Want to ski somewhere different over the February holidays? Japan’s resorts give you a terrific mix of top notch skiing and a fascinating culture to experience. This is prime time to ski Hokkaido’s heavenly powder, which tends to be at its deepest and freshest in February. Depending when half term falls, you might be here for one of the huge winter festivals – like Sapporo Snow Festival – or you could catch Chinese New Year which is the biggest event on the calendar, with incredible feasting and fireworks.
With excellent hospitality and all kinds of facilities from kids clubs to spas and private Onsen, the ski hotels in Japan suit all ages and group sizes. Some offer an all-inclusive package which covers all food, drink and sometimes ski lessons and lift passes too, saving you the hassle and money of arranging it all separately. Others can be booked as B&B or room only, which works well for visitors who are keen to try the local restaurants.
This can be the busiest week of the season if it coincides with Chinese New Year, so if you find a hotel you like the look of, it’s worth booking it up.
If you want to experience some of the finest powder snow on earth, this is the time and place to do it. Japanese ski resorts tend to see dry, powdery snowfall throughout February, with the most snow sure mountains garnering metres of the stuff. This does mean the weather is cold and cloudy, so you’ll want to layer up to stay snug. Kids ski schools often adapt their lesson plans depending on the weather, combining snow skills with indoor play for the youngest learners.
For those who manage to have time and energy left after skiing or snowboarding, these ski resorts offer a marvellous mix of things to do. Besides popular ski resort past-times like snowshoeing and snowmobile rides, you’ll find whacky activities like snow banana boat rides and rafting on the snow. There’s plenty of opportunity to experience Japanese customs, like taking a soak in an Onsen bath or attending a tea ceremony.
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