Skiing/Snowboarding Overview

Skiing and Snowboarding

Skiing and snowboarding are winter sports.
Skiing began to spread in Japan in 1911 and has continued to this day.

Many Japanese people visit the slopes during the skiing and snowboarding seasons.
Some people enjoy it as a vacation, while others devote themselves to skiing and snowboarding competitions.
Here, we'll introduce you to some of the ways to enjoy skiing and snowboarding in Japan.

The History of Skiing and Snowboarding in Japan

Skiing and snowboarding in Japan began on January 12, 1911, when Austrian Major Theodor von Lerch instructed a young officer of the Takada Army Infantry Regiment in Niigata Prefecture how to ski.
After the introduction of skiing to Japan, skiing competitions began to take place throughout the country.

In the 1970s, snowboarding started to become more active in Japan and in 1982, the Japan Snowboarding Association was established.
In 1989, the Japan Snowboarding Association became a member of the International Snowboarding Federation.
At the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, snowboarding was selected as an event.

Skiing and snowboarding now have a history of more than 100 years in Japan and have been popularized by the Japanese, with some people enjoying it casually and others devoting themselves to mastering the sports and taking part in competitions.

Enjoy Skiing and Snowboarding in Japan

Here, we'll go over some of the best ways to enjoy skiing and snowboarding in Japan.
Here, we'll go over some of the ways to enjoy skiing and snowboarding in Japan.

・Visit Ski Resorts Around the Country
There are many ski resorts in Japan, and you can enjoy skiing and snowboarding almost anywhere when the season begins.
The slopes vary in terms of amount of snow and snow quality each year.

There are also resorts that offer beginner courses and gather groups of beginners to teach skiing and snowboarding.
There are also many ski resorts that offer skiign and snowboarding equipment rentals.

・Join a Tour
Another great way to enjoy skiing and snowboarding in Japan is to join a tour offered by a travel agency.
Tours vary from one travel agency to the next, so it's important to check out what kind of plans they offer to enjoy your time skiing and snowboarding in Japan.

Top Skiing and Snowboarding Resorts in Japan

There are many popular ski resorts that can be found throughout Japan.
Here we'll list a few of them.

・Rusutsu Resort
Rusutsu Resort is located about 90 minutes from Sapporo City and New Chitose Airport by car.
There are 3 peaks, 4 gondolas, 14 lifts, and 37 different courses.
As well as skiing and snowboarding, reindeer sledding, ice fishing, and other activities are also popular.
The resort is also unique in that it offers skiing and snowboarding lessons for beginners.
There are also lessons for those who are used to skiing and snowboarding.

・Ski Jam Katsuyama
Ski Jam Katsuyama is a ski resort located in Katsuyama City, Fukui Prefecture.
You can enjoy skiing and snowboarding on one of Japan's largest slopes, with the longest slope being 5,800 meters.
There are a variety of courses for beginners as well as courses where you can ski and snowboard while looking down at the Kuzuryu​ River.

・Hakuba Happo-One Snow Resort
The Hakuba Happo-One Snow Resort is located in Nagano Prefecture.
With a total slope length of 23,000 meters and an elevation difference of 1,070 meters, it is known as one of Japan's leading ski slopes.
You can enjoy courses such as the Riesen Grat course, where you can see Mt. Myoko from an altitude of 1,830 meters, and Olympic Course I, where you can enjoy the men's skiing course used in the Winter Olympics held in February of 1998.
There are also children's courses and a kids' space where families can ski and snowboard together.

The Winter Olympics held in Japan

The Winter Olympics are held every four years.
Athletes from countries around the world compete in events to demonstrate the results of their hard work and daily training.

Here we talk a little bit about the Winter Olympics held in Japan for those interested in the history of skiing and snowboarding in Japan.
・1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics
Japan's first Winter Olympics, held in 1972, were held in Sapporo, Hokkaido.
Many athletes competed in the Mt. Okura Ski Jump, the Mt. Teine Slalom, and the Mt. Teine Giant Slalom, among other venues.
Japan won a total of three medals, including Asia's first Winter Olympics gold medal by Yukio Kasaya, who competed in the 70 meter ski jump category.

・1998 Nagano Winter Olympics
The 1998 Winter Olympics were held in Nagano Prefecture.
Athletes from 72 countries participated in this large-scale sporting event, which attracted more than one million spectators.
In addition to alpine skiing, events such as ski jumping, Nordic skiing, cross-country skiing, freestyle skiing, and snowboarding were selected for the 1998 Games.
It's also important to note that the giant slalom and halfpipe were official events for snowboarding.

The country with the most medals was Germany, with 29.
Japan won 10 medals, 5 of which were gold.

Types of Skiing and Snowboarding Events

One of the best ways to enjoy winter sports is to get to know the different disciplines of skiing and snowboarding.
The following is an explanation of the characteristics of each discipline for those looking to learn more about the sports.

・Alpine Skiing
Alpine skiing originated in the European Alps.
Also called "downhill skiing," alpine skiing involves skiing downhill with fixed-heel bindings.
Helmets are required to be worn in alpine events when performing giant slaloms and super giant slaloms or "Super-G's."

・Cross-Country Skiing
is a form of skiing where skiers rely on their own body to move, as opposed to the downhill nature of slopes.
It is known as a type of Nordic skiing.
Victory is determined by the time it takes to reach a predetermined finish line.
There are two types of skiing: classical skiing and free skiing.
The skis used in each type are different.

・Telemark Skiing
Telemark skiing is a discipline of skiing that originated in Norway.
Telemark skiers use alpine skis with specially designed Nordic bindings that fix only the toe of the ski boot to the ski.
This allows the skier increased freedom of movement.
・Ski Jumping
Ski jumping is a competition in which the athlete goes down a ramp and jumps high into the air from the take-off table, landing on the landing hill on the other side.
The winner is determined by distance and posture.

・Freestyle Skiing
Freestyle skiing is a sport in which skiers perform aerial acrobatics while skiing.
It is said to have originated in Norway in the 1930s.

There's mogul skiing, which consists of a timed free skiing run on a steep, heavily moguled course, stressing technical turns, aerial maneuvers, and speed, and halfpipe, which consists of aerial acrobatics on a semi-cylindrical slope.
In the 1980 World Cup, skiers were ranked based on three events - mogul, aerial and acro - and their overall performance in each of the three disciplines.
Dual mogul was added to the competition in 1997 and combined was eliminated in 1999.
At the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, skiers competed in mogul and aerial.
Incidentally, the U.S. athletes were particularly successful.
They won gold medals in men's mogul as well as men's and women's aerial.

・Slalom Skiing
Slalom skiing is an alpine event in ski and snowboarding competitions.
Slalom skiing is a sport in which athletes compete for victory by making quick and accurate turns through poles/gates.

Skiing and Snowboarding Are Popular Sports in Japan

Skiing and snowboarding are two of the most popular sports in Japan.
Many Japanese have won gold medals at the Olympics and are known for their athletic achievements.

Many ski resorts in Japan offer a variety of fun activities for both beginners and advanced skiers.
You can also rent boots, goggles, skis, ski clothing, etc., and there are lessons to teach you how to ski as well.

When making travel plans in Japan, skiing and snowboarding in places like Nagano or Hokkaido is something you should consider!
It's also important to book as early as possible as Japan's ski resorts are quite popular!