So you’ve heard of how amazing Japan’s winter is but never stood on skis or a snowboard in your life?
That’s alright – skiing in Japan for beginners is great. Many of the country’s winter sports resorts offer everything you need as a ski and snowboard beginner! Your lack of experience won’t stand in the way of having an amazing winter vacation in Japan.
Here is everything you’ll want to know before hitting the snow, from how to choose where to go-to equipment and life on the piste. (“Piste” is the word for a ski run. There, you learned your first snow-related term!)

Why Ski in Japan?

You might be surprised but Japan is an excellent choice to learn how to ski or snowboard. One big reason for that is the climate and topography of the country. Japan’s mountains aren’t all tall as famous ski areas in Europe and North America, which means that many offer gentle terrain and thus equally gentle slopes.
Because of this, Japan’s mountains also boast amazing powder snow. The snowfall doesn’t stem from the altitude but from the climate. On top of that, the snow is also relatively dry and hence much less icy, making falling – and you’ll fall a lot – much less painful.
Another reason is cost. At first, it seems expensive but when compared to winter sports areas around the world, Japan’s resorts are surprisingly low when it comes to prices. And where else could you soak your body in a natural hot spring after a long day on the piste?

How to Choose the Right Ski Resort in Japan

When skiing in Japan as a beginner, you want a place that doesn’t only offer gear rental but also lessons to show you the ropes. On top of that, it is important to check if a place offers enough beginner-friendly pistes – if there are merely one or two, you might get bored after a few days and try your luck on more advanced pistes without the proper skill.
As explained above, beginner pistes are plentiful in Japan. Throughout the country, they’re marked as green, while the beginner-intermediate level is indicated as blue. When going through resorts, make sure to look at the course maps and confirm how many green and blue pistes are available.
Even if you’re with a skilled friend or family member, we highly recommend opting for a ski school or lessons instead of being taught privately. This way, everyone can enjoy skiing and snowboarding at their level without compromise. A lot of resorts throughout Japan have started offering lessons in English and other languages, so this should be one of your main criteria.
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