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Nikseko Over Easter

Peaheartsmama

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Hi all!

We are going to Niseko over Easter! Staying at the Park Hyatt on the Hanazono side. Was hoping to ease into it and explore the greens - but see most of them are on the other areas on the mountain. Any tips? Are the red trails comparable to blue trails in the US? Is it easy to go from one base to the next? Any restaurants you would suggest we make a booking at? Any other activities worth making reservations for?
Thanks!
 

santacruz skier

Angel Diva
How fun! think @elemmac and maybe @snoWYmonkey have skied in Japan.
In Europe, Reds are like easy blacks or more difficult blues. I don't know about Japan.
 

Peaheartsmama

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Oh and I usually use my Volkl Flair 76 for east coast skiing. Is it worth bringing my BP88s too? I have not used them much but perhaps this is a good opportunity to try?
 

elemmac

Angel Diva
I have skied (well...snowboarded) in Japan. Spent minimal time riding Niseko though but used Annupuri as a "home base" for a few days. But here's a few rambling thoughts based on your questions:

Yes, red trails are pretty comparable to US blues...and vary in the same way (not all blues are created equal).

Though, we didn't ski between areas, I believe it's relatively easy...you just need to go to the top in order to do so. Just an FYI, you can buy lift tickets to just one area, or a full Niseko United (gives you access to all areas).

Two memorable restaurants (both on the Annupuri side) were Taj Mahal which served Indian food (the garlic naan bread was AAAMAZING, and Karabina which was a neat little "Izakaya" (which I understand to mean essentially "pub").

Not sure how long you'll be there, or your transportation, but if you have a car and some extra days Rusutsu was a really awesome mountain, as was Kiroro...both within an easy day-trip.

Otaru was a really cool town to explore for a day as well...if you want a day off from skiing while you're there. It's on the coast and has some really good seafood restaurants, along with some good areas to just walk around and explore (along the canal).

For the BP88s...I'd say watch the weather and make a decision a week or so before you go. I went in Jan/Feb, so not really sure what conditions look like in late March.

Tagging @Rainbow Jenny for additional knowledge.
 

jting

Diva in Training
We hired a guide on one trip. He had a van & took us to smaller local resorts that had less people, e.g. Moiwa, and it was alot of fun. We also did a day of cat skiing with him at a local hill which wasn't very steep but had alot of powder + a natural hot spring at the bottom that you could soak in after skiing!
 

Peaheartsmama

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Oh yes we only have 3 nights there, 2 full days and I am on the Ikon pass. So I think we will stick to the resort itself for the most part! And rely on resort shuttles to get around. (I hope those are a thing! Thanks for the food recs!
 

Eera

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Reds are intermediate runs, possibly equivalent to mid-high level blues. An instructor at our favourite hill told us that the Japanese don't necessarily grade their runs based on difficulty but they can also grade them on how easy they are to groom; certainly the longest green there was kind of hairy in places.
 

Peaheartsmama

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I assume Ikonngives us access to the full area - does anyone know if we can use the ikon pass as is or perhaps have to pick up a Niseko ticket at guest services?
 

snoWYmonkey

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I did ski two days at Niseko, which ended up on the low end of favorite resorts out of the 11 we visited during our stay. I hear you on the Ikon pass, but I second @elemmac that Rusutsu which is an easy bus ride from Niseko is worthy from a terrain perspective and they seemed to have quite a few mellow blue equivalents.

I apologize that I have no real memory of greens at Niseko as we were on a slightly different program chasing untracked snow in steeper terrain.

I brought a pair of powder skis and never felt that I regretted the added width as we were lucky to have 12 days of powder skiing. I suspect you would be much happier with the 88s than something narrower as even the groomers were often covered in light powder. I only brought mine because I knew I wanted those specifically, but depending on how you are traveling, renting might be a nice alternative as you can mix it up depending on the conditions of the day.

In terms of IKON, I am not sure. I had an employee IKON sister resort discount card that proved to almost not be worth the hassle as no one could figure it out and I had to run all over the base to get it resolved.

Wishing you a fantastic time skiing there. I hope you get a day of clear skies so you can see the volcano. We did not see it until the morning we caught the bus to leave. It was stunning!
 

Chuyi

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I am with @snoWYmonkey rusutsu is a much better resort. Niseko is a foreigner mountain. All the resorts are linked in top but the top is rarely open cuz it snows every day. To go from one area to the other you have to take the bus. Annapuri was the best. You can get a day pass with your ikon at the base of Annapuri the other ticket counters were more difficult.
 

Rainbow Jenny

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
OP is going over Easter, or late March, a very different experience from the powder January and February. I would highly recommend bringing skis in the 70’s. It can go through freeze/thaw cycle, roads can turn super icy. Niseko never seems to get the corn cycle, but the end of March is a quieter time of the year.

I took AST 2 in Niseko early March 2018, the short walk from our lodging to the town shuttle was like an ice rink.

Given such a short stay, just be happy in Niseko and explore. What size is your party? I’m not sure dinner reservation will be necessary that time of the year. The resorts usually closes early or mid April.

You’ll definitely have better chance of seeing sunshine late March. Have a great time!
 
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Rainbow Jenny

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I also don’t recall the green runs well except Ace 1 is a family chair. You can easily ask around while you’re there.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
We are going to Niseko over Easter! Staying at the Park Hyatt on the Hanazono side. Was hoping to ease into it and explore the greens - but see most of them are on the other areas on the mountain. Any tips? Are the red trails comparable to blue trails in the US? Is it easy to go from one base to the next? Any restaurants you would suggest we make a booking at? Any other activities worth making reservations for?
The best source for getting answers about skiing and traveling in Japan during the ski season that I've found is the Australian ski forum. Plenty of Aussie families head to Japan for a ski vacation since their school summer break is in Jan-Feb. There is always an on-going thread during the season.

 

Peaheartsmama

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Awesome thanks for all of this. It’s just me, DH and the two kids. And yes it looks like the resort closes the day we leave so we are catching the tail end. I do hope there will still be some good conditions. Should be fun regardless! And yes I’ll just bring the 76s then.
 

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