druseph33All very helpful info. Were you able to hit up any of the gates at Niseko? Were they still pretty tracked out if so? I definitely plan only only skiing a day or two there and checking out Rusutsu and/or some backcountry the other days if I decide on it.
I know you said it was too touristy: How crowded was it (both lift lines and food/bars)? When did you go?
We did hit gates a Grand Hirafu, Niseko and yes it got tracked out pretty quickly, comparable to any major resort in the US. The lines at Grand Hirafu, which is the major resort in Niseko, were bad, 20+ minutes on the first day, place was nuts. Although I did get my lift skiing at NIGHT at Grand Hirafu which was unreal...it snowed like 10 inches of super light snow in like 45 minutes and night skiing through the glades was sick! We went to a bar called Wild Bills on a friday night and the place was NUTS, too busy for me but if you like to rage it could be fun. There were some other cool bars and restaurants that cater to the traveling english speaking skier, which is cool and has a good vibe but wasn't that authentic Japanese culture I wanted to see. But like I said, if you want to party it's cool.
We didn't get amazing snow at Rusutsu but I see the lines not being as bad on Pow days up there, butt there's also zero nightlife so it's obviously a trade off. Most nights we were so beat from skiing we went to bed pretty early after an onsen sesh.
Mount Yotei in Niseko has really sick backcountry and even though it's crowded up there, it's beautiful and we had great skiing up there too.
It's all a give and take, the more rural resorts will have less fun things to do at night but will provide more culture and that home grown feel that I personally wanted to see. But Niseko, for the first time Japan trip, is easy and lots of people speak english, public transportation ect. But with the amount I spent, I think I would have done it differently.