Niseko Mt.Resort Grand HIRAFU is the largest resort in Niseko and enjoys the greater volume of the 1,308-metre Mount Niseko Annupri. The resort affords skiers the choice of thirty unique courses, nine of which stretch beyond a kilometre and one lengthy 5.6-kilometre cruise. Along these courses, tree runs, fresh plumes of powder and breathtaking panoramas abound, with over 940 metres of vertical.
Both the snowboard park and moguls at Niseko Mt.Resort Grand HIRAFU never fail to please, while there’s also snow rafting and snowmobiling to change things up and still enjoy the famous Niseko powder.
At the Niseko Mt.Resort Grand HIRAFU’s Base (Dot base) Ski Center is where you will find the Niseko Mt.Resort Grand HIRAFU Snow School, catering for skiers and boarders of all skill and experience levels. They also offer powder guiding and hiking trips, affording the opportunity to immerse deep into the magic natural reserve area which surrounds the resort.
The possibilities within the perfect powder snow at Niseko Mt.Resort Grand HIRAFU resort owe discovery to Austro-Hungarian Army Major Theodor von Lerch, who first laid eyes upon the area back in 1912 when he visited the slopes of nearby Mount Yei. As such, the area holds an integral place among Japan’s winter sports history. Just one year earlier, in 1911, von Lerch introduced skiing to Japan. Fifty years later, in 1961, the country’s longest chairlift was built at Hirafu for the All-Japan Alpine Ski Championships.
Cut forward to more recent times, and to mark the beginning of the 2016-2017 season, in December, Niseko Mt.Resort Grand HIRAFU revealed its freshly upgraded King No. 3 Lift. Expanded from a triple to a quad the new lift means even more riders can access the summit in less time and enjoy a more comfortable ride. In addition, the lift’s Sanroku Station saw an extension downhill allowing smoother, more efficient accessibility from the Hirafu Gondola Station. The same month the next year in 2017, the Ace Family Lift was renewed to a high-speed quad lift, meaning the latest in technology gets riders where they need to be faster to enjoy more time on the slopes.
The resort comprehensively caters for everyone, from first-timers to seasoned sliders and everybody in between, meaning that nobody gets left at home. The snow school knows how to look after beginners while also capable of providing programmes for advanced skiers and boarders. Whatever the skill and experience level, the resort’s instructors know that everyone is there to have fun and enjoy themselves, whether that be as part of a group or private lessons. As a unique added feature, the Nature Hiking Program also introduces everyone, regardless of winter sports skill, to the beauty of the surrounds with the Snow Shoe Tour and the Snow Rambler Tour.
There’s a reason why the Niseko area continues to attract more people each year. In fact, there’s more than a handful of reasons. There’s the aforementioned icing-sugar powder snow for which the area has long been famous, carried over on the cold Siberian winds making their way eastward. Then there’s the region’s stunning backdrop upon which the powder rests, of rolling, mountain-scaped countryside. The most obvious feature of beauty is the Mount Fuji look-a-like, Mount Yotei. So much does it resemble Fujisan that it carries the nickname, “Ezo Fuji”. The surrounds truly are a feast for the eyes.
Niseko Mt.Resort Grand HIRAFU
Yamada 204, Kutchan, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido
Open: 8:30am-8:30pm / 6:30pm-8:30pm (Limited time only)
Travelling times to Niseko Mt.Resort Grand HIRAFU
from New Chitose Airport: 2 hrs (car), from Sapporo: 2 hrs 30 min (train)
Snow depth: Dec 190cm/Jan 260cm/Feb 320cm/Mar 340cm/Apr 260cm Terrain: Beg 37%/Int 40%/Adv 23%
Longest run: 5.6km
Vertical drop: 940m
Steepest slope: 40°