Japan’s famed ski resort of Niseko has announced it will open for the season this Thursday, November 23rd.
The powder snow for which it is most famous has started falling in abundance with around 100cm blanketing the village over the past week and a further 80cm forecast for the coming few days.
Unusually for a Japanese ski centre in the 21st century, Niseko will see two new quad chairlifts go in to service this December in two of its sectors.
Both will especially benefit beginner skiers, but there are advantages for more advanced skiers too.
Firstly Tokyu Resort Services have upgraded the Grand Hirafu’s Ace Family Pair lift to a high speed quad.
The original lift was running at capacity as it has to service the growing accommodation base at Niseko’s Grand Hirafu village.
The new lift will double the per hour lift capacity and be particularly welcomed by the resort’s ski schools and beginners but it will also be used for faster access to the upper mountain – partly due to the increased speed and greater capacity reducing queuing, but also as the upper station will be 250m higher on the mountain.
Advanced skiers and boarders will also benefit with smoother transition from the Niseko United summit to the Dot Base Ski Center and Hirafu’s main parking lot.
The higher upper station means a longer run down for novices and the base of the new lift will be located 10 metres further up the mountain providing more space for Hirafu ski schools at the bottom of the Family run.
“The new Family run lift will be more comfortable and easy to get on and off with greater deceleration speeds. All in all, a much welcomed improvement to Niseko United Resort’s Grand Hirafu lift system!” said a spokesperson from specialist tour operator Japan Ski Experience.
In addition Niseko Annupuri International Ski Resort has announced a new quad chairlift too – the Dream Quad Lift #1 – also especially for beginner skiers and snowboarders.
The new lift is at the bottom of Annupuri Gondola and is 433 metres long.