I was expecting to have a deep powder experience during my first ski trip to Hokkaido, but little snow fell during my 4 day visit. It's kind of ironic that Kanto got walloped while I was up north. Nevertheless, the snow was good and the weather mostly clear.
The scenery was great. Ezo Fuji is a gorgeous volcano and the plume of steam rising from Showa Unzen was clearly visible, as was the Sea of Japan.
The high speed triple covered chair at Hirafu broke while we were on it. We waited about half an hour for the ski patrol to rescue us. At least we were not cold thanks to the cover. It was interesting to be lowered off a lift.
The gondola at the Hilton is open from 7:30 to 8:30 for about 10 days during the season for 1000 yen. This is a separate deal from the lift tickets. We took advantage both Saturday and Sunday. This program is over for this year, but I recommend it for future seasons. The ski patrol runs an avalanche education program. I did not take it, but did go through a gate for a couple of runs through the mizu no sawa area.
Our package ski deal came with lift tickets only for Niseko village; I recommend upgrading to the Niseko United all mountain pass.
We stayed at the Green Leaf, which is very comfortable. Beautiful onsen. The ski room is light, airy, and convenient. Ski in and out. The food was good. The best meal was sushi at Hanayoshi in town. We had to take a taxi (about 2000 yen each way), but the meal was terrific and very reasonably priced.