If you want to aim for Rusutsu Resort, this is where Kenji Ando, ​​also known as Andy, teaches!

Rusutsu Resort boasts one of the largest areas in Hokkaido and is visited by many people from Japan and abroad.Rusutsu is home to a luxury hotel that offers the best in hospitality, so inbound tourists from overseas come to Rusutsu in search of JAPOW (Japanese powder snow).Of course, it goes without saying that it's very popular among Japanese skiers, and many snowboarders come from all over Hokkaido and other parts of Japan by plane in search of the best snow and terrain here in Rusutsu.In this article, we will introduce a rider who is currently attracting a lot of attention among the riders who are skating down Hokkaido, who announced his signature board from RIDE at the age of 50 this year.please use this form.), Kenji Ando taught us how to enjoy Rusutsu Resort.
Photo: Neil Hartmann

How to conquer Rusutsu Resort, which is so spacious?

The appeal of Rusutsu Resort is its overwhelming size. There are a total of 3 courses spread out within the resort, which spans three mountains.Moreover, there are 37 gondolas, 4 quad lifts, and 7 pair lifts, and the total skiable distance of the course is an astonishing 42 km.In such a vast area, there are a wide variety of courses, including compacted snow, uncompacted snow, parkland, treetops, and stream terrain.
Moreover, it is easily accessible from Sapporo, just an hour and a half by car, so many professional snowboarders who live in Sapporo frequent it.Kenji Ando, ​​also known as Andy, is one of them.He is based in Sapporo, and during the season he travels not only to Hokkaido but also to snow resorts in Honshu.In January 1, Andy skated Rusutsu during the top season.The weather was sunny, and it had snowed a few days before, so it was a day of perfect powder conditions.

The snow quality is perfect, but what is the powder competition rate?

We quickly boarded the gondola early in the morning and headed to the top.Then, the sun peeked out through a gap in the clouds.The temperature is low, and you can tell from the snow on the trees that conditions are good.I asked Andy, who was skating non-stop, to tell me about the appeal of Rusutsu from various angles, and the first thing he said he liked about Rusutsu was the wide range of play.
``I only come to Rusutsu once in a while, but when I do, it's definitely a fun slope.It's definitely fun if there's snow, but even if there isn't powder left on the main uncompacted snow course, Rusutsu is wide, so if you look for it while playing around, there's plenty of powder left here and there. There's a good chance you'll be playing. There are plenty of side hits, and there are small to large mash all over the place in the powder area, so it's really easy to find spots to play."

Andy finds the mash while skating and lightly pumps out the air.

At every resort, there is a battle for powder on the next sunny day after it snows, and especially on Saturdays and Sundays.However, Andy says that Rusutsu's powder competition rate is not that great compared to other resorts in Hokkaido.
``After all, there are many places to ski, so it's not easy to run out of powder.Of course, the open, uncompacted snow slopes are highly competitive, but even with the tracks, you can still enjoy the soft snow.There's plenty left on the sides. Also, if you aim for short courses rather than long courses, there are many places where there is still plenty of powder left even in the afternoon.
In fact, on the day of the photoshoot, there were a lot of people around even though it was a weekday, but it didn't feel like it was that crowded on the slopes or while waiting for the lifts.Since Rusutsu's area is so large, people will naturally spread out.

Even in areas with lines, if you use dry powder, the slush will increase this much.

Coffee time with a break in between

What is Andy's must-see course when aiming for Rusutsu?

I asked Andy how he usually skis Rusutsu.
``Basically, I usually take the gondola up and take the chairlift around.I aim for places where the snow looks good, but when the snow is good like today, I definitely go to Sugar.''
What Andy calls Sugar is an uncompacted snow area with bowl terrain between the Isola and East mountains, nicknamed ``Sugar Bowl.''The trees are sparsely spaced, and you can enjoy big powder turns at high speeds.The bottom of the course is connected to the main stream, so you don't have to worry about getting lost no matter where you drop off.
"Sugar is popular, so if it's getting pretty rough, I'll head to Isola. I'll go down to Steamboat and ski down the stream. If it's a stream, even on days when the snow is hard, there's side-hit terrain that you can play on, so I'll go there. There may be many things.”
Speaking of Andy, he also has the skills he cultivated through skating, and is also quite good at small tricks such as flat tricks.The photos he sends to the editorial department seem to be mostly powder-cut, but we asked him how he enjoys skiing on the slopes when he skis privately.
``It's fun to do ground tricks and carve at high speed on a flat course, but if that's all you do, you'll get bored.That's why I usually ski where there's good snow, and when I come onto the course, I try to land side hits. You can play on the walls or on the flat, and enjoy all-round snowboarding.In that sense, I think Rusutsu's slopes are the best ski resort where you can enjoy them in many different ways.''

Rusutsu has many ups and downs and is dotted with spots where you can jump.
Andy shows off his bitty turn on the wide barn.
The course side also becomes a play area.
Andy skillfully handles the board even on flat burns.

The charm of Rusutsu Resort is not just the mountains.

Rusutsu also has a snow park and a kids' park, catering to the needs of a wide range of generations and levels.If it snows, you can enjoy the tree runs and stream terrain at Isola and East, and it's also pleasant to carve turns on the beautifully maintained West Pisten Course.After skiing plenty of powder in the morning, you can freestyle at the park, which caters to beginners to advanced skiers, while families can have fun with their kids on sledding and tubing.Rusutsu is a large area with excellent snow quality and a wide variety of courses. You won't be able to cover all the courses in one day, so I highly recommend you come and spend the night there to slide down the slopes.

The thing you can see at the far end is Mt. Yotei, which represents Hokkaido.And the mountain you can see in front of it is Rusutsu Resort.
Andy thoroughly enjoyed Rusutsu's THE DAY
Of course Andy is smiling as he slips through the day.

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