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Visitor reviews for Niseko Grand Hirafu Ski Resort

Niseko Grand Hirafu Ratings

Overall: 3.9. Based on 55 votes and 108 reviews. Vote

Snowsure: 4.6

(1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Niseko Grand Hirafu is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.

Variety of pistes: 4.3

(1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Niseko Grand Hirafu has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.

Off-piste: 4.5

(1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.

Scenery: 4.1

(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.

Access: 3.8

(1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Niseko Grand Hirafu.

Public Transport: 4.3

(1) There are no buses or taxis to Niseko Grand Hirafu, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.

Accommodation: 4.5

(1) No places to stay in/near Niseko Grand Hirafu, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.

Cheap Rooms: 3.7

(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.

Luxury Hotels: 4.5

(1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Niseko Grand Hirafu.

Ski in/Ski out: 4.2

(1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.

Childcare: 3.8

(1) There are no child care facilities at Niseko Grand Hirafu, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.

Snowmaking: 2.0

(1) Niseko Grand Hirafu relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.

Snow Grooming: 4.2

(1) There are no snow groomers at Niseko Grand Hirafu, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Niseko Grand Hirafu are groomed daily.

Shelter: 3.5

(1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Niseko Grand Hirafu is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.

Nearby options: 3.6

(1) If snow conditions are poor at Niseko Grand Hirafu, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.

Regional rating: 4.5

(1) Niseko Grand Hirafu usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.

Lift Staff: 4.7

(1) The staff at Niseko Grand Hirafu are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Niseko Grand Hirafu are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.

Crowds/Queues: 3.5

(1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.

Ski Schools: 4.6

(1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.

Hire and Repairs: 4.6

(1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.

Beginners: 4.3

(1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.

Intermediates: 4.6

(1) No intermediate terrain at Niseko Grand Hirafu, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.

Advanced: 4.2

(1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.

Snow Park: 3.8

(1) Not even a kicker at Niseko Grand Hirafu, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.

Cross-country: 3.1

(1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Niseko Grand Hirafu, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.

Luge/Toboggan: 2.0

(1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Niseko Grand Hirafu has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.

Mountain Dining: 4.1

(1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.

Eating: 4.5

(1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.

Apres-Ski: 4.2

(1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.

Other Sports: 3.0

(1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.

Entertainment: 3.2

(1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.

Winter Walks: 3.1

(1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.

Ski Pass Value: 4.1

(1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.

Value (National): 3.9

(1) Overall, Niseko Grand Hirafu is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.

Value (Global): 4.0

(1) Overall, Niseko Grand Hirafu is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.

Show all 35 ratings

September 27, 2005
zoop from Ski Bahamas Bahamas
you thought the trees were dangerous! try avoiding all the australians!
November 20, 2005
derek foster from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Great snow, the best powder anywhere. No-one on the slopes and very friendly pepole. Be prepared for the cold though.Stay at the Freedom Inn, great hospitality and food.
November 28, 2005
Tinkus from Ski Australia Australia
Zoop - you are so right; I'm not going again after the last to year the place has lost the culture, too many aussies there. The snow is the best but you have heaps of other resorts in Japan to chose with no aussies there. By the way, yes I am Australian, but like going to places where you see more locals then you own people. regards tinkus
December 16, 2005
Dr Shred from Ski Antarctica Antarctica
Powder can be awesome, some of the best boarding in the world without question. Problem is it's becoming an outpost of the western suburbs of Sydney. Aussies who travel to the lesser known parts of the globe will have seen it happen elsewhere and are already moving on. It won't be long until the Fisherman's Hut is filled with Ugg boot wearing westies, but by that time most of the adventurers will have moved on. If I want to see yobbos from Paramatta I'll go to Blue Cow...
December 19, 2005
spider from Ski Australia Australia
Too many Aussies eh? Been coming for 4 years and love to see the Aussies, what do you want a mountain full of Seppos [Yanks - Editor] ? Hardly the yobbo types frequent Niseko. Spend the rest of your life running from progress while we enjoy more conveniences and so much snow on the four mountains or others nearby.
January 04, 2006
Wile E Coyote from Ski Australia Australia
Yep there are a fair few Aussies in the Hirafu area however not all are there to denigrate the area and many if you take the time to ask are highly experienced long time ski industry workers who love the powder skiing there without the (higher)risk associated with off piste skiing in Euro resorts. Back-country education is being promoted by several of the companies and Avalanche committee members welcome openly the influx of foreigners as they understand their own businesses and the lifts used to access the off piste do not run on some magical cold air device. As for adventure, really since the advent of the commercial airliner and heated coaches, can we really say skiing in a foreign country counts? Culturally yes; physically perhaps just a privilege
January 05, 2006
Cloudnine from Ski Australia Australia
Haven't been yet but getting very excited. Must be from north shore, to bag westies so much. Perhaps you could move on to some of the avalanche areas in Europe for some adventure. Leave the rest to those who enjoy good snow, companions and other cultures.
January 15, 2006
riki from Ski Australia Australia
Leaving in 5 days for Niseko, cant wait (already there mentally). Also looking forward to meeting other OZ boarders there. So glad Dr shread wont be there, maybe he can find a nice deep crevasse in Antartica to chill out in probably wont like his own company though. See you there guys, leave a few freshies for us. Riki
January 23, 2006
Tom from Ski Australia Australia
This is my 2nd time to Niseko & yes its loosing its quaint Japaneseness about it. But you can't beat it for consistent Deep Powder and great untracked off piste skiing. Still with all the westerners here we are finding untracked all day so we will be coming back as long as the untracked secret spots are secret. If you dont like Ozzies don't come. See you in the steep & deep.
February 01, 2006
zoop from Ski Japan Japan
Hirafu's so hyped up at the moment, its the "place to be" but the other fields around the corner are better, less people and more powder.