for indoor play if you’re tag-teaming between getting a few runs in and minding young kids. You can set up a movie there and it’s warm and roomy with a cafeteria downstairs for snacks and hot chocolate.

  1. Rookies Academy Camp

This well-known New Zealand Academy runs ski development camps at Grandeco Resort. Camps generally run for 5 days and I’d recommend staying at the same time, if you can get a spot.  To join their camp is a huge privilege as they have been teaching ski instructors to acquire international ski instructor level 1, 2, 3 and above for over 30 years and have an excellent worldwide reputation.

  1. Powder conditions

This region receives plenty of famous Japow. And whilst nobody can predict the weather or snow conditions, if it’s snowing in this area you can be skiing or boarding in waist deep powder inbounds or in trees all day.

  1. Great grooming

You’ve heard of Deer Valley immaculate grooming? Grandeco Resort has impeccable groomed runs (when it’s not dumping powder) as well as hoods covering chairlifts. Watch out, you’ll get a bit spoiled if this is your first time skiing overseas and you think this is normal, but it’s nice not freezing all the way uphill on a chairlift.

Easy access from Tokyo (*add how to buy ticket info in this paragraph)

Just 70 minutes on the bullet train will get you to Koriyama Station from Tokyo Station. Then take a local train to Inawashiro and the resort’s shuttle bus will pick you up from there. It’s no further or harder than getting to Nagano’s more popular snow resorts and a  cheaper bullet train ticket. (can add calling re shuttle bus info here)

  1. English and Japanese speaking staff

If you are worried about speaking Japanese or need day trips, ski school or cultural trips organised, Grandeco Hotel staff are friendly and happy to help and speak excellent English. 

  1. Great day trips in the area

Lots to see in the area to satisfy your cultural appetite. Visit the 600 year old Tsurugajo Castle in Aizu with its extensive museum showcasing castle life, warfare, politics, and lifestyle of the region inside the castle. Adults 410 yen and children 150 yen entry. Just turn up on the day and buy a ticket, no need to book ahead. 

The Yamatogawa Brewery was founded in 1790 and is still functional today as a family run business and is a museum and tasting room. A new facility has been used for sake production since 1990 but this old building is worth a visit to see the incredible old machinery and building and taste the incredible range of sake and products of the area.  Group bookings available via phone (0241) 22 – 2233 or email sake@yauemon.co.jp. 

For bookings and information email grandeco-resort.info@courthotels.co.jp.Don’t forget to read about advanced skiing and powder adventures at Grandeco in Chillfactor magazine, out May 2024.