Soon, it’ll be that time of year again, where a light flurry of snow turns into a heavier fall and every hill just looks to be crying out for a snowboard …
Every year, a bucket ton of JETs head over to Aizu to go snowboarding. You’ll find 99% of them at ALTS Bandai, which is a ski (and snowboard) resort on Mount Bandai, near Inawashiro.
Bit early for all this, isn’t it Jen? No, indeed tis not!
The season pass for ALTS Bandai is on sale now! The earlier you buy the pass, the cheaper it is. It’s possible that they’re only offering the combined pass for both ALTS Bandai and the Nekoma ski resort; but hey, that’s more places to go snowboarding!
From September 1st to October 15th, it costs 42,000 yen (or 39,000 if you had a pass last year).
From October 15th to December 10th, 44,000.
From December 10th onwards, 49,000.
Here’s some words of wisdom from Mark Noizumi, veteran snowboarder:
If you go about 10 times (5 weekends!), you get your money’s worth (and a lot of JETs go way more than that. I got in 39 days last season).
Anyway, any new folks who are on the fence, learning to ski or snowboard, it is awesome! It makes the winters here so much more enjoyable. There are tons of JETs who go to ALTS Bandai every weekend. So not only is it a great outdoors activity, it is also a great way to be social in the winter.
I bought a pass and invested in some cheap gear my first year, just to be social. I didn’t figure I would like it that much, but I thought it would be nice to learn and a good way to get out during the winter. After about 4 or 5 tries at snowboarding, I was feeling pretty so-so about it. But then one day, it just clicked. So many people have had similar moments where all of a sudden it just makes sense and suddenly becomes super exciting. From that moment on, I was hooked and I haven’t looked back (except once or twice to dodge Brent Barron doing the most incredible jumps ever).
So please consider joining us this season. Usually, if you show up early in the season, there will be tons of new people learning and you can kind of stick together going down the mountain. And then the people who already know how will stop in periodically and coach you on basics. You’ll pick it up in no time! But yes, it is already time to start thinking about this. Buy the pass with one of your early paychecks and then enjoy a winter of boarding!!! I actually save a lot of money in the winter, because boarding tends to be way cheaper than my non-winter life style.
Huzzah! So now is the time to buy a snowboarding pass; “but how?!” I hear you cry. Luckily, there are very many handy guides lurking around the forums, such as this one:
(Scroll down to Liz’s reply for the step-by-step tutorial.)
However, if you’re sitting on the fence about this one, then I recommend this three part blog to you. It goes over a lot of things, from what sort of gear you want to get, to a quick look at all the slopes in your local area, to what you can expect from your first few tries and beyond. It’s really very helpful.
- So You Want To Be A Snowboarder? Part 1 – Gearing Up
- So you want to be a snowboarder? Part 2 – Slopes and Passes
- So You Want To Be A Snowboarder? Part 3 – Expectations, Learning and Tips
In other news, if you’re sitting there wondering, “I’d love to go! But how will I get there?” Cars are amazing things, as are sempai! Also, here’s a map showing where the place is.
There is also a shuttle bus that runs from Koriyama station. The timetable can be found here:
There’s also lots more information here:
No pressure, but … Go snowboarding, it’s awesome!