Ani Ski Resort

Ani Ski Resort Akita
Ani on Mt Moriyoshi
Gorgeous sidecountry at Ani
Ani Gondola runs the full vertical of the ski area
You can only see a little bit of the terrain from the base area
Short skins over the backside
Ani on Mt Moriyoshi
A local Ani guide can be organised via the resort
The top part of Mt Moriyoshi has some rather mellow terrain
Ani Japan
You can only see a small part of the terrain from the base
Hotel Fusch is located down the road fro the Ani Ski Resort
A few of the staff speak English
A small selection of powder skis for rent
Not many people in the cafeteria!
Inexpensive food in the cafeteria at Ani
Food and drink is rather inexpensive
Fun at Ani Ski Resort
Amenities at the resort include a small retail shop
Hokuto the Akita dog (in Akita Prefecture!)

Ani Ski Resort

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Ani

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Powder Odyssey - chase the powder in Northern Honshu
World Nomads Travel Insurance
Ani Ski Resort is situated in a wonderfully remote spot on Mt Moriyoshi in the Akita Prefecture. It is ideal for powder hounds that have plenty of time on their hands to get there and score a couple of days of Japow. Ani Ski Resort is just small and has some easily sourced off-piste tree skiing, but the main event is the sidecountry and backcountry that requires some route-finding expertise or a guide.

Ani is a hidden gem Japanese ski resort aka a unicorn ski resort, with the rare combination of lots of snow, good tree skiing, and minimal crowds. However, keep in mind that there’s only a little bit of terrain for no-effort lift-accessed powder skiing, whilst powder hounds willing to put in just a little bit of work will be handsomely rewarded.

Pros and Cons of Ani Akita

Pros
  • Ani is renowned for getting absolutely dumped on with snow.
  • Ani Ski Resort is delightfully off the beaten track when it comes to Japanese ski resorts. This is an old-school Japanese ski resort where the locals are really happy to see you.
  • There is some easy tree skiing amongst widely spaced beech trees, and some slightly steeper tree skiing if you venture further afield.
  • Off-piste and sidecountry skiing is well tolerated by the patrollers.
  • Lift tickets, food and accommodation are cheap.
  • Some locals turn up on the weekends - otherwise it’s very quiet.
Cons
  • It takes some effort to get to Ani and it’s not part of a collection of neighbouring ski resorts that you can easily include on a road trip. The upside is that not many other powder hounds will make the pilgrimage.
  • The ski area is small (in-bounds).
  • Nearby accommodation options are limited.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • Ani scores big storms that bring an abundance of Japow, but it can also get absolutely buffeted by big winds that shut down the gondola. Don’t anticipate much in the way of fine weather during winter, so don’t expect to see the pretty views across to the Sea of Japan unless you go in spring (and you’d much rather a Japanuary showdown of powder!).
  • Ani feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere so there’s nothing to do except chase powder.

Ani Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Like most of the Akita ski resorts, Ani is small when it comes to piste skiing. It has 5 courses, 663m of vertical (537-1,200m), and 3 lifts. A gondola (or gondora as the Japanese like to call them) runs the full vertical of the ski area, and there is a double chair at the base and another double chair at the top.

Easy to find off-piste skiing is off the top chair and the lower chair to a lesser degree, and parts of the gondola also provide readily found tree skiing. The terrain below the double chair requires some decent nous when it comes to route finding because it gets pretty steep, it’s easy to get gullied out, and there are some unusual flat spots. Skiers’ left sidecountry offers some pitchy terrain, but it’s not fully lift accessed and a degree of ingress and egress hiking is required.

Ani Guide

There are a couple of English speaking local guides who can help you explore the backcountry above the ski area (the peak of Mt Moriyoshi is 250m vertical above the resort) and slackcountry, and they can also take you on sneaky road runs with a car pick up. Guiding fees are very affordable relative to the rates you’d find for a guide in Hokkaido. You can make an enquiry for Ani day guiding here.

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Ani Snow

Ani is known for its abundance of snow monsters which is somewhat indicative of the type of snow storms it gets: lots of snow; slightly wet coastal snow; and ferocious winds. Ani has good elevation and whilst the slopes are mostly southwest facing, aspect doesn’t have much influence on the snow quality in winter when the sun barely shines.

Where is Ani?

Ani has an isolated location in Kitaakita (north Akita) in the northern part of the Akita Prefecture in the Tohoku region of Honshu. Ani Ski Resort is 88km northeast of Akita City and 114km northwest of Morioka in the Iwate Prefecture.

Ani Accommodation

Ani accommodation options near the ski resort are very limited.

Hotel Fusch is 850 metres from Ani ski resort, and the owner provides shuttles to/from the ski resort (and the nearest train station). The simple little hotel has mostly western style rooms with ensuite, and a small number of Japanese tatami rooms. It’s very inexpensive, even with half board.

Otherwise you could stay in one of the nearby towns, none of which are particularly picturesque. Quince Moriyoshi is located in the Ani Maeda station building which is 23km away from Ani Ski Resort. The hotel has an onsen onsite.

Facilities & Services

The usual gamut of services and facilities are offered including lockers, a small retail shop, and equipment rentals. Most of the rental gear is antiquated (e.g. rear entry boots) but they also have a small selection of powder skis and a very small selection of touring skis.

Some of the staff speak English, including a few of the instructors, so it’s possible to book a snowsports lesson in English.

The cafeteria offers very inexpensive fare for lunch, and you’ll need to pay in cash.

Activities

The resort offers a snowcat service for tourists to see the snow monsters and views (on those rare fine days). The pedestrian tourists also like to say hello to Hokuto the resident Akita dog (it seems everyone in the Akita Prefecture has an Akita dog!!).

If having an onsen is part of your daily après-ski ritual, you’ll need to travel a fair distance. The Quince Onsen is about 30-40 minutes drive, whilst Utto Hot Spring is about 45 minutes away.

If the weather is being very unkind, a down day activity could be to head to Kakunodate, which is a quaint samurai town 76km south of Ani (about 1.5 hours away).
Tours That May Include Ani

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

Frontier Explorer
GUIDED SAFARI - NORTHERN HONSHU
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Ski Areas + Cat Skiing
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Get away from the crowds & the tracked out snow, and also experience Japanese culture, food & unlimited powder on this Tohoku tour. Chase the best snow on the day in the far northern parts of Honshu. Share
Price p/p From price based on twin-share room occupancy for 2021 season.
Base/invoice currency is in yen not including consumption tax.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,967
View Details
 Early bird special: 10% discount off listed price until Aug 31
See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Ani here

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours

Central Iwate looking at Amihari & Iwate Kogen from Shizukuishi
IWATE SKI & SNOWBOARDING TRIPS
PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
If you are heading to the Iwate & Akita regions these PRIVATE guiding trips will maximise your Tohoku powder experience. Minimal 4 days. In-resort powder hunting, lift-access sidecountry & backcountry touring options. Resorts include Shizukuishi, Geto Kogen, Tazawako, Ani, Hachimantai, Amihari & Appi Kogen.
Price p/p Displayed based on 4 days per person if 3 in a group 1-3 People: ¥55,000JPY flat rate per day plus tax 4-5 People: ¥65,000JPY flat rate per day plus tax 4-6 People: ¥55,000JPY flat rate per day plus tax
Base/invoice currency is Japanese Yen
*Displayed price may vary slightly due to currency fluctuations
USD 682
View Details
 
See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Ani here
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