Small . . . but per­fectly formed

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Destination -

RECLU­SIVE snow­bun­nies can re­claim the slopes at th­ese lesser­known but eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble re­sorts. Hakkoda, To­hoku: Those in the know are call­ing Hakkoda the skier’s holy grail, for it has all the at­tributes of Niseko with­out the crowds. Es­pe­cially beloved of pow­der­hounds, the se­ries of forested moun­tains that makes up the area of­fers un­lim­ited snow and ex­cel­lent off-piste and back­coun­try ski­ing. More: snow­ APPI Ski Re­sort, To­hoku: Sit­u­ated on Mount Mae­mori and Mount Nishi­mori in the Towada-Hachi­man­tai National Park (across parts of Hon­shu’s Ao­mori, Iwate and Akita pre­fec­tures), APPI is the ben­e­fi­ciary of ‘‘aspirin’’ snow­fall — that is, fine, light flakes that stay icy cold on the north-fac­ing runs. The wide, safe ter­rain is per­fect for fam­i­lies and the ca­naryyel­low Ho­tel APPI Grand — con­ceived by ac­claimed de­signer Yusaku Kamekura — chal­lenges the tired ‘‘moun­tain lodge’’ aes­thetic. More: Inawashiro, To­hoku: If the cold doesn’t take your breath away, the views will. Known as Snow Par­adise, this re­sort is lo­cated in Bandai-Asahi National Park in north­east Hon­shu and takes in a panoramic vista an­chored by Inawashiro Lake. Hot springs and meals made from lo­cally grown pro­duce are just re­wards af­ter a long day on the slopes. More: Madarao Kogen, Nagano and Ni­igata: With 60 per cent of runs here un­groomed, the pow­der-loving mi­nor­ity will be guar­an­teed a wide berth. They’ll also be able to choose from Madarao’s many unique cour­ses, built when it hosted Ja­pan’s first freestyle ski­ing com­pe­ti­tion. More:

Hakkoda has ex­cel­lent off-piste ski­ing

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