The weather here today was perfect. Had a great day. Took a free bus from Koriyama station to Alts ski resort on the west side of Mount Bandai. Wonderful views over Lake Inawashiro. More boarders than skiiers, I should say. Not exactly powder but plenty of snow.
The central area at Alts was busy enough but in spite of being a sunny Sunday in high season, there were no queues and the slopes were pretty empty. Generally tourism in Fukushima for the year is only 60% of what it was the previous year and skiing is no exception. Some resorts have fared better than others. Dinky little Numajiri where I taught my kids to ski hasn't done too badly as it caters for the locals. But Adatara whose bread and butter is school trips from Tokyo and Kyushu has had many cancellations (number of visitors only 36% the previous season) not helped by hotels in nearby Dake Onsen being damaged by the earthquake or closing down altogether. People from Fukushima and nearby prefectures such as Ibaragi and Tochigi know that radiation levels are low in the Aizu area and haven't stayed away but Alts is an upmarket resort catering mainly for Tokyo tours and numbers are only 64% compared with the previous season. Pity. It has great facilities, especially for families. Indoor creche (￥1,500/hour), restaurant and car park exclusive to families and children's slopes complete with escalator! Back on the main slopes some of those tiny kids on snowboards are amazing.
It was exhilarating to ski on such a perfect day in such beautiful surroundings and on empty slopes. But it's not good for the area. Please come and visit Fukushima. You don't know what you're missing.
Happy but tired, I'll wish you goodnight,
|Mount Bandai and Alts ski resort|
|'Fukushima Re-Born '|
|Lake Inawashiro looking west towards Aizu|
|Lake Inawashiro looking east towards Koriyama|