Although Japan’s ski industry has a long and storied history, its future is far from certain.

Resorts are reaching deeper into their pockets than previous decades have demanded and, in a battle to survive and prove their points of difference, they must continually update, improve and expand. With an aging skiing demographic and much of the younger generation apathetic toward winter sports and rural lifestyles in general, many of Japan’s countryside towns are facing a rapid population decline, with a number of ski areas similarly affected.

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