Niseko Ski Resort  

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Overview by Nathan Borchelt

Niseko resides about two hours outside of the 1972 Winter Olympic host city of Sapporo, on Hokkaido, a northern island that sits on the confluence of two volcanic belts. With an average of 500 inches of snow annually, it’s one of the snowiest places on the globe, with light, fluffy powder that exceeds expectations.

The Niseko area itself is dominated by a total of five ski resorts, but the best bang for the yen (literally and figuratively) can be found at the small village of Hirafu, which sits at the bottom of three ski resorts that share the snow-choked slopes of 4,295-foot Mount Annapuri. Better still, they’re all accessible with the same lift ticket.

Working from the west, Niseko Annapuri features the largest swath of beginner terrain and some wide-open runs separated by small patches of trees. The resort boasts one gondola and a number of quad lifts, and has a somewhat dated, mom-and-pop vibe that echoes the earlier heyday of Japan’s ski obsession in the mid-1980s.

Niseko Higashiyama (now known as Niseko Village), the middle resort, grows out from the Prince Hotel, a property that carries a distinct, all-inclusive cruise ship vibe that’ll likely change in the coming years (Hilton recently acquired the property and plans extensive renovation). The resort’s high-speed gondola launches from the back door of the hotel, accessing runs for all skill sets.

The easternmost resort, Grand Hirafu is arguably the most western in appearance and terrain, with a lively village base, easy access to the streets of Hirafu, a gondola, several high-speed mid-mountain lifts, a terrain park, spectacular out-of-bounds tree

(+) More
Price
$$?
Vertical Drop
3117 feet
Number of Runs
67
Number of Lifts
30
Season
December to April
Closest Airport

Weather for Niseko

Current Conditions:
Mostly Cloudy, 78 F
Forecast:
Tue - Cloudy. High: 79 Low: 68
Wed - Showers. High: 76 Low: 65
Thu - Partly Cloudy. High: 81 Low: 66
Fri - Partly Cloudy. High: 77 Low: 65
Sat - Partly Cloudy. High: 78 Low: 65


New Snow(Cumulative)

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Base Depth

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Status

  • Ski Lifts Open:
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  • Trails:
    60 of 67
  • XC Trails Open:
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