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SR : HokkaidOH! 2013/14




21 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ (Mike's Quarters, in Higashiyama)



It's that time of the year again.


Local photographer Glen Claydon and Sam Kerr of Niseko Xtreme Tours got first tracks of the season way back on 09 November, but then the warm wind and the rain came and washed most of it away.


The 23 November Opening Day at Grand Hirafu was cancelled and rescheduled for 30 November.


I arrived back on Fantasy Island yesterday afternoon and the snowfall had returned. In spades.


After settling in at the cabin and shovelling the day's snow it was out for Ian MacKenzie's 40th birthday.


Dinner at Niseko Pizza with owner Cezar, Brian from Niseko Ski Academy and Mick from Niseko Cellars, followed by drinks at Niseko Cellars.


Cracking night.



Last season's words, pictures & video can be found here:


SR : Shiribeshi Stories, Hokkaido 2012/13







23 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ



As of today 116 cm (46") has fallen in the Niseko Resort Area



Another good fall overnight and a solid couple of hours shovelling all around the house getting after it before it gets out of control.


Went to the Dragon Bistro & Bar opening party in J-Sekka this evening, a return to Hirafu for the restaurant.


Japanese Italian fusion with a celebrated chef from Sapporo.


The local businesses try to outdo each other with the most colourful floral gift
















Looking forward to sampling dinner.


Snowing as I type and Opening Day for Grand Hirafu is scheduled for 8.30 tomorrow.


Let's hope it's as good as last season's opening day



Nikki Langley, Opening Day 23 November 2012



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That was a great day.   For now though. Need. More. Fresh. Snow.

I wouldn't head across JUST yet though Mike.......it needs a big storm. A lot of the good trees on Isola weren't filled in with a lot of sasa poking through

Some friends of mine headed off to Chamonix on xmas day because they found Niseko too busy last year!

Wow, Niseko gets the goods.....Sapporo has none :(


Wonder if Teine was good today?


It was! Decent, if slightly heavy powder. A few roped off sections which had 20cm or so of fresh snow. We had a big Hokkaido Cartel crew up there today, it was a good laugh.


Coming up tomorrow?

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Wow, Niseko gets the goods.....Sapporo has none :(


Wonder if Teine was good today?


It was! Decent, if slightly heavy powder. A few roped off sections which had 20cm or so of fresh snow. We had a big Hokkaido Cartel crew up there today, it was a good laugh.


Coming up tomorrow?



I doubt it, I've a nomikai, ironically with my shredding crew, in Sapporo tonight.......prob won't be in any shape to make it tomorrow, although the shuttle bus starts tomorrow I think.....so could prob make an afternoon of it. Was it busy?

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12 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


November saw 128 cm (50") of snowfall at village level, making it the 3rd highest November in the 8 winters I've been keeping records.


The snowiest November was 2007 with 177 cm (70").





Four days ago there was no snow in the village.


Today the Center 4 and Ace Double #3 were running for the start of the winter season in the Niseko Resort Area.


As last year, Ji-chan was in pole position for opening chair







And when the turnstiles did start turning Ji-chan left them for dead














Eye of the Tiger
























Rode solo for 4 hrs so no action shots today.


The groomed run was in good shape with pockets of powder on the fringes.


Underneath the double chair was great with face shots every turn.


Still loads of sasa off the groomed runs making the skiing challenging, but worth it.


There's penty of snow on the lower mountain so hopefully they'll open up more terrain soon.


It's snowing lightly at the moment with 6cm falling since the lifts stopped for the day.


Niseko Village opens tomorrow (Sunday 01 December 2013) but with just the Community and Banzai chairs running the skiing is very limited.


Grand Hirafu will be a better bet in my opinion.

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Thanks for all the comments guys.


Started the season on last year's skis & boots onehunga, but have two new sets of skis in the wings.


New clothes though :)


Hi Mike, good to see your japan reports up again.


Have you been tempted to go a bit wider with your new skis?

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Thanks snowjunky.


Ever so slightly.


Currently on Coreupt The Caspers (173cm, 112-79-106)


Got a pair of Idris Renard for the piste (175cm, 116-71-100) and a pair of Majesty Local Hero (176cm, 116-82-111) for everything else when the Coreupts give in.

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4 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ



Light snowfall mixed with gusting winds throughout the day.


Noticeably cooler today compared with yesterday afternoon which will hopefully create a firmer base for the next big dump of snow.


Three of the four Niseko United resorts are now operational for the 2013-14 season.


Annupuri opened today with uplift on the gondola and the Jumbo Pair #3.


Niseko Village opened today with uplift on the Community and Banzai chairs.


Grand Hirafu continued on from yesterday's opening day with uplift and downlift on the Ace Quad #2 (Center 4) and skiing off the Ace Pair Lift #3.


They also opened the beginner Ace Family Pair and Family Run.


It was disappointing to see no groomed beginner terrain available yesterday.


There are a number of Chinese, Taiwanese, Thai & Malaysian guests in resort experiencing winter and winter recreation for the first time.


Trying to learn to ski or snowboard in ungroomed knee deep powder is a joke.


For the 2013/14 winter season the Niseko Free Passport Committee (NFP) representing the four ski areas of Niseko United has introduced the Niseko United Snowsports School Accreditation System.


The Niseko Free Passport Committee (NFP) has determined that Snowsports Schools (Ski and Snowboard) not directly aligned to or owned by an NFP member lift company must now become formally accredited by the NFP in order to use the NISEKO UNITED (Annupuri, Niseko Village, Grand Hirafu, Hanazono) lift network.


The aim is to ensure that the quality of skifield experience in Niseko continues to improve and that the enjoyment and safety of guests is maintained at all times.


As such, the NFP has established a formal NISEKO UNITED Snowsports School Accreditation System for third-party Snowsports Schools (i.e. those not owned or directly associated with NFP members) in order to become recognised as a NISEKO UNITED Accredited Snowsports School.


Please note that it will no longer be possible to operate a Snowsports School business within the NISEKO UNITED ski area without becoming formally accredited by the NFP.





I received accreditation today and picked up my Niseko United Commercial Lift Pass for the season.


In my experience the Niseko Resort Area is unique in allowing non-resort employees to operate independent snowsports schools.


And long may it continue.



Snowing lightly at 9pm.


Most probably Grand Hirafu tomorrow for Ian MacKenzie's first day on snow this season.

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10 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ



A grey miserable day so I had a lie in and then lunch at Chez Doudou on the way to Chisenupuri.










Ate there a number of times at the end of last season and I'm happy to report that it's just as good.


But unfortunately still as quiet.


I was the only one in for lunch today. But I did have the chef's dog for company.






Chez Doudou closes from 20 December 2013 to 01 March 2014 as the chef is the private chef for Niseko Cuisine, a company which provides high end dining at your accomodation.


3-course lunch with coffee was JPY 2,200


Potato Quiche






Pork Spare Ribs with patsa and carrots






Apple & Prune Tart






Another fabulous meal. Highly recommended.






1 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ



I spent the morning lapping the Annupuri gondola.


Grey skies, a little flat light, but deserted and a surprising amount of untracked boot top spongy pow to enjoy.


It was good to put more vertical under the skis.


The best snow was under the gondola. The terrain out of Gate 7 needs a whole heap of snow for it to go.


Riding solo again, so no action shots. Most waiting for the next dump of snow.


And the small matter of getting ready for the influx of guests ;)










Not much new snow on the horizon, but I did see the Niseko Village gondola running today.


So that could well be the destination tomorrow morning.

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