A trip back in time: skiing at Japan’s Zao Onsen resort in 1968
Zao Onsen is widely regarded as one of Japan’s oldest ski resorts, opening in 1925 with the first ski lift installed in 1951. This incredible footage was taken in 1968 during the skiing boom that preceded the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo.
One thing that hasn’t changed in the 50-odd years since the footage was taken is the presence of the eerie-looking juhyo, otherwise known as snow monsters, a natural phenomenon that occurs when airborne water droplets freeze against Mount Zao’s Aomori white fir trees.
Likewise, there’s still great skiing and an abundance of natural onsen, the same features that attract tourists to the resort to this day. For a glimpse at what a trip to Zao might look like these days, check out our comprehensive resort guide written by Ski Asia writer Hanni Steppan.