Posted on April 21st, 2011 No comments
Niseko Grand Hirafu builds a nice spring ski and snowboard park in the beginning of April every season that goes off through the golden week of May 5th(sometimes May 9th!). Located skiers right off of the king hooded triple seater lift on the upper mountain, the Shirakaba spring park is the place to slip and slide the snow until the end of the season. The park is complete with beginner, medium, huge tables and drop-gap lines. There are also a couple small boxes to slide, a big hip-jump and a mini pipe at the end of the park but that’s not all… cross over the groomed run and drop into the natural gully to carve the berms and trick the wall hits down to the lift. It’s super fun! With all the different lines, lapping the Shirakaba park can become a run you repeat all day… all week… if you are lucky, all spring.
The park staff crew does a excellent job on the layout and shape it twice daily -keeping it fresh and clean with painted features that look beautiful with Mt. Youtei in the backdrop. Spring is a great time of the season to jump your first jumps, learn some new tricks or practice old moves. The warm temps and sun, soft snow and uncrowded slopes all factor in to the high level of fun this time of year in Niseko. Many pro and core local skiers and snowboarders are ripping the park and amazing tricks are thrown down daily. Every season the video and photos coming out of the Niseko area are inspiring to say the least. We have seen a 17 year old Kutchan local kid warm up on the 20 meter jump with mach-speed switch backside 540′s then throwing switch backside 900′s on his next lap through. So smooth. No wonder why he won the Hanazono big air event earlier in the season. This kind of riding is nice to watch or join in on the session if your skills are dialed or not.
Another big plus to riding park in Niseko is that the kind culture of the Japanese in general have way-way less attitude than park-rats in other countries of the world. Everybody is so chill and peacefully waiting their turn to drop in and rip it. No one ever snakes through and heads are always watching out for each other helping make sure the landings are clear after a bail. In a culture where strangers are bowing, greeting and motivating each other, it really creates a good feel in the parks of Hanazono and Hirafu all season. Everybody gets a chance to ride the fun features in Niseko with the locals making beginners feel as comfortable as the pros. Park kids around the world should take note.
Spread the Niseko spring park word and come out to enjoy and experience it for yourself.
Posted on April 12th, 2011 1 comment
Please help us spread the word that Niseko was not directly affected from the earthquake and devastating tsunami of March 11th. Help Niseko by reading this Niseko Tourism Update and pass it along to your friends and family who have skied Niseko or who like to enjoy their future snowy holiday with us. Know that Hokkaido was not mentioned in any travel advisories and recently many countries have lifted advisories against Tokyo reassuring traveler’s fears of connecting flights to and from New Chitose airport in Sapporo. Niseko Grand Hirafu’s ski slopes and surrounding villages are 600km away from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant and radiation levels in Hokkaido have measured to normal background levels every day last month. Please check FLEEP and MLIT for daily updates on the ongoing crisis! There has been no food shortage in Hokkaido and of course the Japanese government has issued strict guidelines for foods to be tested to acceptable levels.
The people of Niseko and Kutchan town have opened up 1000 beds for displaced people, have personally driven down supplies, continue to help at donation centers and have raised over 2,000,000 JPY to date to donate to the relief efforts. With a country in pain during these hard times, our quiet Hokkaido has been spared and living in the mountains feels safe. We are enjoying the snow quietly and doing what we can to help. Now would be better than ever to support tourism in Japan by planning or possibly booking your next ski or snowboard Holiday. Niseko would love to have you back or show the beautiful culture and snow we are blessed for the first time.
Thanks to Niseko Tourism and you,
Posted on April 8th, 2011 No comments
Skiing and snowboarding the spring season up here in Niskeo is good good times. The warmer temperatures and sunshine, soft corn snow, and not waiting in lift lines are very beautiful things. We cherish these chill spring snow days with the locals and it’s easy to enjoy great groomer turns and park jumps on the mountain after the high season. Although Niseko has had plenty of cold snow in March on top of the 4 meter base, it’s still called “low season” and it’s an awesome time to be here. Not too many skiers or snowboarders are here to race for the first turns making relaxing powder days and open runs easy to find.
April’s first three snowy days came with no powder pressure and plenty of snow for everybody. It’s cool to see Niseko’s slopes enjoyed the lifties, lodge managers, local business owners, convenience store employees and other village workers that finally are having time off to ski and snowboard. The uncrowded park runs are being shredded by friendly familiar faces and it might be time to start calling Niseko “low season” Niseko “bro season”.
The warmer spring temperatures change the mountain daily and we can see the sasa bush springing back to life and creeks running wild again. The spring brings risk of cornices breaking, huge snowballs falling out of the birch, heavy slush-slides down to the ground, cracks and holes appearing where everybody has been skiing and snowboarding all winter.
It’s all good, just be aware out there and enjoy the spring snow!