Palcall Tsumagoi

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Known for its terrain parks
Known for its terrain parks
Palcall Tsumagoi Ski Resort Japan
Palcall Tsumagoi Ski Resort Japan
Palcall Tsumagoi Gunma
Palcall Tsumagoi Gunma
Palcall Tsumagoi: popular with the young hip crowd
Palcall Tsumagoi: popular with the young hip crowd
Snowboarding at Palcall Tsumagoi
Snowboarding at Palcall Tsumagoi
Palcall Tsumagoi is not far from Nagano
Palcall Tsumagoi is not far from Nagano
Ski-in Ski-out Palcall Tsumagoi Resort Hotel
Ski-in Ski-out Palcall Tsumagoi Resort Hotel
Palcall Tsumagoi Resort
Palcall Tsumagoi Resort
One of the best terrain parks in Japan
One of the best terrain parks in Japan
Palcall Tsumagoi is 211km NW of Tokyo
Palcall Tsumagoi is 211km NW of Tokyo
Palcall Tsumagoi is not far from Kusatsu Onsen
Palcall Tsumagoi is not far from Kusatsu Onsen
Easy to see why it
Easy to see why it's popular with terrain park junkies
Palcall Tsumagoi is ideal for beginners
Palcall Tsumagoi is ideal for beginners
Some of the slopes are really wide
Some of the slopes are really wide
Palcall Tsumagoi offers lovely views
Palcall Tsumagoi offers lovely views
Plenty of mellow slopes
Plenty of mellow slopes
Sunrise views from Palcall Tsumagoi
Sunrise views from Palcall Tsumagoi
Palcall Tsumagoi Resort
Palcall Tsumagoi Resort

Palcall Tsumagoi

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Palcall Tsumagoi

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Palcall Tsumagoi Resort

Palcall Tsumagoi Ski Resort in Gunma has experienced a rebirth and has shaken off the old bubble era vibe that many old Japanese ski resorts have. New owners acquired Palcall Tsumagoi Resort in 2019 and have brought a fresh new approach to attract families and the young hip crowd.

If you don’t want to follow the hordes that head to the Japanese ski resorts that are well known on an international stage and want to do something a little different, Palcall Tsumagoi makes a lovely alternative.

Or for the more adventurous, Palcall could easily be included on a road trip of the Gunma ski resorts or combined with some of the Nagano ski areas.

Pros and Cons of Palcall Tsumagoi

Pros
  • The ski area is ideal for beginners and intermediates, and some trails are highway wide so there’s plenty of room to practise turns.
  • Palcall Tsumagoi has a good sized terrain park that not only has beginner hits but also big jumps and other advanced features. The terrain park is making a big name for itself in Japan.
  • The Palcall Tsumagoi Resort Hotel is perfectly ski-in ski-out, it has an onsen, and the rooms are spacious, especially by Japanese standards.
  • The top elevation (2,100m) is the highest of the Gunma ski resorts.
  • The mountain views are fantastic, and to fully appreciate the vistas, there is sunrise (hinode) skiing.
  • For those not wanting to ski or snowboard, there are daily shuttles to the supersized Karuizawa shopping mall and the traditional hot spring village of Kusatsu Onsen.
Cons
  • There is negligible piste terrain on offer for advanced riders, and very little for powder hounds, although this may change in the future with plans afoot to undertake some glading.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • If you’re looking to stay in a cute village with a variety of restaurants and nightlife, Palcall Tsumagoi may not be for you, however the convenience of not having to leave the hotel once you finish skiing is particularly appealing for families, and buffet meals ensure that everyone can find food to their liking.
  • Palcall may not receive as much snow as some of the big name ski areas such as Hakuba, Myoko and Nozawa Onsen that get hit with big storms, yet there are lots of sunny days at Palcall and the wind is much kinder. Beginners also appreciate that the hotel, day lodge and gondola building are all inter-connected so there’s less opportunity to get cold.
  • Weekends can be busy, whilst weekdays are very quiet so some services don’t operate.

Palcall Tsumagoi Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The Palcall Tsumagoi Ski Resort sits below the treeline between 1,370 and 2,100 metres (730m vertical). It used to be made up of two separate ski areas, Palcall and Baragi, and has 16 courses (6 beginner, 9 intermediate, 1 advanced).

The stand out feature of the resort is the ridiculously wide beginner runs and there is also a magic carpet area for kids to learn. The intermediate runs provide nice fall line skiing and snowboarding on reasonably mellow slopes, whilst the one advanced run provides only 180 metres vertical drop and is low angle compared to black runs in other countries.

There is a small amount of off-piste and sidecountry terrain, although up high the evergreens are rather intimate with each, whilst the deciduous trees further down don’t offer the same snow quality as the higher elevations.

The terrain is serviced by 6 lifts. The gondola runs almost the full vertical of the Palcall Tsumagoi Resort. It opens really early for sunrise skiing, yet it closes early in the afternoon. The rest of the lift fleet is made up of 3 high speed lifts (2 quads, 1 double), 1 double fixed grip (only open on weekends), and 1 magic carpet. Gondola queues can form on weekends, and you can get a priority lift pass if you want to get to the front of the line.

Palcall Tsumagoi Snow

Like most other Gunma ski resorts, Palcall Tsumagoi gets less snow than some of the high profile Niigata and Nagano ski resorts, because it is located further from the coast. The snow volumes are still very respectable relative to other countries, and the cover is supplemented with plenty of snowmaking.

Palcall Tsumagoi Ski Resort has the highest top elevation of the Gunma ski resorts and one of the highest base altitudes, which contributes to a long season which can last into early May (Golden Week). The slopes are east facing to ESE so they catch the morning light well which is nice for the sunrise skiing but not as ideal for snow quality outside the height of winter.

Where is Palcall Tsumagoi Gunma?

Palcall Tsumagoi Ski Resort is located near the Tsumagoi Village in the Agatsuma area of ski resorts of western Gunma, along with Kusatsu Onsen and Manza Onsen. Whilst sitting within the Gunma Prefecture, the ski area is right on the border of the Nagano Prefecture and the Sugadaira Kogen Ski Resort of Nagano sits on the other side of the mountain.

Palcall Tsumagoi is not that far away, only 40km, from the well-known Karuizawa Prince Hotel Ski Resort (famous for being quick to get to from Tokyo on a bullet train, the gargantuan shopping mall, crowds and fake snow), yet the Palcall Ski Resort is far far away from Karuizawa in terms of the skiing and snowboarding experience. It’s worth travelling the extra distance to get to Palcall. Naturally if you do want to visit the Karuizawa shopping precinct, it’s not far away.

Palcall Tsumagoi Hotel

The Palcall Tsumagoi Resort Hotel is part-way up the mountain, making it truly ski-in ski-out. The hotel rooms are spacious, have an ensuite bathroom, and some offer beautiful mountain views. The western rooms have extra large single beds (aka twin beds) whilst the Japanese rooms have tatami flooring with futons to sleep on the floor.

Room types:

  • standard twin room – 25 square metres, 2 twin beds, rollaway for 3rd guest
  • deluxe twin room – 35 square metres, 2 twin beds, couch, caters for up to 4 guests
  • standard triple room – 32 square metres, 3 twin beds, rollaway for 4th guest if required
  • maisonette – 2 storeys connected via a spiral staircase, 52 square metres, 4 twin beds
  • large Japanese room with 20-25 tatami, private bathroom, caters for 2-9 guests
Hotel facilities and services include onsen baths with sauna, English speaking staff, lounge bar, and a restaurant serving buffet breakfast and dinner. Half board packages are inclusive of breakfast and dinner.

You can look at rates and availability for the Palcall Tsumagoi Resort Hotel here.

Facilities

The Palcall Tsumagoi Resort has well developed facilities and services, although some of them are only open on weekends and holidays when there is ample demand.

The main base area has Palcall Café, a large restaurant serving an array of cuisine. Other food offerings include a fast food eatery and a restaurant over on the Baragi side of the ski area (both open on weekends/holidays). Other amenities include lockers, a retail shop with souvenirs and ski/snowboard accessories, an equipment rental shop, kids’ play room, and child care for 1 year old to pre-school age kids (open on weekends/holidays, have to pick up the kids for lunch time).

The snowsports school offers private beginner and intermediate lessons for children and adults (maximum 3 persons in the lesson), and includes terrain park riding tuition.

Activities

The sunrise gondola rides are renowned and offer beautiful views over Mt Azamaya that are very instagrammable. Onsen baths at the hotel are ideal for après ski relaxation, or if you want a really traditional onsen experience you can get the shuttle bus to the cute historic village of Kusatsu Onsen which has various hot springs. There are also shuttle buses to the Karuizawa outlet mall for anyone who wants the shop until they drop.
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