A Guide to your Ski Holidays in Niseko

Niseko Is Japan’s Mythical Powder Paradise – Outside Magazine


Posted on December 15th, by Google News Archive in Niseko News. Comments Off on Niseko Is Japan’s Mythical Powder Paradise – Outside Magazine

Visit Niseko for ten days in January and you will ski nearly five feet of fresh snow—more than most resorts receive in a month. Venture into the glades or go cat skiing and you’ll almost certainly experience movie-quality powder. When professional freeskiers J.P. Auclair and Chris Benchetler skied there in January of 2009, for the ski-porn film Reasons, the cloudlike snow wasn’t “epic,” as they boasted in the film, it was statistically normal. And when Crocker quit Trans-America Insurance, where he had worked his entire professional life, he didn’t go heli-skiing in Alaska or move to Salt Lake City. “When I retired,” he said, “the first trip I took was to Niseko in January.”

Sold. A week later, I booked a ticket.

THE JAPANESE HAVE a deep and abiding love for skiing, even if most of them don’t technically shred. The country’s two most mountainous islands, from the frigid northern tip of Hokkaido to the subtropical southern tip of Honshu, are dotted with some 600 resorts. (The United States, by comparison, has about 425.) Japan has hosted the Winter Olympics twice: in Sapporo, 60 miles east of Niseko, in 1972, and in Nagano, 130 miles northwest of Tokyo, on Honshu, in 1998.

After World War II, during Japan’s economic heyday, families cut down trees and strung up single lifts, mom-and-pop-style, just about anywhere they could, including Niseko. But the sport didn’t take off until the big-money eighties, when hotels were built and schools started busing entire classes to the hills for instruction. Then, in 1990, the Nikkei crashed and development stalled. Enough ski resorts were simply abandoned that photographers dedicate entire blogs to Japanese-ski-resort-decay porn. In Hokkaido, many surviving resorts now appear frozen in time.

Niseko is the exception, thanks largely to its growing popularity among Australians, who, after 9/11, realized that the region receives more snow than Whistler and is much closer to home. The resort is made up of three base areas: Annupuri, Niseko Village, and Grand Hirafu. (Hanazono is technically a fourth, but it has little more than a day lodge.) Annupuri is the smallest and most relaxed, with a seventies feel and a cluster of wooden chalets, funky coffee shops, and restaurants. Niseko Village is dominated by an enormous Hilton hotel shaped like a giant soda can, which towers over the base area, and offers unusual winter-sport activities like snow rafting, in which a snowmobile pulls a rubber raft full of people around a groomed field. Hirafu sits at the historic heart of the resort and is now a compact, architectural hodgepodge village teeming with hordes of young Aussie holidayers.


Curry soup, a Niseko specialty
  Photo: Kosuke Okahara

Despite the development, Niseko remains pastoral, surrounded by rectangular farms and patchwork forests, and the vibe is down-home. Pure water bubbles up from seemingly everywhere in the form of onsens, or geothermal hot springs, and community-maintained mineral springs, where restaurants fill their water jugs nightly. On the mountain, scannable passes are about as modern as things get. Many lifts are doubles or even singles. A winter farmers’ market does a steady business selling organic turnips, pickles, rice, and sake. ATMs are scarce, and when I finally find one, it doesn’t recognize my card.

The other thing that makes Niseko unique is that it’s one of a handful of resorts in safety-conscious Japan with an open-boundary policy. Nine gates along the periphery give way to hundreds of acres of uncontrolled terrain. Often referred to as “local rules,” Niseko’s unusually lax policies have spawned a half-dozen backcountry guiding services, and the area is home to three cat-skiing operations.

Niseko Is Japan’s Mythical Powder Paradise – Outside Magazine
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Niseko Accommodation

Annupuri Oasis Lodge

Annupuri Oasis Lodge

A bed ‘n breakfast style accommodation option located in Annupuri Village, part of the wider Niseko area. Only 5 minute walk away from the main gondola and sitting within its own virgin forest, Annupuri Oasis Lodge offers the best value for your money.

Australia House

Australia House

Has 12 nicely furnished bedrooms and each with their own programmable gas heater, for the coziest of sleeping conditions. Other features are Free WiFi internet access, tunning bench, Common Lonnge area with large Screen TV, seperate kitchen for customers use.
Niseko Kabuki Restaurants






Niseko in the News!

These posts are from the Google News RSS feeds provided by other related websites about News and Events in Niseko.

Each of these articles are a copyright of their respective owners.

Niseko Snow Report & Forecast 28 December 2014 – Powderlife Niseko (blog)

Niseko’s relentless early season snowfall is finally coming to a pause with no new snow in the past 24 hours nor snow predicted overnight...

Niseko Snow Report & Forecast 27 December 2014 – Powderlife Niseko (blog)

December 27, 2014

Heavy amounts of snow over the last several days, coupled with sunshine and low temperatures made for awesome skiing and riding conditions...

Niseko Snow Report & Forecast 26 December 2014 – Powderlife Niseko (blog)

December 26, 2014

It`s deep out there. Great day to ski off all the Christmas turkey and wine, and enjoy some of the finest powder...

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