Whether you are looking for the incredible light and dry powder, a cultural experience, the great après ski, or the world’s best night skiing, the Japanese ski experience is sure to exceed all expectations. Japan’s snow is some of the world’s deepest, lightest, and most sought after in the planet. Over recent seasons the popularity of this Eastern country’s skiing has expanded from the local and Australian market that it was famed for.
Resorts are much smaller than in Europe with Niseko leading the way with 50km of piste, however, this statistic alone is misleading for the powder and off-piste are what drive the international guests. Japan has actually 100s of ski resorts and lays claim to the most of any country in the world, but in reality most are worthy of just a day trip. The island of Hokkaido hosts the resorts worthy of the UK market and these include Niseko, Rusutsu, Sahoro, and Furano. Night skiing is a huge part of the overall attraction meaning that skiers, in theory, can ski for 13 hours a day! The night skiing is accompanied by music playing from all of the lifts too which adds to a great, if not unconventional, atmosphere. English is not widely spoken at all and so this can make life a little awkward but for the adventurous, Japan is a great experience to also dovetail with a visit to Tokyo, Kyoto, or Osaka.
Alcohol and eating out are pretty inexpensive and with the influx of Australians mixed with the native Japanese it results in a great atmosphere with packed bars and clubs and some very very good restaurants too. The vibrant nightlife carries on until the small hours of the morning too, especially in Niseko.
There are no chalets in Japan and accommodation is basically a mixture of hotel and condo residences.
Good reports have come back about the Hilton Niseko Village in Niseko - as well as the Furano Natulux Village in Furano . Other popular Hotels in Japan include the Rusutsu Resort North Wing in Rusutsu - and the Rusutsu Resort Tower in Rusutsu
The ski season in Japan starts in November and tends to finish by May with the main snow storms occurring between December and late March. Huge dumps of snow are the norm in Japan and it is not unusual to experience snow storms lasting days or even weeks. Snow depths here are serious, with the resorts hitting an average of 15 metres of snow. Waist deep powder is the order of the day and not the exception to the rule. The Japanese snow phenomenon is a result of the low pressure systems that blow in from Siberia with the water content being as low as 8% giving us that dry powder, the holy grail of all skiers. The fact that it snows so much and often means that you won’t come here looking to get a sun tan.