Love your snow ski­ing? Now’s the time to head north

The Daily Examiner - - UNWIND - Corey Ber­talli Man­ager Grafton Travel

SKI sea­son is al­most upon the North­ern Hemi­sphere and if you are an en­thu­si­ast for the snow and ski­ing and are will­ing to travel for it, then this ar­ti­cle is for you.

Ja­pan is one of the best places to ski in the North­ern Hemi­sphere.

The snow fields are some the best in the world and a chal­lenge even for the best skiers. Imag­ine fly­ing down the beau­ti­fully groomed runs that seem to go for­ever and at the end of the day when you can ski or snow board no more, you re­tire to your moun­tain chalet for a well-earned rest. If that sounds like you, then now is the time of the year to take ad­van­tage of some great deals to Ja­pan for their ski sea­son start­ing in De­cem­ber and go­ing through to April 2018.

Com­pa­nies like Trav­elplan Ski and Ski­max have deals that in­clude ac­com­mo­da­tion, lift passes and more. I have friends who have skied Ja­pan be­fore and they say that the North­ern Hemi­sphere snow is bet­ter than what we are used to Down Under. They do get a lot colder con­di­tions than we are used to here and their snow fields are gen­er­ally higher up as well. All this cre­ates per­fect con­di­tions for great snow and ski­ing.

Ski­ing Niseko in Ja­pan North is a great place to visit, with some of the best snow any­where. To get to Niseko you make your way to Sap­poro. A coach trans­fer from the air­port to Niseko will take a cou­ple of hours. I rec­om­mend a flight from ei­ther Tokyo on Jet­star Asia or fly­ing via Hong Kong on Cathay Pa­cific Air­lines. Niseko on Hokkaido has ex­ploded in pop­u­lar­ity of the past five years with Aus­tralian snow­board­ers and skiers. With over 12 me­tres of snow­fall an­nu­ally and spec­tac­u­lar scenery, Niseko has it all for the in­ter­na­tional trav­eller. The sum­mit of 1309m has 43 lifts. The dif­fi­culty of the runs is the same as Hakuba. How­ever you have more choices as to where to eat. Niseko has around 92 bars and restau­rants all of­fer­ing a va­ri­ety of food from Ja­panese and Asian to Western. A win­ter deal at Niseko with re­turn flights from Bris­bane on Qan­tas and Cathay Air­ways, seven nights’ ac­com­mo­da­tion in a two-bed­room lux­ury apart­ment, six-day lift ticket all for $2889 per adult.

The Hakuba/Nagano re­gion is among the best ski fields in Ja­pan hav­ing hosted the 1998 Win­ter Olympic Games. There is plenty of ac­com­mo­da­tion avail­able, right from ba­sic tra­di­tional Ja­panese-style right up to deluxe. The sum­mit is 1820 me­tres high. You have 31 lifts to choose from. 30 per cent of the runs are aimed at ad­vanced skiers, 40 per cent for the in­ter­me­di­ate and for my stan­dard there are 30 per cent for begin­ners. At night you have a choice of 75 bars and restau­rants which could get dan­ger­ous if you have hap­pen to like a bit of sake. There is a deal cur­rently run­ning that in­cludes seven nights’ ac­com­mo­da­tion, break­fast daily, six-day lift pass with an ex­tra three nights in Tokyo at the end with break­fast, for $1535 per per­son.

Ski­ing and snow­board­ing in Ja­pan is be­com­ing eas­ier and more ac­ces­si­ble each year. We have more air­lines now that are fly­ing to these ski des­ti­na­tions and with more com­pe­ti­tion comes cheaper air­fares. Hakuba is a great ex­am­ple, Jet­star fly from the Gold Coast di­rect into Tokyo (Narita) and from there you can catch a bul­let train to Nagano where you would be col­lected and trans­ferred to Hakuba. Only a few hours by bul­let train from Tokyo.

No mat­ter what des­ti­na­tion you choose, you are go­ing to have a ski and a cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence that will stay with you al­ways. Just ask some­one who you might know that has been and I’m sure they will be more than happy to tell you about the won­der­ful time they had. If you are af­ter some more in­for­ma­tion, phone and grab a brochure or talk to a staff mem­ber. They’re only too happy to help.


If you’re a keen skier you can’t go past Ja­pan for some of the best snow busi­ness.

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