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RupeTaka

Niseko - what is the appeal?

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Hello.

I found this site and impressed with so much information in English. My English is not perfect, I will try.

I am Japanese. Skiing for over 30 year now and enjoy trips to mostly Nagano, Gunma and Yamagata.

I am curious about the appeal of Niseko which seems so popular place with foreign skier and snowboarder.

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Hype!  Hype + Investment....better! The ski media in order to sell their magazines/promote their websites change their focus every so often....the best powder used to be Champagne in Colorado which after a few years became Utopian in Utah, then Desirable in Val D, etc. etc. The back side of Hakuba was 'discovered' by a group of Canadian skiers/mountaineers but because of the difficulty of access it did not become mainstream. How did a place like Niseko ever become so popular?! Flattery! Everyone wants to look good while skiing and nice, gentle slopes abound there. 

RupeTaka-san I'm writing this is a "Resort Mansion"in Nagano, built during the "Bubble" when skiing was ten times more popular among  Japanese than these days. You are right to wonder about development.  You've seen what they have done on Honshu and lately in Niseko. I am happy to report that the people of Nozawa Onsen have voted against development so the companies wishing to build more Resort Mansions are negotiating with Togari Onsen, next-door, which has a small ski area. When Nozawa's popularity among foreign skiers was increasing the local people learned something about development.... they noticed the empty bars/restaurants which closed at the end of the ski season. The European Alps are dotted with ghost villages, only occupied by skiers during the winter season. Let's hope Japan does not allow that to happen.

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We go up there once a season and for us it's all about the snow.

I must say we prefer it 10 years ago now, but perhaps that is just being resistant to change and 'progress'.    :grandpa:

And too many people fighting for the fresh tracks.

 

 

 

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Niseko had a (relatively) wobbly season a few years back in terms of usual snowfall, but the last two have been very consistent. Well, up until the last week this season. That has been when other regions have been patchy and struggling at times. It's hard to argue with that.

RupeTaka, there has been a lot of investment and development going on in Niseko that most other ski resorts in Japan can only dream of. Or even dream of dreaming of! And part of that effort has been an effective marketing machine backing it up.

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I remember Niseko 30 years ago which was the first time I visited as a university student.

I went again last month for the first time since then. I was pretty shocked at how much had changed from buildings, to restaurants, the people who were there, etc.

Still, while it has certainly changed, there are some very good parts to that.

I found it kinda expensive though.  :omg:

And it wasn't quite as busy 30 years ago!!

The snow was excellent though, as I remember it.

 

 

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I love Niseko and the snow is awesome and the nightlife is fun (even if it doesn't feel much like Japan).

The thing I have the most problem with is the crowds. When many other decent Japanese skijo are empty or quiet, it's mad busy up there. Which kind of spoils the fun for me, especially as I know it from when it wasn't like that. Good job that the snow is generally very consistent.

Muzukashii ne! 

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The snow

The facilities

The mountain

The nightlife, etc

Not for everyone, but you can’t complain of lack of facilities.

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Thank you for comments, interesting. I wonder if other place will get developed like Niseko.

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Very good points, ShigaMac.   :thumbsup:

I will be glad if Nozawa doesn't get spoilt.

Regarding Togari, there's hardly anything going on there in summer (is there??) so I don't feel the ghost village thing will apply there. Not that I would like to see great big 'mansions' being built there.

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Am sure they will be tastefully designed, low rise etc ;) I hope it is a way of reviving the local economy.....might even attract some of the student groups who go to Nozawa in summer for "Gashiku"???? yup, at times out of ski season I've been the only person in Togari's public onsen. Nozawa also refused Iiyama's offer to become part of that City, preferring to retain its status as a Village. 

Edited by ShigaMac

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When I went the snow was really great. But with Niseko I just can't get past the lack of steep.

 

 

 

 

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The thing about Niseko is - you just can't argue with the quality of the snow when it's pumping, which is consistently in the main season.

I recommend visiting Kiroro and Rusutsu for people visiting Niseko too. They are both worth a visit and not as busy.

 

 

 

 

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