My husband and I decided to go to Niseko for amazing snowboarding experience before putting a pause to traveling for future plans of pregnancy. Japan is pretty close to where we live and Niseko has been one of his bucket lists. I basically snowboard for a maximum 2 days in a year while my husband started when he was 16. And, I mostly did all the planning and reservations while my husband works and counting the days before we fly.
We booked the flights late in November and the prices are staggeringly expensive to book a direct flight to Sapporo from Hong Kong, but nevertheless, it didn’t stop us from booking and smartly break up our trip with a stopover in Narita. We were greeted by a heavy snow at New Chitose Airport and the plane has been hovering for more than an hour prior to landing. Imagine our anticipation inside the plane and consistently looking out our window seat for our powder snow is waiting on the ground. Luckily enough, I have booked an airport transfer through Hokkaido Liner since we are arriving at night and taking a train is overwhelming for first-timers. Niseko is 2.5 hours drive from New Chitose Airport and the cold didn’t fail to greet us by a frosty window in the bus.
We stayed at My Ecolodge, accessible to Grand Hirafu and Hanazono Ski Resorts. Niseko has four interlinked ski resorts: Grand Hirafu, An’nupuri, Hanazono, and Niseko Village. We were greeted by Myecolodge representative at Grand Hirafu Welcome Center when we arrived in Niseko for a transfer to the lodge. We can’t do enough but to wait until the morning to wander off and hit the slope. It brings memories when I was a kid during Christmas eve and waits until morning for Christmas presents. And it didn’t disappoint.
We woke up early and with enthusiasm. We went to Goodsports, the nearest ski/snowboard rental store before going to Hirafu. When we arrived at Grand Hirafu, we noticed the long queue in the Gondola which takes you King Bell Hut. Buying a Niseko United Mountain lift was as easy as ABC, didn’t even take us a minute. We eventually joined the crowd and took the Gondola. It was so surreal when we got to the top! Light powdered snow greeted us when we stepped out of the Gondola. Skiers and Snowboarders hurrying going down to the mountain and I can’t blame them.
We stayed in Niseko for 6 days and we managed to get a lesson of each one of us. My husband’s guide was able to take him to red runs and completely push him out of his comfort zone! I just chuckled when he complained about his aching muscle pains and proud of himself at the same, just like a little boy. I on the other hand managed to do a decent turn at the end of the trip.
Niseko is a small town to discover and it gets easier everyday getting around. We love how diverse the town is, most probably because it has been drawing attention with is fabled powder snow which gets more than any parts of the world. The trip was worth every penny! At the end of the trip, I asked my husband if we are still considering of having a baby this year anticipating for another snowboarding trip next year. And he fastly uttered, “ What baby?”. And we started to giggle.