Skiing in Japan - Niseko
Ski runs of Nieseko resort, a town located on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, each year welcome hundreds of keen skiers. The resort is known for having the lightest powder snow in the world, which is largely thanks to the regular strong Siberian winds. Ski season lasts here from December to May, and the annual average snow fall amounts 590cm. The town itself is pretty easy to get to, which is another incentive for those, who want to test skiing skills in an exotic country.
Currently, Niseko is the most famous ski resort in Japan. It’s visited by many tourists from all over the world, including a large number of Australians, who have contributed to the popularization of skiing and snowboarding in the area. In 2008 Niseko became known worldwide - it was included on the list of the 10 best ski resorts in the world. It was ranked sixth, eliminating other "novices".
Niseko - adrenaline and amazing views
Niseko is a special place, located on the slopes of Niseko-Annupuri. It’s a combination of several independent ski resorts (Niseko Village, Grand Hirafu and Annupuri), which may be skied on one ski pass - the Niseko All Mountain Pass, which costs 5200 yen per day. Another advantage is that you don’t need to take off your skis to smoothly move between ski runs, because ski buses run regularly between them. The centers together form 2,191 acres skiable, known as Niseko United. 61 ski runs are are connected by 38 lifts (mostly gondolas and chair lifts).
Close to the main centers of the resort, there’re other places often not included on the map. One of them is Sannozaka, tempting with high quality snow, being at the same time quite dangerous because of the high risk of avalanches. A real challenge for adrenaline junkies is Higiashi One, also prone to avalanches, but attracting daredevils with extreme back-country terrain. Cross-country skiers will surely be interested in a track leading through the forest - Strawberry Fields, which is probably the most famous cross-country track in Niseko.
Night craziness on Japanese slopes
The resort offers not only excellent skiing conditions and well-organized infrastructure. In Niseko you can enjoy slopes both during the day as well as at night. They’re perfectly lit (it’s definitely a strong point), and some of them lead through the charming and picturesque birch forest. Besides, these ski runs are protected from the whippings of cold wind. They’re perfect for skiers and snowboarders. The longest run is 5600 meters long and max gradient is 37°. There’re 30% of runs for beginners, the same number when it comes to professionals and 40% of runs for intermediate skiers.
Visitors have the opportunity to explore the area on guided tours or helicopter tours. Seeing Mount Yotei (or Makkari Nupuri), a stratovolcano seen from the tracks of the resorts, is possible thanks to the latter option.
A good idea for every season
On the beginning, Niseko was known primarily as a winter sports resort. In the course of time, it became popular as a center offering a wide range of summer activities, attracting tourists who spend their holidays actively. Today, guests can enjoy such activities like tennis, golf, horseback riding and fishing, but also kayaking, rafting, trekking and cycling, to name just a few. A growing percentage of visitors coming here from around the world each year led to the expansion of Après Ski offer. Regular shuttle buses give guests a free hand when it comes to choosing the time they wish to end partying, and get back to the hotel.
One of such lines is Kutchan Night Go bus, connecting Kutchan Station and Grand Hirafu. The ride costs 100 yens. Those, willing to get to know the slopes of Niseko should have wider skis or a slightly longer board for snowboarding. It would be also reasonable to stock up on cash, as most shops and restaurants don’t accept credit cards. In spare time you can go for a trip to the nearby cities of Otaru and Sapporo. No matter how you plan our stay at this amazing and picturesque resort, you will be really satisfied.
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