Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Kaneyama ski centre

The magnificent setting: two children and Mikagura-dake from the top of the lift

If Lake Numazawa is what makes Kaneyama-machi so special in the summer, then it is the ski centre that does the same for the winter. All the children get a free season pass, there are a number of races and events through the season for those with a competitive bent, and the views are wonderful. 

Looking down one of the main slopes

Except for race days and free pass days it never gets busy, and during the week you may have it all to yourself. That's great for me, as, call me picky, but I usually prefer to do without an audience when I am falling arse over tit, in this my first try at downhill. It's a bit like riding a bike downhill, only without brakes. Silly really, but everyone else is doing it, so it must be OK.

Children on the beginners lift

Expert skiers in search of a challenge might prefer a bigger centre, (there are no black slopes currently open) but there are several courses, including a beginners slope with it's own lift, a scenic route suitable for all levels that winds down through the woods (a lot of fun and with a dodgy corner that often decks me), and variations on two courses that are steep enough to provide sport and excitement for most, in a lovely wild setting. The restaurant does nice basic food at reasonable prices, and has a good view, and you can book skiing and snowboard lessons - one of the teachers speaks good English if you ask.

Two of the staff smiling on as they officiate at a school race day in sleety rain

You can't tell from my shadow that I am a rubbish skier. It's when I get off the lift that the trouble starts

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