Opening day is always an exciting one, you've waited the whole summer and a seemingly an even longer autumn and finally the day has arrived! Now you're standing in line for the first chair of the winter, your gear is waxed, the new jacket and pants are looking aweseome, boots still feel good and you're ready to roll. Hope the technique's still there!
Opening day 2020 was no different and Hirafu / Hanazono was the place to be. What made this opening day just a little bit more special was the fact that it had been snowing for a week solid leading up to it and things were looking epic! With a mixture of clear skys and light snow the weather was good and while waiting in line occaisional snowflakes fluttered down illuminated by the sun behind, winter was here and it felt great! For those lucky enough to be in attendance lift lines were predictably sparse too. Over the hill at Niseko Village things were also looking powdery check out the video below for a glimpse at how things were on that side of the hill.
With almost 1 meter of snow to kick things off excitement levels were predictably high and there was some awesome skiing to be had. Although 1 meter sounds like a considerable amount of snow the resort still has a long way to go before everything is accessible as is usually the case this early in December. There was of great skiing on the piste and some fun powder turns to be had on the sides of the courses as you can see from the video below.
Over all it was a great start to the 2020 winter for Niseko at least in terms of snow. The streets are quite empty as is the accommodation for most of December until around Christmas when a never seen before influx of domestic guests will arrive to make the most of the powder and discounted room rates. We look forward to things getting back to normal so that we can welcome both domestic and international guests back to the snowy Niseko we all love.