The Niseko United boasts some of the greatest tree skiing in the world thanks to ample supplies of powder and plenty of nicely spaced Silver Birch forest. It also has some incredible stuff above the tree line too and in this installment we will cover a little of both with a quick look at what the Annupuri Summit or The Peak has to offer.
When we refer to The Peak this is the highest point of Mount Annupuri (1308m) or The Niseko United Area, usually accessed via a slightly sketchy feeling single chair know by many as "the meat hook" or King Lift #4 . You can access this from either Hirafu via the The King Hooded Lift # 3 or The Hanazono Quad Lift#3. This will swing you up to the easiest starting point if you are looking to hike the peak.
Peak access is governed by Niseko Local rules, get familiar with these before you go - https://www.niseko.ne.jp/en/niseko/niseko-rules/ . Gate 3 gives you access to the Peak Hike and this being open is weather dependent. If the weather is bad and the gate happens to be open, if you are not familiar with the area you will probably best to leave it for another day as it is easy to get lost if you can't see where you are going.
The hike to the peak takes 15 to 30 minutes depending on your fitness level and remember if you drop in skiiers left you will have to hike out too. Neither one is too strenuous though and well worth the effort. The views are incredible and the terrrain that the hike opens up is awesome starting with nicely pitched open powder fields and leading into beautifully gladed tree runs.
If you want to get the best out of your peak experience get to the single chair as soon as you can in the morning as the peaks goodness is no secret. Although the secret may be out the terrian and snow is almost always incredible and it's still always worth a shot when the rest of the mountain hasn't seen snow for a few days.
Remember the peak is out of bounds and it is the back country and although easily accessible the usual precautions must be taken, which means riding with friends, taking avalanche equipment that you know how to use and preferably going with a guide or someone who has been before.
It is also important to check the weather and avalanche reports before you go -
Avalanche Reports - http://niseko.nadare.info/
Enjoy the ride!