If you yearn for the legendary powder of Hokkaido but without the crowds of Niseko, then look no further than Rusutsu. Located just 30km away from Niseko, Rusutsu is an easily accessible addition to any Niseko stay. With an extensive ski terrain covering three mountains, Rusutsu offers fun for all levels with a great variety of wide groomed runs for newcomers plus fabulous natural terrain features, including copious tree runs, and of course superb powder. If you dream of untracked and uncrowded slopes, this is the place for you. The lift system covers the area well so it is possible to ski off the lifts into some of the greatest tree skiing in Hokkaido.
West Mountain has the kids area, beginner to intermediate groomed runs and a few tree runs. East Mountain is a step up with more intermediate runs. Mount Isola is also serviced by a covered gondola and is heaven for intermediate to advanced riders with plenty of trees and powder skiing and snowboarding. For families, there is child care available up to the age of four and private lessons in English from four years and above, and there is also an indoor slope to practise on. Group adult lessons are available in English for levels one and two.
There are a handful of restaurants in Rusutsu, but this is not a buzzing night scene – keep Niseko for nightlife and instead enjoy the serenity with fresh tracks, uncrowded runs, little to no lift lines and powder galore.
Rusutsu is possible as a day trip from Niseko, but why not maximize your time in this powder paradise and not limit yourself to a day pass; you’ll be glad you stayed.