Rusutsu is at once bizarre and brilliant. Lying 80km west of Sapporo, the resort boasts an embarrassment of powder-fine snow, averaging over 14 metres of snowfall annually. Its central hotel complex, consisting of two hotel wings and a tower, is the dominating presence at the resort, and contains a veritable wonderland of Japanese idiosynchronism including brightly lit merry-go-rounds, animatronic canine jazz bands and talking trees. Undeniably, there is a heavy coating of Japanese kitsch, and this combined with the sheer size of the hotel (there are over 800 rooms in three wings, connected by Mono-rail) are extraordinarily unique features for a ski resort. However, beyond these novelties, there lies some truly breathtaking skiing and boarding.