From my step brother who came in early feb - Nozawa can be a bit tough in the middle bit when the pow is deep, especially for snowboarders (the mountain is sort of a circus tent shape, steep, flaaaat, then steep again). He really preferred shiga kogen for variety, and said he would have skipped nozawa if he knew.
My first and only experience with Nozawa as a ski resort was during a very icy period, The top area was basically a steep ice rink and not at all fun. Lower sections were good, i did enjoy it, but it wasnt "OMG!" good.
The Onsens there however are amazing.... But might not be all that enjoyable for a first timer? I am not talking about the paid onsens; you have them near almost all ski resorts. Nozawa is famous for the 13 public onsens which are community maintained. You can go onsen-hopping and see all sorts of different onsens. BUT they are hot as hell. Like 45 deg C or more hot. For an Onsen first timer this would be basically unbearable (it hurts to put your hand in it the first time).
But, its one of the popular areas for Australians at the moment, so you will see more English spoken there, even some non-smoking bars (spun me out - I had never seen that in Japan before).