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Mount Naeba ski resort, Japan

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The two resorts of Naeba and Kagura have been joined together by the world’s longest gondola “Dragondola", which spans 5.5km and takes 15 minutes to ride, to form the massive resort of Mount Naeba, which also includes the connected villages of Tashiro, Mitsumata and Kagura. The numbers are spectacular – runs of 6 kilometers, vertical drops of 1220 meters and some hotels that make large European skiing hotels look like small fry. The four villages have a lot to learn from their European counterparts, as there is a definite lack of joined-up marketing from the ski area as a whole.

Naeba is by itself, Japan’s largest – even without the interconnected addition of the other resorts. It has a wide variety of slopes for all abilities and tastes, including a couple of snow parks and a family zone. As you would expect from Japanese efficiency the mountainside is criss-crossed with high-speed gondolas, six seat chairlifts and some double seat chairlifts that the Japanese curiously call “romance lifts”. Along with the imposing hotel there are also a handful of restaurants to experience the local cuisine.

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