Rusutsu is something of an enigma in the snow world. Born of the 1980’s Japan ski resort boom, the expansive resort, spread across two distinct peaks, boasts two large, purpose built hotels at its base and not much else. Inside one, the Rusutsu Resort Hotel and Convention centre, for example, exists a giant robotic talking tree and a full sized carousel… But the real reason to visit is it’s incredible snow and playful tree-skiing centric terrain.

Less than an hours bus ride from Niseko, Rusutsu attracts the same quantities of deep, dry powder, but doesn’t attract the same kind of crowds. Though if you’re making a day of it there coming from Niseko, try and avoid weekends when the local crowds come up from Sapporo.

Unusual for a lot of Japanese resorts, are Rusutsu’s large amount of hooded quad chair lifts, which are invaluable on cold and windy days. Whilst on mountain food is limited it’s cheap in comparison to Niseko.

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