25 min by shuttle bus (2,000 yen return) from Akakura Onsen
Deep powder lovers, Seki Onsen is for you!
One for the purists, the curators of life long memories created off the beaten track, where the humility shows in the eyes of the owners and staff and the gratitude radiates from the faces of everyone who is privileged to be there in the moment. Or maybe it's just the deep powder immersion and the hearty, piping hot meals from the funky, retro mountain lodge with a beer from the "pour your own" dispenser. There is a very special, rustic feel about this little, family owned ski resort.
Seki Onsen appears small on a trail map but gives access to steeper, feature laden off-piste, treed terrain.
With only two chairlifts, Seki normally opens the bottom chair at 9am and you will discover everyone tracks out skiers left in the trees first, but as you lap, keep one eye skiers right as skiers gradually build a cat track across the fall line until another treed ridge is accessible to all perhaps by about your fourth lap.
The upper single pizza box chair doesn't usually open until around 12 noon, triggering a dash to the top of the resort area and a whole new canvas in which to carve your name. Don't stop for lunch though because this chair will likely close again around 2pm, at which point it's time to go and meet your buddies in the cafeteria or perhaps head to the small rustic bar at the resort base to recount the days pow shredding highlights over a beverage or two.
Just 25mins (by shuttle bus) from Akakura Onsen Village, Accommodation in Seki Onsen is available but the tiny village does not have much of a nightlife or restaurant scene. Myoko Ski Lodge provides the best accommodation base for skiing Seki Onsen, being conveniently located within a half hour public shuttle bus ride to Seki Onsen and walking distance from a greater variety of restaurants and nightlife.
For powder skiers and boarders, there is something special about this little powder stash with the x factor that punches above it's weight and sends you home with a satisfied grin.
Tip: Put Seki on your radar if snow is forecast on the back of a NNW breeze.
Please remember, no matter where in the world you choose to ski off-piste (or back country), you do so at your own risk. Getting caught in even a small avalanche can be fatal, hitting a tree can be like hitting a rock and there are numerous other dangers. Never go alone, ensure your group leader is suitably experienced and take the necessary back country equipment.