I recently made my first visit to Nozawa Onsen’s ski area. Now that I’ve gone, I’m hooked! It’s a negotiable large-sized ski area with a friendly feel. The ski area is owned and managed by the village of Nozawa Onsen, perhaps contributing to that friendly vibe. The weekend I went, the powder was fantastic.
The 20 runs totaling 50 km of terrain available vary in difficulty from beginner to expert. Two gondolas and 22 chair lifts help you get to anywhere you want to go. If you get tired of the busy bunny hill and you’re feeling a bit adventurous, take a trip on the Skyline trail and drop into one of the powder-filled expert runs. Once there, you may very well find you have the run to yourself.
For people who love to play in the park, Nozawa Onsen has that, too. Rails, jumps, bumps, and a half pipe are all waiting for thrill-seeking skiers and boarders. In addition to the alpine facilities there is also a ski jump, cross country course, and a kids’ snow park.
If you hope to make a weekend of your trip to Nozawa Onsen, there are plenty of places to stay, dine, and, if the village name doesn’t give it away, onsen to soak in. From Matsumoto, the trip to Nozawa Onsen takes about 2 and a half hours by a combination of train and bus. You can also drive on the express way which takes about 2 hours. Access information can be found on the village website at www.vill.nozawaonsen.nagano.jp/info/english/start.htm