Small . . . but perfectly formed
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: snowjapan.com 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: appi.co.jp. 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: g-jmt.com. 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: madarao.jp/ski/en.
Hakkoda has excellent off-piste skiing