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Poll - Niseko, Furano, Kiroro or Rusutsu?

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pchow, I lived/skiied in Switzerland as a boy, and I spent most of the winter of 98-99 living in Vancouver, BC and boarded regularly at Whistler/Blackcomb.


My opinion is that you'll find all of the Hokkaido resorts to have good powder snow, much lighter and better than at Whistler, and somewhat lighter and better than in the Swiss Alps.


However, if you have seen Davos and you have seen Whistler/Blackcomb, I'm sorry to report that none of the Hokkaido resorts are what you are used to calling "mountains".


They are mountains, but smaller and not as steep or interesting or challenging as you have seen in Switzerland and Canada.


Also, almost all of the Hokkaido resorts feature mostly intermediate/beginner type terrain, with only small patches or areas of "advanced" terrain.


This is particularly true of Rusutsu and Alpha Tomamu.


Kiroro and Furano have some challenging parts, but on the whole you might be disappointed at the lack of variety and advanced terrain, compared to Swiss Alp and Canadian resorts.


My recommendation would be that you go to Niseko, for the following 3 reasons:


1. It's really 3 resorts on the same mountain and you can get an "all mountain passport" that lets you ride ALL of the lifts of all 3 resorts. So you'll be able to maximize the amount of terrain for yourself, you'll get to explore a lot, and I'm sure you'll find something incredibly amazing and fun there.


2. Niseko DOES have a good amount of advanced terrain, steeps, and challenging runs of all types...much more than any other Hokkaido resort. There are some good off-piste tree runs and backcountry. You should definitely book a local guide for a day or afternoon to find out where it is, and how to be safe there. Don't go alone!


3. At Niseko, you are in a small mountain town area with numerous hotels and lodges, some great hot spring baths, and some sort of nightlife at either the hotel bars or the local bars. This is better than purpose-built resorts like Kiroro, where you are kind of locked into fixed choices at big hotels, and not much is really going on at night.


4. You'll have to spend about the same amount of money whichever big Hokkaido resort you choose, so why not just go to Niseko (cheapest and easiest and most convenient to stay on the Niseko Hirafu side) and forget about all the others. They're not nearly as good. Others have made the rounds of the Kiroro's, Furanos and Rusutsus (I did!) and I guarantee you they are nothing as good as Niseko. Feel free to learn from my past mistakes, thus partially validating the time/money I spent at those other places that could better have been spent at Niseko!


Luck to ya, and "merde"!



badmigraine in Tokyo.

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Actually, Teine Highland (where the slalom and giant slalom where held in 1968 I think) actually has a few quite advanced runs. Not as much powder as the other resorts in Hokkaido, but is close to Sapporo (actually IN Sapporo) and a nice challenge (if a little small).



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I think that the trip up to hokkaido is worth if for a weeks trip going round all the resorts. I like Niseko, as everyone seems to, and the snow is good but agree with badmigraine - it's hardly "big" is it?


Plenty to feed on in Honshu - you don't need to go up to Hokkaido to get some amazing pow

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