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Old 03-25-2013, 07:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan.



Highlights from January to March here in Niseko, Japan including Rusutsu, Kiroro, hiking Shiribetsu-dake, Annupuri, Niseko Village, Hirafu and Hanazono.

There were some absolutely epic days this winter but March has been disappointing with it becoming warm and windy.

To round it up, last winter was much better. Fewer punters, consistent snow, low winds. This winter has been a lot more busy and the snow has come in patches. We've had days where it's snowed half a metre in 4 hours but late Jan and most of March was windy.

Still, it was a really really fun season all round. Can't complain with 18m of fresh champagne powder. Enjoy the video and do visit Niseko if powder is your thing.

If you have questions about the place shoot away, I'll try to help with whatever knowledge I've amassed here over 2 winters.
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Old 06-15-2013, 12:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Nice! Was there in March for a few days this year. Was sunny the first day, then started dumping the rest of the trip. Just got down to finishing the edit of the trip. =)

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Old 06-15-2013, 02:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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We are off to Hakuba this season (Feb 14) but Niseko is on our list, hopefully 2015
would love to know some of the better places to stay. I believe Niseko is like Little Aus and bit more pricey than Hakuba.
We don't do dorm, a double room including breakfast within walking distance to one of the main lifts/gondy and close to bus as well
I have seen a map of the town layout but as pretty as it was I need real info
How much are lift passes?
where are the better tree runs?
....all the usual questions really
What is your favourite slope?
We spent around $3500 last year for 3 weeks in Hakuba including fares and lift passes and everything else so that is about our budget (each)
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Old 06-15-2013, 07:37 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jellemi View Post
We are off to Hakuba this season (Feb 14) but Niseko is on our list, hopefully 2015
would love to know some of the better places to stay. I believe Niseko is like Little Aus and bit more pricey than Hakuba.
We don't do dorm, a double room including breakfast within walking distance to one of the main lifts/gondy and close to bus as well
I have seen a map of the town layout but as pretty as it was I need real info
How much are lift passes?
where are the better tree runs?
....all the usual questions really
What is your favourite slope?
We spent around $3500 last year for 3 weeks in Hakuba including fares and lift passes and everything else so that is about our budget (each)
Ugh reading about riding when I'm back home seriously sucks

I'll help you out as much as I can. Yeah, Niseko will definitely be slightly pricier than Hakuba as it's more globalized etc.

In Hirafu village itself, as I worked for Hokkaido Tracks Holidays, I'd recommend them. They're pricy but most of the properties in the upper village are within walking distance to lifts. These include: Yamashizen, Yotei Tracks, Miharashi, Kira Kira. You may want to look them up on tripadvisor etc. They're also like a 1 stop centre so you can book your transfers, lift passes, equipment etc through them.

Alternatively, a friend of mine runs the Samurai Snow tour agency, you might want to go through them if you want it easy. They book with HT as well as most of the other accommodations in the area.

There are a lot of tree runs everywhere which are pretty good (they use a gate system so going out most gates usually is the sidecountry and you get some great tree runs). The usual suspects "Strawberry fields", "Blueberry fields", "Miharashi", and all the gates in the Annupuri side of the mountain are fantastic.

My favourite although not exactly a tree run is hiking the peak and dropping into the backbowl. On a good day, nothing beats it.

If you're willing to spend a little and travel our of Hirafu for a day though, hit up Rusutsu. Personal favourite of mine.
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Old 06-16-2013, 06:40 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Our group didn't manage to find tickets and hotels to make it last season, but I heard the snow was meh compared to the season before.

I asked the travel agent about next season, she specifically told me that a large number of goers tend to buy their tickets/tour packages a few months in advance, with late November bookings being ridiculously overpriced. Your best bet to get the best rate is to start booking during the later summer months (July-Oct) depending on how early they allow you to book.

I've personally went snowboarding at Niigata/Nagano area more often since it's closer to where I live (in Japan) and we can do day/weekend trips.

Hopefully, we plan to bring a few more friends up to Hokkaido with us this coming season. Would you recommend Niseko for beginners?

Last edited by Surilena; 06-16-2013 at 06:50 AM.
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Old 06-16-2013, 07:45 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I have a good 12 months or more of researching to do so hopefully by the time it comes round I will be full bottle on everything - defs looking at Rusutsu it looks amazing
Right now I will concentrate on our trip in Feb - hoping to hit Nozawa-onsen
I have done Hakuba twice and my partner has been there 3 times so looking for a change
But any info you have will be absorbed and totally researched to the nth degree (can't help myself, my partner calls it "Snow porn")
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Old 06-16-2013, 10:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surilena View Post
Our group didn't manage to find tickets and hotels to make it last season, but I heard the snow was meh compared to the season before.
Are you serious??? This was another epic year in Niseko. Started slightly late, but after that it was the most consistent season in memory. I was there for my usual 2-3 months and aside from a little dry spell at the end of January it was incredibly steady - there were no 2 consecutive days without fresh powpow.

It was still snowing and there was still top-to-bottom coverage well into May:
Involuntary Smiles | 360niseko
3 May 2012 Vs 3 May 2013 | 360niseko
Shoulder Season Ghost Town | 360niseko

Hell, I know guys who were still riding last week!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Surilena View Post
Hopefully, we plan to bring a few more friends up to Hokkaido with us this coming season. Would you recommend Niseko for beginners?
Niseko without a doubt is one of the most beginner friendly places in the world.
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Old 06-17-2013, 02:04 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surilena View Post
Our group didn't manage to find tickets and hotels to make it last season, but I heard the snow was meh compared to the season before.

I asked the travel agent about next season, she specifically told me that a large number of goers tend to buy their tickets/tour packages a few months in advance, with late November bookings being ridiculously overpriced. Your best bet to get the best rate is to start booking during the later summer months (July-Oct) depending on how early they allow you to book.

I've personally went snowboarding at Niigata/Nagano area more often since it's closer to where I live (in Japan) and we can do day/weekend trips.

Hopefully, we plan to bring a few more friends up to Hokkaido with us this coming season. Would you recommend Niseko for beginners?
I would agree that the season when taken in overall was slightly worse than the season before but even then, it was fantastic. Early season riding was easily some of the best I have ever done. We had 2 days in early december where it dumped half a metre back to back. The only time I have ever thought there was too much powder.

Jan and early Feb was slightly disappointing though, winds and occasional rain meant the snowpack wasn't the best but then we we randomly get a 40cm dump somewhere in between.

Then again, having done 2 full seasons there whats disappointing to me might be the best powder riding that most people have done. I think Niseko makes us into powder snobs slightly.
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Old 06-17-2013, 06:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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nice vid, riziger. Niseko does turn one into a powder snob. where is the location of the crack shown at 0:30 of the vid? or is that a crack? looks kinda hairy

Last edited by ju87; 06-17-2013 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ju87 View Post
nice vid, riziger. Niseko does turn one into a powder snow. where is the location of the crack shown at 0:30 of the vid? or is that a crack? looks kinda hairy
Cheers. Yup, like I said, the snowpack wasn't the best last winter and lots of cracks opened up.

It was probably out gate 1 or 2 in annupuri.
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