Minowa - Reviews

Surprise Package for Powder Hounds

  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
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Loved It! Plenty of powder Very little competition for the powder Easy to access terrain I'm going back
If you just looked at the Minowa ski resort stats you wouldn’t even think of going there. Luckily one of the Inawashiro locals twisted our arms to go there (OK they didn’t really need twisting as we’d heard about the joys of Minowa before!).

The piste areas of Minowa were just as you’d expect from the stats (or a trail map) but it was the off-piste and the sidecountry areas that were the surprise package, with lots of fresh powder lines that lasted all day (and would have lasted well into the next day). The off-piste trees were easy enough to navigate but it was handy having a guide for the sidecountry areas. Thankfully Minowa is topographically gifted in that you can head a fair way out of the resort and it funnels back into the base area (well eventually anyway!). Some of the powder lines were even steep (albeit short) which is a rare thing in Japan.

It’s highly probable that off-piste and sidecountry skiing is officially not permitted at Minowa, but a few of the locals were doing it, and when we saw the patrollers a few times they just nodded and one even grinned at us. Sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw, so as with all these non-westernised Honshu resorts, play it by ear and use discretion.

There are lots of other ski resorts in the area and some of them get slammed on the weekends, but we visited Minowa on a Saturday and it certainly wasn’t busy (and almost deserted off-piste), probably because it’s just a little further afield.

We rate Minowa pretty highly as a powder hound destination. See our Japan ski resort ratings to see how we compare it to other Japanese ski areas, and see the Minowa overview page for more on the pros and cons.