GALA Yuzawa is a decent skiing and snowboarding resort in Niigata. It’s one of many in the area, but what sets it apart is that it has its own bullet train station (aptly named Gala Yuzawa Station)—and it’s only 90 minutes away from Tokyo. That means you can hop on a train just after 6am in Tokyo, be grinding the slopes by 8, and get back into the capital by nightfall, in time to feed your cats/child/pet rock.
The place is well suited to beginners, with a range of gentle slopes (and a snow sledding slope!) in the central area. There are some intermediate options too, with a couple of expert courses in the northern and southern parts of the resort. There is also a 2.5km downhill course—a fun feature aimed at beginner-intermediate snowsters (yes, that is a word now).
It’s a pretty small resort, though when the connected Yukawa Kogen and Ishiuchi Maruyama (requires bundle/additional ticket) resorts are also open there’s a nicer variety of skiing to be had.
A day pass will cost you 4,600 yen if you make your own way there, but we think this one-day package (includes transportation, admission, a 1-day lift ticket and locker access) is much better value. The only thing you need to organize separately is gear—bring your own, or rent it there.
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