Rusutsu is a powder filled gem with some real Japanese quirks that make it well worth a visit, whether you take a few days here or just do a day trip from Niseko. It is one of the smaller resorts but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in snow, with over 14m of the lovely dry white stuff as an annual average. Renowned for its tree skiing and without the usual restrictions on heading off-piste, it also has a high-tech lift system and ski in ski out accommodation options. The great skiing combined with the fact that, bizarrely, the area is an amusement park in the summer complete with roller coasters, make this a truly unique ski area and a resort you should definitely add to your to-do list.
Rusutsu is divided into two entirely separate mountain areas for skiing. West Mountain is chiefly for beginners and has a great kids area and some lovely greens to progress on to. Worth noting however that for an English speaking lesson you will need to go private. East Mountain includes masses of rolling cruisers as well as offering the best of the tree skiing which is exactly what makes Rusutsu such a gem. You can even get some great lines through the trees without any hiking and just make use of the lifts. Another, less adrenaline fuelled, but nevertheless attractive feature is the fact that many of the runs offer impressive views of the surrounding volcanic landscape dotted with blue lakes.
Off the Slopes
Rusutsu is a great resort for families with the Rusutsu Resort Hotel being a property that could comfortably fit in at Disneyland or even in Las Vegas. Decked out like a Bavarian village complete with antique merry-go-round and singing tree it is certainly rather unexpected in a ski resort. However the property has excellent facilities including a wave pool and games room. The resort has a children’s snow park with tubing and snow biking and there are some more sedate activities on offer such as dog-sledding as well. The Rusutsu Resort Hotel has its own spa and the resort also has two indoor onsen (hot springs) and one outdoor.
Dining options are split between the Hotel and the village of Rusutsu itself but there is a good range of quality traditional Japanese fare and also some western options. There are also plenty of family friendly options.
As you can probably guess the main accommodation option in resort is the Rusutsu Resort Hotel but really there isn’t much need to go anywhere else. It has great facilties, is ski in ski out and offers spacious rooms.
Rusutsu is an hour’s drive from Niseko so you can easily take a day trip to experience the other resort. You can also spend some time in Furano and add on a couple of days in the cities of Tokyo and Kyoto in our Hokkaido Safari.