Ski resorts in Japan another victim of surging energy costs

Japan Times -- Jan 24

For a quarter century, the Hachi Kogen Ski Resort in Hyogo Prefecture relied on artificial snow machines to prepare its slopes for the annual season. Not this winter.

The property is among hundreds of ski resorts getting squeezed by surging energy prices, which are forcing some businesses to curb operations. Since powering the energy-intensive snow cannons would have cost Hachi Kogen about ¥40 million ($310,000) — double the price last winter — the resort opted to wait for natural snowfall and opened a few weeks later than normal.

For a global industry already reeling from the impacts of rising global temperatures, higher energy prices are posing another challenge for resorts from Asia to Europe. While Japan has so far escaped a significant falloff in snow and freshly opened borders are luring thousands of foreign visitors to destinations like Niseko and Hakuba, rising costs mean many of the country’s smaller resorts are walking an economic tightrope. ...continue reading