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Skiing in Niseko

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Sydney, Australia
posts: 373
reviews: 6
Skiing in Niseko

Hi - new to the Japan forum & have never been to Japan. Considering holiday (in Jan - is this a good time?) with husband & 3 children (aged 17 + ). I chose Niseko from what I've heard & read but any help appreciated. Will need 3 bedrooms, pref. ski in/out or a short walk away. Close to village centre would be great. In fact any tips re: airfares, accomm., etc. Is it best just to get a package deal with for eg. "skimax" or am I better off organising the holiday myself? Would like something nice - has anyone stayed at "The Vale Niseko"? I belive its close to the village. Other options are "Snow Crystal" & "Alpen Ridge" - how far away are they from the village? Thanks - sorry for the load of questions but any help is much appreciated.

Hong Kong, China
posts: 1
reviews: 3
11. Re: Skiing in Niseko

My family goes to Niseko every December for skiing. In fact, we just spent our 5 day skiing trip in Hirafu this week. We always stay at Alpen Ridge, the apartment is very nice and the location is just prefect. It's right next to the family ski lift and at the ground floor of the apartment, there's a ski rental shop and ski school. It is also very close to convenient store, where you can get your daily grocery, like drinks and bread, etc. Vale is next to Alpen Ridge, but its more expensive, simply because it has onsen facility and the apartment is a bit more luxurious. Personally, I don't think its worth the extra. Snow Crystal is a bit further down the road, you would have to carry your ski and walk about a minute. All three of your choices are quite closed to the slope and its very centrally located in the Hirafu town. I usually book through an Japanese agent (with English services) and they will take care of accommodation booking, ski pass, ski rental and airport transfer. Not sure exactly how much handling fee they are charging and it certainly worth considering.

Singapore, Singapore
posts: 90
reviews: 24
12. Re: Skiing in Niseko

Hi LaiMei,

Possible to provide some cost breakdown for the apartment rental, ski set rental, lift pass, ski lesson (group, private, family)? This information would be very helpful to family like us who are going to Niseko for the first time. Are the price of lift pass, ski set rental, lesson pretty much standard throughout the Niseko region or can vary between operators?

Thanks much in advance.

Singapore, Singapore
posts: 90
reviews: 24
13. Re: Skiing in Niseko

Hi LaiMei,

Also, by the way, from your Niseko ski experience, do you know if there are many beginners' slope in Niseko (or Hirafu specifically)? Does such beginners' slope require a lift to get to the top of the slope? Do you remember from a beginner's standpoint, is it too much skiiing for 2 days' straight, especially muscle aching or fatigue on the next day? As I am considering whether to get the ski set, lift pass and lesson for 1 day or 2 days?

Thanks once again.

Hong Kong, China
posts: 23
reviews: 4
14. Re: Skiing in Niseko

100% agree with everyone above re Niseko VIllage/Hilton. Tough place to start as a beginner. South facing slope means the snow gets softer quicker and the runs there are steep. The one family run converges with the only route back to the hotel so can prove hairy for beginners as intermediate/advanced skiers zoom past. Hirafu is definitely your best choice especially if you are stressed about taking a break. There are several onsen within Hirafu that are worth checking out.


Attached is the cost of ski lessons with NISS. They are based in Hanazono which has the best facilities for real beginners as the teaching area is a bowl which is separate from the main runs and is overlooked by a good restaurant complex (…blogspot.com/-OLVVZsl8-4w/TvqGuEg4U2I/AAAAA…).

Buying versus renting - my personal view is that if you are going to stick with skiing/boarding and going to go for more than 5 days, you should buy. If you are uncertain, I would suggest you avoid the Hirafu Welcome centre etc. There are better deals at places like Rental Ciao(http://www.skirental.jp) and Rhythm Sports. Check with the people who are booking your accommodation. If you want to buy, the best place to do it would be in the US but if you must do it onsite, then Takiguchi Sports in Kutchan (10min drive away from Hirafu) has an ok selection. More important than your skis and pole will be your boots. If you can afford custom made boots, they will ensure your feet stay comfortable and you will enjoy your holiday.

Ski lift costs are standard across the mountain. http://www.niseko.ne.jp/en/lift/index.html I suggest you just buy for the Hirafu area if you are beginners.

Hirafu and beginners - the good news is that the choices for beginners in Niseko = 'magic carpets' aka moving walkways as above or chairlifts. The beginner runs in Niseko are varied and ok. Hanazono has 1 hairy corner on the Silver run but otherwise good as well. If you stay at Alpen Ridge, you will be on the family run until you find your feet myskimaps.com/Ski-Maps/Japan/Grand-Hirafu-Sk…

Fatigue - bigger factor when you start learning with snowboarding. 2 days straight should be absolutely fine assuming you are reasonably fit. Your biggest challenge will be overcoming your fear of facing downhill and trusting your ability to use your skis to stop.

Hope you stick with it. Skiing is amazing and skiing in Niseko is special.

Good luck.

Singapore, Singapore
posts: 90
reviews: 24
15. Re: Skiing in Niseko

Hi Zatoichikazn

Is the magic carpet only for children? Can adult beginnner actually use it? Do we have to pay separately (from lift pass) for the use of the magic carpet? If the whole family (who are all beginner) is able to use the magic carpet, then I guess we should use it on the first day and only use the lift on subsequent days when we are more confident to tackle the longer slopes?


Hong Kong, China
posts: 23
reviews: 4
16. Re: Skiing in Niseko

Yes. Adults are fine.

The magic carpet has been free in the past and am assuming this is the case again this year.

The magic carpet at Hanzono is open to all including those who may only be acccompanying young children to ride on the inner tubes or zip lines next to the beginner area.

While it may be more expensive, I would suggest you try NISS given the beginner area. The school will let you know about transport arrangements from Hirafu to Hanazono but there are regular buses running.

Kutchan-cho, Japan
posts: 1
reviews: 1
17. Re: Skiing in Niseko

Hirafu is definately the best place to stay, the most is going on here

Its central and has varied terrain...

Pop in our snow school if you have more questions were happy to help you further

Enjoy your trip!

posts: 1
reviews: 1
18. Re: Skiing in Niseko

Hey guys am looking at going skiing here with some girlfriends,mid feb,i just need some info on the conditions for a 1st time skier(is it suitable here) & where would you recommend staying???nothing too quiet.We are coming from Australia,is 10days enough?? are the lift passes, accomadation etc expensive.thanks any advise will help


Avoca, Australia
Destination Expert
for Rusutsu-mura
posts: 2,631
reviews: 9
19. Re: Skiing in Niseko

You could get an apartment in Hirafu. There will probably be days when you wish to stay indoors (cold, windy & snowing). Skiing in subzero temperatures can be a challenge. Examples of accomodation available:



Edited: 11:11 pm, September 09, 2013
Hong Kong, China
posts: 2
reviews: 47
20. Re: Skiing in Niseko

I've just returned from Niseko - highly recommend Chalet Ivy, has it's own onsen within the building. Great service and location, too!