NISEKO’S ONLY ALL SEASON LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE - ISSUE 8
恭喜發財 Happy Chinese New Year!
WINTER ACTIVITIES GUIDE 2010
SPRING SKIING All The Best Tips & Info
TAKE FREE FEB-MAR2010
WINTER I SUMMER I NEWS I PHOTOS I REAL ESTATE I ENTERTAINMENT
FEB-MAR 2010 ISSUE 8
Contents [ Features ] 12 20 21 30 31 32 33 34-35 36-37
Yukitopia Niseko Hirafu Spring Park Spring in Your Turns A Night on The Town Toyota Big Air Capella Hirafu Master Plan Golf in Nisekoâ€™s Summer Paradise Summer in Niseko
[ Regulars ] 06-11 13-17 18-19 24-29 34-35 36-40 40 44 46-48 49 50-51
Niseko & Onsen Information Kutchan Information Niseko Mountain Guide Niseko Restaurant Guide Ski Japan - Your Host in Niseko SkiJapan.com Tours Calender of Events Meet the Team of SkiJapan.com NBS Getting Your Gear Photo Diary - HOTSHOTS
[ Maps and Timetables ] 14 Kutchan Map 56-57 Bus & Train Timetables 58 Niseko United Mountain Map 59 Hirafu Village Map
Staff & Contributors [ Editor ] Rhett Roylance
[ Photographer ] Randy Wieman
[ Contributing Writers ] [ Contributing Photographers ] Peter Murphy Rebecca Watson Yasuyuki Shimanuki Anthony Trovatello Katrina Evans Ben jamin Tredinnick James Lowe JC Hickson Marcus Williams Ruskin Mclennan Rebecca Watson John Barton Anthony Trovatello Riccardo Tossani Troy Stidolph [ Graphic Designers ] Rod White Katrina Evans Teruko Kozu Kentaro Hoshi
Distribution 5,000 Advertising enquiries: email@example.com
niseko & hirafu village Niseko is an area name used to refer to Niseko-town, Kutchan-town, and Rankoshi-town. The word “Niseko” originally comes from the native Hokkaido Ainu language “Nisey-co” which means gorge or ravine. The Niseko resort comprises of three inter-linked ski resorts; Niseko Annupuri, Niseko Village, and Niseko Grand Hirafu including Hanazono on the one mountain called Mount Annupuri. When people refer to Niseko Resort - they are usually talking about Niseko Hirafu Village, situated at the base of the Grand Hirafu lift system, home to numerous fantastic restaurants, character filled bars and an extensive selection of Western and Japanese style accommodation.
About the area: Niseko is surrounded by the Niseko mountain chain and Mt. Yotei. There are many onsens, and the most beautiful river in Japan, Shiribetsu river.
There are two major convenience stores in Hirafu where you can buy all your basic groceries – Seicomart and Lawson. If you travel into Kutchan there are a number of major supermarkets, more information on how to get to there can be found in the Kutchan section of the magazine.
Niseko Grand Hirafu (incl Hanazono) Niseko Annupuri Niseko Village
Dec - May
Number of Courses
Number of Lifts
27 Chairs, 3 Gondolas
Beginner 30% Intermediate 40% Advanced 30%
Mt Yotei Altitude: 1898m Also known as “Ezo-Fuji” which means Mt. Fuji in Hokkaido. There are 4 routes to get to the peak, and it takes roughly 4 to 6 hours to climb. From the peak, you can see both the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan as well as a huge crater with a lake in summer time. This lake produces spring water, which can take up to 80 years to filter through to the base of the mountain.
Shiribetsu River Renowned as one of the cleanest rivers in Japan. You can enjoy rafting, canoeing or fishing. It is126km in length and starts at 1046m altitude at Mt. Furedake, flows around Mt. Yotei and past Niseko, eventually discharging into Iwanai bay, the Sea of Japan.
SKI & BOARD EQUIPMENT:
There are a number of shops in Hirafu that sell ski/snowboarding equipment and clothing. The NBS retail store in the Alpen Ridge building stocks the latest in Oakley products, a wide range of snow equipment and accesories. Alternatively you could travel into Kutchan where there are two major Ski and Snowboard shops, Takiguchi Sports and Boom.
Mt Yotei 1898 m
SkiJapan.com can arrange shopping tours into Kutchan. Please check with your SkiJapan.com Staff about bookings and information for a shopping tour. Alternatively you can catch the public bus which runs every hour.
Money Japan is predominantly a cash society. While credit card facilities are now becoming more common, foreign currency cash (e.g. Australian Dollars, US Dollars, UK Pound) and foreign currency travelers cheques are not accepted in the majority of Niseko shops and restaurants. TRAVELERS CHEQUES: Travelers Cheques can only be exchanged at the main Kutchan Post Office and the Hokuyo bank, both located on Ekimae Dori street . ATMS: Cash can be withdrawn using International credit cards from the ATM located on the ground floor of the Yama Shizen building in the upper village. Hours are: From Sunday to Thursday 8:00-18:00 Friday and Saturday 8:00-20:00
Telephone Info INTERNATIONAL CALLING : Discount calling cards are available from the SkiJapan.com main office for 1,000 yen. These are the best value when calling overseas. They can be used from SkiJapan.com managed properties, mobile and public telephones. Please ask SkiJapan. com staff for more information. COLLECT CALLS: You can make collect calls from any public phone but you will have to deposit 10 yen to dial the operator. Dial 0057 and a bilingual operator will connect you. The Alpen Hotel (grey phone) is free to dial 0057 â€“ no coins required. PUBLIC PHONES: You can only make direct International calls on the grey public phones in Japan (the green phones are for domestic calls only). There are two International phones in Hirafu, one located in the Alpen Hotel and the other is outside Seicomart. MOBILE PHONES: You will need a suitable 3G handset to use your mobile in Japan. Mobile phone rentals are available at New Chitose Airport, right next to the SkiJapan.com counter.
International ATMS are also available in Kutchan, at the Post Offices, Hokuyo Bank and all 7-11 convenience stores. These ATMS accept most major International credit cards and are open during the following hours: Kutchan Post office and bank ATM Hours: From Monday to Friday 8:45 - 19:00 From Saturday to Sunday 9:00- 17:00 Public Holidays 9:00- 17:00 Kutchan 7-11 ATM hours: 24 hours Please Note: The ATM in Seicomart DOES NOT accept International Credit cards. They are for Japanese domestic cards only. However, credit cards are accepted for over the counter purchases. SERVICE FOR ALL ATMS ON JAPANESE PUBLIC HOLIDAYS: 9:00 - 17:00
AIRLINE PHONE NUMBERS: Qantas - 0120 207 020 (Mon-Sat, closed 30/12-3/1, Diverts to Australia) ANA - 0120 029 709 (Domestic, 6:30 - 22:00) Japan Airlines - 0120 255 971 (Domestic, 6:30 - 20:00) 0120 255 931 (International, 8:00 - 20:00)
SKIJAPAN.COM FRONT DESK Main office - (0136) 22-4611(Domestic, 7:00 - 20:00) +81 136 22-4611 (International, 7:00 - 20:00) After Hours Emergency Number - (0136) 22-4617
LOCAL EMERGENCY Police - 110 Fire, Ambulance or Rescue - 119
Internet Info Full internet access is available at - Down Town CafĂŠ (at the traffic lights intersection) - Apres Bar (Scot Hotel)
customs and culture When travelling abroad to any country, it is important to have an understanding of the cultural differences you may experience. Below are some useful tips to get you started.
RESPECT YOUR HOSTS • • • •
ACCOMMODATION WESTERN STYLE: In Niseko, Western style accommodation is abundant. Most apartments have double, queen and king beds available however there are very few hotels or pensions that offer double or queen bedding with only twin rooms(2 single beds). Western rooms in Hotels and Pensions are usually smaller than what you may be used to in your own country. JAPANESE STYLE: Japanese Style accommodation is traditionally more spartan when compared to Western styles. It is usually smaller, has only basic furniture and little hanging or storage space. Bedding is Futon mattresses laid out directly onto the Tatami mats (woven, straw flooring). The futons are stored in the cupboards throughout the day and laid out in the afternoon. Remember to remove your shoes before entering any Japanese style accommodation.
Western Style Apartment
Japanese Style Room
ALL ABOUT FUTONS A Japanese Futon maybe a little different to what you imagined. Unlike a Western Futon, that is usually converted from a sofa. A Japanese Futon is a thin mattress laid directly onto the straw tatami mats. Please keep this in mind when booking Japanese Style accommodation. Typical Western Style Futon
Typical Japanese Style Futon
Sort rubbish correctly. Don’t ski/board on roads. Remove your shoes. Use slippers. Respect mountain regulations and boundaries. • Learn a few simple Japanese words before arriving as a little can go a long way. • Be polite and courteous to shop owners and accommodation managers. • Rowdy behaviour in public places such as onsens, bars, restaurants and lift lines is not tolerated. • Chopsticks etiquette: Do not hold the chop sticks between your teeth, use your chop sticks like drumsticks, stand your chopsticks up in a bowl of rice, or pass food directly from chopsticks to chopsticks. This behaviour is considered offensive.
It is not customary to tip for services in Japan, and as such you will not be expected to do so. You may find however, that some restaurants have a service charge that is added to your bill, but complemented by an appetizer that is served when you order your drinks.
(said after about 12pm) Good Evening
See You Later
Mata ne Onamae wa nan desu ka?
What’s Your Name? My name is
Watashi wa ......... desu
Pleased to meet you
How Are You?
Genki desu ka?
Smoking is common in Japan and most restaurants and bars allow smoking inside. Most pensions, lodges and hotels also allow smoking in rooms and common areas. Some venues have smoking and non-smoking areas, so be sure to ask if you have a preference.
Arigato Kekkou desu
Please Please (When offering)
Are you OK?
Dai-joubu desu ka?
Nan desu ka?
Where is it?
Doko desu ka?
What is it?
Naze desu ka? or Nan-de?
........... Arimasu ka?
Do you have? Don’t Have
I don’t Understand
Niseko receives an average of 15m of snow each year. For your own safety please keep the following in mind:
Do you Understand English?
Ei-go wakarimasu ka?
What does that mean?
Doo iu imi desu ka?
Take care when walking in the village, as the footpaths are uneven and slippery due to snow and ice. Don’t ever walk on the roads as the traffic can be heavy, and vehicles can also have trouble with the snow and ice. We suggest you purchase a pair of snow cleats to put over your boots.
Irasshaimase (Said as you enter a shop) Aka wein hitotsu onegaishimasu
One Red Wine Please
Biru futatsu onegaishimasu
Two Beers Please
Thanks for the good meal
Otoire wa doko desu ka?
Where’s the Toilet? These are available from the NBS Retail Shop.
Cheers It’s great snow!
Kampai Sugoi Yuki Desu
Snow and ice from roofs There is a lot of snow on the roofs of buildings. There are also many icicles suspended from the eaves of buildings. Please do not stand or walk near the edge of buildings for fear of having this ice and snow falling on you.
Local Ski Area Rules Due to high avalanche risks, it is prohibited to ski in out of bounds areas. These areas are marked on the trail maps and are generally roped off. If you are caught in these areas your lift pass will be confiscated. In some resorts there are areas beyond the ski resort boundaries which are not patrolled. Entering these areas is done so at your own risk. Please respect the ski patrol and obey the rules. Daily avalanche information is available at lift ticket counters and at the bottom of the lifts.
Approximately 30% of resort injuries are due to slipping on the ice in the village - not skiing or snowboarding
NIseko onsen guide A trip to an onsen is essential if you want to see the best that Japanese culture has to offer, as well as giving welcome relief to tired joints & muscles.
Photo: Niseko Hilton Outdoor Onsen
ONSEN TIPS AND ETIQUETTE
PRINCE HIRAFUTEI HOTEL: Located on the main road (Hirafu Zaka), it is a 5 minute walk up from the traffic lights on the left. It has both indoor and outdoor onsens with a great view over the ski slope. Cost is 800yen per visit (400yen for children) it is open to the public from 1pm –10pm. YUKORO ONSEN: Located in the lower half of the village, Yukoro has a great outdoor setting. Cost is 600yen adults & 300yen for children, open between 2pm – 9:30pm.
Niseko Hilton Onsen
2. Admission Entry fees to many onsens are paid via a vending machine near the entrance to the Onsen.
POPOLO ONSEN: Popolo, which is in a separate building to the Scot Hotel, is the newest onsen in the village and is open to the public. Opening hours are 10am – 10pm. You need to purchase your ticket from the vending machine near the main entrance. It costs 800yen adults & 300yen children. Take this magazine to the counter for a 200yen discount! NISEKO HILTON HOTEL: This is one of the most photographed onsens in the Niseko area. It has a large outdoor onsen, which overlooks an elegant lagoon filled with carp. Open between 11am – 9pm. Cost is 1000yen to enter. OTHER ONSENS: SkiJapan.com offer onsen tours to either a private onsen or a mixed onsen. Visit the SkiJapan.com office for more details. Many more great onsens in the area can be accessed on the Niseko Spa shuttle bus. You can also enjoy 3 onsen facilities by purchasing a ‘Yumeguri Pass’ at most onsens in the area.
Adult Male Prince Hirafutei Onsen
Most Onsens have separate male and female baths (males have BLUE entrance flags & females have RED entrance flags) 3. Onsen Behaviour and Etiquette Onsens are a place to relax and a time for reflection. Loud behaviour is not appropriate No glass bottles are allowed. No smoking in onsens.
Niseko Alpen Pool
4. Useful tips • Always take off your shoes at the entrance. • You must be naked apart from the ‘modesty towel’.
ALPEN HOTEL SWIMMING POOL: If the traditional onsen doesn’t sound like something you would enjoy, the Alpen Hotel has a great indoor swimming pool. There are also steam rooms and a sauna. It is located at the top of the main road next to the Ace Quad chair and is 600yen a visit. Free swim cap rental which is compulsary and 100yen goggle rental. Open from 12 noon - 9pm everyday.
• Always wash thoroughly before entering the onsen and after leaving. Body soap and shampoo is provided. • Please lock valuables in the coin lockers provided. • Don’t put your head under water. Popolo Onsen
10 Niseko Information
1. Towels Please bring your own bath towel (some onsens including the Grand Hotel have towels for rent) In addition to your bath towel, please bring your own “modesty towel” Modesty towels may be purchased at Seicomart or the Alpen hotel for roughly 400yen.
As the northern-most island, Hokkaido has a sub-Arctic climate and experiences consistent storm fronts that travel from the Siberian desert across the Sea of Japan to dump some of the lightest, driest powder snow found anywhere in the world. Powder is what NisekoHirafu is famous for and it has quickly become a world renowned ski resort.
An important note for all guests is to be aware that rubbish separation and recycling in Japan is mandatory and getting it right is very important. There are 7 different categories for rubbish separated into 4 bins. The bins in all SkiJapan.com managed properties will be marked with the following categories:
GENERAL Waste paper, clothing, card board, packaging, disposable diapers, small, pieces of wood etc.
GLASS BOTTLES Glass only. Please ensure that all items are rinsed.
PET BOTTLES & CANS PET Plastic Bottles and Cans. Please ensure that all items are rinsed.
Lift Passes The Niseko All Mountain lift pass gives you access to the three major resorts on the mountain â€“ Niseko Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village and Niseko Annupuri. All passes are valid for day and night skiing. You can ski from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm every day. The pass also allows you to use the shuttle bus between resorts (see timetable at the back of magazine) and the free shuttle buses around Hirafu village. LIFT PASS DEPOSIT: All passes include a 1000yen deposit. You will need to return the lift pass to the ticket machines at the mountain base for a refund before departure. Please Note: Your lift pass starts the morning after you arrive when you go through the lift gate for the first time. You will lose a whole day if you use it for night skiing or ride the Free passport bus on the day you arrive.
FOOD WASTE Vegetable scraps, meats and small bones. No tea bags please.
Please Note : These labels may be different depending on where you are staying. We ask that you please assist us and the environment with waste management and sort your rubbish carefully.
Niseko Information 11
Yukitopia was first held in March 1989 as an adjunct to the 15th Local Ski Tournament, most likely as a replacement for the Hokkaido Snow Festival which ceased in 1987. Held at the Asahigaoka Ski slope in Kutchan, the first festival included a snow sculpting contest, a 700m long ice slippery dip and was attended by 2,500 people. The festival grew to have over 4,000 attendees in January, 1991. Unique to the festival for 2010 the community will be the construction of an ice chapel similar to one that exists in Kutchan’s sister city of St. Moritz, Switzerland. The organisers are even advertising for couples to get married in the chapel during the festival. Prospective couples must however have met whilst in Niseko and be planning to actually marry. This year’s other highlights include the Nabe Cooking Contest where teams battle it out to cook the best hot pot. The Flying Gumboot Contest, a favourite with all the family, is also back. Open to all-comers, kick your gumboots as far as you can. For the extremists at heart is the Trial by Ice. Cross 13 metres of super slippery ice to reach the goal and win. Points also given for the best performance on the ice! The snowman building contest will be back, don’t miss it. There’s plenty of other smaller events during the festival with something to entertain everyone including paintball, a snow camping demonstration, treasure hunts and that old Japanese favourite, karaoke! There’s also a free market where you’ll be able to pick-up some unique local hand-made products as souvenirs for friends and family at home. The festival this year will be held on the 20th and 21st of February. Check out the program on this page and head on down. Access is easy, simply take the free shuttle, from the Welcome Centre or Seicomart, into Kutchan.
10:00 ~ 18:00 Kids Ice Park 10:30 ~ 11:00 Opening Ceremony 10:30 ~ 17:00 Free Market 11:00 ~ Free Hot Pot Tasting (Until Runs Out) 11:30 ~ 12:00 Dance Performance 12:00 ~ 13:30 Snowball Fight (16yrs and older) 13:00 ~ 14:00 Bob Sled Game 13:00 ~ 17:00 Camping Demonstrations 13:00 ~ 15:00 Karaoke Contest & Cultural Activities 14:00 ~ 15:30 Snowball Fight (6yrs ~ 15yrs) 15:30 ~ 16:30 Struck Out in Yukitopia 15:30 ~ Free Hot Pot Tasting (Until Runs Out) 16:30 ~ 18:00 Live Music & Candle Light 16:30 ~ Snow Wedding in Yukitopia
21st FEB SUN
20th FEB SAT
The 22nd Kutchan Yukitopia Festival 10:00 ~ 16:00 Kids Ice Park 10:00 ~ 15:30 Free Market 10:00 ~ 11:30 Gum Boot Kicking Contest 10:00 ~ 14:00 Paintball Tournament 11:30 ~ 12:00 Ultraman Zero Show 12:30 ~ 13:15 Treasure Hunt 13:15 ~ 14:30 Race! Trial by Ice 14:30 ~ 15:00 Ultraman Show 15:15 ~ 16:00 Bingo
HISTORY: Kutchan (倶知安町, Kutchan-cho) is a town located in Abuta District, Hokkaido, Japan. The town lies north of Niseko’s famous Mt Yotei Backdrop and is approximately 50km south west of Sapporo. The estimat-
ed population of Kutchan is 15,000 and apart from being famous for being close to one of Japan’s most famous ski resorts, Niseko, Kutchan is well known for growing quality potatoes and manufacturing potato products.
倶知安 kutchan town
The great thing about Kutchan is that most stores are located along the main “Ekimae Doori” road stretching directly from Kutchan Train Station. Whether you are looking for new ski gear or souvenirs for those who got left behind, they are all on Ekimae Doori.
WANT A NEW OUTFIT FOR THE MOUNTAIN?
Try “Boom” if you are a Snowboarder and “Takiguchi Sports” if you are a skier. Boom has all the latest snowboarding brands and a good range of boards, boots and bindings. Takiguchi Sports has a huge range of skis and boots and you have a good chance of picking up a great bargain. Upstairs there is also a good range of ski clothing. Look out for the discounted outfits from as low as $200 for pants and jackets.
from soy sauce to toilet brushes for 100yen!! Anyone can afford to go crazy in this shop.
NEED SOME GROCERIES?
“Co-op” next to the Kutchan Train Station has everything you need. They even stock some clothing/gum boots if you underestimated the cold. Don’t miss out on sampling the fresh food from the inhouse bakery. Not only is it cheap - it is also amazing! You could pick up a hearty lunch for as little as 300yen. It’s also handy to know where Homac and Max Value are. They are located a little further out from Kutchan Train Station, but if all you need
Wh o is he? Noticed a skiing potato around? He is none other than Jagata-kun, cartoon mascot of Kutchan. Jagata-kun roughly translates as, “little, fat potato boy” and celebrates Kutchan’s most important features: Potatoes and snow.
Looking for something “Japanese” to take home? Try “Kokoroya”. Incense, Bags, Accessories, Handkerchiefs, Cards etc. all in a very cute traditional Japanese style designs, great if you are looking for something unique to take home. Got too many friends and family but not enough yen? Try the 100yen Shop. They have everything
GETTING THERE Public Bus The bus ride only takes about 20min or so. Announcements are made in both Japanese and English before each stop so you know when to press the buzzer. You pay when you get off, so don’t forget to grab a white ticket from the box when you get on! Turn to the back for bus timetables or pick one up from the Welcome Centre or SkiJapan.com. Tip: Make sure you have coins or 1,000yen notes when taking the bus. The change machine on the bus only takes 1,000yen notes. So always check your wallet before getting on the bus!
to do is grocery/house hold shopping, this place is the place for you. Max Value is a large grocery store, and Homac is a K-mart/Bunnings like store with all your house hold items put together. They are right next to each other with a bus stop at the front. For all listed locations of shops and restaurants please see the Kutchan Town Map on the next page.
HIRAFU BUS STOPS TO KUTCHAN *
Local Kutchan Bus
* Car Park
Night Kutchan Bus
Seico Mart 343
Kutchan Night Go Kutchan Night Go is a free shuttle bus that operates between Kutchan and Hirafu during the peak time. The first bus starts at 5:00pm and finishes just before midnight. Use it to your advantage when dining out in Kutchan. Taxi One way to Kutchan is about 2,000yen. Remember to order the taxi at least 30min before you want to leave. Most drivers understand a little English so say the name of the place you want to go slowly or try pointing to a picture of where you want to go or its position on a map.
FU RA HI
←To Higash iy
e 343 Rout
←To Nisek o
Hirafu Ski Resort
↑To Hanazo n
Machi no Eki “Puratto” (Information Center)
Machi no Eki “Puratto” is Kutchan’s main information center, located on the main ‘Ekimae Douri’ road. The friendly bilingual staff are always happy to help out or point you in the right direction. At the center you will find information on Kutchan’s restaurants and shops, souvenirs and artwork. There is also a PC and free internet access for up to an hour per person. More information can be found at http://www.vr-niseko.info/ Open 10:00 -19:00, Closed Mondays
Kutchan Town Map RESTAURANTS AND BARS 1 Cafe Kaku (Espresso Coffee/Pizza) 2 Sushi Sakamoto 3 Eddy 4 Usagi-ya 5 Hamakko 6 Manzoku Shokudo 7 Kimura Shokudo 8 Youteimaru - Sushi Train
ADD. N1W1 N1W1 N1W1 N2W1 N2W1 N2W1 N1E2 S8E1
SUPERMARKETS & SHOPS 1 Co-op (Supermarket/Bakery/Clothing) 2 Max Value (Supermarket) 3 Homac (Home & Hardware) 4 M-Pocket (Foreign Food/Alcohol) 5 Seven Eleven (Convenience Stores) 6 Sunkus (Convenience Stores) 7 Best Denki (Electronics) 8 Kokoroya (Souvenir Shops) 9 Boom (Snowboard/Sports/Clothing) 10 Machino-Eki “Platto” (Souvenir) 11 Takiguchi (Skiing/Sports) 12 Seven Eleven (Convenience Stores)
ADD. N2W4 S11W1 S11W1 N3W1 N1E2 S6E1 S1W2 N1W1 N1W1 N2W1 S1W1 S1E3
DRUG STORE 1 Tsuruha Drug 2 Tsuruha Drug 3 Kimura Kaiseido 4 Arai Daigakudo 5 Co-op DOCTOR/HOSPITAL Kosei Hospital Doctor - Satou Clinic Doctor - Nakagawa Clinic Royal Dentist Clinic
ADD. S11W1 S6W1 S3E1 S4W2 N2W4 ADD. N4E2 N2W2 N2W3 N1W3
Hana 1 Cafe Hanazono After three years in the making, two of the area’s finest establishments, Cafe Kaku and Hanazono, have come together to bring you the first “on snow” cafe in Niseko. Hana 1 cafe is open every day from 8:30am providing you with Cafe Kaku’s delicious espresso coffee, hot chocolate, light snacks and refreshments. Hana 1 cafe is located at the base of the Hanazono 1 chairlift so ski in, ski out and ride the chair with the perfect pick me up before you hit the slopes.
KUTCHAN RESTAURANTS & BARS
SKIING IN HIRAFU ALL THE BEST TIPS & INFO
Grand Hirafu Ski Resort Facts Elevation: 1,308m Lifts: 18 Courses: 31 Longest Run: 5.6km Grand Shuttle Hirafu and Izumikyo Every 15 to 20 minutes Departs: Welcome Centre Operates: 8:30 ~ 21:00 Hanazono Shuttle Hirafu and Izumikyo Every 30 minutes Departs: Hanazono Operates: 7:50 ~ 18:00
The Niseko Grand Hirafu resort area is the most popular in Hokkaido amongst international travellers due to the wide selection of accommodation options and English speaking support services in the village of Hirafu at the base of the lift system. Located on Mt An’nuppuri, there are three major lift systems – Niseko Grand Hirafu including Hanazono, Niseko Village and Niseko An’nuppuri.
Gates and Out of Bounds Back country or off piste skiing is by no means as taboo as it is in other resorts in Japan. The Niseko United Shuttle ski patrol runs a sysGrand Hirafu to tem whereby they rope Annupuri via Niseko Viloff the dangerous and lage unstable areas. Where Every 45 to 90 minutes an area is relatively safe Departs: Grand Hirafu for experienced riders Operates: 8:00 - 21:00 they will setup a “gate”. These gates are checked every morning and if the area is deemed safe the gate is opened. If it’s unsafe an advisory is hung on the gate stating the area is unsafe. In this fashion the patrol encourages responsible skiing. If you’re caught ducking ropes your lift pass will be confiscated on the spot.
Mountain Tips There are two ways to access the other areas of the mountain, the first is to simply ride the Niseko United free shuttle which runs regularly from the Hirafu Welcome Center and the Hirafu intersection. Please be aware that riding this bus will activate your lift pass so don’t ride it unless you intend to ski/board the same day. The other is via the lift system:
Niseko Rules You should always keep the following in mind when on the mountain: 1.
Mt An’nuppuri has a number of areas that are prone to avalanches and these areas have been clearly marked on all trail maps. These areas are strictly off limits. This is for your own safety. Do not duck under ropes. The rope is there to indicate the area may be unsafe. There is usually a gate nearby that will let you access that fresh powder. Beyond the ropes there is no one to hear you scream. These areas are literally unsupervised so make sure you’re prepared and maybe have an experienced guide when going backcountry skiing. All rescues are at your own cost. Check your insurance to make sure you’re covered.
by Ben Tredinnick
SKIING in HIRAFU
Night Skiing Night skiing is a great opportunity to get in a few extra runs as the crowds have usually gone for dinner or settled in for the night. A large portion of the mountain is lit up by giant flood lights including the upper areas for advanced skiers. The flood lights are great for visibility and it’s an amazing experience to ski or board through the silhouettes and shadows. Open until 9pm.
Skiing to Niseko Village Getting to Niseko Village requires you to ride as high as the Ace Pair Lift #3 before traversing the detour track to Niseko Village. This area is included in your All Mountain Lift pass. If you only have a Grand Hirafu pass then you’ll need to purchase a lift ticket at the base of Niseko Village.
Skiing to Anuppuri If you have an All Mountain lift pass then you can ski into Niseko An’nuppuri by riding the Grand Hirafu lift system all the way to the top of the Ace Pair Lift #3. Traverse the detour across to Niseko Village and ride the Jumbo Pair Lift #4 before skiing into An’nuppuri. If you plan to ski back over the top then it’s recommended you start making your way back around 3pm before the lifts start to close.
Skiing to Hanazono There are two ways to access Hanazono, the first is to turn right off the King Hooded Triple lift and then take the first left at the junction down Youtei Sunset. The other is to take the Hirafu Gondola and then Swinging Monkey before cutting across to the bottom of Yotei Sunset on the Parallel course. The course is quite steep in areas and is recommended for intermediate to advanced skiers/boarders.
Staff Picks Silver Dream – Hanazono – Beginner – Sweeping 3.3kms of wide runs for cruising. Shirakaba – Grand Hirafu – Beginner – Often overlooked area. At the 1000m mark on the mountain it offers better snow conditions than the lower beginner areas, a constant gradient run with forest areas. Slightly more experienced skiers can link this with the Beginner’s Detour to Green to for a nice long ride down to the base. Dynamic – Grand Hirafu – Intermediate – Marked as Advanced but good for experienced intermediates, this run starts near the peak and you can follow it down into Rinkan, a tranquil run through a gully with some fun natural terrain on either side. Yotei Sunset – Hanazono – Intermediate – Take Yotei Sunset and follow the red line on your trail map all the way down to the base of Hanazono. A great work out that covers a wide variety of terrain. This will test your stamina. Miharashi – Grand Hirafu – Advanced – Off to the right of the Hirafu Gondola. Involves a small climb but the off piste area is well worth the effort. Fantastic tree runs for advanced riders. The trees are close in parts but pick the right line and you’ll find some open areas. Super Ridge – Grand Hirafu – Advanced – Look to your left as you ascend the Ace Quad lift and you will see the super ridge. Great natural terrain area with big drops, steep faces and waist deep powder after a big dump.
SKIING in HIRAFU
As the end of March nears the sun begins to shine again after a winter of hibernation and most people start to pack away their riding gear for another season…but not everybody! The epic powder days of Niseko may be less frequent but this is actually my favourite time of the season. The crowds are gone and the crew that is left starts a whole new season - “Park Time”. It’s at this time that Niskeo Grand Hirafu changes tac, sending the snow cats to the top of the hill to shape what is one of the best freestyle terrain parks I’ve ever ridden! The park is a complete wonderland with a variety of features including jumps, rails & boxes to nail down those tricks’n’ moves we’ve been practicing all season. Not only is the set up world class, with the picturesque Mt. Yotei as backdrop this is the most scenic park in the world – making for great photo and video sessions. The Spring Park officially opens in the first week of April and usually stays open until the 1st week of May. The park is open for riding from 10am 3:30pm every day. Located on the Shirakaba run lift access is by the King 3 Triple Chair.
The Park is made up of the following:
Depending on the number of riders, general skill level and weather, the resort may choose to add even more features! Niseko is really a special place to be in spring and it’s not just about the park riding. The vibe on the mountain and in the village is different. The busy part of the season is behind us, the town has less people and I get to spend some quality time with my close friends and many new ones. I see Mt. Yotei basking in the sun’s rays and the snow in the park is nice and soft so I don’t get hurt when I make mistakes! Best of all I love the fact that Niseko has one of the longest snow seasons in the whole world so I can ride all the way through ‘til May! By the way, check out the Ghengis Khan restaurant near King Bell. You can sometimes smell the delicious flavours wafting from the BBQ as you ride by and makes a great refueling lunch! See you in Spring! Teruko
Spring in yourTurns 42 51’49.56 North 140 41’ 52.80 East NISEKO, JAPAN Across the globe the changing face of the winter landscape is an awe inspiring spectacle to any one that truly appreciates nature in its raw form. And nowhere is more special than the stunning Alps of Hokkaido, Japan. Here in Niseko Hirafu when one considers the progression from the twilight of Autumn to the deep cold of Mid-Winter knowing that this is to be followed by the inevitable unveiling of Spring brings an uplifting sense of awe and wonder. Relative to our short, yet colourful lives the grand cycle of the seasons is a thing of eternal splendour. Surrounded by nature’s glory, the knowledge that, no matter what befalls us, life goes on is a source of warmth and comfort.
Whilst each of the four seasons of Hokkaido bears its own incredible individuality, the change from winter into spring charges those that aspire to adventure with the urge to take to the road. And for those that live only to ride the crystals of glory this is our time. Like the tip of the compass, seemingly with a mind of their own, the tips of our skis turn towards Gate #2 and the back bowls of Annupuri, the true fields of Paradise. Over yonder to the west, we see the glistening ocean and, as though we were linked to it, the rolling tide triggers the adrenalin. Our lungs fill to capacity with O2 as we venture across the first bowl to the connecting ridge. Instinctively we make to avoid the main cornice, shaped by the winds into a great snow serpent awaiting its next meal. The brisk northerly wind over recent days has worked its magic to the leeward side of the ridge and so we take the drop. Those first turns through diamond dust reap dividends as we slide through the birch, leaving only our tracks like any other animal in the forest. The middle of the ridge has a small saddle that we decide has stayed immune to the cut of the winds and venture in to do some quality control. Every 4th or 5th turn I glance over my shoulder, checking my buddy’s direction as he makes a sweet turn and I catch the million dollar smile that says all it needs to say. The gully at the bottom of the ridge has the two of us weaving through more birch that eventually winds down to a connecting service road in the outskirts of the national park. A few minutes to re-hydrate and our eyes turn towards the 2nd ridge, leading out past Annupuri towards the top of Moiwa. There’s not a track on it and with a nod we start the hike up with the same eagerness that puts the spring in our turns. By Rod White
Universal Travel Adapter Europe, UK, USA, Japan, ASIA and Australia. Charge your USB devices with the USB connector.
Never be caught out again! 짜1,500 inc.tax Exclusive to SkiJapan.com HQ and Alpen Ridge Reception! *This adapter cannot switch voltages.
A STORY OF SUSHI Sushi first came to Japan from South-East Asia through China. First referenced in 718AD, narezushi was a form of preservation whereby gutted fish would be salted and then preserved in layers of fermented rice for a period of 1-2 months. When it came time to eat only the preserved fish was consumed. The rice was thrown away. In the late 16th century the capital moved from Kyoto to Edo – now modern day Tokyo – and it was during this time of upheaval that rice vinegar came into wide usage. Use of rice vinegar meant that fermentation was no longer required and removed the smell whilst preserving the taste the Japanese enjoyed. This kind of sushi came to be known as hayazushi. The sushi that we recognise today was not developed until the early 19th century. A young sushi chef, Yohei Hanaya (1799-1858), came up with the
idea of placing a strip of raw fish over rice. As there was no refrigeration Hanaya would either partially cook or marinate the fish in soy sauce. Designed to be eaten with fingers or chopsticks this could be considered an early form of “fast food”. Today there are several types of what is commonly called sushi. The most common being nigirizushi and makizushi. makizushi is the kind where seaweed (nori) is wrapped around the rice and the filling is placed on top. nigirizushi is rice shaped with the hands into rectangular mounds with thin slices of, usually, raw fish placed on top. Sushi should not be confused with Sashimi. Sashimi is simply slices of raw fish with perhaps a separate bowl of rice.
Niseko Restaurant Guide 23
Niseko Restaurant Guide by Rebecca Watson
Yakitori Fuji Simple, cheap barbecque restaurant with all your Japanese izakaya favourites.
Rebecca’s Osusume: Salted grilled chicken breast. Opening Times: 10:00 ~ 20:00 Phone: 0136 23 3371
Soy milk pudding with black honey
Hand-made gyoza Opening Times: 18:00 ~ 24:00 Phone: 0136 22 1269
Opening Times: 18:00 ~ 24:00 Phone: 0136 22 6638
Re-furbished for this season with the addition of an ice bar at the front and a pole in the bar. Cosy, well decorated early drinks venue. Don’t miss the BBQs every Tuesday.
Izakaya tucked away off the main street. Delicious selection of tapas-style dishes to be enjoyed with friends and family.
Mexican food. Generous portions, great menu and lovely staff. Try upstairs for family friendly seating.
Popular seafood restaurant with a good range of sashimi and a tank of crabs and scallops for the fresh of the freshest.
Onion rings, big enough to share.
Any of the Graubunden cakes.
Opening Times: 17:30 ~ 25:00 Phone: 0136 22 5652
Genuine Indian curry and naan bread. Excellent service and friendly atmosphere in a classic Indian setting.
Rebecca’s Osusume: Lunch Curry buffet Opening Times: 11:30 ~ 22:00 Phone: 0136 22 4566
24 Niseko Restaurant Guide
Opening Times: 17:00 ~ 24:00 Phone: 0136 22 2001
The building is, literally, shaped like a barn. High quality meals, a fusion of Western and Japanese cooking tradition. Quality wines and a bar in the loft.
Cute European-style tea, cake and sandwich house in Izumikyo. Check out the little gift shop in the entrance.
Opening Times: 10:00 ~ 20:00 Phone: 0136 23 3371
Enjoy the best view in town whilst dining on meals cooked with ingredients direct from J-First’s own local organic farm, Huckleberry Farm.
Opening Times: 18:00 ~ 23:00 Phone: 0136 23 0888
Opening Times: 11:30 ~ 14:00 and 17:00 ~ 20:30 Phone: 0136 22 2350
Japanese Restaurants Izakaya Izakayas are casual drinking places which serve a wide variety of Japanese snack foods but usually not complete meals. They offer small plates of deep fried chicken, grilled fish, Tofu, potato wedges etc that, similar to ‘Tapas’ are shared by everyone at the table and often feature regional foods. Eating at one is a very Japanese experience.
Teishokuya The teishoku, or set meal, is a standard part of the Japanese eating experience. Virtually every Japanese restaurant (except, in most cases, izakayas) will have a selection of teishoku available, and usually they are a good deal. A teishoku is usually composed of a main item, a bowl of rice, some miso soup, and a bowl of Japanese pickles. Sometimes these will all be served together on a square platter, and sometimes they will come separately, as courses. There are a variety of teishoku including Tempura, deep fried chicken, pork cutlets, eel and stir fried veges.
Sushi A counter sushi shop can be expensive and confounding if one doesn’t know what to ask for. Try, instead, a kaiten sushi restaurant where small dishes of sushi pass by on a conveyer belt similar to a Sushi train. It lacks a certain elegance, but in a kaiten sushi restaurant the unititiated can study the sushi offerings at leisure and sample it for less cost. Then later, armed with new-found experience, visit a proper counter sushi shop.
Noodles There are three main types of Japanese noodles: Soba, Udon and Somen. Made of Buckwheat, Soba noodles are thin and brownish, with a hearty consistency. Udon noodles, made of wheat, are usually off-white and thick. Somen noodles, also made of wheat, are as thin as vermicelli. Udon is usually eaten in hot dishes, while soba and somen may be eaten hot or cold, depending on the season. Although essentially Chinese, Ramen noodles are eaten so obsessively in Japan that to omit mentioning them would be remiss. Ramen is served very hot in soy, salt or miso flavoured broth, Hokkaido’s Miso Ramen is renowned throughout Japan, definitely worth a try!
Niseko has a large selection of restaurants of all types : Izakayas, Yakitori, sushi restaurants, ramen, curry places and a number of Western restaurants and cafes. Prices are about average by Japanese standards but surprisingly cheap by Western standards. A couple of words you may come across when dining in Japan Irasshaimase - Don’t stress if you find yourself being shouted at by every member of staff when entering a restaurant in Japan- Irasshaimase means welcome!
Nabe If hot pots are your pleasure, Japan is the place to be in Winter. Every part of Japan, without exception, has its own distinctive nabe-ryori (pot dish). Hokkaido’s most famous hot pot is Ishikari nabe containing salmon, onions, Chinese cabbage, tofu, konnyaku (a jelly made of root starch) and shungiku (spring chrysanthemum).
Bento Like most modern countries, Japan is increasingly a land of fast food. The traditional Japanese box lunch, bento, has become a fast food in itself, with convenience stores offering wide selections to take out. A bento box, flat and shallow, is used with small dividers to separate rice, pickles, and whatever else might grace the inside. The competition between convenience stores is stiff, Lawson is slightly more expensive than Seico-mart but the quality of food tends to be worth the difference.
Otoshi - A small plate or dish of food that accompanies your first drink, usually a small charge applies.
Shochu - A Japanese liquor distilled from barley, potatoes or rice. Often mixed with soda water and citrus flavours to make ‘Chuhai’, a refreshing cocktail mix. 25% alcohol content. Hokke - A species of mackerel, found in the Sea of Okhotsk surrounding Hokkaido. Usually air dried then lightly grilled.
Tabehodai/Nomihodai - All you can eat/drink for a set price. Osusume - recommendation
Niseko Restaurant Guide 25
26 Niseko Restaurant Guide
Niseko Restaurant Guide 27
Apres Ski Euro-style at Herbie’s Umbrella Bar! New to Niseko this season is Herbie’s Umbrella Bar. A truly Austrian Apres Ski experience right in the middle of the village and the only one of its kind in Japan! A must visit for all skiers and boarders in Niseko, Herbie’s Umbrella Bar is fast becoming the most popular bar in town. Locals and visitors alike, come together to enjoy the selection of local and
28 Niseko Restaurant Guide
imported beers, authentic schnapps and the fine selection of Bavarian food and snacks. Open from 11.00am daily for a delicious pastry and coffee or an early beer or wine. Happy Hour is from 3pm - 5pm daily and is proving to be exceptionally popular. The perfect time to meet the locals and start the party! PLUS - Keep an eye out for special events and theme nights from late January including Herbie’s tribute to the Winter Olympics!
A STORY OF SAKE In Japanese the word sake, or o-sake, actually refers to all alcoholic beverages including beer, wine and spirits. Nihon-shu is used when specifically referring to Japanese â€œrice wineâ€?. Originally used in religious ceremonies at shrines and special occasions, the first sake was produced from rice grains or nuts that were chewed to mix them with saliva before being deposited into a pot to ferment. Around the 6th century the brewing process was revolutionised with the introduction of kouji, a kind of mould used to ferment the rice. Sake was not commonly consumed by the general populace until the 14th century when brewing techniques had developed to the point where mass production was possible. During World War 2 sake production suffered due to shortages of rice and production declined such that in the
1960s beer became the number one drink amongst Japanâ€™s consumers. Sake can be drunk both hot and cold, depending on the season. Although high-grade sake is never heated in order to preserve the aroma and flavour. Traditionally served in tokkuri, ceramic flasks, the sake is poured from into cups called choko. Japanese etiquette is that when drinking with others you should pour the cup of your neighbours first and in turn they will fill your cup. When your cup is being filled, you should hold it in your hands with one hand underneath the cup. The taste of sake can be quite strong and it is therefore recommended that you sip your drink slowly rather than knocking it back like a tequila shot.
Niseko Restaurant Guide 29
A NIGHT ON THE WITH CHOOK
TOWN Where to start?
Hirafu is famous for its powder snow, but once the sun goes down and the lifts stop spinning, this little town lights it up with over 30 bars, clubs and drinking spots opening up for a big night of partying! So, I thought I’d take you along for a little night out as we explore a few of the drinking holes on offer in Hirafu. Most of the bars in Hirafu are quite cosy, but loads of fun! There’s traditional Japanese izakayas, some western style bars and a couple in between. The best thing is that most of these bars will serve food ‘til quite late in the PM and some into the early hours of the AM.
JAPANESE STYLE MINA MINA:
Great place to chill, drink and grab some delicious food on the cheap. Bar staff are fun, lively and this place is often still open at 3am! I JAM BAR: After a quick meal it’s time to “Get your dance on” at this well known spot amongst the J-Crew! After 11pm it’s time to get your hardcore boogie on – as Jam is known for its all night “guru guru” (Japanese Techno) parties. I YUKI BAR: Spacious, stylish, super fun bar with many feature nights and special events such as reggae nights! Yuki boasts a large dance floor with a low down roof! There’s a pool and foosball table plus a chill out zone complete with comfy couches. Truly an eclectic mix of people and personalities! Love the bar crew as well! I SPLASH: One of Hirafu’s favourite late night haunts & Reggae spots. Splash doesn’t usually get going ‘til after midnight but from then on it’s pretty hard to leave as the bar crew are jovial & there is a complete mix of cultures- it’s a great place to meet’n’mix with the local J-Crew - a dangerous place to go if you have an early start in the morning! I BARUNBAR: Small but fun. Best known for the red “Jet Lee” drink! Has a cruisy vibe, with lounge,
table and bar seating. It’s often a go between bar from Splash as it’s right across the road. I TANUKI BAR: Where else in the world can you have so much fun at a bar? (Tanuki will get you nailed in more ways than one!) Tanuki is famous for the hammer’n’nail game - a series of wooden blocks with nails that you can hammer in! I ICE BAR: Definitely a must do once during your stay. It’s cold but warm at the same time. Everything is made of ice- the building, seats, even the drinking glasses!
WESTERN WILD BILLS:
The most popular western bar in Hirafu. Lively staff, large layout, relaxed, friendly atmosphere and definitely the strongest drinks in town! Bill’s also serve up what could possibly be the best Mexican food outside of South America. With large servings you definitely won’t be going home hungry! It’s the place where “everybody knows your name”! I PADDY MCGINTY’S: Irish style sports bar. Specialising in Irish food and showing all the best in sports including Rugby, League, AFL, Ice Hockey and NBA Basketball. I BUNKER: It’s dark and dangerous, meaning you’re in for a big night! It’s deep underground (located in the basement of The Vale building) and adds a city style night club element to our Ski town! I APRES BAR: Ski in, stumble out! Great décor, staff are tops and the layout is large. They’re also known for their special parties such as the “Twister” & “Pyjama” parties! I RED BAR: Get your dance on. This place pushes out the dance tracks
Over 30 bars,
clubs and drinking spots opening up for a big
night of partying!
‘til the wee hours of the morning. This is the bar you venture to when you’re in the mood to play! I HERBIE’S UMBRELLA BAR: Is going bananas! German-style marquee, with big steins great for an afternoon happy schnapp in between riding or a night starter before a big one.
MUSIC BARS HALF NOTE: Mostly known for the chilled live jazz tunes. Possibly the best live music bar in Hirafu with a relaxed atmosphere and local vibe. I NORTHWIND (Karaoke): Wanna get drunk and make a fool of yourself with friends? Come along to Northwind. This is your type of bar! Also known for nomihoudai (all you can drink at a set price) which is sure to get you drunk enough to sing some of those ol’ skool faves! They even have a pinball machine and pool table upstairs! There are of course many more bars, clubs and nightspots to explore, but this should be enough to get you started. But right now it’s about 7am and after such a big night on the town I’m off to bed for some much needed sleep! Zzzzzz I just hope tomorrow’s not a powder day!
See you in the bar
EVENT INFORMATION Name 14th TOYOTA BIG AIR Location Makomanai Sekisuiheim Stadium Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan Date/Time Sat. February 27, 2010 Open: 14:00 ~ 16:30 (Sun. February 28, 2010 if postponed due to bad weather) Discipline Straight Jump
Total Prize Pool: 10,000,000 Yen TOYOTA BIG AIR Prize: LAND CRUISER PRADO
The Toyota Big Air has been running since 1997 and is now one of the most prestigious snowboarding events on the world snowboard calendar. Every year some of the world’s best snowboarders come to Japan to compete for the title of King of Air. The ranks of previous winners include Shaun White, Nicolas Muller and Antti Autti. Whilst international snowboarders dominate the top rankings there have been strong showings from local Japanese riders like Masatake Yamamoto. Japanese and international tourists join together in the main stadium, eyes focused on the giant straight jump towering over them. Live music pumping from the giant speakers clashes with the voices of the announcers, both drowned out by the screams of the crowds as riders fly from the jump. Flood lights glaring down and big screen TVs showing all the action live. When you combine the best riders in the world with a rock concert style atmosphere you have an amazing spectacle worth seeing. The main event is the jump competition with 16 riders competing for the title. 8 top international snowboarders are invited to compete against 8 of Japan’s best riders for 10,000,000 yen and a Toyota Landcruiser Prado.
SKIJAPAN.COM TOUR SkiJapan.com runs a tour to the Toyota Big Air every year. Seats on the tour are limited so book early to avoid disappointment. Bookings can be made by approaching the staff at the SkiJapan.com main office, at the Alpen Ridge reception for guests of Alpen Ridge or by calling our office on 0136 22 4611. Price : When : Meeting Point : Includes :
Photos by HTB
¥8,500 Saturday, February 27, 2010 SkiJapan.com main office at 1:30pm Return transport to Sapporo, SkiJapan.com guide, Entry to the event
Schedule: 1:30pm: Meet at SkiJapan.com Main Office 2:00pm: Depart for Sapporo 4:00pm: Arrive at main stadium 4:30pm: Jump Event starts 8:30pm: Winner Presentation 9:00pm: Get on bus for trip back to Niseko 11:30pm: Arrive back at SkiJapan.com Main Office
TOYOTA BIG AIR
Construction scheduled to start in 2010
The Capella philosophy for the Niseko resort is to provide a level of service that will suit even the most discerning of guests. The Capella pedigree will ensure that guests can expect a level of service that is currently not available in the Japanese ski fields. Guests will be able to take advantage of 24-hour room service, a full range of restaurant and retail options, an indoor pool, gymnasium and comprehensive spa services. Capella residents will also be able to enjoy the luxury and convenience of their own personal assistant to ensure that their holiday is carefree. A shuttle will operate 24 hours a day to take guests to the Annupuri ski area or the Moiwa ski area, both of which are just over 1 km from the resort. Most interestingly, the hotel will include a chapel that will cater to the Japanese wedding market thus ensuring that occupancy will be consistent year round. The famous Chapel of Light, also designed by Ando, hosts over 500 weddings a year. Growth in the Niseko summer market is expected to continue, driven primarily by Asian tourists interested in Hokkaido’s fresh seafood and mild summer climate. The hotel is located less than 10 minutes drive from the Arnold Palmer designed Niseko golf course and less than 30 minutes’ drive from 7 other world-class courses.
The developers have announced that construction of the Capella Niseko resort and residences will commence in 2010 and is due to for completion in 2012. The hotel and private residences, designed by Tadao Ando, are located in Annupuri, less than 1km from the base of the mountain of the same name. The resort’s operators are calling it the first all season resort in Asia. The resort, bordered by a national park and a natural stream, has commanding views of Mt Yotei and across the valley to Niseko town. Capella Hotels is the hotel brand developed by Horst Schulze, the man who reinvigorated the Ritz Carlton brand. The Capella Hotel Group has opened resorts in Velden, Austria and Telluride in the US. The recent opening of the Capella Hotel in Singapore, designed by Sir Norman Foster, has succeeded in raising the profile of the Capella brand in Asia. The Niseko resort will include 67 hotel suites, 94 apartments, 36 Houses and 19 Villas. A strong international design team has been assembled to complete the development including Tadao Ando, Japan’s most famous architect. Ando is world renowned for his designs that follow the landscape and for his use of natural light. The design he has prepared for the Capella Niseko resort includes a large interior water feature and a reception area influenced by the Greek Pantheon.
The apartments have views of Mt Yotei and over the uniquely designed reception area start from 70 million yen. The Villas are 4 bedrooms and include private garages and onsens. Prices on a per metre basis are lower than Hirafu and pre-sales are strong. Purchasers in the resort have included many Forbes list members from Korea, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore. The resort’s operators are predicting rental returns of up to 5% will be achievable in the first three years of operation. Niseko Property has been assisting Capella with their sales program and is the exclusive agent for Capella in Japan. They have a showroom dedicated to Capella in their office opposite the Park Hotel.
www.nisekoproperty.com firstname.lastname@example.org +81 136 21 5060
Black shadow lines across a soft white blanket; zebra-like stripes in the snow. The patterns of naked silver birch trunks in winter cast across the stark background of soft powder is the metaphor for the new paving geometry of Hirafu-zaka. The concept calls for banding of dark paving against a light background extending across the street and sidewalk and into driveways, patios and public squares to create a sense of open space more akin to a village piazza then just a traffic thoroughfare. It will be a space for people and social gatherings rather than just cars, and create a village that is kinder to pedestrians and visitors.
HIRAFU MASTER PLAN Hirafu-zaka Remodelling
The design theme references Niseko’s great natural beauty, and is also evident in the forms of the street lights and banner poles, street furniture and logo design, all conceived in a contemporary manner derived from Hirafu’s environmental and cultural setting. An iconic example of this theme is in the design of the bus shelters - landmark elements which, like sheets of ice, refract sunlight with intense beauty, and glow softly from within at night. Safety, visibility and design all blend into sculpture and functional art, which will be Hirafu-zaka’s great contribution to Niseko as a worldclass destination. Hirafu-zaka is the centrepiece of the Hirafu Master Plan, both of which were created by Riccardo Tossani Architecture of Tokyo and Niseko. “The Master Plan is intended to identify, protect and enhance the characteristics that make Hirafu unique and desirable as a resort destination and village community”, according to the firm. The practice is led by Riccardo Tossani, an architect and urban designer who has completed a number of projects in the Niseko region. With a career that has spanned several continents in almost three decades, Tossani’s work is founded on the renaissance notion of design as a creative and intellectual exercise that encompasses the broad spectrum of world making, from tableware to town planning. With degrees in architecture and urban design from Harvard University’s renowned Graduate School of Design as well as the University of Adelaide, Australia, Tossani has pursued a wide range of project types through design practice in Europe, Australia, the United States and Japan. Tossani founded the Tokyo-based practice of Riccardo Tossani, Architecture with his managing partner and Chief Interior Architect Atsuko Itoda in 1997. With an international staff they have completed a diverse range of architecture, interior and planning projects around the world. Under Tossani’s direction as design principal the firm continues to address issues of multi-culturalism, social and environmental sustainability. Their work includes the new store for Giorgio Armani in Tokyo and is recognised and published worldwide.
Hirafu Master Plan 33
Your Hosts in Niseko SkiJapan.com has been specialising in Hokkaido’s best ski resorts for the past 14 years. We continue to be Hokkaido’s longest serving and largest inbound ski tour operator and can organise holiday packages to Niseko, Rusutsu and Furano. The SkiJapan.com team love all that Hokkaido has to offer and we are proud to share it with everyone that visits. Our dedicated staff are here to ensure you have the most enjoyable and memorable holiday possible. We provide a seamless tour package including a meet and greet service at Chitose Airport, transfers, accommodation, all mountain lift passes, mountain tours, snowsports school services, ski/board rental and a variety of action and cultural tours. The SkiJapan.com team of resort representatives, mountain guides, office support staff, NBS rental/ retail and snowsports instructors are dedicated to your total snow satisfaction. You will meet them on the mountain and in the village distinguishable by their red and black uniforms.
International arrivals area on street level assist you with all your enquiries between 11am ~ 9pm. Arriving at any airport in a foreign country where our representative will be able to Outside of these hours we provide a direct can be an overwhelming prospect. Skiline to the SkiJapan.com main C I Japan.com makes it easy with DOM EST ESTI DOM DO EXIT C J A office in Niseko. L EXI our own Airport desk & AIR TA ANA at Sapporo’s New ▷ LY Chitose Airport. RESORT LINER ON S R COUNTER GE Located at N E S S the PA D
S SE KI JA RV P IC AN ED ES K
IN T AR ERN RI A VA TI LS ON EX AL IT
34 SkiJapan.com - Your Hosts in Niseko
CHITOSE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
B C TI XIT ES Y E SK
JA O L& M
King Pair #1 A&B
Ace #2 Quad Chair
Ace Family Pair Lift
SERVICE LOCATION DESK MAP
SkiJapan.com Guest Services Welcome Drinks Exclusive to SkiJapan.com guests. We invite you to meet our staff and other guests at â€˜Welcome Drinksâ€™. Please come to Karaoke Bar Northwind and enjoy a complimentary drink.
SKI JAPAN.com Service Office NBS SKI SCHOOL RENTAL & RETAIL Alpen SeicoMart Ridge
SKI JAPAN.com Head Quarters
When: Thursdays and Sundays Where: Karaoke Bar Northwind Time: 5pm - 7pm
KARAOKE BAR NORTHWIND
DVD Rental & Library Service Free DVD rental is available from the SkiJapan.com main office. A 1000yen deposit is required for each DVD rented. We also have a wide selection of books available for all tastes. This service is free and available from the SkiJapan.com main office.
Niseko Merchandise Take home a memento from Niseko. The SkiJapan.com office have a range of Hoodies, T-shirts and caps. Great quality & prices.
Snowsports School & Equipment Rental MEET AND GREET SERVICE
SkiJapan.com offer a meet and greet service to guests booked on our charter buses. You will be met by a SkiJapan.com representative at your arrival gate. Your representative will brief you on the resort, issue lift tickets on the bus and once in resort see you safely to your accommodation.
The Niseko SkiJapan.com headquarters is the red building located 100m from the traffic lights on Route 343 (See the Hirafu map). Our friendly staff are available to answer any questions and take tour bookings between 7am-8pm, 7 days a week. We accept all major credit cards. We also have a customer support office at the Rusutsu Powder Lodge, directly across the road from the Rusutsu Resort Hotel, next door to Seicomart.
Our Snowsports School, Niseko Base Snowsports(NBS) has qualified English speaking instructors. They can provide lesson programs for all abilities and have a very popular kids program. The latest selection of skis and boards are also available at NBS rental. Please see the NBS pages for more information. www.skijapan.com Ph: 0136 22 4611 email@example.com
SkiJapan.com - Your Hosts in Niseko 35
SkiJapan.com On Snow Tours MOUNTAIN TOURS (NISEKO)
RUSUTSU DAY TOUR
Getting a little lost on the hill can be fun, but don’t waste your precious time trying to find your way around the mountain. The tour covers the Grand Hirafu area, including Hanazono, pointing out all the awesome tree and off-piste runs to enjoy. Suitable for intermediate and above levels of skiers and snowboarders only.
Fine powdery snow, uncrowded slopes, first lifts, fresh tracks, extensive lift system, tree runs, half pipe and immaculately groomed and consistent grades for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. Consistently voted #1 day tour by SkiJapan.com guests for over 10 years. Don’t miss out on this amazing tour, it books out quickly. Voted “The best small resort 2008” in the British published The Great Skiing and Snowboarding Guide.
1,000 yen Price: Thursdays and Sundays When: Meeting point: Base of the Ace Family Pair lift (Just outside NBS) 10:00am~12:30pm Time: 2 hour mountain tour of the Grand Hirafu Includes: area with SJ guide. Pre-booking is essential so be sure to drop into either SkiJapan.com or NBS to book a tour.
MOUNTAIN TACTICS & GUIDING SERVICE We will show you the Niseko formula for uncut powder. Covers Hanazono, Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village and Annuppuri. Customers should have an All Mountain Pass and for groups we recommend all members be at a similar level for the best experience. 15,000 yen for first person 2,000 yen for each extra person Any day When: Meeting point: Accommodation 8:30am~1:30pm Time: 9:30am~2:30pm Return transport to lifts (starting point varIncludes: ies depending on day), 5 hour all mountain guided tour Contact Rod, firstname.lastname@example.org or 080Bookings: 3542-1091 Price:
36 SkiJapan.com Tours
Price: When: Meeting point: Time: Includes:
8,500yen Fridays SkiJapan.com Main Office 7:30am~5:00pm Return transport, mountain info, lift pass and morning mountain tour with SJ guide.
KIRORO DAY TOUR Just 50 min north of Niseko, tucked away behind the picturesque sea-side town of Otaru is Kiroro Resort. One of the earliest opening Ski Resorts in Japan every season, Kiroro averages even more snow than Niseko and is one of the most modern resorts in the area, popular with local skiers from Sapporo and Tokyo. The resort boasts an express gondola that will zoom you up to the summit, along with 8 other hooded lifts to access the variety of terrain Kiroro has on offer. Price: When: Meeting point: Time: Includes:
9,500yen Mondays SkiJapan.com Main Office 7:30am~5:00pm Return transport, mountain info, lift pass and morning mountain tour with SJ guide.
Have a small group and feel like doing your own thing? For Rusutsu and Kiroro, we offer a non guided, transfer and lift pass option any day of the week. Our front office staff will brief you on the resort and issue lift tickets before you head over in a Jumbo taxi to explore the resort on your own. For groups of 5-9 people only. Speak to the SkiJapan.com staff for more details.
skijapan.com PH:0136 22 4611 WEISS SNOWMOBILING TOUR Take in the beautiful scenery at Weiss Snowfields. This specifically designed snowmobile course is great for all ages. Don’t miss out on the fun at Weiss White Isle snowmobile land. Price: When: Meeting point: Time: Includes:
10,000yen Any day SkiJapan.com Main Office 9:40am~12:40pm 13:10pm~16:00pm Return transport, 90min guided tour, hot chocolate, helmets.
Don’t forget to wear ski gear, gloves, neck warmer, beanie and boots.
DISCOVERY SNOWMOBILING TOUR Get your adrenalin pumping in the white open fields of Makkari. An intermediate snowmobiling tour. Price: 9,000yen When: Any day Meeting point: SkiJapan.com Main Office Time: Morning: 9am~11:30am Afternoon: 2pm~4:30pm Includes: Return transport, 60min guided tour, tea break, safety gear.
BACKCOUNTRY X SNOWMOBILING TOUR For hard core snowmobile enthusiasts that want to get out in the deep powder and ride hard, this is the tour for you. The NSA guided tours will take you through Niseko’s highest powder bowls, winding ridge tops and forest trails. Experience spectacular views from surrounding mountain ranges that are unattainable by any other means. Limited number of snowmobiles so book early. Price: When: Meeting point: Time: Includes:
30,000yen Any day SkiJapan.com Main Office 8:30am~2:30pm Return transport, 5.5 hour guided backcountry snowmobiling tour, safety gear, orientation.
POWDERBOSS SNOWMOBILING TOUR Ride at your own pace. Just you and the guide. Private backcountry tour. 45,000yen Price: Any day When: Meeting point: SkiJapan.com Main Office 8:30am~2:30pm Time: Return transport, 5.5 hour private guide, Includes: personalized one on one backcountry snowmobiling tour, safety gear, orientation.
SkiJapan.com Tours 37
SkiJapan.com Cultural and Onsen Tours OTARU CULTURAL TOUR
JAPANESE CULTURAL WORKSHOPS
Enjoy Sightseeing, Sushi, Shopping and Sake! Visit one of the oldest cities in Hokkaido and experience Japanese culture. Enjoy a guided tour of a traditional building, try the fine art of sushi making, see how sake is made and get to taste some of Hokkaido’s finest. Unique shopping for distinctive Japanese souvenirs and fun! This is a great tour for families or those looking for a break from the slopes and would like to experience a historical Japanese city.
Not skiing today? Why not experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony or create your very own souvenir when you practice the art of calligraphy, Shodo.
Price: When: Meeting point: Time: Includes:
11,000yen Tuesdays SkiJapan.com Main office 7:30am~5:30pm Return transport, bilingual guide, guided tour of the Herring Mansion, sushi making and lunch, sakebrewery tour and tasting, free time for shopping
Bookings must be finalised by Monday (4pm) before tour. Minimum numbers required, please book at SkiJapan.com office.
Price: When: Meeting point: Time:
3,000yen Any day Grandpapa Subject to availability, Book in advance
Dress up in a traditional Kimono and either learn Japanese calligraphy or join a tea ceremony
BOUKEN ACTIVITIES Take a journey back in time and have a fun day out with the family whilst learning how early Japanese pioneers survived the harsh Hokkaido winters. 2,200yen~4,400yen Price: Any day When: Meeting point: SkiJapan.com Main office Subject to availability, Book in advance Time:
JAPANESE COOKING WORKSHOPS Learn the secrets of ‘dashi’ and traditional Japanese home cooking or the delicate art of Sushi with the team at Niseko Gourmet. The workshops are held at their studio kitchen in Kutchan. The supermarket tour helps to demystify a lot of the products lining Japanese supermarket shelves. Price: When: Meeting point: Time: Includes:
6,000yen Tuesdays, Wednesdays Seicomart 10:45am~2:15pm Return transport, Choice of one cooking workshop, a glass of wine, a folder including recipes. 1. Japanese Home Cooking 2. Tofu Course 3. Sushi Course 4. Supermarket tour and lunch set
38 SkiJapan.com Tours
Japanese cultural workshops including building a kamakura snow cave, snowball fights, hiking with hand made snow shoes and traditional sandal making.
skijapan.com PH:0136 22 4611 SAPPORO SHOPPING TRIP
SAPPORO SHOPPING AND SHRINE TRIP
Spend the day shopping in Japan’s fifth largest city. Explore Sapporo Station’s surrounding department and electrical stores or head down to ‘Odori Park’ and the ‘Tanuki Koji shopping arcade’.
Take a guided tour of Sapporo’s biggest shrine, the Hokkaido Jingu. Followed by 3hrs of shopping at the big department stores and electrical outlets of Sapporo Station.
Price: When: Meeting point: Time: Includes:
9,900yen Any day SkiJapan.com Main office 9:00am – 6:30pm Return transport, Info on Sapporo city and shops.
11,000yen Any day SkiJapan.com Main office 9:00am – 6:30pm Return transport, entry into shrine, info on Sapporo city and shops.
Price: When: Meeting point: Time: Includes:
Feature Tour BIG AIR TRIP Witness the world’s best Snowboarders launch from the 37m high straight jump at Sapporo’s Makomanai stadium. Price: When: Meeting point: Time: Includes:
8,500yen 27th (Sat) February 2010 SkiJapan.com Main office 2:00pm~11:30pm Return transport, SkiJapan.com guide, entry to the event.
SkiJapan.com Tours 39
SkiJapan.com Weekly Event Schedule Monday Kiroro Resort tour 7:30am-5:00pm Tuesday Otaru Cultural tour 7:30-5:00pm Wednesday Guest Arrival/Departure
Thursday Mountain tour 10:00am-12:30pm Welcome Drinks 5:00pm~ Friday Rusutsu Resort tour 7:30am-5:00pm
Seasonal Events 29th Sapporo White Illumination 27th NOV - 3rd JAN SAPPORO Fantastic illuminations make the Sapporo Station area and Odori Park bright and colorful in early winter. A sight not to be missed.
Australia Day 26th JAN HIRAFU Celebrate Australia Day in one of the many bars in the village that will be hosting an Australia Day party. Drop into our office for information on what special events are taking place.
Saturday Guest Arrival/Departure day Sunday Mountain tour 10:00am-12:30pm Welcome Drinks 5:00pm~
Visit the SkiJapan.com office or NBS for an up to date weekly event notice board. There are many smaller festivals and events throughout the winter. Be sure to drop in once you have arrived to see what is happening.
New Years Eve
24th DEC HIRAFU Celebrate the spirit of Christmas in Japan with family and friends. Drop into the SkiJapan.com office for more information on what special events are taking place.
31st DEC HIRAFU The New Years Eve Party in Hirafu is held just above the Kogen Hotel. Skiers and snowboarders will light up the slopes with a flare run and entertainers will keep the party going throughout the night.
61st Sapporo Snow Festival
Otaru SnowLight Festival
5th - 11th FEB SAPPORO Shining and shimmering snow and ice sculptures. Day tour of the festival can be booked at the SkiJapan.com office. Please book early to avoid disappointment.
5th-14th FEB OTARU The streets of Hokkaidoâ€™s second oldest town are lit up by candles for the duration of this festival. Take the train from Kutchan and enjoy the festival, a traditional Japanese meal and some shopping.
The Toyota Big Air Competition
Lake Shikotsuko Festival
27th FEB SAPPORO Witness the spectacular Official PSA Invitational Event in Sapporo. SkiJapan.com run a tour to this world class event. Get in early to book a seat.
20th, 21st FEB KUTCHAN Catch the bus to Kutchan and watch the tire tube races and fireworks. Go for a horse and sleigh ride or play snow golf. You can also taste local produce and buy some great souvenirs to take home.
29th JAN - 14th FEB LAKE SHIKOTSUKO This is an annual event held on the majestic Lake Shikotsuko displaying ice sculptures by local artists. Multicoloured lights are used to enhance and decorate these amazing sculptures.
40 Calendar of Events
Top tips for safe park riding ① Protect yourself. Wear a helmet. ② Scope the jump first. Make sure there are no obstacles on the landing. ③ Let others know when you are dropping in on a jump. ④ Don’t be a snake, give others room. ⑤ You can always ride past if you feel nervous about a feature. Accidents happen when you don’t commit to a jump.
“180 SPIN” with NBS SKI Instructor “JC” The 180 Spin is a neat trick for skiers that are keen to expand their repertoire in the park. If you’re confident with jumping off obstacles in the forward direction skiing switch (backwards) then try these simple steps next time you’re in the park. Before attempting a 180 in the air try to spin off the flat. Follow these simple steps: ①Start out standing still and push yourself into a slow slide. ②Bend your legs into a light crouch and then push off the ground. ③Turn your head in the direction you want to spin. Where the head leads
Photo sequence by Mandy Lamont
42 Trick of the month
your body will follow. Raise your arms and use your upper body to start the twist. ④ Lift your inside leg followed by the other leg as you spin. ⑤When landing, flex your legs to absorb the shock of landing. Lean a little forward to avoid catching the back end of your skis in the snow. When you are confident with the above, try the spin in the air over a SMALL roller. Remember to keep your skis level on the ground when attempting this as catching an edge can end in a face-plant. Once you have the trick working off the small jumps start working your way up to slightly bigger features in the park. Before spinning off a new feature in the park always make a test jump to familiarise yourself with the speed needed to complete the jump.
Trick of the month 43
SkiJapan offers a variety of jobs that require different skills and responsibilities. If you think you are eligible for a position please send a copy of your resume and cover letter to email@example.com. All candidates are welcome whether you are from outside of Japan or already in Japan. Resort Representatives – Tour guide role and/or face-to-face customer service. Japanese language skills, customer service experience and/or a passion for skiing or snowboarding are required for this position. Drivers - Safely transporting our guests in snowy or adverse conditions. This position requires valid international driver’s licence and/or Japanese licence.
Lodge Managers - Meeting and greeting guests. Advise on terrain and tours available. Daily snow clearing, clearing of rubbish and preparing accommodation on change-over days. Must be fluent in both Japanese and English. We prefer a couple for the position. Ski and/or Snowboard Instructors – Please send copies of your certifications with your CV and cover letter.
Front Desk Staff – Japanese language skills are preferred. Front desk/ admin and extensive customer service experience is required.
Ski school – Front desk/admin and extensive customer service experience is required.
General Hands – Repairs and maintenance to SkiJapan.com managed properties.
Rental/Retail shop – Candidates must have minimum of 3 years experience in rental/retail shop service.
Explain yo : missions to ith w I ed Explain your role w work ur role: do mmodaow driver en co sn ac rb pe eir th su a c om alls a at the fro I am and fr nt nd .com guests to . se ea H of o t bring SkiJapan os w long assist gue desk with m d with the ut sts w SkiJa an h ly a fe v sa I e ns ’m a t p tio y n? eache ou been in ith enquirie an. We tak you been in Japa e first day of th s on r J c e y How long have a s and . tr h p un I o Co a o id n a nd l le ? r sp r y tour phone is ived o ear ha ing! I b I arrived to th n ookin d W e ’ n Tin e m tak gs. . can s ing a ded. This d 16th Dec gA November 2009 ur hometown? yo e l b t’s O a e ha r o s W e ? n t m t a c h p fro k l is u 2 e n e yo w e f d W to ar h w t s e r re m h o eason here a eeks Whe e e iu m te my ho om Canada, and ast. Bezo chi bara I gre re you from out and e aching nex has been a I am proudly fr t baby, east co Vo n as w Co l t n ? st Ea j W . d y u o E.I e ? y th p in P. hat n ar so mazWest ing in Hirafu Charlottetown that I ern A Geraldton ’s your hom e snow. t living and work ou e ab t th l os al m e y lik jo e u u , En is pre stralia town? 5 hou What do yo n, but I do io at d m o . r or s m inf I d t’s inan no crayfi That’s Classifie work and play with. sh (lo tly crayfi a small c rth of Per live, shing it ntain? t W b ou m s e h m t Ho a good people I e ? t ng r and fa y where t h, in do you s) and Tele? For how lo h rd r oa e m li T w wb k no indus h in h e i/S e po Sk g. M eat mos iing. here it’s at, Sk be ab wder!!! I t about livin are export ost of ou try I Ski, that’s w l ’m a C ed to e r g and ng sts? J part o to spend h pting and anythi Hobbies/ Intere some ristian, so working in H apan. f God of stone scul rm fo e th in t S ir t ’ I im s wo ki/sno af ’m e in t Aikido, ar r his am very grat u? world peace. Snow wboard/tele ld. ef azingl in Hirafu? that promotes nt ra b au ? st o F Re / a y beau ul to or how se food have w rding, of m. ea cr tiful lo oe Favorite Japane sh n a, c g ra, warm te the b orked at M ourse! St ? Home mo I would be... Sashimi, Tempu ng hi e yt t u a s an g r n as in t H w t t ed a ain? oth nat here do but If I Hobb If I could be anyw ies/int ural terrain am, Victo bout 3 ye g on the moon, ar y many ria. I t to be walkin erests an an h m w in t, d a I’ ou n ly ad O g ke re Li ing ou ? recko s ago and z… iers. sh, I’d be sp ld lfi so se n t ild be F ch w it’s to a ing it vourit not going n from be e Japa h mates… , freeing childre her people, for having me ce O on n at k e es o ac s n pl e food om and /re anks to Japan, The B iyaki and My deepest th onigir staurant in rick w k and learn. or w e liv to i…or a t Hirafu es If h gu a I e c as n o re he uld I ? m Right be anywh need a wes assive bur ere do ger fr tern fi here. in om said, H x. g anyt ow c I I love couldn’t l an you no hing, I would t love ive et be… the b er th each and s nally on w is place?! umme in That r in A ters… ustra lia!
M e e t The
heat Kate W
Explain your ro le: Niseko Base Snowsports Instructors How long have you been in Ja pan? Since 20th N ovember, 2009 Este Where are you r&F from? What’s yo erna ur hometown? Madrid, Spain ndo What do you lik e most about liv ing and worki We can impr ng in Hirafu? ove our Englis h here & enjo der snow in y the BEST po Japan’s “north wpole” Ski/Snowboar d Tele? For how long? Home m Ester: Ski= 17 ountain? years, Fernan do= Ski 20ye Valdesowt (M ars. adrid), but w e fe Andora) is ou r second hom el as though PAL (Vallnor e! d, Hobbies/ Intere sts? We love skiin g, diving & long board riding. loves riding hi Fernando also sm Favorite Japane otorbike! se food/ Restau rant in Hirafu? Yummy’s Pizz a in Hirafu & Cafe Kaku in If I could be an Kutchan. ywhere doing anything I wou Fernando: “I ld be... would be in m y guitar after a van with Este r, playing the perfect surfi ng session at Biarritz (Franc “Vascos Beac e)!” h”, Ester: “Me to o!”
: Explain your role ception desk Alpen Ridge re I work at the n? you been in Japa o How long have living in Sappor as w I s. th on Around 6 m to Hirafu. before moving hometown? m? What’s your fro u Where are yo ent time stralia.... but sp Melbourne, Au a) rr be an the can (C Hirafu? growing up in and working in g in liv t ou ab t os m e lik ns u se yo on do What opes and ix of people, sl The unique m Mt Yotei! ul tif au be e n? d th at my door an ? Home mountai ng lo w Tele? For ho m ha Ski/Snowboard ot H risher and Mt Snowboard. Pe s? st re Hobbies/ Inte and design Travel, music rant in Hirafu? se food/ Restau ne Favorite Japa elish! Mina Mina is de ... The hokke at hing I would be yt an g here doin this of e or m If I could be anyw ing Explor y... unique countr hing some tc ca be ay and m a! se rays in Okinaw ackhou Agnes B
Meet the Team of SkiJapan.com 44
atmosphere with NISEKO - Busy village ed ski resorts ink erl int me 4 aweso
RUSUTSU - Uncrowded, immaculately groomed resort. Quiet village atmosphere
FURANO - Long steep runs for the advanced and easy cruising run s for beginners MYOKO KOGEN HAKUBA
NOZAWA ONSEN SHIGA KOGEN
HAKUBA - 10 ski resorts and 200 ski runs to suit everyone
ALL INCLUSIVE PACKAGES FROM AUSTRALIA When booking your next Japan Ski Holiday from Australia - be sure to book it with SkiJapan Travel. As a wholesale travel agent we can arrange discounted airfares and itineraries to provide you with an all-inclusive ski package to Japan. Our experienced consultants will deliver first hand knowledge on the resorts and offer the best deals available.
d ski areas - 21 interlinke SHIGA KOGEN els lev all r ns fo providing optio
AUSTRALIAâ€™S LEADING JAPAN SNOW TRAVEL COMPANY NOZAWA ONSEN - Ski village famous for its onsen and traditional Japanese charm
CONTACT DETAILS: SkiJapan Travel Australia Address: 213/20 Dale St, Brookvale NSW 2010 AUSTRALIA Ph: (Within Australia) 1300 137 411 (International) +61 2 9938 9900
ww w. S k i J a p a n . c om
MYOKO KOGEN - 3 inte rlinked ski resorts renowned for the best & longest vertical runs
NBS IN SEASON 09/10 NEW 09/10 MANAGEMENT TEAM: We’ve expanded our management line-up this year to make sure that, even as NBS continues to grow, we continue to provide the best lesson and rental experience in Niseko. Experienced managers Joel Graham (AUS) and Dan Yoja (CAN) have come back to us, better than ever. We’ve been joined by Kip Novak (USA), Rebecca Watson (UK), Anthony Trovatello (AUS), Kirstina Novak (USA) and David Watson (FRA). All are highly qualified and experienced managers that we hope will bring a fresh perspective and a new energy to NBS this year. It’s going to be an exciting season and we hope you, our valued customers, will join us for what we expect to be the best season yet.
NBS SNOWPSORTS INSTRUCTORS TEAM GROWS TO RECORD SIZE! This year, we are proud to announce that we have doubled the number of instructors in our snow sports team to more than 40 world class professional instructors. We have truly multi-cultural team with instructors from countries such as Japan, Australia, Switzerland, UK, France, Spain, Netherlands, Eastern Europe, New Zealand and, of course, Canada and the USA! Every NBS Instructor is dedicated to giving you the most memorable experience of your life. They’ll not only teach you how to ski/board using the latest techniques but they’ll make sure you have FUN whilst learning a new skill.
NBS WELCOMES THE “WALDHART” SNOWSPORTS BOOKING SYSTEM: To help us manage our snowsports school this year we’ve invested in the Waldhart Ski School software, one of Europe’s most efficient and popular ski school systems. Waldhart will help us to keep class sizes to a minimum and allow us to more effectively manage our classes so that we can get you out into the action with less fuss!
A Q ce ua #2 d Ch ai r
www.nisekobase.com PH: 0136 21 5050
Fa m ily
LOCATED IN ALPEN RIDGE NBS Ski School Ski Shop Equipment Rentals and drop off point
Prince Hirafutei Hotel
SKI RENTAL SKI SHOP
www.nisekobase.com PH: 0136 21 5050
NBS RENTALS: Our team of experienced fitters is back for 09/10. This season our team is stronger than ever and our product is second-to-none. Last year was a big year with the opening of our new store in Alpen Ridge, directly opposite the Ace Family lift. We migrated to the world class Wintersteiger EasyRent rental system which gives us the technological advantage to ensure you spend less time in the rental store and more time on the snow! This year we’ve added some new rental stock to our fleet. Specifically specialist women’s performance skis in our Deluxe range as well as 09/10 Head Monsters and “Super Mojos” for those deep, dry powder days. We’ve also purchased new ski wear made from high quality 10,000mm waterproof/ breathable material to ensure you stay dry and warm in cold, snowy conditions. Western sizes available.
Photo by Mandy Lamont
NBS RENTALS PRICE LIST:
NBS RETAIL: Lif Pa ir A ce
Fa m ily
Niseko Property nd
- Protective equipment
- Ski/Board locks
- Trendy beanies
- Neck warmers
LOCATED IN ALPEN RIDGE NBS Ski School Ski Shop Equipment Rentals and drop off point
- Snowboard Tools
Prince Hirafutei Hotel
We’ve also stocked up on those must have snow accessories including: - Face masks
as a range of casual clothing such as hoodies, long sleeves, t-shirts and jumpers.
A Q ce ua #2 d Ch ai r
We have a lot of new products in the store this year including the full range of OAKLEY goggles, as well
SKI RENTAL SKI SHOP
GETTING YOUR GEAR GETTING GLOVES Keeping your hands and fingers warm and dry is essential to a good day on the snow - especially considering the fact that it’s your extremities that get coldest first! The extent to which your gloves will keep your hands warm and dry will depend on a few factors, so to help you with your next glove purchase I’ve come up with a
A HOW TO/BUYER’S GUIDE
purchase mitts with a “fingered” liner which is a good option allowing you to remove your mitts without totally exposing your hands to the cold. Still, a good quality pair of modern gloves will keep your hands as warm as a pair of mittens whilst allowing greater mobility and flexibility and none of the hassle. Nowadays whether you choose gloves or mittens really comes down to personal preference, comfort and style.
BY BY “Chook” “Chook”
cloth or hanky, but handy none-the-less. Goggle Squeegee: A purpose designed rubber wiper blade build into the thumb, which acts as windscreen wiper for the outside of your goggles! Preformed Finger Construction: Reduces wrinkles on the palm and usually makes for a more comfortable fit with less chance of cramp and greater sensitivity. Pocket for hand warmer: Fantastic little pocket
Goggle Squeegee Adjustable Tapered Wrist Strap
Reinforced End Caps
Abrasion Resistant Palm
few simple tips to get you started. SKIER OR SNOWBOARDER Before purchasing gloves, decide whether they’ll be for ski or snowboard as the gloves suited to each activity are a little different. If you snowboard it is important to keep in mind that you’ll have your hands in the snow more often as you need to adjust tighten your ratchets every time you strap in, therefore they get a little more wear. You also want gloves with reinforced finger caps so they don’t tear. If you ski, you want to look for features such as a synthetic-reinforced and abrasion resistant palm - this will give you better grip on your poles and the palms won’t wear out as fast. GLOVES OR MITTS Mittens (Mitts) tend to be warmer as they keep all of your fingers together, reducing the loss of natural body heat. However mitts can also be a little less practical as your fingers will have limited mobility which means you’ll need to remove your mitts even to do simple tasks such as adjusting your goggles, getting a tissue or taking that memorable photo. You can however
Velcro Cuff Strap
LONG OR SHORT WRIST CUFF Whether you select long or short wrist cuff is often personal preference, however ensure that you purchase a glove that tapers towards your wrist and has a Velcro strap to prevent heat escaping and keep your gloves on your hands during a fall!
on top of your glove useful for putting hand warmers in. High Stretch Fabric: Gloves fit more comfortably with increased flexibility and durability. Reduces cramps. Breathable Vent: Small mesh vent assisting with hand temp regulation, preventing sweating.
LINERS Liners are fixed - commonly found in less expensive gloves - or removable. If you choose to buy a glove with a fixed liner, look for Thinsulate, Prima Loft or fleece. Removable liners are easier to wash. Removing your liners can also help your gloves dry faster and on warm days you can simply wear the glove – just be careful not to lose your liners!
CARING FOR YOUR GLOVES To protect your investment and get the most of your gloves try the following:Never leave your gloves in cold places, especially overnight. It’s a good idea to warm your gloves (in a warm room but not too close to a heater) before putting them on as quality gloves will retain that heat until your hands warm up naturally. Remove the liners when drying your gloves. Wash your liners every few weeks to clear the pores of sweat, stench and any bacteria build up. Wash your glove outers at least once during a season. Best done by hand in warm soapy water.
OPTIONAL EXTRAS Some other good features to look out for are: Snot Rag/Goggle Wipe: Located on the outer thumbs of your gloves (one for goggles, one for snot). Usually made from a soft chamoix type material and great for gently wiping off snot, as well as snow, rain and ice on the outside of your goggles. No substitute for a genuine goggle
See you on the hill! Chook
GETTING YOUR GEAR 49
O T O H P DIARY
Located in the Alpen Ridge Building at the base of the Ace Family Chair Lift. www.hotshots.net.au
Photo Diary 51
Golf in Niseko’s Summer Paradise mountains looming up in front of you at various points in the round guaranteeing that many holes will stick in your memory and hopefully your dreams long after you leave the area. (see course guide below)
In the midst of deep snow, blizzards, and cold it is sometimes hard to believe that Niseko will ever become green again. However, it does, and when the final remnants of snow retreat for another year, what is left is what many have come to regard as a paradise, and in particular, a golfing paradise. Like many ski resorts around the world, Niseko has a first-class summer season which is just stunning, but so far relatively undiscovered. So why golf in Hokkaido and in particular, Niseko? First, it is a question of convenience. You are within very easy reach of nine different courses with all of them being within a 30 minute drive of Hirafu and three of them are right on our doorstep. There are over 150 courses in Hokkaido, so if you venture slightly further afield you open up many, many more. In terms of the golf, you have many high quality courses in a relatively small easily–accessible area. They are well-kept, interestingly routed and offer something for everyone with a good sprinkling of different types of hole and inherent challenges. The views from all the courses are at times spectacular with Yotei and other
52 Summer Japan.com
They are also reasonably priced. Japan as a whole has a reputation for high green fees. This is largely not the case anymore although you still can pay 40,000 Yen/430 USD/460 AZD for a round in a few places. Generally speaking though, you should pay at most 6000 Yen to 8000 Yen (65USD/70AZD to 87 USD/93 AZD) on a weekday and 10,000 Yen to 15,000 Yen (108 USD/116 AZD to 162 USD/175 AZD) at a weekend. The cost of golf in Japan compares pretty well with other golfing destinations these days and when you visit as part of an organized tour or package the prices become even more reasonable. You can also learn and practice golf with Japanese and English speaking instructors available in the area. Along with the great practice facilities here, there is also an expanding schedule of clinics and camps being developed for 2010 which will involve special programmes for beginners, kids, ladies and other groups. Specially tailor-made tours can also be organized for groups of visitors. Combine all this with the superb accommodation and facilities that Niseko offers all year round, and it really is an attractive option. You also have the standard package of goodies that Hokkaido in the summer offers: great food, comfortable summer climate, onsens (hot springs), and a host of other summer activities. There is some superb mountain hiking and it is increasingly a very popular place for biking. There are some spectacular routes both for road and mountain biking in the area. Also, not far away is some excellent rafting. There is even hot air ballooning and paragliding here. Just 30 minutes away you also have Lake Toya which can be used for water sports and is the most gorgeous lake, especially on a summer’s day. The cities of Sapporo and Otaru are also on offer with their
superb attractions and shopping. If that isn’t enough you can take a relaxing drive along the coast and yes, there are even beaches and surfing here!
Golf in Japan Playing golf here is in line with internationally accepted norms but here are a few useful facts that will help to smooth your experience: There are quite often forward tees where you play from after going OB or into a hazard rather than reloading. This is generally for improved speed of play. Caddies are still used at a lot of clubs, especially the high-end ones. Walking is rare – almost all courses require a buggy is used. Some of them are remote control ‘R2D2’ -like units. Distances are measured in yards despite Japan being basically a metric country. For most of Japan (not Hokkaido) the standard is to play 9 holes, have lunch (and maybe beer) and then play another 9 holes followed by a communal bath. Being allowed to play through as a faster group is pretty unusual. You don’t need to learn any Japanese to play golf – phrases like ‘nice shot’, ‘draw’, ‘slice’, ‘driver’ ‘tee’, etc have all been directly borrowed from the English. If you happen to get a hole in one you are supposed to go back to the clubhouse and lavish everyone with
drinks and gifts which can set you back a great deal of money (some estimate this can reach 1 million Yen/10,800 USD/11,600 AZD). Many Japanese players have insurance to cover this. I don’t think it is legally binding though!
Niseko Golf Courses
The three immediately accessible courses from Hirafu (within 15 minutes drive) are as follows: Niseko Tokyu Golf Course (Championship: 7003, Blue: 6760, Regular: 6343, Forward: 5278, Par 72) This is widely considered to be the ‘best’ course in this immediate area. This course offers four tees to suit different levels of player and is a real test from the championship tees at just over 7000 yards. This course has some holes of stunning beauty, particularly when Yotei is sitting there in the backdrop. The course offers a variety of holes that please the eye and keep the mind interested. Beautiful Hole: 17th Par 3 – hitting from a slightly elevated tee, you hit a shot with water protecting the left and bunkers on the right. Tough Hole: 4th Par 4 – a tight drive that has to be long leaving you an uphill shot to a well protected and tricky green.
This is another course very close to the heart of Niseko and located right next to the Hilton Hotel. This is quite a wide course and in that sense it is forgiving. To score well though, you do have to think about where to put the ball. One of the signature features of the course is the 10th – a 721 yard par 6! There are lots of beautiful holes on this course and it is a good test of golf kept in tip-top condition. There are superb practice facilities here too. Beautiful Hole: 2nd Par 5 – a slight dogleg left that as you turn the corner opens up a magnificent view of Mount Yotei. Unforgettable! Tough hole: 9th Par 4 – A perfect drive will give you half a chance of reaching this tough par 4. Usually a 3 or 4 iron is required as a second shot here and then you are faced with a large twotiered green. Niseko Golf Course (Black: 6805, Blue: 6306, White: 5833, Red: 5072 Par 72) This course was designed by Arnold Palmer and has become a favourite of many locals in recent times. The course abounds with views and the gradient changes are an integral element of the layout providing frequent club selection challenges. There are some great risk reward par 5s on this course as well as some stunning par 3s. Beautiful hole: Par 3 17th – This
tee shot is hit from a very elevated tee onto the green seemingly miles below. Watch your ball stay in the air for ages here and hopefully hit the mark! Tough hole: Par 4 7th – You need a good tee shot between two bunkers which hopefully catches the down slope. For your second shot you have a long carry over a brook to a well-protected green, There are a number of other courses in the immediate area such as A-Brand in Yoichi with its opulent baronial castle clubhouse which is supposed to have cost 20 million USD including the stuffed bear in the lobby! There are also the 4 courses (Wood, River, Lake and Tower) at Rusutsu which are well worth a visit. Two of them were designed by Curtis Strange and The Tower Course even offers night golf in the summer months on 9 of its holes. There is also Niseko Golf and Resort which offers an interesting test and has reasonable green fees. Hokkaido and Niseko have so much to offer in the summer months. In many ways, the green season has as much to offer as the white season although it is as yet a secret. Don’t tell anyone will you? John Barton
Niseko Village Golf Course (Blue: 6845, White: 6422, Red: 5313 Par 73)
Summer Japan.com 53
Summer In Niseko Niseko is a great place to visit all year round with each season offering something different and exciting. The arrival of Spring brings cherry blossoms and an amazing display of new life. In the heat of Summer outdoor activities, bbqs and the festival season are in full swing. With Autumn, herald of Winter, the forests present us with spectacular display of colour. Last, but not least, Winter and waist deep powder snow.
Activities include something for everyone with golf, rafting, fishing, mountain biking, diving, kayaking, surfing, hiking, cherry picking, festivals, barbeques and much more. From late June onwards events such as the Hanazono Kutchan Music festival, Niseko Cycle Week and Niseko Golf Week are all events not to be missed.
Spring is the best time for the adventurous as the rivers swell with snow melt. The Spring course around Niseko town is roughly 13km long with exciting grade 3 rapids. In Summer rafting moves to Kyogoku, a gentle ride through lush Summer vegetation into Kutchan. The river widens out in places and you can enjoy both rafting and swimming together.
NISEKO CYCLE WEEK
Summer in Hokkaido is in stark contrast to Winter, with lots of warm days and beautiful views over endless East coast mountain tops. It’s easy to get out on a weekend and search for waves. The summer is usually defined by warmer water temperatures of 19 degrees Celsius and smaller swell out of the Pacific. However, several typhoons make their way up from the Southern Pacific presenting some fantastic opportunities with solid swells of up to 8 foot (2.5m).
First run in 2008, Niseko Cycle Week consists of group rides, mountain biking and non-cycling events including live music and kids activities. Cyclists and families at all levels are welcome to join in the fun! This year the event is scheduled for Friday, 10th September – Monday, 20th September with an expanded event schedule with local and international media coverage. For more details check the website www.nisekocycleweek.com
With the coast less than 30 minutes away during the warmer seasons it is easy to access fresh seafood with local specialties including crabs, scallops, oysters, sea urchin, abalone and salmon. With the advent of Spring the country-side comes to life with orchards of cherries and apples, potatoes, corn and strawberries. Restaurants and cafes change their menus to take advantage of these fresh ingredients. A food lover’s delight.
Situated on the rugged and picturesque west coast of Hokkaido, Shakotan is a little over an hour from Niseko. Popular with the locals and visitors in mid-Summer for its beaches, scenic coastline, surfing and camping. Shakotan is well-known for its bountiful fresh sea urchin and abalone, often seen growing in the rocks and shoals close to the beach. Whilst it is prohibited to take them yourself there are many restaurants in the area that offer a full range of fresh seafood, many dedicated to sea urchin and abalone.
54 Summer Japan.com
ACCOMMODATION SummerJapan.com offers a wide range of condominium style accommodation. Hirafu village is much more peaceful in the Summer, surrounded by national parks and separated from the hustle and bustle of the city. Located only 30mins from the coast and 45mins from Otaru, Niseko is a great hub for all your activities whilst offering the perfect place to get away from it all.
Situated in the heart of Hirafu village, the Alpen Ridge complex is Nisekoâ€™s finest in luxury, self-contained apartments. Completed in September 2008, Alpen Ridge includes a variety of studio, one, two, and three bedroom apartments, with breathtaking views of Mt. Yotei and the Niseko resort. All apartments are tailored with the most modern of fittings and appliances including: Plasma TV screens with entertainment theatre, spacious living areas and dining room all finished with polished timber floors, dishwasher and large fridge, internal laundry, modern Western style furniture, electric fireplaces, split king beds, storage space and internet. 1 bedroom prices start at 16,800yen per room per night
New for Summer 2010, Snow Crystal apartments offer some of the best views of Mt Yotei in the village with floor-to-ceiling windows running the length of the building. Completed in late December of 2009, the 2 and 3 bedroom apartments are fitted with luxurious fixtures and fittings with comfortable furniture and modern appliances. Satellite TV and wireless internet access are also available. 2 bedroom prices start at 29,400yen per room per night
Comfortable, self-contained apartments in a secluded but very convenient location. Features of the Alpine apartments are extensive: fireplaces, internal laundries, ensuite bathrooms, split king beds, cable TV, broadband internet and spacious BBQ areas. All apartments offer soothing views of a forest. 2 Bedroom prices start at 24,000yen per room per night
For more information on accommodation and activities in and around Niseko Hirafu please visit our website, www.summerjapan.com or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
OTARU Located less than an hour away by car or by train, the port city of Otaru is a very popular tourist spot. A great day-trip for the family. Visit the popular canal district and take a ride in a buggy drawn by one of the energetic young men lining the canals. Or visit the old city centre to taste fresh sushi and seafood or browse the numerous handicraft shops. Otaru is famous for its glasswork and music boxes. Donâ€™t forget to visit the Le Tao chocolate shops and sample the wonderful chocolates they have on offer.
Summer Japan.com 55
2009 - 2010
AIRPORT BUS INFORMATION RESORT LINER
NEW CHITOSE AIRPORT uRUSUTSU uNISEKO 01/12/2009 u02/04/2010 101R
New Chitose Airport
Hilton Niseko Village
Airport → Rusutsu 2,000yen Airport → Hirafu 2,300yen
NISEKO uRUSUTSU uNEW CHITOSE AIRPORT 02/12/2009u05/04/2010 102
Hilton Niseko Village
New Chitose Airport
Chitose Outlet Mall
North Snow land in Chitose
Airport→Rusutsu 2,000yen Airport→Hirafu 2,300yen
2009 - 2010
FREE NIGHT-GO SERVICE FROM HIRAFU - KUTCHAN
HIRAFU u KUTCHAN (Free Night-Go)
KUTCHAN u HIRAFU (Free Night-Go)
Hirafu Welcome Centre
JR Kutchan Station
Plat Information Centre/ Takiguchi Sport
Plat Information Centre/ Takiguchi Sport
JR Kutchan Station
Morizukuri Centre Yotei Maru Sushi Train Kutchan Bridge
Lerch Park (Max Value)
Hirafu Welcome Centre
HIRAFU AREA LIFT OPERATING DATES Lift Name
Ace pair lift#3
21st Nov~28th Mar
Ace family pair
Night skiing 12th Dec~27th Mar
Ace quad lift #2
21st Nov~5th May
Ace quad lift #2
12th Dec~27th Mar
Ace family pair
1st Dec~4th Apr
King hooded triple lift
12th Dec~27th Mar
King hooded triple lift
1st Dec~5th May
12th Dec~13th Mar
Holiday pair lift #1
19th Dec~13th Mar
5th Dec~4th Apr
5th Dec~4th Apr
Holiday pair lift #1
5th Dec~4th Apr
King lift #4
12th Dec~5th May
Hooded quad lift #1
5th Dec∼4th Apr
Quad lift #2
5th Dec∼4th Apr
Ace pair lift #1
19th Dec ~7th Apr
Hooded quad lift #3
5th Dec∼4th Apr
King pair lift #1
19th Dec ~28th Apr
HANAZANO AREA LIFT OPENING DATES
Ace pair lift #4
26th Dec~28th Feb
King quad lift #2
26th Dec~28th Feb
*Hours and days of operation are subject to change according to snow and weather conditions
SHUTTLE BUS OPERATING DATES Lift Name
HIRAFU VILLAGE SHUTTLE BUS
5th Dec-4th Apr (Runs from 8:30-4:30pm from the 28th Mar)
HANAZONO SHUTTLE BUS
5th Dec-4th Apr
NISEKO UNITED SHUTTLE BUS
21st Nov-5th May (Limited service after 28th Mar, Weekends only from 5th Apr)
KUTCHAN NIGHT BUS
1st Dec- 31st Mar