For the 9 to 11 February 2019 holiday weekend, Rick Weisburd and Kyoko Nomura will organize a ski and snowboard trip to ski resorts in the Bandai area of Fukushima Prefecture. This will be a car-based trip departing at 6:15 am on 9 Feb. from Tsukuba Station. Assuming smooth road conditions, the drive (about 250 km) will take about 3 ½ hours. For now, we have 2 cars equipped with stud-less tires, which can accommodate a total of 8 participants. We have room to carry skis and boards. For participants who do not have their own ski or snowboard gear, we can stop along the way to rent.
Our plan is to visit 2 or 3 different ski areas over the 3 days depending on snow conditions. Among the many resorts in the Bandai area are Inawashiro, Alts Bandai, Grandeco, Minowa, and Nekoma. You can find detailed information about these and other Fukushima resorts here:
We have booked 2 nights for group accommodations at Bandai Lakeside Guesthouse. (includes continental breakfast Sunday and Monday)
Expected costs/person are as follows:
About 13,000 yen for 2 nights in the guest house including 2 breakfasts
About 6000 yen for gas and tolls
About 1000 yen trip Insurance
These trip costs could change slightly.
You will also need to buy lift tickets at each resort. The price of a full day lift ticket at Grandeco or Inawashiro is 4700 yen. We will visit Grandeco on at least one of the 3 days; I expect that I can order Grandeco lift ticket coupons for 3200 yen. If you sign up for the trip and inform me before noon on Tuesday 20 November that you want one of those coupons, then I’ll try to get one for you too. We may be able to find other discount coupons later.
Food is available for sale at the resorts, but you can save money by bringing your own lunch. We will visit restaurants for dinners
What to bring:
Ski or snowboard equipment
Warm waterproof outerwear
Warm base layers
Warm gloves or mittens
Goggles (visibility is poor during frequent snowfall)
Boots or shoes for walking around town (waterproof recommended)
This trip is likely to fill up quickly. Participation by more than 8 would require another car with studless tires and additional capacity at the guest house.
Skiing and boarding are inherently risky activities. TWMC and the organizers take no responsibility for any injuries that might occur.. If you want to try skiing or boarding but do not have experience, then please enroll in lessons at the ski resort; the organizers are not qualified to teach and will not be teaching.
We met at Tsukuba Station parking lot on 9 February and were on our way by about 6:30. In Inawashiro (about 10:00), we stopped at a rental shop to rent some gear and then proceeded to Inawashiro Ski Resort. Conditions were a bit icy, but there was nice snow on many slopes and in the forest next to the slopes. After skiing and boarding all day, we drove to the Bandai Lakeside Guesthouse (https://www.bandai.ski/) where we had booked for 2 nights.
This guesthouse was perhaps the nicest pension I have ever stayed in. The place was very cheery and clean. The food was good. The proprietors were very friendly and helpful. And the price was very reasonable. For foreigners who show their passports, they offer extremely inexpensive lift ticket coupons for nearby ski resorts. I recommend that any TWMC members or trip organizers looking for accommodations in the Urabandai area consider Bandai Lakeside Guesthouse. Snow fell Saturday night into Sunday. On Sunday morning, we drove about 20 minutes to Gran Deco ski resort. The snow was excellent and we found fresh, dry powder on most of the slopes. On the way back to our guesthouse, we stopped at Bandai Lakeside Resort for an onsen. The place is huge and was rather crowded. Monday morning we checked out of the pension and headed for Nekoma Ski Resort. I had not been there before. Nekoma is a smaller but very nice ski resort. The slopes were in very good condition. We had the best view from the top that day. The resort was uncrowded and friendly. On the way home, we took a small detour to Osakaya ryokan on Nakanosawa Onsengai to enjoy a smaller onsen. By the time we returned the rental gear and got to the highway, it was getting late; so, we decided to have dinner at a highway service area to break up the drive. We arrived safely back in Tsukuba a bit before 10 pm. I think all participants had a great time on this trip.