Exploring the Slopes of Rusutsu Ski Resort in Hokkaido

Rusutsu with Mount Yotei in view. Image credit by Jerome Lee

Rusutsu is a powder paradise that receives a remarkable annual snowfall of 13 to 14 metres, delivering exceptionally dry powder that allows effortless gliding. Whether you’re a seasoned enthusiast or a novice, this frosty Eden promises an exhilarating Japow nirvana that’s truly blissful.

While usually done as a day trip from Niseko, powder hounds can also opt for an extended stay which unveils its full glory – with 37 diverse courses, including ungroomed powder havens, enchanting forests for tree skiing, natural terrain parks, immaculately groomed runs, challenging descents, and night skiing options, Rusutsu stands as the quintessential Japanese resort offering it all. Rusutsu covers three different peaks: West Mountain, East Mountain and Mount Isola, and this article explores the different runs, facilities and amenities at each peak!


A run down a wide slope in the East Mountain. Image credit by Jerome Lee

East Mountain: Thrills and spectacular views

Rusutsu’s East Mountain offers diverse skiing experiences to suit all levels. For advanced skiers seeking a challenge, the Super East Trail provides a thrilling 500-metre descent with a maximum incline of 40 degrees, making it Rusutsu’s steepest run. The East Vivaldi Trail is a popular choice for intermediates, spanning 2,300 metres and offering spectacular panoramic views of the resort and Mt. Yotei, its wide path ensures an invigorating but approachable experience. Beginners will find the Easy Trail perfect for their first skiing adventures, featuring a gentle 750-metre slope with a maximum incline of 8 degrees. 

Convenient amenities like the East Center Station and a restaurant at the base area make it an ideal choice for newcomers. With a gondola providing easy access and terrain catering to various skill levels, East Mountain promises unforgettable moments and breathtaking vistas.

View from the top of Mount Isola. Image credit by Jerome Lee

Mount Isola: A powder playground

Mount Isola at Rusutsu is an absolute haven for powder aficionados and tree skiing enthusiasts. With runs stretching up to 3.5 kilometres, this area lures those in search of deep powder and thrilling experiences. The ever-changing terrain weaves through ridges, swamps, and forests, and the snow quality in this area is exceptional, frequently characterised by dry, fluffy conditions – a perfect combo for ensuring an adventure with each descent. 

For advanced skiers, the Heavenly Spirit Trail offers a 550-metre descent with a maximum incline of 22 degrees, providing an exciting halfpipe-style skiing experience. Meanwhile, the Isola Grand Trail is perfect for intermediates, offering a 3.5-km cruise through Rusutsu’s longest trail. Additionally, the Isola Trail B satisfies mogul enthusiasts, and the Steamboat Trail A is a wide, easily accessible option from East Mountain.

With East Mountain and Mount Isola connected, Steamboat restaurant awaits with delicious Japanese lunches to refuel after an exhilarating morning on the slopes.


Skiing in Rusutsu. Image credit by Powderhounds

West Mountain: Perfect for beginners with abundant amenities

West Mountain is the perfect spot for families and beginners looking for gentle slopes conveniently close to the resort’s base. While it may not be as vast as East Mountain or Mount Isola, it still offers a variety of trails, including the beginner-friendly White Lover course, known for its wide path and gentle gradients — ideal for novice skiers/snowboarders. You can even experience the thrill of night skiing during the main season, effortlessly skiing through powdery slopes beneath the starlit sky.

For those wanting to transition from East Mountain to enjoy onsens, shopping, or delicious treats at Rusutsu Hotel, a horizontal gondola conveniently connects East and West Mountain without requiring a lift pass.


Where to stay

The Vale Rusutsu. Image credit by The Luxe Nomad

Nestled at the base of Rusutsu resort, The Vale Rusutsu is the winner of Japan’s Best Ski Resort at The World Ski Awards for three consecutive years, and for good reason – aside from offering a luxurious retreat that harmonises with nature’s rhythms, its design invites the morning sun to bathe the interiors in a warm glow, while the crimson sunset hues provide a breathtaking backdrop throughout the day. This ski-in/ski-out haven is perfect for couples, families, ski enthusiasts, and friends seeking the ultimate powder holiday, while nearby onsens, restaurants and shops ensure a convenient and elegant stay. 

Jerome Lee

Jerome is a Singapore-based copywriter and travel industry professional who has lived in Melbourne, Australia and Tokyo, Japan. He has worked on copywriting projects for clients such as Esquire Singapore and JNTO Singapore, and on travel projects for Google Japan and Uber. His passions outside of work include learning new languages, snowboarding and hiking.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.