Ryuo Ski Park is one of the many resorts that dot the main Island of Honshu. A star resort when Japan was still in the peak of its winter sports fanaticism, it still remains a popular domestic destination that has yet to catch the eye of international guests.
Located not far from Shiga Kogen, Ryuo has a moderate collection of intermediate and beginner runs at its base, perfect for those just starting off. There are also several park areas, and although each is somewhat small, they gradually increase in size and skill level as you ascend up the mountain, perfect for those looking to improve in small steps. Make sure to have a go at the giant air bag, your chance to jump as big as you dare with the safety of an always soft landing!
Once nine o’clock hits however; that’s when the best of this resort truly opens up. The Ryuo Ropeway runs two of the world’s largest capacity cable cars up and down the mountain in opposing services. The view on the ascent is second to none, and on a clear day grants clear vision well across the entire valley; from Shiga Kogen, all the way over the mountains to far off Hakuba. But it is under the cable that powder enthusiasts will have most trouble keeping their eyes off.
On days the snow has hammered down, the two advanced courses under the lift are home to perfectly pitched steep runs, begging for fresh turns after you take the initially daunting plunge. These runs are challenging, so advanced skiers and boarders only will want to try their hands here.
All accommodation is very close to the slopes, and you will find no trouble finding a café or restaurant nearby whenever hunger strikes. Even at 1,930m elevation at the upper most part of the resort, a place to eat is at hand directly off the lift.
All in all Ryou offers a variety of terrain to suit all skill levels. The amount of skiable area is probably not suitable for longer stays, and you will find very little in the way of catering to international guests, such as English signage or foreign staff. But if you want to pioneer for a few days away from the heavy Australian crowd that invades many other Japanese resorts, then this may well be a very good choice.
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