Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu resort review (Kutchan Town, Hokkaido)

Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu
Kutchan Town, Hokkaido
Submitted by Fury on 7th January 2016
A unique experience, loved every minute of it!
Let's start at the beginning, we flew from Amsterdam to Tokyo first and stayed there for two days to see something of the city. Loved every minute of it, from the patchinko halls to a standing bar where we had "cloudy sake" with the locals. Brilliant :)

From Tokyo we did an overland to Niseko, we started with a Shinkansen bullet train which was a unique experience. Gradually the trains got smaller and the heaps of snow got larger. The past part in a tiny, single wagon train that plowed through the snow.

Once we arrived in Nisoko we were taking excellent care of by "the Niseko Company" who brought us to our awesome house called "Tokubetsu" in the lower part of the town, it overlooks a beautiful valley with mount Yotei in the background... it doesn't get any better than this!

As the house is in the lowest street of the town, we needed to take a bus to the lifts every morning. This worked well although the buses could have had a better way of storing boards / ski's on the outside of the bus... now everyone dragged their stuff on the bus which wasn't really designed for people and all their gear.

Anyway, once we went up the mountain we very much enjoyed the slopes. The conditions were very good although we didn't get the fresh nightly dumps we had hoped for. After we figured out the gates system we also did some nice off-piste runs. All in all excellent skiing and boarding.

Apres-Skiing was also a lot of fun, we ended up in a rowdy Ozzie bar (I never realized this is apparently the place for Australians to go to when they want to ski), went to Kutchan were we did karaoke with the locals and had cocktails at a very nice(ly hidden) bar called Bar Gyu.

On our way back we flew from Sapporo to Tokyo and were barely able to get out of there, we ended up booking a flight from the bus... then changed that at the airport and our plane was the very last plane to leave after we sat on the tarmac for a couple of hours while they were de-icing the plane and clearing the runway.

In Tokyo we dropped our bags at a hotel, had a weird indoor BBQ around midnight at a place where no one spoke English but according to Google translate we ate something called "Neck of the bird"... after that we really didn't want any more details, the food tasted great though ;) After dinner we took a cab to the ageHa club where we partied until morning... slept for an hour in the hotel and went to the airport. I have never slept so well on a plane!

Anyway, for anyone considering going to Japan to ski I would definitely recommend it! It's an awesome experience, generally the Japanese are very friendly and it's a beautiful country.
Date visited: From 11 January, 2015 To 18 January, 2015
Snow condition on visit: When we visited it was actually quite sunny, all the locals told us they had never seen this much sun in early January before. Even though it didn't snow as much as we hoped it did snow a bit at night and the final day we almost weren't able to leave the island as we caught the last flight from Sapporo to Tokyo.
Things I liked: Excellent slopes, even when there is less snow than normal there is still a LOT of snow. The whole experience of skiing / boarding in Japan was a lot of fun.
Things I didn't like: If I need to pick something: the busses could have been a bit more suited to people with ski's / boards.
Recommended for: Beginner riders
Intermediate riders
Advanced riders
Off-piste opportunities
Ungroomed courses
Authentic Japan experience
General score: 100
Snow conditions: 80
Courses/Terrain: 80
Lift system: 80
Apres ski: 75

Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu

Kutchan Town, Hokkaido
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Average Rankings

General score: 83
Snow conditions: 85
Courses/Terrain: 79
Lift system: 75
Apres ski: 78

Basic Resort Statistics

Max. elevation: 1200m
Min. elevation: 260m
Vertical: 940m
Steepest slope: 40°
Longest course: 5600m
Number of lifts: 12

Location of Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu