New Tram for Japan's Powder Mecca

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Japan, Nov. 9, 2000 (SAM Magazine)--Japan's Asahidake ski centre, which was closed last season reopens for 2000-2001 with a new tram (cable car) which will dramatically improve access for visitors.

Asahidake, which reportedly was featured in Mac Dawg's movie 'Simple Pleasures' has a reputation for both a long season due to its abundant deep powder snow, and for its inaccessibility from the nearest major communications hub, Sapporo, partly for the same reason. With reputedly the best snow in Hokkaido, the season here can extend to June.

The new tram, which runs the resort's full vertical or 500 metres (about 1600 feet), should make the effort of actually reaching the centre more worthwhile for visitors. The old tram only had an uplift of 184 skiers per hour and there are no other lifts. Last May the walls of snow ploughed off the access road had reportedly reached more than 20 metres (60 feet) high. The resort normally only grooms a couple of trails and the powder fields elsewhere on the mountain are a magnet for boarders.