Announcing the nominees for the 5th annual Ski Asia Awards. Voting is open now.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of our annual Ski Asia Awards, intended to acknowledge the best and fairest in Asia’s ever-evolving ski industry. Three new categories have been added to the mix including Japan’s best ski travel agency, tour operator and real estate agent.

Our readers are invited to cast their votes here, which also comes with the chance to win a $150 eGift voucher from

Japan’s Best Ski Hotel

This year’s list of nominees for Japan’s Best Ski Hotel features six hotels from three provinces, including our 2022 and 2019 category winner, Arai Resort, located just metres from the base station of the Arai Gondola. Less than 20 km away, Akakura Onsen’s Hotel Taiko boasts a range of new features including a state-of-the-art ski and snowboard rental service and a live music and event wine and whiskey bar.

Japan 2022/23 ski deals

Image: Active Life Group

Active Life Madarao is once again nominated for its warm and welcoming hospitality, while Kawamatoya in Nozawa Onsen earns a spot thanks to its world-class facilities, which include a rooftop barbeque terrace, “kashikiri” soaking baths, a theatre room and gym. Rounding out the list are two Niseko-based properties, Niseko Kyo and HakuVillas, whose architectural innovation has seen it featured in Vogue Japan, Tatler and Hokkaido Shinbun among others.

Japan’s Best Snowsports School

Our six nominees include four Niseko-based schools, Hokkaido Ski Club, Rhythm Rides, Imagine Japan and Niseko International Snowsports School (NISS). NISS, awarded “Highly Commended” last year, boasts 20 years in operation across Hirafu and Hanazono resorts, while Imagine Japan, who began as a team of 5 during the pandemic, now employs 33 instructors and guides, and has recently expanded into Rusutsu.

Shiga International Ski School, based at Okushiga Kogen Ski Resort, is one of two Honshu-based nominees. The other, Myoko Snowsports, is a perennial winner in this category thanks to its long-standing reputation for exceptional service and experienced staff. The school, whose flagship branch services the Akakura Kanko/Onsen resorts, is also the official snowsports school for Lotte Arai Resort, a 40 minute drive from Akakura.


Niseko International Snowsports School (NISS). Image:

Japan’s Best Ski Resort for Powder

It’s no surprise that Geto Kogen features once again in this category. The resort dominated snowfall stats towards the start of the winter season, defying predictions of a below-average El Nino-affected winter. This combined with its progressive attitude to off-piste/tree skiing makes it a top contender in 2024.

Arai Resort is another famliar name, having won this category several times since the Awards’ inception, while Niseko Hanazono Resort, the sole Hokkaido representative, rounds out the list of nominees thanks to its reputation for exceptional snow quality.

Best ski resorts in Japan

Image: Lotte Hotels & Resorts

Japan’s Best Ski Resort (overall)

This year’s list of nominees features some heavy-hitters including Niseko Hanazono, one of Japan’s most popular ski destinations, and Arai Resort, a three-time winner in this category. Hanazono makes up one quarter of Niseko United, and is popular for its wide-open bowls, world-class terrain park and luxury accommodation.

On Japan’s main island, Lotte Arai Resort is a true powder magnet, averaging 18 m of snowfall per season thanks to its proximity to the coast. The once-abandoned ski resort features 10 avalanche-controlled free riding zones and 14 marked trails including an FIS-certified slalom course.

Able Hakuba Goryu is one of ten ski resorts that make up Hakuba Valley, an international resort comprising 960 hectares of skiable terrain and more than 100 lifts. Goryu is particularly popular with young families thanks to the variety of beginner terrain on offer, but with 17 trails spanning 926 m of vertical, the resort is suitable for all levels and abilities.

ski in ski out Japan Appi Kogen

Image: APPI

Rounding out the list is APPI Snow Mountain Resort, whose stocks have risen dramatically since its reinvention as as a luxury destination resort. Its three slopeside hotels, which include the luxurious ANA Intercontinental, offer a huge range of options for dining, entertainment and relaxation.

Japan’s Best Family Ski Resort

The most successful family ski resorts typically feature a generous range of beginner trails and dedicated lifts, plus a quality selection of ski schools and rental shops. Our 2024 nominees offer this and more.

Japan's best family ski resort - Tomamu


Hoshino Resort Tomamu Ski Resort is a destination resort with some of Japan’s best off-slope facilities including the country’s largest wave pool, an indoor beach and an ice village packed with sculptures, slides, a skating rink and an ice library, among other ice-related attractions. Niseko Hanazono is another big-name Hokkaido resort featuring an impressive range of family-oriented activities including snow rafting, tubing and snowmobile tours.

Arai Resort, perhaps better known for its powder credentials, boasts one of Japan’s best snow schools in Myoko Snowsports, who frequently tops our Best Snowsports School category, while Able Hakuba Goryu is popular for its vast beginner terrain.

Japan’s best ski travel agent

Japan Dimension is the first of three nominees for Japan’s best ski travel agent, one of several newly introduced awards categories. This boutique travel agency specialises in small and medium-sized group bookings, and offers its services in English, French, Japanese and Chinese. Japan Ski Experience, another “one stop shop” for all ski services, provides tailor-made itineraries with a best price guarantee thanks to its partnerships with some of the world’s most luxurious accommodation providers. Rounding out the list is Mountainwatch Travel, who in 2021 partnered with sister company Liquid Snow Tours.

Japan’s Best Backcountry Guiding

Our 2024 nominees include Niseko Hanazono’s in-house operation, Hanazono Powder Guides, plus last year’s winner, Rising Sun Guides, whose “human powered and mechanized” backcountry ski experiences are offered throughout the Hokkaido and Tohoku regions of Japan. Rising Sun’s Andrew Spragg previously lent us his opinion on the best backcountry skiing zones in Hokkaido.

Kurodake NE face

Dropping into Kurodake’s NE face. Image: Mark Barsevskis, Rising Sun Guides

Japan Outdoor Institute (Freeride Japan), our final nominee, offers a comprehensive range of training programmes and tours that include Avalanche Safety, Wilderness First Aid and backcountry tours. The company operates across Tokyo, Hakuba, Myoko, Nozawa, Yuzawa, Hachimantai and Hokkaido.

Japan’s Best Ski Tour Operator

Alpine Backcountry Guides boasts 40 years of guiding experience in the Central Hokkaido region, now with bases in both Furano and Tomamu. The company provides equipment rental and lodging in addition to its range of backcountry guided tours, led by Samuel Morrell, the son of ABG’s founder. Our second nominee, We Are Sno, is another Hokkaido-based operation specialising in ski instructor internships and training. The programmes on offer are based out of Niseko and Furano, two of Japan’s premier ski resorts and powder destinations.

Japan’s Best Real Estate Agent

Originally based in Niseko but now with properties throughout Hokkaido, NISADE Real Estate is responsible for some of Japan’s best-known luxury ski hotels including Niseko Kyo, The Vale Rusutsu and Fenix Furano. The company now offers property tours of its most desirable homes, hotels and developments, led by its GM, Jonathan Benarr. The final nominee in this category, H2 Christie’s International Real Estate, is another Hokkaido-based operation, boasting a two-decade legacy in Niseko and Furano. The team, led by CEOs Simon Robinson and Michael Chen, is the largest of its kind in Niseko and the sole international real estate team in the growing Furano market.

Fenix West 1 Bedroom

Fenix West. Image: NISADE

Japan’s Best Ski Lodge / Chalet

Not surprisingly, our 2024 nominees include three Niseko-based properties, Moiwa Lodge, Tsubasa Chalet at Hanaridge, and H2 Group’s Hakuchōzan, based in the heart of Grand Hirafu Village. Moiwa Lodge is a budget-friendly option for solo travellers and families, featuring dorm rooms, communal spaces, plus slopeside access to the deep powder of Niseko Moiwa.

OneNozawa Lodge is this year’s sole Nozawa nominee, uniquely located 2,400 vertical feet above the village, with direct access to Nozawa’s Paradise trail. Our remaining two picks, Escape Myoko and Refre Hotel, represent the Myoko region, one of Japan’s oldest ski destinations and home to several individual ski areas. Akakura Onsen’s Refre Hotel enjoys prime real estate, just 300 m from the ski lifts and 100 m from the main street, while Escape Myoko is a family-owned 10-bedroom lodge, with add-ons including lessons, guiding, rentals and more.

Moiwa Backcountry Cabin

Image: Moiwa Lodge

South Korea’s Best Ski Hotel

Dragon Valley Hotel is a large-scale luxury hotel at the base of Yongpyong, offering ski-in ski-out access to South Korea’s largest ski resort. The hotel features several restaurants and bars, a sauna & spa, plus many more options for food and entertainment at the nearby Tower and Dragon complexes. InterContinental Alpensia Pyeongchang Resort is last year’s winner in this category, and is equally popular for its luxury facilities, which include a fitness centre and sauna.

China’s Best Ski Hotel

China's best ski hotel - Club Med Beidahu

Image: Club Med Beidahu

Club Med’s initial venture into China’s ski industry was through its Yabuli branch, last year’s winner in this category. This year, however, Club Med is represented by its Beidahu and Changbaishan branches, each offering a similar all-inclusive holiday package that includes restaurants, bars, high-end sporting facilities, international staff and, of course, skiing. Rounding out the list is another luxury Changbaishan property, the Hyatt Regency Changbaishan, whose facilities include both indoor and outdoor heated pools and a traditional Chinese-style spa.

South Korea’s Best Ski Resort

This year’s nominees for South Korea’s Best Ski Resort include last year’s winner, Yongpyong, the country’s biggest and oldest ski resort. Completing the list are Phoenix Snow Park and High1 Ski Resort, which at 1,376 m ranks as Korea’s highest altitude ski area. Phoenix is particularly popular for its terrain parks and slopestyle courses, plus its Olympic-sized half pipe. All three resorts are based in Pyeongchang in South Korea’s mountainous northeast – a region that served as host of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

High1 Ski Resort, Korea

Image: High1 Ski Resort

China’s Best Ski Resort

The contenders for China’s Best Ski Resort include one of China’s oldest ski desinations, Yabuli Ski Resort, and one of its newest, Silk Road Ski Resort, more than 4000 km away. Silk Road Ski Resort is one of two nominees based in Xinjiang, an autonomous region in China’s remote northwest. The other, Jiangjun Shan Ski Resort, is currently hosting the inaugural Altay Mountains Winter Sports Games in a bid to popularise winter sports tourism in the area. Beidahu and Changbaishan ski resorts, both popular Club Med destinations, complete the list.

Changbaishan International Resort, China

Changbaishan International Resort. Image:

2024 Ski Asia Awards Finalists

Ski resorts

Japan’s Best Ski Resort (Overall)

ABLE Hakuba Goryu
APPI Snow Mountain Resort
Lotte Arai Resort
Niseko Hanazono Resort

Japan’s Best Family Resort

ABLE Hakuba Goryu
Hoshino Resort Tomamu Ski Resort
Lotte Arai Resort
Niseko Hanazono Resort
Palcall Tsumagoi Resort

Japan’s Best Ski Resort for Powder

Geto Kogen
Lotte Arai Resort
Niseko Hanazono Resort

South Korea’s Best Ski Resort

High1 Ski Resort
Phoenix Pyeongchang Snow Park
Yongpyong Ski Resort

China’s Best Ski Resort

Beidahu Ski Resort
Changbai Shan Ski Resort
Jiangjun Shan Ski Resort
Silk Road Ski Resort
Yabuli Ski Resort


Japan’s Best Ski Hotel

Active Life Madarao
HakuVillas by H2 Group (Niseko)
Hotel Taiko (Myoko)
Kawamatoya (Nozawa Onsen)
Lotte Arai Resort
Niseko Kyo

Japan’s Best Ski Lodge / Chalet

Escape Myoko
Hakuchōzan by H2 Group (Niseko)
Moiwa Lodge (Niseko)
OneNozawa Lodge (Nozawa Onsen)
Refre Hotel (Myoko)
Tsubasa Chalet at Hanaridge (Niseko)

South Korea’s Best Ski Hotel

Dragon Valley Hotel (Yongpyong)
InterContinental Alpensia Pyeongchang Resort

China’s Best Ski Hotel

Club Med Changbaishan
Club Med Beidahu
Hyatt Regency Changbaishan


Japan’s Best Snowsports School

Hokkaido Ski Club
Imagine Japan
Myoko Snowsports
Niseko International Snowsports School (NISS)
Rhythm Rides
Shiga International Ski School

Japan’s Best Backcountry Guiding Operation

Japan Outdoor Institute (Freeride Japan)
Hanazono Powder Guides (Niseko)
Rising Sun Guides

Japan’s Best Ski Travel Agent

Japan Dimension
Japan Ski Experience
Mountainwatch Travel

Japan’s Best Ski Tour Operator

Alpine Backcountry Guides
We Are Sno

Japan’s Best Ski Real Estate Agent

H2 Christie’s International Real Estate
NISADE Real Estate

The 2024 Ski Asia Awards aim to recognise the best ski resorts, hotels and service providers in Asia’s ski industry​. More information about the awards can be found on the Ski Asia Awards website

Public voting is now open until 8 March 2024. Voters will have the chance to win a $150 eGift voucher from Vote here:


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