Rusutsu wins Japan’s Best Ski Resort award

Rusutsu has just picked up the gong for Japan’s Best Ski Resort at the World Ski Awards. We asked rising young Aussie bumps skier George Murphy for the lowdown on why he loves it. He grew up skiing here, and knows it as well as most.

In deep Rusutsu
Goerge Murphy in deep at Rusutsu © Alastair Buckingham

Rusutsu is so amazing, from their theme park to the ridiculous amount of snow dumping each season!

Rusutsu has always been an epic resort providing any terrain from when I was learning to ski at 3 years’ old to skiing the steep, soft snow at the natural terrain park.
It has always been one of my favourites, there were no limits to skiing there. The feeling of always wanting to go skiing for more and more experience and getting to know the mountain better.
Each season I go there in total for around 5 days. In those 5 days I manage to ski the 3 different parts of the mountain, go to the Back Country Park and the groomed park.
My favourite part about Rusutsu is the Back Country Park, which is all natural with features including, wooden jumps, tree branches to jib on, and creative features that aren’t seen in many places around the world.

Rusutsu Back Country Park
Rusutsu’s Back Country Park is George’s favourite © Alastair Buckingham

The three different mountains are great, giving you a variety of options and helps keep the mountain from getting too easily tracked out, with all the skiers spread out.
The groomed parks are just perfect, with ideal jumps for any type of level with 5ft – 40ft kickers, and on top of that the park has some awesome rail features like rainbows. – George Murphy

Goerge’s dad, Peter Murphy, told us almost guiltily a decade ago, “I love Rusutsu as much as Niseko”. He was one of the pioneers of putting Niseko on the map, as founder of, it was almost heresy for him to be promoting somewhere else as just as good. For Murphy, like for many locals, as Niseko got busier and competition for pow laps increased over the years it provided an alternative for more of the same just 40 minutes drive away.
Of course there was no keeping Rusutsu off the radar either, and your best bet nowadays is to stay here and at least get on it early. Or late: we’ve had some short but sweet night skiing pow laps on West Mountain right out front of the hotels.

Getting to Rusutsu

Fly to New Chitose Airport & take the Big Runs Bus, 2 hours, ¥3,000 each way adult/child for resort guests, book online or with your Rusutsu booking, up to 8 services each way in peak winter season.
By car Rusutsu is around 90 minutes from Sapporo or New Chitose Airport, and only 40 minutes from Niseko.

Rusutsu bumps
Bumps technique helps charge pow too © alastair Buckingham