Lift overhauls continue at Niseko
NISEKO VILLAGE AND NISEKO Grand Hirafu will unveil new lifts this winter to target beginner and intermediate skiiers. The YTL Hotels-managed Niseko Village will launch two all-season lifts and a new 1.2km beginner run parallel to the central village. The resort hopes the additions will put it on the radar of beginner skiiers and snowboarders, and as a knock-on effect, spark growth in the resort’s hitherto quieter après ski scene. A high-speed detachable lift comprising 17 six-person chairs and 17 eight-person gondolas – one with a glass bottom – will service the beginner course, running from Green Leaf Hotel and Kasara Village Townhouse past the central village and over the main access road for Hilton Niseko Village. The lift will have a midstation half way to a llow easy access to t he centra l village, where dining options are abundant. The 816-metre long lift is expected to handle an hourly capacity of 1,866 passengers per hour, whisking skiers to the mountaintop in three minutes and 20 seconds. Two magic carpets will also operate between the bottom lift station and the Niseko Kids beginner area. Also to come under YTL management is the 250-metre Upper Village Gondola linking guests from The Green Leaf Hotel and Kasara Townhouse to the revamped beginner area on the mountain-side of The Green Leaf Hotel. With four fixed-grip cabins, it has an hourly capacity of 426 passengers. Both lifts will be operational until 10pm each night, extending night-ski hours. Niseko Grand Hirafu’s upgraded King Hooded Triple Lift #3 is also set to debut this winter. The upgrade will offer a 30% increase in capacity and it has also been moved 130m down the hill to be closer to the bottom stations of the Hirafu Gondola and the King Quad Lift #2.