Trees and night skiing – Rusutsu's biggest draw cards, according to ski instructor Natalie Lai.

Rusutsu ski instructor Natalie Lai logged hours on Hong Kong’s most popular indoor ski slope before taking work at a resort in mainland China and, later, Japan. She is now a full-time ski instructor in Rusutsu, one of Hokkaido’s top ski resorts and home to some of the best powder skiing on the planet.

Natalie is a graphic designer by trade but, like many, has fallen victim to the snow bug and the inevitable pull of the Japanese winter. Ski Asia caught up with her to get some insider tips on visiting Rusutsu and find out just what it is that makes Hokkaido powder snow so addictive.

Natalie Laid, Rusutsu ski instructor

Natalie gets deep in some all-time Rusutsu powder!

Natalie Lai

Ski Instructor, Rusutsu

From: Hong Kong

Seasons in Rusutsu: 2

Other seasons: Club Med Yabuli and Maxxtracks indoor dry slope in Hong Kong.

Favourite Ski Resort: Rusutsu!

What do you love most about Rusutsu? Night skiing and trees.

First part of the mountain you visit in a powder day: Sugar bowl. It’s not on the map, but you can come and ski with me and I will show you!

Favourite restaurant: For lunch my only choice would be Steamboat, which has [my favourite] omelette rice with tomato sauce. Scarlet’s Cafe have the best cheese cake/ tart.

Night skiing in Rusutsu

Natalie lists trees and night skiing as Rusutsu’s two biggest draw cards.

Favourite bar: Rodeo drive. It has a good selection of drinks and great food!

Best thing to do in Rusutsu that isn’t skiing or snowboarding: Ride the merry-go-round and press the singing tree button to annoy reception and everyone else!

Best local tip for anyone thinking of visiting: If you looking for a Japan ski experience – Japow, tree runs, moguls, uncrowded chairlifts and outdoor onsens, you will like Rusutsu.

Connect with Natalie on her Facebook page, Ski Worm

Rusutsu ski instructors

Natalie (centre) with fellow Rusutsu ski and snowboard instructors.

Ski instructor Natalie Lai claims fresh tracks on a powder day in Rusutsu.

Natalie claiming fresh tracks on a powder day in Rusutsu.