Located in the Yamagata Prefecture over 600km south of Niseko stands Gassan Snow Resort. Simply put, Gassan is an anomaly in Japan. While most Japanese resorts are known for relatively short seasons that start in December and end in early March, this ski area located on Japan’s main island starts its season in April and hangs up its boards in July. Why the late start and end?
Snow. The ski area gets walloped with too much snow to make winter operations feasible!
When the resort opened in 2010, the summit depth was over 26 feet deep! However, unlike Niseko, Rusutsu, or Kiroro, Gassan is not known for powder. Instead, spring and summer skiing reigns supreme. Skiers and riders can either descend from one of the three lifts offered at the ski area or hike up to the top of Ubagatake (elevation – 5480 feet), which offers a longer and more varied descent.
Although it’s not your traditional ‘ski resort,’ Gassan is a unique place to ski and ride, offering an adventurous experience for a relatively cheap price ($40 for an adult lift ticket).
Also, hardcore Japanese ski bums can be seen hiking the mountain in August!
Annual Snowfall- 500+ Inches
Vertical Drop- 2,950′
Steepest Pitch- 35°