Niseko United’s four areas offer over 2190 acres (885 hectares) of skiable terrain, with 29 lifts in total including 3 gondolas, 7 high-speed chairlifts, and 19 regular chairlifts connecting 72 ski runs and 10 terrain parks. Although renowned for powder, those afraid of the stuff need never go near it: there are plenty of perfectly groomed trails for intermediates, especially on Annupuri. There are officially 51 groomed slopes, 18 powder runs, 6 tree runs, 1 mogul field, and 2 children’s areas. Slopes are rated beginner 26% intermediate 38% and advanced 26%.
Niseko Mt Resort Grand Hirafu is the largest of the four ski areas with 803 acres and 30 marked trails, and it’s where most people get their introduction to the region. The town of Hirafu, a potato farming town that became a mecca for skiing, is at the base. You access the mountain in one of two ways. Via the Ace Family Quad to Ace Pair Lift 2 to Ace Pair Lift 3 or the higher speed the Hirafu Gondola, which gets you two-thirds up to the top of the mountain.
From the top of the gondola beginners and intermediates can head skiers right and follow the green and red signs or you can head up the Swinging Monkey lift and over to the Hanazono area. Beginners would be best to ski with someone who knows the area to keep them on the greens, as it can be tricky to navigate your way across the steeper slopes.
Back run level skiers can drop skiers left from the top of the gondola and hike up to hit Miharashi and get stuck into the powder. Or you can jump onto the King Hooded Lift and access the situation for the top of the lift – do you go higher or bank some powder turns from there?
Best to avoid the Ace lift area early morning as they get the skiers up and out of the area but once things settle down, there is some great skiing intermediate skiing to on Furiko to Alpen and for advanced skiers, laps on Super will surely bring a smile to your face.
Niseko Hanazono Resort offers the trifecta – groomed runs, powder fields, and terrain park fun. This is where you will find the legendary Strawberry Fields tree runs, as well as a terrain park and the Hanazono 308 Day Lodge. You’ll need to be early to get in some off-piste inbounds skiing and riding that you access from lift 3. When it’s on, these freshies are some of the best powder skiing and riding on the mountain. Intermediates will relish laps down Crystal Garden to Stairway To Heaven that drops you back at the village and the Park Hyatt. Hanazono also has a great beginner area and the gentle fall-line green Silver Dream where you can build your confidence and skills on.
Niseko Village has some wonderful off-piste powder skiing and the Hilton Niseko Village at the base. Niseko Village has some of the best and longest powder skiing and snowboarding in all of Japan, plus is a center for family activities. To head out of Niseko Village, you head up the Niseko Gondola and on the far skiers’ right, there are the long green runs of Dabesa into Enchantment into Make Sense into Unforgettable and Banzai back to the lift. It’s a crowd-pleaser and fun for the entire family. Intermediates can link up runs down Nekko no Kabe into Junk Yard and skiers right into Namara into Banzai and back to the gondola. Advanced black skiers can head down Superstition, Jagaimo into Misoshiru, and lap back up again. There is also the avalanche-controlled area just to the skiers’ left of Superstition and if open offers a world of adventure.
Annupuri is a smaller area offering open green and intermediate cruisers well serviced by the Annupuri Gondola. It’s a fun place to lap and work on your turns. Niseko Annupuri has great views from slopes leading to a well-designed base area with many natural onsens.
There is exceptional night skiing here. It is very common to go out for a ski after dinner before returning to the village for a nightcap.
Top 5 green runs at Niseko: Holiday, Silver Dream, Cruiser, Enchantment, Paradise.
Top 5 red intermediate runs at Niseko: Jumbo, Youtei Sunset, Namara, Stairway To Heaven, Panorama.
Top 5 black runs at Niseko: Miharashi, Large, Legend of Shinya, Superstition, Champion.
|Skiable Terrain||8031 acres (325 hectares)|
|Vertical||940 m (3,084 ft)|
|Top Elevation||1,200 m (3,937 ft)|
|Base Elevation||260 m (853 ft)|
|Average Snowfall||299 cm (117 in/9 ft)|
|Winter lifts Total||35|
|Longest Run||5.6 km (3.5 mi)|