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