This was our first Japan ski trip, and our EPIC passes from California gave us 5 consectutive days on the mountain. We werent sure if this was even possible for us to do, but nevertheless it was going to be lots of fun. Snowing almost every day all day, mostly in the mornings and evenings with whiteouts all over, we were getting some really awesome snow. I quickly discovered my goggles were insufficient for the constant snowstorms. I had trouble seeing since i had rose colored goggles; just couldn't see terrain features very well which limited my speed.
There was one day of it not snowing and being totally clear skies. I remember on that day the snow was much more bumpy since none of it was really being covered back up after skiers and boarders went over it and kicked the powder off. The snow here is so much softer than in Tahoe or Colorado. Champagne powder for sure!
Once at the top of the mountains, epic sights all around. There was even a volcano visible from part of the mountain, Mount Shirabetsu. At the top of each of the peaks, there was more snowy terrain for miles and miles, unlike the vast desert when up top in Lake Tahoe. One of the runs on the smaller mountain had a downhill portion that ended up going through an amusement park with roller coasters and a ferris wheel which was a cool photo opp.
The smaller mountain offered night skiing so potentially we could ski from 9am - 8pm, however we normally skiied from ~9am to 3pm and went back to the room to relax afterwards. Starting early at 9am we were able to get first tracks pretty much every day.
Getting our lift tickets using our EPIC passes was super easy. The online EPIC site we needed two forms of ID, however I was able to use my California drivers license with no problem. All passes are RFID, and all the lifts had 2-3 RFID sensors you walked through that would trigger a revolving gate which was easier than having someone walk up to you to scan for your card in your jacket. Only thing we had to remember was to put the RFID card in our pants pocket otherwise it would be too high for the sensors.
All of the chairs on the lifts in rusutsu had retractable covers over the seats which I imagine was for the massive amount of snow that falls in the ski season. The covers were annoying at first but we appreciated them later in the day.
During this Rusutsu trip, my skiing is improving so much. I'm looking up and forward much more now and planning my turns. I'm also able to go over bumpy sections much faster and get tired less. Eventually I was able to go down many more blacks and even a couple double blacks.
Clotheswise, sometimes I felt like I had too many jacket layers on. I definitely got good use out of toe warmers though, those things were lifesavers.
Our walkie talkies worked really great, and my wife and I got lots of good range on them. Never really had a problem communicating when on different parts of the mountain or getting separated. I experimented with the vox settings but the wind kept triggering it too easily and i didnt have the patience to keep messing with it so i disabled it.
Skiing 5 days in a row is super difficult. My wife and I only night skiied once since we were just so tired from skiing every day. The last day of skiing my wife and i were spent, our legs just didn't last long on the slopes anymore. We definitely got our moneys worth out of this trip though and it was worth all the soreness we were going to feel when we got back to Tokyo.