My final stop on this lap through Japan was in at Shiga Kogen, Japan’s highest, largest ski resort. I joined a local Tokyo-based winter adventure club appropriately called “Tokyo Gaijins” on their Shiga Kogen Snow Monkey Beer Live 2015 Poster Snow Monkey Beer Live trip to Shiga Kogen. The trip provided both awesome winter sports, as well as access to the “ Snow Monkey Beer Live” annual music and beer festival. Shiga Kogen was a great time. The mountain is beautiful, and although the terrain isn’t quite as challenging as what I grew up with in Colorado, the snow was world-class.
I joined the Tokyo Gaijins group on my trip to Shiga Kogen. The group is a snow club, which runs amazing trips to the mountains every weekend in the winter. Bus transportation, lodging, meals, and great times are provided on each trip! Since our group was fairly large, we had an entire hotel to ourselves – complete with dining hall, onsen, and our own rental and gear shop. The base of the mountain was right across the street – perfect!
The rooms are traditional Japanese style rooms, and we fit a few people in each one. Smaller groups of friends tend to stick together, and I was fortunate to make good friends with the guys in my room – we were packed in there, but had a lot of fun “camping” in Japan.
Our first day, going up the small, kinda old, japanese gondola. These things looked like eggs, and opened in the middle. Small and fun!
Getting ready to go down the mountain on my rental snowboard. Although the terrain at Shiga Kogen is nowhere near as challenging as in Colorado, the snow is great, and runs are wide open.
One of the steeper sections of the mountain – still nothing compared to Colorado, but a fun time nonetheless – snow conditions were absolutely perfect.
One of the huge mid-mountain dining halls.
Going up the lift, there are accomodations all over the mountain. However, there’s a distinct lack of shopping, entertainment, or any real community areas. Each of the larger hotels has its own cafe and restaurant, but there’s not very many independent restaurants, or common social areas for people to walk around and mingle. Very much oriented towards staying with your own group, doing your own thing, and generally keeping to either the slopes or the hotels. Also, I was dissapointed by the lack of gear shops – I found only one small gear shop which sold a minimum of gear.
Shiga Kogen Snow Monkey Beer Live festival! 20+ breweries from all over Japan showed up to sample their fresh beers, and local bands played great music. It was held in Shiga Kogen’s central events hall, and was absolutely packed. We had a great time!
Snow Monkey Beer – tasty, especially after a day of snowboarding.
Singer Hanah Spring performs at Shiga Kogen Snow Monkey Beer LIve.
A huge dump of snow gave us absolutely perfect powder conditions. A bit of a whiteout, but perfect nonetheless.
Making friends on the mountain!
A few of us got together before lunch for some big group runs. Skiing as a group is fun for a run or two, but gets annoying quickly as you spend half your time waiting for everybody.
With the mascot Okamin!