Photo/Illutration A rider glides along a zip line that offers a view of Lake Biwako in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, on Jan. 27. (Kenta Sujino)

OTSU--The unusually warm winter and dwindling skier numbers prompted the operator of the Biwako Valley ski resort here to set up a zip line as an alternative activity option.

It is the first time the popular summer attraction has been operated in the winter at the resort.

The zip line starts from a platform about 1,100 meters above sea level that overlooks Lake Biwako.

Riders can travel down the rope with the help of a pulley. Two courses are available, with the longer one covering 169 meters.

Biwako Valley Co. said its ski resort was initially scheduled to open on Dec. 21. But the start was delayed until Jan. 3 because of a lack of snow. It was the first time in 42 years that the opening was postponed to January.

The number of visitors to the resort so far this season has been about half of the average, the company said.

So it set up the zip line as a new way to bring visitors to the mountain.

It felt so exhilarating to glide along and see Lake Biwako as I went. There was not much snow, but it was so much fun, Toru Nishikawa, 24, a company employee from Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, said after his ride.

The winter zip line is offered until March 22.

The charge is 5,000 yen ($45). Required round-trip tickets to ride the gondola cost 3,000 yen.

For more information, visit the official website at (