Niseko - Reviews

Niseko Continues to Evolve

POWDERHOUNDS.COM
27/06/2018
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    February
It snowed a mighty lot Beautiful Niseko powder Niseko Hirafu One of many lovely Niseko onsen Dumping again in Niseko!
Niseko Japan has continued to evolve (the villages in particular). There are some elements that are the same as previous visits, such as the phenomenal and bountiful snow, the fun tree skiing, and the vibrant restaurant and bar scene in Hirafu. And whilst a few lifts have been upgraded or built, these have been targeted at the affluent beginner market and there are negligible lift improvements that benefit the powder hound, manage the crowds, or have expanded the lift accessed terrain.

As to be expected for Niseko, more hotel and condo developments are underway at the bases of Hirafu, Niseko Village and Hanazono, and the villages just continue to grow. And trying to find a native Japanese speaking staff member in the shops and restaurants continues to become a rarer phenomenon.

A possible new positive is that the rowdy Aussies (of course we love the Australians!) have diminished in number, possibly because many can’t afford to go there anymore, or they’ve moved onto much whiter pastures. In their place are an abundance of Euros and Americans, and many of them think that Niseko is very uncrowded (ha!) relative to their home resorts. And of course the number of Asian international visitors continues to increase.

Those of us acquainted with completely uncrowded Japanese ski areas find the lack of fresh tracks in-bounds at Niseko very disappointing. For us, Niseko isn’t just about the resort skiing because thankfully there are plenty of other ways to score a fix of the amazing untracked powder: backcountry touring; Niseko cat skiing; sled skiing; and heli skiing.

You’ll find our thoughts on the pros and cons on the Niseko overview page, as well as Annupuri, Niseko Village, Hirafu and Hanazono. You can also see our Japanese ski resort ratings to see how Niseko fares against other Japan ski areas.

NISEKO -2017

Joe
27/01/2018
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    N/A
  • Month Visited:
    January
We stayed at Yama Shizen in Harafai Village, excellent accommodation with easy access to the slopes.

From a skiing perspective the positives are that it snowed consistently during our 7 day stay.

Runs are short and the resort is small maybe a little bigger than Thredbo which means lots of skiers limited terrain.

Visability is a consistent issue.

Bearing in mind the above, we did ski waist deep powder on the latter half of our week although it is hard to find unwooded slopes with more than say 10 turns that aren't already tracked.

If no fresh snow then this resort would get very boring....I see it as a very distant second to say Aspen where the snow is just as good, the runs are 3 or 4 times as long, the sun shines and the ski area is probably 10 times more expansive.

I am a dedicated skier and visit resorts primarily to ski, so I may be a little harsh, however I will not bother coming back.... contrary to many of .y fellow Australians who simy love the place.

Great Powder

Patrick Milewski
27/05/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Beginner
  • Rider Age
    12-17
  • Month Visited:
    April
Great Powder even in April! Went there with Family, first time on the snow, learnt quick thanks to my advanced cousin and was skiing the red lines by day 3!

Niseko

Benjamin
02/03/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    February
Great Snow super dry and plenty of it and i went in a bad season.
Lift passes where an average price; best value was the multi-day all Mt pass as shuttle bus was included.

food was pricey at the restaurants in harafu, as can be expected with ski towns.

overall would go back was an awesome place plenty of snow to be had

Niseko feb 17

Frank
28/02/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    February
Nice but very crowdy.

Niseko Feb 2017

Johhny Duval
18/02/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    February
Just completed a week in Niseko. We actually only did 2 days in the resort due to poor snow, and drove out to other resorts. I like the Japanese atmosphere of course, but without fresh snow it really isn't that special as a resort.

I can see with the tree runs it would be epic with good snow but we were unlucky this week. They say it is the worst season for snow in at least 9 years so that clouds my review.

Some of the chair lifts and gondolas are decent and fast euro standard - but some are antique and frankly dangerous.

I would come again and hope for better snow, and I can see it could be pretty fantastic, but it does get crowded.

Frankly ANY resort with deep powder is awesome, and for me any resort with old snow is disappointing. So book and hope for snow people!!

good place.

ziggy
31/01/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    January
Good area to make a home base for a week or so. Rent a car if you can ($40) a day because you can goto kiroro (that has tons of off trail runs 45 min away) or rusutsu (20) min away plus other areas.

The mountain gets tracked out pretty fast but If you take the gates and duck the ropes you can find fresh tracks all day long. I think I spent more time behind the ropes then in bounds. Lots of people wearing beacons and abs packs. You don't need this at all, you are not riding alaska steep slopes, everything is pretty mellow but deep snow and really fun.

The place is littered with Australians (like whistler). I stayed at the hooting owl. Would highly recommend it, nice staff and lots of people giving good information.

Ed note: Avalanches don't only occur on Alaska steep slopes. We highly recommend that you wear beacons and packs when riding in the sidecountry at Niseko. Avalanches have occurred in these areas including ones resulting in death. And some of the areas are open because they are avalanche paths. Also unlike many Japanese ski resorts where ski patrol put up ropes everywhere, some of the ropes are there for a good reason.

Niseko time has come and gone

Simon
23/01/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    January
Just spent 10 days in Niseko Harufu. Whilst the snow is fantastic, the resort is real let down. Niseko has become a ski boom town, there are more dodgy realestate agents flogging apartments then on the Australian Gold Coast. The lift facilities are some of the oldest I have ever scene, they should be hitting up the developers for the cost of the upgrades.

One problem is the weather, not the fact that it snows nearly everyday (that's where all the powder comes from), but the resort operators trigger happy approach to shutting down just about every lift when the wind blows the slightest. I have nothing against safety, but the resorts approach is not about catering to the skiers. They just turn them off and leave you watching the snow fall.

They do have different levels to the mountain they could open up depending on conditions. Given the usual weather is snowing and windy, the lower level should have enough lifts and capacity to keep the resort functioning. Just opening 1 or 2 chairs for ski school is useless for everyone else who want to get out even for a couple of hours.

On safety, give night skiing a miss, unless you have had 10 largers and like skiing/boarding completely out of control.

I would rate the skiing as above average, the snow quality as excellent, but the resort as poor. Doubt I would come back, there are too many resorts around the world that have similar snow, larger runs and better facilities.

Seek and Find

Justine
05/06/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    January
Niseko is a perfect ski get away not just because of the nightlife of Hirafu village, relaxing in onsens, or the amazing crab ramen up at Hanazono. Niseko is made perfect because it has all of those things and amazing skiing. No matter if it's rained for the last couple days (a sad occurrence in this winter wonderland) because if you go off piste, you can find champagne powder throughout the season that is likely not tracked out. The most common sound I hear other riders making is "whhhheeee" on these runs and when a mountain can make a thirty year old feel like they are five again because of a primal joy that they feel, well that's just awesome.

Powder awesomeness

Mogan
25/03/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    March
That's just seem so cool Awesome powder off the track at the bottom of the tracks in front of the really great 308 Hanazono restaurant
Such a great place, with lovely people, nice japanese food. I definitely recommend to go to the onsen after a good day of riding the powder... it is just unique. Never see any snow like this. However the night life is not really exciting but who cares ? If you want powder, good puff, good behavior on the track, few people on the mountain and awesome off piste go to Niseko. Going off track was really awesome
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