Insider advice from Hokkaido Ski Club founder Anthea Hung.
As the founders of Niseko-based Hokkaido Ski Club, Anthea Hung and Miha Grilj know more than a thing or two about getting the most out of a holiday in Niseko. The pair of snowsports instructors have multiple Niseko seasons under their belt and, between them, have shown hundreds of riders to the best spots on the mountain.
Anthea was kind enough to let Ski Asia in on a few great tips on what to do for the most memorable Niseko holiday.
An authentic Japanese soba noodle dining experience
There is nothing that tops a Niseko winter experience more than dining at Niseko’s best soba noodle restaurant, Rakuichi. The chef, Tatsuru Rai, delivers a culinary work of art on the plate. Not only does he create the noodles from their humble beginnings right in front you, but the meticulous skill and steadiness of his hand crafts each and every noodle to be exactly the same. No longer, no fatter.
To be able to get a seat at this restaurant, however, requires persistence and some luck. Reservations are not accepted at lunch and dinner reservations over the winter are usually booked out the year before. But if you are willing to wait in line and are lucky enough to get in, it is a true Japanese experience worth waiting for.
The risk and reward of Mizuno no sawa
With the steepest and most challenging terrain in the Niseko United resort, the ‘Mizuno no sawa’ area in Niseko Village is not to missed. Here you will find the resort’s best powder, pillows, cliff drops and tree runs. Once closed off to the public after deaths caused by an avalanche, the now avalanche controlled area, known as Gate 11, can be regularly accessed by the public. This has been made possible by implementation of daily avalanche-controls achieved through years of research, planning and monitoring of the area. However, the area is still subject to risk due to unpredictable environmental factors. Therefore it is strongly recommended to go with an experienced instructor or guide.
The team from Hokkaido Ski Club head into Mizuno no sawa as part of their private lessons and powder guiding experiences. Not only will you be shown the best lines but you will also learn about travelling and safety in avalanche areas. To finish the day on a sweet note, they can take you to the nearby Niseko Milk Kobo to sample Hokkaido’s famous dairy and desserts.
Exploring Kutchan town
When you hear “Niseko”, “powder” and “ski resort in Japan” usually come to mind. However, the true authenticity of Japanese culture and people lies in the streets of nearby Kutchan.
In this small town, only a 15 minute drive from the centre of Niseko ski resort, you will find locally-owned restaurant and bars, izakayas, ramen shops, and even karaoke. The quaint and traditional character of Kutchan is a trip worth making to experience the real Japan.
To find more about what Hokkaido Ski Club or book Anthea or Miha for a lesson, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.hskiclub.com.