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Ski Paradise 1,600 Meters Upland

Posted January. 28, 2004 23:45,   


There are some things that are special about the Shiga Ski Resort.

All 21 of its ski slopes are connected by lifts, gondolas, and shuttle buses, and the resort is proud of being the largest among more than 700 Japanese ski resorts. Approximately 1.2 million skiers have visited the resort last year.

The reasons why Shiga won the title of “best of Japan” are many, but the main reason is because it is situated high above ground. The bases of the resort are located at the 1,300-to-1,600 meter level compared to those of other Japanese ski resorts that are usually around 500 meters high. The higher the base is, the more it snows. Therefore, skiers can enjoy skiing on natural snow and even powder-ski right after it snows.

The second special thing about the resort is the magnitude of having 21 slopes in one resort. It is so large an area that even an advanced skier cannot cover the whole slope in two days. The skiers can use all 75 lifts and 21 slopes with a lift pass with an IC chip built-in. The convenience here also attracts many skiers to this place. There are always shuttle buses ready for lift-pass holders to transport them to slopes where lifts cannot reach.

This convenient system gave birth to the famous “ski tour.” Many ski schools are holding ski tours in which the participants ski on all of the 12 slopes in the Shiga Highlands as well as enjoy its snow-covered views. The instructors teach as well as guide on a ski tour.

The “Challenge Card” is a special event that Shiga organizes for the ski tour. Skiers who have used all 75 lifts during the two-day stay receive souvenirs for covering the whole course. The resort also picks one lucky person to receive a prize of 1 million yen in cash. Skiers who are staying at one of the resort’s accommodations are eligible to enter the contest by turning in their cards with the stamps on them that are printed every time they step on a lift. Approximately 5,000 people have covered the course.

The third thing about the resort is its accessibility. Mountain roads connect the highland village that three to seven ski resorts are scattered around, and all the accommodations are within five minutes walking distance of neighboring ski slopes connected by lifts. What is more, there are natural spas around the village where one can experience a hot spa together with cool skiing. For Korean skiers, Asiana Airlines offers a direct flight to Doyama, a one hour and 40 minute trip. A shuttle bus ride of three hours will take you to the resort from the Doyama Airport.

- Travel Information for Shiga Highland

Sky Resorts

Location: Joshinetsu National Park in Nagano Ken. 39 kilometers from city of Nagano. 200 kilometers from the Doyama Airport.

History: Built the first lift in Japan in 1947 on one of their slopes. Held ski slalom competitions and snowboard games during the Nagano Winter Olympics.

Season: November through May

Skiing only: 3 slopes among all the 21 (Gumanoyu, Yokotesan, and Okushiga); no snowboarding there.

Snowboard Parks: Ganbayashi (Olympic-scale Half-pipe Arena), Ichinose (Northpark Quarter Pipe)

Accommodations: 100 hotels and inns

Spa: Yudanake-Shibu spa villages in the mouth of the highland and six other locations in the resort (Gidoyike, Hotaru, Gumaynoyu, Hotpo, Maruike, and Shigayama)

Homepage for Shiga Upland: www.shigakogen.gr.jp (English and Japanese)

Yamanochi Machi: www.town.yamanouchi.nagano.jp

Ski Package to Shiga Upland

Asiana Airline connects Incheon and Doyama and has introduced a three-night, four-day package at the ski village for the first time. Flights depart on Mondays and Wednesdays. Participants can ski for one day and a half. Price: 599,000 won. Contact Doctor Tour (www.tourbaksa.co.kr) at 02-730-6166 or 051-442-1451.