Russian oligarchs buy football teams, Silcon Valley tech titans buy NHL teams, and now in the latest professional sports investment, Professional Jerry’s can buy ski resorts.
No, I don’t mean the Lego Ski Resort, although I would quite like one of those on my desk. I am talking about a whole ski resort; land, lifts and infrastructure. Sure, small ski resorts pop up for sale every now and then, but usually a few million dollars for a rope tow in the middle of nowhere.
Nagno City Council are taking tenders for the Iizuna Kogen Ski Resort, 25 minutes drive from the Nagano shinkansen, and 35/75 minutes from Myoko and Hakuba respectively. The resort has 7 lifts, and was home to the freestyle ski and bobsled events in the 1998 Winter Olympics.
Japan, famous for giving away buildings via Akiya Banks is now giving away an entire functioning, active ski resort with all the related infrastructure. If you are not aware, the Japan ski industry had a major bubble that went pop in the 90’s after huge investments in numerous ski resorts and accommodation.
If your too-good-to-be-true alarm is ringing loud and clear right now, it is with good reason. This resort has been losing money for some time now, and the Council is banking on an injection of cash from a new owner to attract a good chunk of the growing tourist population. There are some fundamental challenges with this resort though that no amount of cash can fix, even if you are a Russian oligarch.
The resort elevation is 1100M – 1500M, pretty normal statistics for Japan, even for latitudes this far south. For instance, nearby resort Madaro spans 900M – 1350M and Akakura Kanko in Myoko is 750 – 1500M, two resorts famous for their quality powder skiing. The issue is aspect, south-facing slopes in Japan, especially down in Nagano struggle with too much sun exposure. This means the snow will fall in large Japan quantities that the area is known for, but any powder skiing will be heavy snow and won’t last for long.
So, it’s a waste of time? No, I wouldn’t say that. A dedicated park resort that is half the drive from Nagano than X-Jam could be a seriously busy and fun business to own. Who knows, maybe this is even The Best Ski Resort?