As winter arrives, why settle for anything less than one of Japan’s largest and most popular ski resorts? Gransnow Okuibuki in Shiga Prefecture is Kansai’s largest ski resort, boasting state-of-the-art facilities for families and professionals alike. Mount Ibuki’s prime powder snow set a world record, measuring 11.82 meters deep and offers over a dozen trails to test it out.
Gransnow Okuibuki boasts a whopping 14 trails catering to a variety of levels, from gentle family-oriented and beginner-friendly slopes to dynamic descents making the most of the mountain’ natural topography. Veteran skiers will appreciate the unpacked powder trails — best attempted first thing in the morning to experience the untouched hillside — as well as the steep slants. The most challenging incline is an impressive 46 degrees and is said to be Japan’s steepest. With such a variety of competition-grade slopes, it’s no surprise Gransnow Okuibuki has helped produce several of Japan’s big-name athletes. Miki Ito, a local-born Olympic freestyle skier, cut her teeth on these slopes before competing at the Winter Olympics in 2006, 2010 and 2014.
Fun For the Whole Family
On top of the soft dips on the easy slopes, Gransnow Okuibuki’s kids’ park is one of Japan’s largest and offers a safe space for young children to play and frolic in the snow. Rent some sleds and slide together, or let the kids climb the billowing and airy playground equipment.
Ski and snowboard rental, as well as head-to-toe gear, is available and will set your family up for the slopes in no time, even if you’ve never braved the slopes before. Try out the ski school — which draws over 10,000 students annually — to boost your kids’ skills, or let you brush up on yours before braving the steeper inclines.
Easy Does It
One of the biggest draws — after its top-tier powder snow and slopes — is how easy it is to get to and around Gransnow Okuibuki. Located within 2 hours from major travel hubs of Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya and Kobe and with excellent bus and train access, getting there is a cinch. For those taking their own car, there are 2,700 parking spaces, ensuring plenty of room to stop by for either a quick ride or stay for a full-fledged winter sports vacation getaway. Facilities like Food Park Piste and Daiichi Lodge offer not only a chance to rest your weary legs, but you can also fill up on hearty dishes like udon, curry and even an award-winning sesame ramen. You’ll even find the Harajuku staple Marion Crepes on-site. When you’re ready to take on the slopes again, you can do it with a soundtrack — premier DJs pump out amazing hits on radio broadcasts over the hills to enjoy.
For more information, visit the official Gransnow Okuibuki website.