Just 1 hour plus from Tokyo, we can get to Yuzawa Echigo into the snow winter wonderland for snow, ski and snowboarding if you do not have time to go for a 2 day 1 night trip. Most Tokyonites go to Yuzawa Echigo/ Yuzawa Gala for their ski cravings as it is possible for a day trip. For us we took the 620am Shinkansen and headed up Northwest to Yuzawa Echigo.
Arrived at Yuzawa Echigo Station at 740am and have to wait a little while before we can take the free shuttle bus to the ski resort. It was my first time seeing the racks used for people to place their snowboards and skis outside the shops.
Finally at 8am, we headed out to the shuttle bus stop to wait for the shuttle bus. You can refer to their page for the shuttle bus timings that heads to the various ski resorts in Yuzawa Echigo.
Sushi-san chose NASPA New Otani Resort for my virgin ski adventure as this resort is a ski only resort. They have 2 beginner slopes too. He felt that this place would be safer for this over aged ski newbie who have a huge fear of falling.
Arrived at the resort at 815am. It was snowing the entire day we were there with no sun but I felt that this was better as I had seen photos of friends with sun burnt faces. Just that it was extremely cold.
Depending on the ski resorts, you have to check what are the items you have to bring. The resort at Yuzawa Gala provides everything for rental whereas most of the resorts at Yuzawa Echigo require you to bring your own gloves and masks. So do check with the resort’s website before you head over. For us, we brought our own helmets, guards and masks. After arrival, we just change and place our stuff into the paid lockers but do remember to take out some cash if not you would end up like us a little cash strapped. Next, head to the ski rental to choose your skis. One advantage for NASPA is that you can choose either the conventional ski or short ski. I ended up changing to short ski as I found it easier to control but the speed was faster compared to the conventional ones.
Fun in the snow for most.
There are a selection of lift offers that you can choose from. We got the one that had lunch included, you only have 2 choices either ramen or burgers. Can’t complain too much, people are here to ski not to eat.
Ski rentals end by 5pm so we had our rentals returned a little before 5pm before the sun sets. There is night skis too but you have to pay extra. I was too bummed to do anything. The only thing I want to do was to head over to the hot springs for a hot soak to ease my tired muscles.
Yuzawa Echigo station have a huge store and sake store where most people did their omiyage shopping before hopping onto the Shinkansen back to Tokyo. Guess what, we were home by 930pm. From snow winterland back to cold and snowless Tokyo.