Being frequent skiers for many years and after exploring many of the European slopes our group decided to venture across the big pond and see what else we could find. After browsing the web for what seemed like forever we started looking through reviews and blogs relating to Japan. Although Japan is seems quite small it has hundreds of ski resorts, so after much deliberation we decided to pack our skis and see what they had to offer.
Staying in the ski resort of Niseko, we were pleasantly surprised. The resort had three areas of slopes the Grand Hirafu, Annupuri and Niseko Village which all had late skiing; which unlike many European resorts you can take part in night skiing which is seen as the ‘norm’ in Japan. This is perfect for those who want a longer day of skiing than 4pm. Niseko had around 30 ski lifts all accessible through one ski pass which is not only convenient but easy on the bank balance too.
Visiting Niseko during the second week in January allowed us to experience their powder snow, which they have a fantastic reputation for. Although this may not suit all skiers or boarders they have groomed runs available however some of the runs aren’t as steep which disappointed some of the hard-core boarders in our group.
The great advantage to staying in Niseko was having access to Rusutsu which was about an hour transfer from our resort. We arranged this with the reps once we had arrived as we didn’t know about it before we got there, which was a great add on for our holiday. Whilst at Rusutsu we headed straight to the slopes, which were a lot steeper than in Niseko –perfect for our hard-core ‘experts’. The best advice is if you’re a group of adrenaline skiers or boarders, stay in Rusutsu or if the group is mixed like ours, split your time between resorts.
Whilst in Japan be sure to spend some of your time in an Onsen with friends and some bubbly. Onsen are natural hot springs to soak in and they are a key component to Japanese culture and a major part in après-ski. More often than not these Onsen will be outside surrounded by snow, where you can join the locals and enjoy a glass of champagne with alpine scenery and enjoy the a small wonder of nature, the perfect ending to a long day on the slopes.
Overall our experience of skiing in Japan was memorable and we will most definitely be returning. There are many reasons as to why we will visit again as the atmosphere was exotic, fabulous food, extremely reliable snow and, most importantly polite and friendly locals.
Amy McGinty, located in the UK, is an avid travel blogger and experienced freelance writer. She enjoys finding the best holiday locations around the world and researching online for the cheapest travel deals.
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