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Skiing in niseko

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Sydney, Australia
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Skiing in niseko

My family and I (2adults and 2 children aged 12 and 9), are looking at going to Niseko early next year (probably early Jan) for a ski trip. We may have another 2 families in toe as well so this is a bit of a fact finding mission. Is this a good time to go?

We are looking at 2 weeks in Niseko. First question, is this too long to ski in the 1 resort? We do love skiing however.

Second, we have timeshare in Upper Hirafu that we will try to get. Is this the best place to stay on the mountain, both with proximity to the lifts and nightlife?

Is it cheap or expensive to eat out, drink, lift tickets, ski lessons and accomodation?

We have skied Canada and Lake Tahoe before but this is our first attempt at Japan.

We all have our own all mountain skis and boots, but would powder skis be a better option.

What is the best way of getting to Niseko from Sapporo and any recomendations on flying from Oz to Sapporo.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks very much in advance.

Copadaze

Avoca, Australia
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1. Re: Skiing in niseko

January is peak season. It will snowing (maybe windy) and cold, don't expect to see the sun often and the village will be booked solid. Luckily it's a big mountain (4 ski areas) and handles the crowds fairly well, provided the weather allows all lifts to operate. Niseko is renown for it's powder skiing (not perfectly groomed pistes like the US). Mostly the powder is offpiste in the trees within the resort, and also out of gates into the side country. Your all mountain skis will be okay if they are not too old - with a waist width of at least 70 or 75 mm (just means you ski a bit deeper down).

Two weeks will be okay as it will allow time to get away from Hirafu.

You will be able to daytrip to other ski resorts:

Annupuri (you can ski to) and Moiwa - has a free shuttle bus daily.

http://www.niseko-moiwa.jp/85_shuttlebus.html

Rusutsu by public bus (about $10) or Niseko ski tour operator:

skijapan.com/templates/…

Kiroro by special daily ski bus (Resort Liner). Enquire at Hirafu welcome centre. Recommended.

Besides Qantas and Jetstar and JAL, there's also the asian airlines like Korean or Cathay which fly into Chitose. Just check schedules and see if you can make it to Niseko on the same day, with no overnight stopover.

The usual transport from Chitose to Niseko is by express bus about $25 (Whiteliner, Resort Liner, Donan/Chuo) Eg:

goodsports.co.jp/white_eng/…

These are more expensive:

nisekogroundservice.com/images/2012-2013-Sea…

http://skybus.co.jp/en/bus/

Edited: 20 February 2013, 01:38
Avoca, Australia
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for Rusutsu-mura
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2. Re: Skiing in niseko

Here's a restaurant guide (there would be others as well):

www.nisekotourism.com/yellow-page/index.php…

In January you will need to make reservations. For grocery shopping, besides the convienience stores in Hirafu, there are two large supermarkets in Kutchan. (And note there is only one international ATM in Hirafu in the Hokkaido Tracks office - otherwise Kutchan).

Edited: 20 February 2013, 03:45
Avoca, Australia
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3. Re: Skiing in niseko

further to my first post, look carefully at the airline baggage policies and extra costs, they all seem to be reducing the allowance and charging extra.

Edited: 20 February 2013, 04:08
Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: Skiing in niseko

Thanks for all the info. Maybe we could meet at the point cafe and have a chat while enjoying a schibello coffee.

Anything else you may have would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again.

Avoca, Australia
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5. Re: Skiing in niseko

was there & Copa this morning just before the rain hit.

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: Skiing in niseko

We are local Copacabanians.

We had a lovely lunch at the point this afternoon. You must have been up early to have got the rain this morning.

Thanks for the help. Anything else you may have would be great, particularly accomodation. Where do you normally stay.

Avoca, Australia
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7. Re: Skiing in niseko

There's only two of us, so hotel room's usually.

This season we stayed at Rusutsu, Niseko Village and Kiroro.

However, Hirafu has many apartments (unlike most other Japanese ski resorts) which cater to family and larger groups. There are also hotels, pensions & lodges. You can get an overview of Niseko accomodation here:

www.skijapan.com/Home/Accommodation/Niseko

Edited: 20 February 2013, 05:29
Avoca, Australia
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8. Re: Skiing in niseko

there's a village map here, you can use to check locations:

powderlife.com/niseko-travel-guide/area-cour…

Brisbane
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9. Re: Skiing in niseko

great info from other posters shown here.

we have returned from our 6th trip to Japan, with the following comments;

the asian airlines have the best connections and quickest overall transit time and arrive Chitose early afternoon, try Eva Air and China Air both transit thru Taipei.

2 weeks is a good length of time as it gives you some time to look around.

we always hire a 4wd van which gives you excellent flexibility and allows you to access other lower cost accom further out from Hirafu.

we have 3 kids and dont need the restaurants, nightlife and crowds of Hirafu. Annupuri is smaller, less restaurants but you can get accom 50m to the lift.

Moiwa is smaller again (not linked to the main mountain, 5 mins drive to annupuri) but is an awesome little resort with no-one there. has accom with self catering options.

car hire - http://www.nisekoauto.com/

moiwa - http://www.moiwalodge.com/

Annupuri - http://www.niseko.cc/niseko/accommodation/property.jsf;jsessionid=6685FC0AD27CE56FA21D728EEFA7FAFA?pid=f808ad962dd64e01012de9c969051bb6

Sydney, Australia
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10. Re: Skiing in niseko

Are the mountains and runs big and long enough. I have compared them to the Canadian and US mountains and Niseko and other Japanese mountains look small.

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