Rusutsu is great for every level including the first time beginner!
Rusutsu Resort is a great place to start your skiing or snowboarding experience! It provides ease of access to the mountain slopes, facilities like rental and ski school are right on-site, and the new Debut Park makes Rusutsu a perfect place for the beginner!
The Debut Park
The brand new Debut Park is located just outside the North Wing of Rusutsu Resort. Open on weekends in 2020-2021, you can learn basic skills like how to put on bindings, skating technique for snowboarding, wedge technique for skiing, and much more. Remember to check out the jumbo LED screen, which demonstrates all the basic techniques for both skiing and snowboarding. Each movie is about 5 minutes long and they will both loop throughout the day.
This unique Debut Park offers the chance to try out some of the basics, without a teacher or lesson. If you like the feeling, you can then further progress your skills by signing up for a lesson with one of our friendly ski or snowboard instructors. Debut Park is open on weekends and the cost of entry is ¥2,000 per person in 2020-2021 season.
The Ski and Snowboard School
Our friendly and experienced international instructors will ensure you enjoy a fantastic lesson experience here at Rusutsu Resort. In 2019-20, Rusutsu Resort had a team of approximately 70 international instructors (60 for ski & 10 for snowboard lessons). In fact, a number of the instructors are dual certified and can instruct both skiing and snowboarding. All lessons are taught in English by our dedicated team of native English-speaking International instructors. The Instructors are a great group of snow lovers! When they are not teaching, you will find them out on the courses carving and enjoying everything that Rusutsu has to offer.
Many of our international instructors choose to return to Rusutsu year after year, so we think this is proof of the quality of snow on the mountain and the fun atmosphere! So know that you are in good experienced hands.
The first thing to consider is your level of ability for skiing or snowboarding. When you sign up for a lesson you will be asked to describe your level from 1 to 6.
Level 1: First time never skied before.
Level 2: Beginner – Able to control speed and stop in a snow-plough, but learning to turn.
Level 3: Novice – Can link snow-plough turns on beginner terrain.
Level 4: Intermediate – Can link parallel turns on intermediate terrain.
Level 5: Advanced – Can make confident parallel turns on advanced terrain (black course).
Level 6: Expert – Can ski with dynamic parallel turns, comfortable on all terrains, skiing over a range of snow conditions e.g. powder, moguls, chopped snow.
So give serious consideration to evaluating your level, and reply honestly, so you can benefit from the best possible lesson! Our school offers several types of lessons, including Private, Family and Group lessons. Do you learn and focus better alone? Or, would you prefer to laugh and have fun with your friends or family during a lesson? Choose what is right for you, and we will happily accommodate your desires.
Recently I asked Ski School Instructor Paul Hanlon a few questions about Rusutsu Resort.
Q1. What is the best thing about taking a ski lesson at Rusutsu Resort?
Soft powder snow, friendly international instructors and expansive terrain help make Rusutsu a fantastic place for lessons. The International ski and snowboard school caters to a wide range of levels, from guests experiencing snow for the first time to experienced skiers/snowboarders looking to refine their technique. The beginner area is located adjacent to the hotel and close to the rental station for a convenient lesson experience.
Additionally, Rusutsu’s varied terrain allows novices to explore all 3-mountains as Mt. Isola features special “bypasses’” which avoid more challenging terrain. After just a few days of lessons, beginners can reach Mt. Isola, which provides stunning vistas of Lake Toya and a real sense of achievement. While, for experts, we offer a powder guiding product, where an experienced instructor will use their local knowledge to find the freshest snow and Rusutsu’s secret powder areas.
Q2. Why do you as an instructor love teaching at Rusutsu?
As an instructor, it is fantastic to see guests experiencing the magical powder snow for the first time, becoming captivated by skiing or boarding. The gentle terrain and soft snow ensure beginners make fast progress. After just a few lessons, guests can discover the expansive ski area spread over 3-interconnected mountains, creating a real sense of exploration.
It’s satisfying to see guests return year after year to enjoy the powder snow and resort lifestyle, while progressing their skills, here at the Rusutsu Resort International Ski & Snowboard School.
SALOMON ＆ ATOMIC RENTAL STATION
Rental equipment can be hit or miss at some mountains and resorts, but not here at Rusutsu Resort. We guarantee a quality selection of gear for everyone from beginners to experts and even premium model skis and snowboards. The most important focus is the safety and quality of the gear. Everything is maintained and managed by the pros at our Salomon staffed rental desks so you know the equipment is in the best condition possible, when you show up to pick up your gear.
There are three locations to find, select and pick up your gear at Rusutsu Resort. Salomon Station can be found at Rusutsu Resort Hotel & Convention North Wing 2F. On the second floor of the Highland Lodge you can find Premium rentals and Salomon brand goods for purchase at the Premium Front location. Right next to that you will find the largest selection of gear at the Salomon and Atomic Station. All of these locations are footsteps from the slopes! Pick up your gear and you will be on a lift in moments! The last location can be found on the 1st floor of the Westin Rusutsu Hotel, this is also a Salomon Station!
One of the most common questions concerning rental equipment is, “Can I really arrive empty handed?” Yes you can! We can provide all the equipment including ski wear, but you will have to purchase goggles and a hat due to personal hygiene restrictions. So book your flight today and travel lite! We will take care of the rest! If you have more questions or concerns about the rental stations, please check the FAQs on our official website. Then while you are there, why not reserve your equipment using our on-line reservation capabilities. If you make your reservation before 4pm, your equipment will be ready for pick up the next morning!
West Mountain for the Novice
What about the courses, you say! Where do the beginners start and how can I progress to more advanced courses? If you are a beginner or novice skier or snowboarder, you will want to start your experience by taking the gentle West Mountain No. 1 Chair lift.
This will bring you to the top of the “Family course” which is the perfect place to start. It’s a wide, low-angle course perfect for the novice skier. You might enjoy it so much that you spend your whole day riding this lift and course.
If you want to progress and challenge a little more, the “White Lover” course is just on the opposite side as you get off the lift. For the little kids you will find the “Crayon Shinchan Cross” and the “Crayon Shinchan Tree” runs, also on the Family course.
Are you a level 4 or above? Want to challenge yourself a little more? You will want to start with the West Mountain No.2 Quad lift. This lift will take you almost to the top of the West Mountain, in the comfort of a nice bubble!
From here you have many choices, but we recommend starting on the Eva or Bambi course. From there you can progress to the more difficult and steeper Dynamic course! Rusutsu Resort covers three mountains altogether, named West Mt., East Mt., and Isola.
Many people see the West mountain as the smallest and least challenging, but that is not the case! The West mountain has something for everyone and there are many lesser-known sections to explore and enjoy! The view of Shiribetsu Mountain, from the top of West mountain on a sunny day, is also fantastic and not to be missed.
East Mountain and Isola for the Novice
What about East Mountain and Isola for beginners? Is the West mountain the only place for novice skiers and boarders? East mountain has both a pair lift and a quad lift from the base station area. You can access the appropriately named “Easy Trail” from these lifts. It’s a mellow and wide run good for the real beginners.
If you feel you can ride any of the “green” labeled courses, then you can continue on your journey to the top of Mt. Isola. From there you will be able to return by using the Isola Top bypass course and the Isola Grand bypass course. There are panorama-style courses that crisscross the mountain to avoid the steeper sections. All the courses leading to the Steamboat and Heavenly areas on Mt. Isola are ranked as intermediate and above, so keep that in mind when heading further than the peak of Isola.
One of the best parts of Rusutsu is enjoying the amazing panorama views from the top of Isola, and this is not just for the expert skiers! If you can ski or ride the green trails, then you can make a visit to the top of Isola and capture a panoramic photo like the one featured here! Amazing isn’t it!
Now let me tell you a little personal story! I too started as a first-time snowboarder at Rusutsu Resort about 35 years ago! I can still remember my first and life-changing experience on a snowboard.
At the time, Rusutsu was one of the first resorts to welcome the new sport of snowboarding, and I was excited to rent a Burton Performer board and give it a try.
I was young and in a challenging mood, so I made my first run off the top of the Tiger lift. At that time it was a single chair lift, now replaced with the West Tiger pair lift. Just off to the left is the “Natural Course” an ungroomed tree run through the beautiful white birch trees. I strapped in and took off with some simple instructions from my friends. Somehow I made it down the course, and I was hooked for life!
Snowboarding and powder snow can be a magic combination! Now 35 years later I would not recommend that you make your first run down the natural course! Things have improved over time. With rental stations, ski school, Debut Park, and much more, Rusutsu has made it easy to start on your lifetime journey in snow sports!
Where to start?
Need more inspiration or ideas? Check out “The Mountain” section and the “Rental & Lesson” section of our official website for lots of detailed information. You may also want to watch the Debut Park movies mentioned above. You can find these on our IGTV channel within Instagram!
Rusutsu Resort is known as a great family resort and in every family, there is bound to be a beginner! Maybe you want your children to have a great experience on snow, or maybe it is Mom or Dad who needs some lessons to improve their technique. Rusutsu will make your experience fun and easy, and you will be certain to come back for more in the years to come!
Who knows maybe you will fall in love with skiing or snowboarding and even consider purchasing a piece of Rusutsu Resort through an apartment with ski-in/out access like our very own The Vale Rusutsu!
We look forward to welcoming you regardless of your ability and level! See you on the slopes!