Alts Bandai

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Alts Bandai

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Alts Bandai

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Alts Bandai Ski Resort

Alts Bandai in Japan is quite a trendy ski resort that has lots of bells and whistles. Unlike many other Japanese ski resorts, Hoshino Resorts Alts Bandai is definitely not stuck in a bubble era time warp. Alts Snow Park & Resort on the south (front) face of Mount Bandai is owned by Hoshino Resorts, which also owns Nekoma Ski Resort on the north or back face (Ura-bandai).

Pros and Cons of Alts Bandai

Pros
  • The Alts Bandai Ski Resort can cater reasonably well for English speaking guests (the resort is proud that they have English speaking staff on duty 24 hours a day), yet there is minimal foreign influence at Alts Bandai. Very few westerners head there, so you can check out how the trendy Japanese do ski holidays.
  • Alts Bandai Resort has a lovely ski-in ski-out hotel (Bandaisan Onsen Hotel) with an equally lovely onsen.
  • The hotel and resort infrastructure are very contemporary.
  • There is a decent terrain park and it’s a hip mecca for park junkies.
Cons
  • The Alts snow quality usually isn’t the primo powder that you’d expect for Japan. The elevation isn’t very high and the slopes have a very southerly aspect, so when the sun comes out the snow quality also goes south.
  • The Alts ski terrain is small and only provides enough variety for a day of riding, but you’ll get plenty of diversity if you also head to other Aizu resorts.
Pro or Con Depending on Your Perspective
  • Like lots of other Japanese ski resorts, off-piste skiing and boarding is officially prohibited. If you can be simultaneously discrete and respectful, very few others are likely to be riding off-piste, so you’re likely to find fresh lines.
  • Alts Bandai Resort is sort of inter-connected with Nekoma Ski Resort near the top via a walking trail, yet it is only officially open when the weather is fine (there are plans for a new lift to connect the two ski areas).
  • Alts Bandai Ski Resort is usually very crowded on weekends, whilst weekdays are quiet.
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Alts Bandai Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Alts is a medium sized resort with 22 courses (runs) that total 30km in length, however this statistic also includes the snowcat accessed piste (4 courses) and assumes that all the lifts are running (the gondola wasn’t operational during the 21/22 season).

The official trail statistics are 35% beginner, 40% intermediate and 25% advanced. The beginner trails are highway wide and despite the width, on weekends there are plenty of beginners crashing into each other. Alts Bandai is largely suited to intermediate riders with a handful of well groomed runs, and with a maximum gradient of only 29 degrees, the few black runs can mostly be tackled by intermediates as well.

Advanced riders will want to head off-piste to find adequate challenge. Like many other non-westernised Honshu resorts, off-piste skiing and snowboarding is officially not permitted but is possible with care.

Where is Alts Bandai?

Alts Bandai is located about 290km north of Tokyo in the Fukushima Prefecture of the Tohoku region (ie northern Honshu). As one of the Aizu ski resorts, the Alts Bandai Ski Resort is situated on the front side of the majestic Mount Bandai not far from the little town of Inawashiro.

Alts Hotel

There is no village at the resort, with accommodation and overnight amenities housed within the Mt Bandai Hot Springs Hotel. The hotel is conveniently ski-in ski-out and inter-connected with the day lodges at the base of the ski area. The deluxe 4-star Mt Bandai Onsen Hotel features stylish and modern Japanese décor, western style twin accommodation, a delightful buffet restaurant, bar lounge, retail shop, ski storage, and a lovely onsen. The Alts Bandai hotel also features a sizeable indoor swimming pool.

There are also lots of other Aizu accommodation options in the region, which are perfect for sampling multiple Aizu ski resorts in addition to Alts Bandai.

Ski Resort Facilities and Services

Alts Bandai has lots of contemporary amenities for skiers and snowboarders, housed within two adjoining buildings at the base area of the ski resort. In addition to on-mountain restaurants, there are a couple of massive cafeterias at the base and a popular creperie. Food tends to cost a little more than at most other Honshu ski resorts.

Alts has a reputable ski and snowboard school, and lessons in English can be provided in a private format. Alts has high quality ski and snowboard rentals and a large pro retail shop with snowboards and boots, no ski hardware, a smidgeon of outerwear, souvenirs, and loads and loads of ski and snowboard accessories (including rack after rack of funky lift ticket holders – why doesn’t such a modern resort get with the times and ditch those silly paper lift passes??).

Alts Bandai is very family oriented, particularly for children that speak Japanese. In addition to ski lessons, there is a kids’ play room, child care facilities for ages 8 months to 6 years old, and an adventure land with banana boating, tubing and sledding.

Alts Bandai offers cat skiing in a small section on a western portion of the mountain that used to be part of the lift-served terrain. The Alts cat skiing is unguided and you can do single runs, with 3 snowcat rides offering each weekend day.
Tours That May Include Alts
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