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Advice needed Niseko - Best Area for Beginners?

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Lonepeak, Oct 25, 2018.

  1. Lonepeak

    Lonepeak Hard Yards

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    Heading to Niseko for 4 day Xmas trip from Okinawa. This will be my 3rd trip there and I'm usually in the trees or on the other side of a gate somewhere. This time my group of 7 is a mix of low-end intermediates, one advanced (Mom w/infant in backpack), and two beginners - a 4 year old girl and my wife. The advanced mom has volunteered to teach the beginners, but I'm not sure how that will go (bitter cold may be short outings w/her infant). Regardless, some advice is needed...(we have a car and are staying in Kutchan)

    - Which of the 4 areas work well for beginners? I'm thinking about schlepping gear from parking lot, green runs with not too much crazy traffic, and so on. I recall Hanazono being Ok with car lot not too far away, decent big base lodge, and greens which should keep them entertained. Annupuri seems the other good option for runs, but I've never parked there. The middle areas seem like a zoo anytime passed through there.

    - If backpack mom doesn't pan out for beginner lessons, does it matter where we park or are lessons pretty much the same at each base? FYI - both beginners would do best with Japanese instruction.

    More questions later.
     
  2. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Annapuri
     
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  3. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    This.

    Especially with the new beginner lift. It is 100% the best place to learn in Niseko. You can also do a drive by drop off of the passengers right at the run, then go park.

    Hanazono is good if they’re tiny tots taking their very first turns, or if they’re happy to lap the Hana2 lift (which is open and freezing). But Silver Dream is NOT green. It’s green if you’re a decent skier or boarder, but there are spots on that run that have brought a lot of beginners to tears.
     
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  4. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Had you not said you were going to Niseko, I would have said to go to Naeba.
    Ideal for that mix, ideal for beginners and kids as the beginners slopes are right in front of the hotel.
    No need for a car, no loading kids and a baby in and out. Not bitterly cold.
     
  5. BoofHead

    BoofHead One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Another vote for Annupuri.
     
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  6. Lonepeak

    Lonepeak Hard Yards

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    I skipped the Alps since it's easier getting from the airport to the slopes in Hokkaido. Plus, I'm banking on better early season conditions in Hokkaido (hope that is true).

    I would have a tough time going back to Nabea after a weekend there last March in ugly conditions - fog & sheet ice everywhere (pretty much side slipped down the trails). Trip was fully redeemed when I rode dragondola to the adjacent resort which had sun, 10x better snow, and some fun terrain including some sweet off-piste.
     
  7. Lonepeak

    Lonepeak Hard Yards

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    Annupuri sounds perfect. I also like the drive by drop off. And, if decent snow, I've enjoyed some off-piste there. Thanks!
     
  8. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    It’s a great resort for a good rider to have some fun laps meeting the beginners back at the lift or Gondie each run.
     
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  9. Lonepeak

    Lonepeak Hard Yards

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    Just a follow-up in case anyone searches this topic some day.

    I was disappointed with Annupuri for the absolute beginner. The new beginner chair is not for first timers - not detachable. The slope was crowded and so-so. The higher up green run was nice, but my "student" wasn't ready for that. I think we would have been better off at Niseko Village or Hanazono based on what I saw when passing through (magic carpets etc.).
     
  10. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    I’m sorry our advice didn’t work out for you.

    I can’t really comment on Niseko Village as I am rarely within cooee of their beginner offerings (which has changed a fair bit recently). But as far as Hanazono goes - yes, there’s a couple of magic carpet deadset first timer options, but then it gets tricky, the Hana1 lift green run is not really green and has been known to throw a lot of beginners. The hana2 accesses a long flat and if they are happy to lap that out for a while it’d be a good progression, but you’ve gotta get down somehow. I’m not sure if they do downloads on the hana1 but if they do it’d be the best option to get back.

    I’ve taken the Annupuri beginner lift, when it was quiet, mental weather and they’d shut the Gondie (it was easier than walking back up the hill to get a coffee while waiting for the wind to ease . It goes super slow. No it’s not a detachable quad but it’s a darn sight easier than the old family lift at Hirafu was. And the slope is much easier than the new family run at Hirafu.

    Go Snow lessons at both Family run base and Gondola base in Hirafu use magic carpets also, but I get the feeling they are exclusive to ski school...
     
  11. Timmossy

    Timmossy One of Us

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    Whilst the chairlift at Annapurni may not be detachable it runs that bloody slow and the chairs spaced far apart.