Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu resort review (Kutchan Town, Hokkaido)

Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu
Kutchan Town, Hokkaido
Submitted by bulldog on 14th February 2004
Niseko Grand Hirafu review by bulldog
Niseko is great, but it isnt what it used to be. The mountain hasn't changed, of course, but the feeling of the town and the number of people going off in the trees/off-piste has grown to the point where it is a bit disappointing for someone who saw what it was like even five years ago.

The Aussies who have made Niseko their home basically sold out the very reason for being there. Guess, business is business, eh, mate? I wonder how they feel when they get on the mountain and realize that what once existed is probably gone forever. Fresh tracks are gold and it is a stampede every morning to be the first at the top of Hanazono. Also, I would suggest being cautious when going off the shroomers at berries because you never know what could be on the other side. Caution also recommended on the access tracks as they have become crowded, too.

On the positive side, you can still score great snow off-piste, especially off the peak. The services in town are pretty good and competition has forced the hotels, etc... to give some great deals. By the way, to all the potential visitors from abroad(especially the Aussie contingent): you are getting totally ripped off by the tour operators (your own brothers) and paying way too much for what you get. You can get a much better deal doing things on your own and would definitely get more for your money in other parts of the world.

Pretty soon, Niseko will be the Kuta beach of snowboarding in Japan.
Snow condition on visit: Pow, pow, pow
Things I liked: Pow-pow, off-piste, the peak, uncrowded lines
Things I didn't like: Increasing numbers of off-piste riders/skiers

Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu

Kutchan Town, Hokkaido
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Average Rankings

General score: 82
Snow conditions: 84
Courses/Terrain: 77
Lift system: 72
Apres ski: 76

Basic Resort Statistics

Max. elevation: 1200m
Min. elevation: 260m
Vertical: 940m
Steepest slope: 40°
Longest course: 5600m
Number of lifts: 12

Location of Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu