Like many other Japanese ski resorts (as I have come to realise), Appi Kogen in Iwate prefecture is essentially a collection of groomed runs; in this case on the face of an interestingly isolated mountain (rather than being part of a mountain range with multiple resorts in close proximity). Nevertheless, it is the largest and best known resort in Iwate, and has numerous runs of varying difficulty and a reasonably steep gradient on the top half of the mountain at least (another thing that seems to be lacking from many Japanese resorts).
Luckily, in between the courses are plenty of trees and a number of open areas under the lifts/gondolas which provide great powder riding opportunities.
Of course these areas are technically out of bounds, and as we have found out, there are patrols out on weekends to try and stop/catch people riding in these areas; however patrols seem to be non-existent on weekdays, which is of course perfect for people like me who are staying a long period here and boarding basically every day. In fact, being the largest resort in the area, it gets quite busy on weekends, so I am more inclined to take a rest day then (depending on conditions) anyway.