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Travel & Leisure

Japan's ski resorts fear it's downhill all the way

Rising number of COVID infections cools visitors' enthusiasm for winter sports

The slopes of the Mount Racey ski resort in Yubari, Hokkaido, are deserted on Jan. 8 after its operating company halted business amid the coronavirus pandemic.    © Kyodo

TOKYO -- Japan's winter resorts are on a slippery financial slope as rising COVID-19 infections deter skiers and snowboarders.

The country's fine-quality snows had increasingly lured foreign enthusiasts over the last few years, but last year a historic snow shortage left many resorts under pressure. This season there is plenty of snow -- but the coronavirus outbreak and Japan's subsequent ban on foreign tourists are keeping most visitors away.

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