The Geto Kogen ski resort is located in Kitakami City of Iwate prefecture in northeastern Japan. Geto Kogen is famous for its heavy snowfalls, being located in a mountainous "snow magnet." The average snowfall per season at the top of the resort is over 25 meters! It is said that "the powder snow of Geto never dies, it revives." This implies that the supply of snow is almost endless. In addition to the volume of the snow, Geto offers fantastic high quality dry powder. The resort's popularity among powder snow lovers has been increasing over the years.
Although Geto Kogen is only medium-sized by Japanese standards, it has a great reputation. The layout of the courses and lifts are very efficiently designed, and facilities are well-maintained. The highlight, however, is the abundance of off-piste slopes and tree run zones. For the 2019-20 season, the number of tree runs expanded to six zones, where wonderfully deep, fresh powder snow can be enjoyed. As for ski runs except for a few beginner and intermediate courses, most runs have been kept as off-piste. There are numerous opportunities for enjoying deep powder snow compared to other Japanese ski resorts. Geto often experiences stormy weather, which visitors will need to be prepared for (however, remember that this stormy weather is the reason for Geto's heavy snowfall and deep powder).
(Left)B3 course （Upper right)tree run zone"Rabbit"(Lower right)C1 course
The B3 course is one of the most difficult slopes in Geto. It is a north-facing, off-piste course, whose quality lasts longer than that of other courses. C1 course is also an off-piste course that continues from the B3, thus allowing two off-piste slopes to be enjoyed together. The exit of the "Rabbit" tree run zone lies on B3, and it is a nice option to try the "Rabbit" zone before gliding in to B3.
(Left)B2 course (Upper right)C3 course (Lower right)C5 course
The B2 course is the most popular off-piste slope among powder snow lovers. After snow fall, most make their way to this slope to enjoy wonderfully deep powder runs. If you are lucky enough to be at this ski resort right after a heavy snowfall, you can enjoy "overhead powder snow" The end of the slope is steep, allowing the skier to muster enough speed to turn and spray powder snow. C3 course is also a recommended off-piste slope which, while not steep, alows for comfortable long powder cruising.
The A6 course is a comfortable beginners' slope, which starts from the Gondola station and offers panoramic mountain views. Intermediate skiers are advised to continue on to the C2 course, which is well groomed, wide, and with a moderate incline.
（Left)A1 course along the ridge (Upper right) A4 course (Lower right) B1 course
A1 course is a slope for beginners/intermediates, which is directly accessible from the Gondola station. While A1 offers comfortable, long cruises along a mountain ridge, the slope is a little steep and narrow and may be challenging for beginners. Night skiing is also offered here. B1 course is for intermediates, and it starts from the second Gondola station. While the initial section is gentle, from the middle section it becomes wide and steep.
The Geto Kogen ski resort is renowned for opening up new tree run zones, while most other Japanese ski resorts still prohibit entry to such areas. As shown in the tree zone map, purple colored areas are tree run zones.These are mainly for expert skiers who are required to follow specific tree run zone rules.
The opening hours of the tree run area are 9:30-14:00, but it is only opened after patrols conduct safety checks. Skiers entering the tree run area must wear helmets, and they are advised to bring a mobile phone with a fully-charged battery and to register an emergency telephone number with the Geto ski resort. Since the tree run area is a "self responsible area," if official search and rescue is requested, the relevant costs will be incurred.
In the tree run area, you can find green and red marks on the trees. Green marks means "Go right side of the mark", Red marks means "Go left side of the mark", there are arrow marks also. These marks lead skiers to the goal. From this point, it is important to start from the gate of the tree run area.
Shooter zone along the ridge
The Shooter is the most difficult tree run slope in Geto, with four courses, Shooter1 to Shooter4, along the narrow ridge of the mountain. Since slopes are very steep, one can muster enough speed to float in the deep powder snow. Advanced technique is necessary as the space between trees is narrow compared to other tree run zones.
As the name suggests, the Summit is an area entered from near the peak of the resort. Compared to the Shooter, the slope is relaxed and offers a mellow tree run.
(Left/Upper right)Beech (Lower eight)Stream
The Beech is located next to the Summit. It is the longest tree run in Geto and runs through a beautiful primeval beech forest. Intervals between trees are moderate; in some locations, they are wide enough to allow for medium-sized turns. Several marks on trees keep skiers aware of the correct route. As it would be difficult to get out of this area if lost, skiing alone is not recommended.
The Stream is located next to the Beech and covers a similar area. The start of the slope is steep but becomes increasingly gentle. Several natural pipes are formed by mountain ridges and streams. After the middle section, the distance between trees become wider, and skiers can enjoy turns with powder sprays.
The "Rabbit" course is more compact than other areas, but it offers a rich variety of geographic features. Since all exits from the Rabbit face onto other course (C1 and B3), there is no risk of getting lost.
Extreme is located between C3 and C5 course. While the beginning section is gentle, from the latter half it becomes steep (Max gradient is 40°).
Iwasaki Shinden, Waga-cho, Kitakami City, Iwate Prefecture, Japan
The most popular way to reach Geto Kogen ski resort from Tokyo is via train and bus. The nearest station is Kitakami station, and the bullet train (Tohoku Shinkansen) from Tokyo to Kitakami takes 2.5-3.0 hours, followed by a 50 minute bus ride to the resort. Free shuttle buses operated by the ski resort are also available. Alternatively, the trip from Hanamaki airport takes approximately 70 minutes by car.
(Left)Accomodation in the ski center (Upper right)Irihata Onsen (Lowe right)Seme Onsen
The ski center of the Geto Kogen resort offers ski-in, ski-out accommodation. There are three types, which includes skier's bed, dormitory room, and western style hotel type room. "A skiers bed" provides simple accommodation, sharing a big room containing around 90 beds. The dormitory is a simple room with 4-6 beds. There are also hotel-style luxury rooms called "Premium Stay “豪” Gou," though only three of these are available. There are also Onsen Ryokan (Hot spring inns) within about a 15 minute drive from the resort, and from which a shuttle bus service is available. The nearest city is Kitakami, where there are several western style hotels and a shuttle bus service (50 minute joruney time).
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