“Powder snow skiing is not fun. It’s life, fully lived … life lived in a blaze of reality.”
~ Dolores LaChapelle
Skiing Niseko, Japan
Niseko (ニセコ町, Niseko-chō) is located on the northern island of Hokkaido, in Japan. To the Japanese people, Niseko principally refers to a mountain range and a municipal area. However, overseas the name has come to refer to a wider area of ski resorts encompassing Hokkaido’s Mount Yōtei, often referred to as the “Mt. Fuji of Hokkaido”, and Annupuri ranges.
Niseko is regarded as one of Japan’s premier ski resorts due to both the amount and type of powder snow, and is fast becoming one of the most popular winter destinations in the world. Frequently referred to as a ‘winter wonderland’, Niseko’s unique location makes it a Mecca for winter sports enthusiasts. Snow covers the ground for approximately 130 days and the average seasonal snowfall is in excess of 10 meters !
With wide open courses, tree runs, back-country, off-piste, first tracks and night-skiing, Niseko caters to all skill levels. An extensive lift system covers the 64 courses and includes gondolas and covered chairlifts. With the lifts meeting at the summit, skiers have access to Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village and Annupuri resorts which combine to make “Niseko United”, one of the largest ski areas in Hokkaido.
Simply put, my favorite place (to date) to ski in Japan …. and please, if you go, don’t forget to visit some of the fantastic Onsens (hot-springs) around the Niseko resort… especially the outdoor ones! There is simply nothing better than sitting in an onsen after a long day of skiing the slopes.
This year, I decided to do some B&W photos using my simple pocket camera. I’ve always found snow photography to be quite challenging, but I actually like how some of these turned out … and it must be said, getting early morning access to the mountain by hopping a ride on one of the snow cats was a definite bonus, giving me access to an absolute virgin mountain, without a soul in sight !