A successful 2030 Winter Olympics bid by Sapporo City may prompt the development of new gondolas, lifts and terrain at Niseko Village, according to an announcement by the Hokkaido Shimbun Press. The statement revealed that Sapporo City had selected Niseko Village as a candidate venue for its bid, following an assessment by FIS on the slope, difficulty, and snow quality of the resort’s runs.
If the plan were to come to fruition, Niseko Village would host all four alpine events, using existing terrain for the slalom and giant slalom events, and building new courses for the super-G and downhill. The longer events would run in the Yunosawa area that divides Niseko Village and Niseko Annupuri resorts – an area that is currently off limits to skiers and snowboarders and has some of the steepest terrain across the four Niseko United resorts.
At a news conference last week, Mark Yeoh, executive director of Niseko Village owner YTL Corporation, said that he had been in talks with Sapporo City about building new lifts and gondolas and making the new runs in Yunosawa a permanent fixture for visitors to Niseko Village. Vice president Luke Hurford reiterated the message.
“We are fully committed to continuing this investment into the mountain and view the opportunity for the 2030 Olympics with the opening of Yunosawa as providing a huge expansion of new ski terrain to Niseko” said Hurford.
“Along with the Olympic and FIS associations we look forward to opening exhilarating new ski runs capable of hosting all Olympic downhill events including downhill and Super G as well as all slalom course on existing runs and further establishing Niseko as Asia’s premier alpine destination.”
Hurford pointed to YTL Hotels’ history of development at the resort, which will soon include the launch of luxury residences Hinode Hills this winter and a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, which is slated to open in 2020.
“Since acquiring Niseko Village ten years ago YTL Hotels has committed significant investment to new lodgings, new retail and F&B offerings in the village heart, an expansion of activities and crucially to winter customers a continual investment in the mountain infrastructure and winter operations,” Hurford said.
Sapporo was initially in the running to host the 2026 Winter Olympics, but withdrew to focus on 2030. If the city is successful in its bid this time around, it will be the second time it has hosted the event. At the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, the slalom, giant slalom and super-G events were run at Sapporo Teine, while the downhill event was built on the southwest face of Mount Eniwa, an active volcano located in Shikotsu-Toya National Park.