Overall Rating

Lotte Arai

Lotte Arai4/55
Lotte Arai4 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%

Lotte Arai - Reviews

Lotte Arai - Reviews

Very nice resort but service is still lacking

Rick Schmidt12/03/2019
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Intermediate
  • Rider Age
    51-70
  • Month Visited:
    February

Very nice resort but service is still lacking

Rick Schmidt12/03/2019
Lotte Arai is a very nice place to stay with large comfortable rooms, it did, however, have a bit of a "cruise ship" feel to it and not necessarily in a good way. I would go again but in my opinion, there are better places. If they sorted out the service issues, food, drinks etc it would be a great family destination.
Pros:
Free shuttle bus from the train and to shops
Great rooms
Very nice onsen
good off-piste skiing
good lifts
ski hire equipment was in good condition
Included breakfast was good
Cons:
limited beginner runs
Slope grooming was almost non-existent
No ATM
No shops like 7/11 style on site for snacks and drinks
Restaurants were limited and average by Japan standards
Bars had no local or boutique offerings (boring selection)
Lacked any cultural experience
Staff were friendly but often seemed to lack experience and therefore service was often very slow and below par for Japan.

Lotte fun!

Nina Higashio10/03/2018
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    February

Lotte fun!

Nina Higashio10/03/2018
There is only one way I can think to describe our visit to Lotte Arai Resort: wonderfully bizarre. We visited on Thursday February 15th, 2018; although it was lightly snowing, our drive only took just over an hour- a reasonable day trip from Nozawaonsen! As we drove up the foggy road and pulled in to the parking lot, there were less than 10 cars there! Granted it was a weekday, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a parking lot that empty at any resort. We booted up and headed through the fog in search of the ticket office, only to stumble upon the perfect conditon gargantuan hotel - we’re talking hundreds of rooms - with not a single guest in sight. You know the part in scary movies where you can hear a child laughing in the distance, and see a figure in the fog up ahead? Yeah, I was ready for that moment to come at any time. We finally come across the gondola building, and this building has everything! A restaurant, retail shop, trampoline park room, not just one but three climbing areas, even a double staircase leading up to the gondola- the only thing missing are people! We grab our tickets and load the gondola.

As we study the piste map on the ride up, we realize the true potential of the mountain. Although the on piste riding seems minimal, most of the terrain is made up by “avalanche controlled areas”. Most of this terrain is accessible via the Zendana lift, but if you’re extra keen, you can do a short hike to the top of Mt.Ohkenashi to access even more, as long as the weather permits. Unfortunately it didn’t during our day trip due to heavy fog.

On the lift to the top, we finally see the first two guests we’ve seen all day! Although it had only snowed about 15cm the night before, the minimal traffic going down any of the off piste terrain had kept the snow super fresh up top. With more than a few rideable gully areas, ridges safe to drop off of any side, steep, open powder fields, and some open gladed areas, the off piste terrain at Arai is top notch. We ended up riding the same ridge more than a couple times, only to find our own tracks!
We had the biggest smiles on our faces all day, realizing we had found our own paradise with not a single jerry in sight.

I would highly recommend this mountain to any experienced advanced rider, who wants to ride fresh lines all day without having to wait in line once. Isn’t that the dream?

5 Star Powder

Dave08/03/2018
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    January

5 Star Powder

Dave08/03/2018
We scored a blue bird powder day at Lotte Arai in January while staying up the road in Myoko. The facilities are gob smacking - a massive 5 star hotel with everything imaginable from an in-house onsen to whiskey bars to indoor climbing walls. The gondola base station feels like walking into a luxury mall and the restaurants on the hills are all top notch.

As a day punter it's only a bit more than your standard Japanese ski hill prices - about ¥6000 for a day pass and you can still get a ¥1000 ramen up the hill (Although most other meals are in the ¥2500 range).

Given it's only about 20km from the coast, Lotte picks up a truckload of snow, receiving 1.5m in one night when Myoko "only" got 70cm before we arrived. Most of the terrain faces straight east though, so the snow pack settled quickly on our trip and while not heavy snow wasn't skiing that deep a day after the mega dump.

The terrain is "nice" in that there's lots of rolling bowls and decent fall lines. For advanced skiers it's definitely not challenging and it can be frustrating to see all of the roped off, highly patrolled out of bounds areas that would be easily skiable. The terrain off the peak is probably the pick and requires a 20 minute boot pack to access. Given the low number of skiers there this season there was plenty of fresh tracks, but this would change dramatically with more than a couple of hundred people on the mountain. The other challenge in typical Japanese storm conditions is there's very few tree lines anywhere on the whole mountain, so visibility would be a massive challenge if it's not clear.

So - who's Lotte Arai pitched at?

If you're a well funded family and want 5 star everything with lots of options for all ages on and off the snow it's a perfect destination a la the Club Med operations elsewhere.

It's also good for intermediate skiers wanting to build their skills in off piste conditions without stressing about back country risks as much. The ski school at Lotte Arai is run by Australians from Myoko Ski School and is world-class.

For advanced skiers and anyone on a budget, it's definitely worth a day trip, but you'll be stretched to find new or challenging terrain after a couple of days and there's much better storm skiing options around Myoko, Madarao or Nozawa.

Lotte Arai

Jeremy Craw16/01/2018
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    January

Lotte Arai

Jeremy Craw16/01/2018
After a chance meeting with Greg from powder hounds we made a decision to go to Lotte Arai to chase a possible dump of snow.
Best decision of our trip! 3 days of non-stop snowfall and overall a great mountain.
Our first day was Friday and we were greeted by bottomless fresh and totally uncrowded slopes. We actually counted the other riders and there were less than 30 in total, far out-numbered by resort staff.
The snow fell all day (we estimate 40cm) and our tracks were basically covered within a couple of loops.
We focused our loops on the lower quad chair as the vertical drop was larger than the upper chair. We think there was about 8 people using this chair all day so absolutely no lift que and a fast chair which enabled us to clock up the vert.
There was enough in bounds goodness that we didn’t need to duck any ropes but on Saturday and Sunday the crowds were out and the hill was tracked out by 11am. We did duck a few ropes during the weekend but we noticed ski patrol monitoring the out of bounds and we heard reports of a few Americans losing their lift tickets. We played it safe by avoiding ducking the ropes when ski patrol were around and not ducking ropes on consecutive runs.
As regular ski visitors to Japan we agreed that will definitely return to Lotte Arai as we really appreciated the terrain, easy lift access, no traversing and a pitch that (for Japan) was quite good without being super steep. Brad, Regan, Jeremy

Very Impressive

POWDERHOUNDS.COM10/01/2018
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    January

Very Impressive

POWDERHOUNDS.COM10/01/2018
Plenty of off-piste terrain
Freshies aren't too hard to come by
The food at the hotel is very high end
Beautiful onsens
A small peek at the terrain
The Lotte Arai Ski Resort is in its infancy after re-opening only a few weeks ago. Everything is shiny and new and no expense has been spared in re-creating this amazing luxury ski resort for 5 star powder hounds. There are only a couple of Japanese ski resorts that cater to the luxury ski market as well as the off-piste powder chasing crowd, and Arai Resort is leading the charge here. Or if paying for luxury accommodation and food isn’t within your budget, it’s also great for a day trip from Myoko Kogen.

The resort has an abundance of English signage and the hotel finds a lovely balance between staff that speak some or a lot of English, and providing a very Japanese experience.

The food at the hotel also caters to discerning guests willing to pay more for an exquisite meal. The food was phenomenal and we had some of the best meals we’ve ever had in Japan!

Also see our Lotte Arai Resort Hotel review.

SNOW
It was a little warm when we visited so the snow wasn’t in its usual primo condition. However we’ve still rated the snow highly because Lotte Arai Resort is renowned for huge snow volumes. The snow’s a bit coastal but who cares when it snows that much. This is a ski resort that closed down 10 years ago, in part because they were having a lot of trouble managing all the snow!

UNCROWDED
We visited at the end of peak Japanese holidays and a few days after snowfall, so many of the off-piste zones were reasonably tracked (not all were open though) but we could fossick around for a few fresh tracks. Despite the tracks, there were very few people around. And when the holiday finished, the place was completely deserted. As the word gets out about Arai, it may get a little more skier traffic, especially from Myoko day trippers.

LIFTS
The lift infrastructure is excellent. The gondola is spacious – not one of those Japanese gondolas where you try to cram in with your skis or snowboard and one mate – and it has a mid station. Two hooded detachable quads service most of the main riding, and there’s a detachable double further down (that runs for night skiing), and a little slow double at the base for beginners. There’s also a long covered magic carpet for tubing etc.

PISTE TRAILS
Like many Japanese ski resorts, this isn’t the highlight of Arai Resort. There’s enough terrain for beginners, although the progression green terrain is more a cat track than a wide trail. There are about 4 blue runs, 2 of which are very long, and they are steeper than your average Japanese intermediate run. There are 4 black runs (one of which was closed), which are also steeper than your average Japanese ski resort black runs.

OFF-PISTE
There is plenty of off-piste terrain which ranges from wide open, to lightly treed, to glades. The resort is working hard to overcome the real challenge of managing the avalanche risk, which includes local and Canadian patrollers. It seems they’re currently a little slow in getting off-piste terrain open, but this should improve with time.

A little of the terrain is hike-to. There isn’t really any sidecountry, as the terrain shape isn’t conducive to funnelling into a drainage that returns to the ski area.

CHILD FRIENDLY
There is child care and group ski lessons in English, and a few activities such as tubing, bouldering, and trampolining.

VALUE
Lift tickets are pretty expensive relative to many other Honshu ski resorts, but you get great terrain and lift infrastructure for your yen. Food and drink at the food court cafeteria was pretty expensive relative to many other Japanese ski resorts, but it’s not your ordinary cafeteria fare.

The hotel is pitched at the luxury market, and it currently provides good value. Over time, the rates are likely to increase so get there soon.

NIGHTLIFE
Ha! This is Japan, and Arai is no different to most other Japanese ski resorts (that haven’t been westernised). There were a couple of lounge bars that were lovely for a sophisticated and pricy drink, but there was definitely no party scene whatsoever.