Rusutsu, Hokkaido, Japan
Date: 3-4th of Dec 2011
Lifts Open: Isola #1 Quad
Pistes Open: Steamboat A, Steamboat B
Snow: about 7cm of fresh snow on day 1, about 5-10 fresh, heavy, wet pow on day 2
Since this was the beginning of the season for Rusutsu there weren't that many people and they only opened up 2 pistes, although there was enough snow about to ride a significant portion of the mountain.
On day 1 it was f**king windy and icy at the summit of Mt Isola, but once you descended into the treeline it was pretty pleasant well groomed runs with powder stashes either side. Some minor tree runs *might* have been possible but I wasn't game considering the snow depth. The quality of snow on Steamboat B was a bit icier. At about mid day some fresh started falling, by 14:00 it was dumping and continued through the night.
On day 2 there was very little wind, and the snow above the treeline was very nice. There was a whiteout all day and visibility was about 50m at the start of the day (severe hangover didn't help either). There was a lot of fresh powder, but unfortunately most of it had been groomed, and the guy operating the snowcat of Steamboat A must've been hungover too, there was a trench about 20cm in diameter running down the top half of the run which surprised me a couple of times in the low visibility. You could duck the rope and ride through the Rusutsu No1 piste and cut some fresh powder. After about 14:00 the whiteout really turned it on and reduced visibility to about the distance between 2 ski lifts.
All in all a good trip out considering the relative lack of snowfall in Hokkaido over Nov/Dec, pity the whiteout, and hangover, on Sunday killed it a little.