Niseko

Niseko

Overall Rating

Niseko

Niseko4/557
Niseko4 out of 5 based on 57 reviews
  • Recommend
    89%
  • Would Revisit
    82%

Niseko - Reviews

Niseko - Reviews

Timed it Right in a Low Year

30/08/2020

Matt

Powder Puppy
Powder Puppy

Matt

Powder Puppy
Powder Puppy
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    4

Timed it Right in a Low Year

30/08/2020
The winter season of 2019-2020 was historically bad for Japan, however we got lucky with powder 4 out of 5 days in early February. Overall I was impressed by the great potential of the mountain, especially outside of the gates. However if you want an authentic Japanese experience, you won't find it at Niseko.

Crowds were moderate, and certain areas tended to attract more people than others. Most of the low hanging fruit got tracked out by 10 AM, but there was always powder to find if you were clever or willing to work for it. The Hirafu gondola tended to have a long queue, however it moved rather quickly, usually about a 5 minute wait. One major choke point, however was at the Annupuri gondola. While the cabins in theory fit 6 people, the ski racks are too small to hold any powder skis, so you can only fit 3-4 people (very uncomfortably with gear inside). Combine this with frequent high winds causing the gondola to run slowly, and you have a recipe for a half hour wait. However considering the amazing run we had just had off the back side, the wait was well worth it. Pro tip: grab a hot coffee from the vending machine for the ride up!

Some of the best terrain can be found out of gate 11 under the Niseko Village gondola, however in low tide there are lots of bamboo shoots to bushwhack through at the bottom. Other easy sidecountry can be found from gate 4 down towards Hanazono with well pitched descents of 500 meters requiring a 10-15 minute hike back to the ski area. Niseko Moiwa looks to have some great sidecountry potential coming out of its gates on the western flank. Unfortunately we didn't make it there, but definitely next time!

We stayed at First Cabin in Kutchan which has a mix of capsules and double rooms. The double rooms were decent sized for Japan, and overall a good value with breakfast included. Some great food and authentic dining experiences can be found in Kutchan - if you're staying at the resort I definitely recommend this but not that many places require reservations and get booked up quickly. We had rented a car which really wouldn't have been necessary, but it was nice to have.

In terms of overall value, Niseko is indeed on the pricey side. Budget accommodation is really hard to come by unless you're willing to stay further away and drive. We came with our Ikon passes, adding to the crowds (all the Aussies couldn't figure out why there were suddenly so many North Americans) so not paying for tickets was nice. However even at 8000 yen for an all mountain pass, I think it's still a pretty good deal for the access you get, especially compared to North America, and I wouldn't hesitate to spend a couple days there. But at the same time, I wouldn't overlook cheaper options with much less competition for powder.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading!

Awesome

22/04/2020

Rochelle

Powder Puppy
Powder Puppy

Rochelle

Powder Puppy
Powder Puppy
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Intermediate
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    December
  • Admin Rating
    2

Awesome

22/04/2020
Loved Niseko United, came here for my first overseas snow trip (from Australia) in 2017 and was absolutely spoilt with almost neck deep untouched powder thanks to an unexpected dumping and a half empty resort because we were so early in the season. I’ve visited 3 times now, and would recommend to anyone the powder is incredible!

The Evolution Continues

25/03/2020

POWDERHOUNDS.COM

Powderhounds Ambassador
Powderhounds Ambassador

POWDERHOUNDS.COM

Powderhounds Ambassador
Powderhounds Ambassador
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    5

The Evolution Continues

25/03/2020
Niseko is very family friendly
Queues at Hanazono (not as bad as many US ski resorts)
The Hanazono base has developed a lot
A quiet moment in the Hirafu traffic
The new Freddie's bar was pretty funky
Niseko has continued to change rapidly in some respects, whilst many other parts of Niseko are just same old same old, since we last visited 2 years ago. Niseko’s striking features continue to be the amazing snow, the fabulous sidecountry access, the abundant dining and nightlife options, and the family friendliness for English speaking kids.

Niseko seems to have got a little busier, in part because it’s accessible on the Ikon Pass. Relative to most other Japanese ski resorts, Niseko could be considered very busy. Of course it’s all relative because when we speak to many Euros and American, they think that Niseko is uncrowded!

Disappointingly, improvements to lift infrastructure have only been minor and there was no new lift-serviced terrain opened, and the main changes have been base buildings, and of course more hotels and condos.

Lift queues were a bit of a problem (but probably nothing like some of the queues seen in the US during the 19/20 season) but the problem was mostly due to complete mismanagement of the queues rather than lift capacity. Problems included a lack of single queues at many lifts, the number of E-gates didn’t match the numbers on each chair, and the staff didn’t corral people into the required numbers for the lift. The Hirafu gondola in particular was a complete schmozzle, and queues at Hanazono #1 lift were problematic. The new lifts planned for the Hanazono base area can’t come quickly enough. The road traffic was also a major issue, particularly around the Hirafu intersection and some minor changes are required to improve traffic efficiency.

The Niseko demographics continue to evolve and whilst there are still some ski bum types and budget oriented Australian travellers staying at overpriced hostels, the predominant visitors are rather affluent and many are beginners. There are still plenty of Americans (thanks to the Ikon Pass) and Europeans, but mostly Asians.

For us powder hounds, Niseko continues to have a major allure because of all its non-skiing related strengths, and to get fresh powder there are many options including cat skiing, backcountry touring, and visiting nearby ski areas.

We enjoyed 3 different faces of Niseko because we stayed in Kutchan at the First Cabin, in vibrant Hirafu at Full Note, and in quiet Moiwa at Kanronomori.

Absolutely amazing

Reece Frith
05/03/2020
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    1

Absolutely amazing

Reece Frith
05/03/2020
Niseko was an all-round amazing resort.

We boarded for only 3.5 days (we had 5 day pass, but high winds closed most runs for the remainder).

The off-piste runs were some of the best i've ever ridden, with plenty of untouched snow.
The piste runs were sometimes quite choppy with the amount of riders but they were still rideable.

Nightlife is awesome & so is the food available from the mountain to Hirafu village.

Only con is maybe the lift lines were a bit long for this time of year.

My go to resort

TingHo
02/02/2020
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    12-17
  • Month Visited:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    1

My go to resort

TingHo
02/02/2020
Chinese high school kid. Been skiing here for the past 6 years. Very good resort. No snowmakers, so bad snow when it doesn't snow for 3 or more days. Niseko Village has the worst snow, so crowds are nearly non-existent, I literally have to wait for 20 secs to get on the gondola. When it does not snow, stay away from the Village. But when it does snow, stay in the Village.

Niseko - amazing powder & so much snow!

Kate Golder
17/01/2020
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Intermediate
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    2

Niseko - amazing powder & so much snow!

Kate Golder
17/01/2020
We skied Niseko in Jan2019 with our family of 5. Lovely time although the crowds did get big. I’m more a novice skier & I found the number of easier runs limited but other family members loved the tougher black runs & the ability to go out the gates off piste. It snowed most days we were there so powder hounds would love it.

Knee Deep

12/12/2019

Jessika

Powder Puppy
Powder Puppy

Jessika

Powder Puppy
Powder Puppy
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Intermediate
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    March
  • Admin Rating
    1

Knee Deep

12/12/2019
If you're looking for powder, look no further! The legendary knee deep powder is incredible. The off-piste runs through the trees are amazing!

Pow pow

Rebecca
01/07/2019
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Intermediate
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    4

Pow pow

Rebecca
01/07/2019
Powder galore! This is how our trip started and how it ended. We have been around the world snowboarding but never in this much powder. My husband is now hooked on Japan and has revisited many places since due to the pure ecstasy he gets from the powder. You can snowboard or ski at night with lights, which one night they just had a dumping and on groomed easy runs you could still be in powder! It was unbelievable! My husband would board from 8am til 8pm each day but I needed a few more breaks than him... but the option is there. We did experience the night life which there is a lot of but our aim was to enjoy the powder. The runs can finish quickly in comparison to US and Canada but the lifts were Efficient, just extremely crowded!!! There was limited trees and the beauty that Canada and US hold do not compare. There is lots to do with Onsens being a regular occurrence to get the niggles out of your muscles and other activities available. Great for families, singles, couples, young and old. Due to limit in trails in comparison to other places I have been I wouldn’t go here too many more times but would revisit. Although my husband has revisited often as mentioned earlier. The good thing is it is closer for us (Western Australia based) so the travel is less draining. Once we have our family a bit older, this will be our next holiday away.

Niseko United - January 2019

Michael Adamski
26/06/2019
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    51-70
  • Month Visited:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    3

Niseko United - January 2019

Michael Adamski
26/06/2019
This review is for Niseko United which is the single combination of four of the ski areas on Mount Niseko Annapuri. First thing, don't even think about skimping and going for a lift ticket limited to just one of the ski areas. Considering all that it cost to go skiing -- travel, gear, lodging, and so on -- this lift ticket is cheap. Buy the united ticket and ski the whole mountain. So, about the mountain... you can't ski from one area to the other from anywhere but the top. Mid and lower mountains are separated by off-limits avalanche chutes. The problem with this is that the top is above tree line and seems to be perpetually shrouded in weather. Make sure everyone has a map and checks it regularly. How's the snow? It was everything that you have always heard about Japan powder. I have skied many days in Utah... Niseko's powder is better.

Amazing snow, but no culture

Rich
19/05/2019
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    N/A
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    January

Amazing snow, but no culture

Rich
19/05/2019
Great snow, but no culture
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