Myoko Ski Lodge
Suginohara Ski Resort
25 mins (by local shuttle, 500 yen) from Myoko Ski Lodge
The southernmost of the four resorts on Mount Myoko, Suginohara reaches up the highest, meaning the lowest temperatures to keep that powder fluffy. The resort's monstrous 1,124 meters of vertical place it second only to Kagura among Japanese ski areas.
Suginohara Ski Resort Area is just 7km (500yen each way by shuttle bus) from Akakura Onsen Village which is your best accommodation option for skiing Suginohara.
Suginohara was recently featured on the front page of "Powder Magazine" and is very highly rated by the relative few from the western world who have so far discovered it's incredible side and backcountry powder skiing. And why not test your endurance by skiing Japan's longest, thigh burning, groomed run at 8.5km from top to bottom.
If you have kids, you'll be happy to know that kids under 13 ski free and there is the comfort of a gondola chairlift and if you're lucky, the "oishii" (delicious) kebab food truck will be there once again this season, so definitely worth the excursion!
There is not a great choice of accommodation in Suginohara and it's best accessed daily from Akakura Onsen Village, where you can take advantage of Myoko Ski Lodges's more central Myoko location with convenient access to all Myoko Ski Resorts and the best variety of restaurants, shops and nightlife.
*Ski patrol in the Myoko area are generally more lenient with off-piste skiers but discretion, respect and avoiding the temptation of fresh lines beneath chairlifts will go a long way toward not getting your lift pass confiscated.
But please remember, no matter where in the world you choose to ski off-piste or backcountry, you are potentially putting your life at risk. Getting caught in even a small avalanche can be fatal, hitting a tree can be like hitting solid rock and there are numerous other dangers associated with back country skiing.
Never go alone, ensure your group leader is suitably qualified and take the necessary back country equipment.