Abandoned ski resorts are everywhere in Japan! I never specifically wanted to go to one, nevertheless I ended up at about half a dozen of them on the way to other places; one of them being the Alpen Rose Ski Resort.
The Alpen Rose Ski Resort is (or rather: was) a nursery slope in the middle of a busy skiing area in northern Hyogo prefecture. It opened in 1965 under a different name and apparently without a lift. In 1970 a lift was built, extended to the summit in 1971. In 1978 the ski resort was renamed to Alpen Rose, before it was closed in March 2000 or some time in 2001, depending on the source. (Since an abandoned vending machine still has “collectible” Star Wars Episode 1: Phantom Menace Pepsi Cola cans on display, the 2000 date is more likely, as the movie was released in Japan on July 10th 1999.)
After 13 years of abandonment and with the lower part of the ski lift gone, the Alpen Rose Ski Resort became one of those *haikyo* perfect for a break on the way to other places. After an hour or two in a car it’s nice to stretch your legs and take photos for a couple of minutes – in that case you don’t need a spectacular location that keeps you busy for several hours, just some dilapidated building with a couple of items and a landscape easy on the eyes.
Before entering the lodge I had a look at the surroundings – a little shack near the end of the former slope and a rather big foundation made of solid concrete; most likely the lower station of the now demolished lift. Not really much to see.
The lodge on the other hand was pretty nice, despite being partly collapsed already – and I guess the rest will follow soon, given that the building was almost completely constructed on pillars; especially the handful of guest rooms on the southern side. Partly covered by a crashed projecting roof and now exposed to Mother Nature were dozens of skis and skiing boots, right next to a Coke machine in decent condition. Next to it on the veranda was the already mentioned Pepsi machine and quite a few other items, like a Technics amplifier and a Panasonic hi-fi system – nothing fancy, but probably still working. The price list inside the lodge displayed rather steep, touristy prices. 350 Yen for a Coke and 800 Yen for curry rice would be normal prices today, but we are talking 13 years ago… Also definitely worth mentioning were the two snowmobiles right at the entrance, getting rusty and dusty.
The Alpen Rose Ski Resort was exactly what I hoped it would be – a nice break on a long car ride to the Sea of Japan. Nothing spectacular, but then again, not all of them can be like the *Abandoned Dynamite Mine* or the *Japanese Sex Museum*…
I planned to publish a video with this article, but Youtube seems to be a bit bitchy again on this computer – I will upload it most likely on August 26th.