Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan
7 Nights in 4 BR Luxury Ski House
(Dates & Prices to be announced)
Hokkaido is an island in the northern reaches of Japan and is notoriously famous for the heaps of champagne powder that fall there every winter season. This plethora of light weight powder makes for some of the finest skiing and snowboarding in the world. One of the most popular ski resorts in Hokkaido is Niseko United. This one mountain is home to 4 separate resorts that are all interconnected and can be traversed on mountain. Ski one or ski them all. Beware though, it will take you many days to see all the terrain. It is vast! Whether you enjoy the adventure of back-country skiing through untracked powder or cruising on beautifully groomed runs, Niseko United has it all.
I have been skiing Japan for 5 years and have fell in love with not just the quality of snow but all that is great about Japan. The country is tourist friendly, the people welcoming and it's not without its share of great food and scenery. It is exhilarating to hike up to Niseko summit on a clear day and take in the site of Mt. Yotei; a picturesque extinct volcano that is a site to behold. Soak in the view, pop on the skis and enjoy the ride down!
I have rented out a 4 bedroom luxury house in a secluded area of Niseko and only a 5 minute walk to the Hanazono Resort ski lifts. Hanazono is one of the 4 resorts that comprise Niseko United and some say it is their favorite. The house can fit up to 8 people and offers stunning accommodation. I have chosen a place that is secluded and away from the bustle of downtown Hirafu (part of Niseko United) If anyone is interested in heading out to Hirafu or Kutchan-Cho to experience the nightlife and dining I will have an 8 passenger 4 wheel drive van at my disposal to shuttle us the 10 minutes to town and to the other resorts if need be. I suspect with lifts only a 5 minute walk away, driving to the other bases may not be necessary. We will play it by ear.
Scroll down for additional details and don't hesitate to contact me with any questions.
Let's Go Skiing! - Mike Gerken
Accommodation: 7 nights lodging w/breakfast
Under $1100.00pp dbl occu
Rental Van: $150.00/week per person. If you want to borrow the van you must have an International Drivers License to drive in Japan and I will need a copy of it prior to allowing you on the list of drivers. Otherwise, I can shuttle you around as needed.
Lift Tickets: Price range from $50-$85USD per day. Lift tickets will be purchased by the individual on as need basis. Pre-buying can be tricky because you do not know how many hours per day or how many different resorts you want to ski per day. The costs very depending on what you are in the mood for. I suggest buying on a per day basis. The cost savings for multi-day passes are not vast. See This Link and This Link.
Food: Breakfast will be included and cooked by yours truly. Expect to pay $20 for lunch on the mountain and more for dinner. Cheap eats are available or the full kitchen in the house can be utilized to cook on a budget. Grocery stores are just a few minute drive away
Airport: New Chitose Airport is 20 minutes from the city of Sapporo and about 90 minutes to Hanazono Resort. This will be the airport you will fly into with connecting flights from all over Japan such as Haneda and Osaka. Airfares will vary of course depending on where you are traveling from. Contact me direct to assist with your flights. Visit This Link for more travel info.
Transfers: Arrive on Sunday Jan 5 during the day and I can pick you up with the rental van. If you are coming in at a different time, you can easily arrange a bus to shuttle you to the mountain where I can pick you up at the Welcome Center. Costs run about $30usd one way.
Ski Lessons: Each resort has highly qualified instructors operating out of reputable ski schools. Let me know what you want and I can set it up for you.
Guiding: Although I am not a professional guide I do know the mountain well and can show you thoroughly around the "in-bounds" and "side-country" terrain and point you in the right direction to where the secret stashes of pow are. If you want to hire pros and head out to backcountry, let me know and I can set you up.
Skiing/Boarding: Skiing or riding in large groups is usually very difficult. Break off and ski in small groups with those that suit your speed and needs. Or go it solo. As they say, "there are no friends on a powder day". Regardless, we will meet up at the end of the day and drink wine and tell stories of our day on the "hill".
Dining: Each night I will make reservations for a different restaurant and drive us there in the van or you can opt to stay home and chill out on the comfy sofas and eat home cooked meals. Your choice.
Taxi: Taxis are available for those looking to go out when no one else wants to. Although secluded we are not very far from Hirafu or Kutchan. Two towns with lots of nightlife and good eats.
Rental Gear: There are some reputable places to rent demo powder skis/boards or your basic downhill gear. Contact me and let me know what your needs are. You may find that renting will be easier than hauling your gear to Japan.
Luggage Service: If you want to tour Japan but not have to haul your bags around, Japan has reliable, fast and affordable luggage service.
Typical Day's Itinerary
I wake up bright and early to check the snow conditions for the day and then cook a hot breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast and pancakes. If there is a fresh layer of snow on the ground the bus will leave no later than 0800 to the hill unless you choose to walk to the ski lifts which is only about 5 minutes away. I can drive the van to the base of the other resorts but skiing to them is possible. We will play this by ear. On powder days, I don't dally. This is why Niseko is famous and one must get out on the hill early for fresh tracks. Skiers can choose to ski together or go-it-alone. Every time I have tried to ski as a group it ends up breaking off into small groups within one run. It is not feasible to go as a group. Everyone will have different abilities and want to ski at different terrain at varying paces including myself.
We will arrange to meet at a prescribed time for lunch and then head back to the house or grab a beer for Apres at the end of the day. Once back at the house, more beer, wine, snacks and tales of the day on the hill.
The bus will leave for a restaurant in the early evening or we will cook at home. Once again, we will play it by ear. I usually do not stay out late so getting up early for more pow is easier. If anyone wants to go out late and enjoy the party scene, taxis can be arranged.
On occassions, after skiing, we can take the van to one of the famed natural hot springs known as an Onsen. Soak in the mineral rich water to relieve the aches from the skiing. The Onsen has rules and etiquette that should be strictly adhered to. Read more here.
Each day will be a repeat of the first. I can offer advice on side activities if anyone needs a break from the hill.
More Details on the House