Rusutsu Resort Japan
Enter the Rusutsu white room! The Rusutsu Ski Resort in Hokkaido is absolute heaven for experienced powder hounds or powder hounds on their "L" plates. With an average annual snowfall of over 14 metres, the Rusutsu Resort has some of the most incredible powder and tree skiing to be found anywhere in the world. Frequently the powder is incredibly dry; you blast right through it with virtually no resistance. It's absolute bliss!
Rusutsu Hokkaido is great for a day trip from Niseko
to experience some Japow nirvana, but it’s even better if you book a multi-day stay at Rusutsu.
Rusutsu Ski and Snowboard Terrain
The Rusutsu Ski Resort has great groomed piste for beginners and is very good for intermediates, but the highlight for powder hounds is the fantastic fall line tree skiing that can be easily accessed straight off the lifts and with minimal traversing (joy for snowboarders!). The great powder runs generally don't have steep pitches or drop-offs, so it's a great place to learn to ski or board powder or just revel in the joys of moving effortlessly through the abundant dry powder. You don't have to share the fresh lines with many others as the resort is generally uncrowded relative to nearby Niseko, and even on the weekends it's rare to see a lift line.
The lift infrastructure is very well developed so it's possible to stay warm whilst scoring plenty of vertical. Of the 18 lifts, four are gondolas and there are 6 fast quad chairs, 5 of which have hoods - very decadent!
Where is Rusutsu Resort?
Rusutsu Resort is located 90 minutes southwest of Sapporo
and only a 90 minute drive from the New Chitose International Airport. There are shuttle buses between Rusutsu and the New Chitose Airport
, and between Rusutsu and the city of Sapporo
(booking available from October onwards).
is only 30-40 minutes away from Rusutsu Ski Resort and there are a few ground transport operators between the two resorts, or you can get from Niseko to Rusutsu for the day as part of a guided tour
The main Rusutsu accommodation
consists of two large hotels. The Rusutsu Resort Hotel
is conveniently ski-in ski-out, has a huge number of facilities, and is incredibly family friendly. The Rusutsu Tower
Hotel is a large glitzy hotel with extra spacious rooms. Other Rusutsu lodging options include cabins and pensions. See our Rusutsu accommodation
page for more information.
NB There is no or negligible accommodation left for the peak 2015-16 season (e.g. Xmas, New Years and early January). You can look at Rusutsu accommodation availability here.
Family Friendly & Facilities
The Rusutsu Resort is a bazaar place that displays classical Japanese kitsch. As you enter the Rusutsu Resort Hotel you are faced with a bizarre singing tree, an antique merry-go-round, and many other features akin to Disneyland. The hotel also has dancing bears, a wave pool and games arcades. There is also a kids’ snow park with tubing, snow biking and other fun activities.
The resort comes complete with an outdoor amusement park with roller-coasters and a ferris wheel, but this is only open during summer!
Food and Nightlife
The Rusutsu hotels have an array of restaurants, and there are also various small traditional Japanese restaurants near the base of the mountain, so there is no shortage of dining options. Conversely, the nightlife options are somewhat lacking with only a few quiet bars. Rusutsu is certainly nothing like Niseko Hirafu! The best fun may be whatever you can make yourself with your duty free alcohol!
Summary of Pros and Cons
- Amazing quality powder that falls in equally amazing quantities
- Great off-piste and tree skiing (and it's not banned)
- High quality lift infrastructure that will keep you toasty even on the very cold days
- Rusutsu is less busy compared with Niseko
- Rusutsu Japan is suitable for skiers and snowboarders of most abilities, and anyone who adores powder.
- Rusutsu is very well suited to families as there are plenty of activities on offer at the resort for kids.
- The ski-in ski-out Rusutsu Resort Hotel is very convenient.
- Lots of English signs and lots of English speaking staff at the resort.
- Powderhounds.com has given Rusutsu Resort “best ski resort in Japan” honours for the off-piste skiing, tree skiing, lift infrastructure, powder and overall. Wow that’s a lot of accolades!
- The only rider Rusutsu doesn't cater well for is those looking for cliffs and white-knuckle steeps (as with most Japanese ski resorts).
- No self-contained accommodation with a kitchen e.g. apartments
- Quiet nightlife (as with most Japanese ski resorts)
Pro or Con Depending on Your Perspective
- Rusutsu is very family friendly although they only offer private ski lessons in English and the child care staff don’t speak English.
- Rusutsu comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect of a world class resort, and rather than providing what westerners might perceive as a traditional Japanese culture, it offers a modern Japanese cultural experience and some classic Japanese kitsch!
Tours That Include Rusutsu
Hosted & Guided Off-Piste Ski & Snowboard Safaris
Guided Ski & Snowboard Progression Tours
Unguided Tours that include Transport & Lodging