Ski Japan - You Will Love It!

Published: 18th May 2011
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When people talk about skiing deep powder snow, they have a tendency to think of Alaska, Canada or the U.S. In recent years this chain of thought has been transformed into thinking of Japan, to be more specific, Niseko on the northern island of Hokkaido.

Hokkaido receives some of the world greatest snow conditions and has so much to offer in the way of ski-able terrain. In close proximity to Hokkaido's capital of Sapporo, you can find one of the most under rated resorts, Kokusai. Kokusai is just south of Sapporo and due to its close proximity to the city normally attracts a trendy, urban crowd that don't venture off the marked trails very often leaving a lot of untouched powder.

If you are staying in Sapporo and transportation is a factor, try visiting Teine Ski Area. Approximately 30 minutes from the entertainment district of Susukino in Sapporo. Teine has something to offer everyone, Olympia, a perfect area for beginners and Highland, steeper with a terrain park that will keep you smiling for hours. If you are holidaying with the family perhaps try Kiroro Ski Resort, just outside of Otaru.

Central Hokkaido has a number of quality resorts for all abilities from the back country powder lover to children and beginners. Furano does not receive as much snow as the Niseko area, but the snow that it receives is super light and tough to beat. The drawback to Furano is the lack of back country access due to the strict off-piste regulations that is enforced by the Nazi style ski patrol.

However there is hope for the back country adventures; Asahidake is your dreams come true. It has one gondola and two massive runs surrounding a big bowl with some great terrain. Now strap on your snowshoes and hike to Hokkaido's highest peak, enjoy the view before you are subjected to some exhilarating skiing. Make sure you make your way back to the rope way (gondola) and do it all again.

If luxury and kids facilities are a concern, head east to Club Med Sahoro. You will all the facilities you'd expect from a Club Med and is without a doubt the best resort for kids to enjoy. You will find Club Med just outside of Obihiro.

Heading back towards the powder mecca of Niseko you will find Rusutsu Resort. A great escape from Niseko and easy access to Sapporo depending on your location. With 3 ski-able areas there is plenty of terrain to keep you finding new untouched lines all day long. When night falls you can make your way over to the half pipe that is under lights and a great way to finish your day, if your legs are up to it!

Niseko, how to describe this majestically place that so many international snow junkies are now calling it their home all year round. It does not stop snowing, you might not see the sun or blue skies for weeks on end, off-piste and on terrain that you can let your imagination run wild to keep you entertained, resort is open for up to 9 hours a day, village atmosphere, 3 ski-able resorts linked under one lift pass, onsens and fantastic people.

When choosing you Niseko accommodation for your stay, consider staying in a local hotel, pension or lodge to get the full Japan experience.

Article by Bradley, editor of Niseko Webzine.



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