Well the ski hill might not be open but we are still celebrating the fact that we live and play in the best ski resort in Japan. That’s right, this time last week at the World Ski Awards Gala Ceremony in Kitzbühel, Austria, Niseko United was proclaimed Japan’s Best Ski Resort, The Vale Niseko was […]
I feel like quite the local since being inducted into the joys of collecting fresh spring water at the Kyogoku Fukidashi Spring. Many Niseko locals refuse to drink any water other than that bottled fresh from this mountain spring, set in the picturesque surrounds of an alpine park about 20 minutes from Hirafu. I was, […]
Keep in mind that the ski hill isn’t open yet when I tell you the highlight of my week was shopping at Kutchan’s new Daiso store on opening night. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this Japanese retail giant, Daiso is a chain of ¥100 shops that sells everything from laundry hampers to […]
A massive climax (full depth) avalanche occurred in the Backbowl(Kohzan no sawa) on 19-20 Apr.
Dangers of a massive climax (ground) avalanche is getting to be rise in the Backbowl, Osawa SE facing 1000m area and Higashione area as the temperature rises in late April. The Niseko Annupuri Avalanche Prevention Committee, organized by the Niseko Avalanche Research Center, concerned ski resorts, and the towns of Niseko and Kutchan, does not recommend backcountry skiing and snowboarding, but honors your decision to do so and encourages you to take measures to ensure your own safety.
Please be aware of the avalanche danger when you ride in the backcountry and comply with Niseko Avalanche Info and Ski Patrol instructions.
Make sure to check out the Niseko Avalanche Info page before going skiing or snowboarding in Niseko.
AN avalanche claimed the life of a 66-year-old man from Sapporo last weekend on a mountain near Niseko, Hokkaido Shimbun newspaper reports.
Last Saturday (January 16) at about 3.40pm, the man was on a guided backcountry tour in a group of eight people and a guide at Shiribetsu-dake – a non-ski resort mountain near Rusutsu ski resort, about 40 minutes by road from Niseko.
A female guide rode down the face first and was followed by the the man, who triggered the slide after beginning his descent.
The man had a beacon and was found about an hour later. A helicopter air-lifted him from the site but he died on the scene. The guide and all remaining members of the tour were unhurt.
There has been a large amount of snowfall across the region over the past few days, a factor that increases the risk of avalanche.
ROGER Donazzan has been appointed chairman and acquired a one-third shareholding in Hokkaido airport shuttle transfer company Skybus.
An Australian investor and lawyer, Donazzan was founder and former executive chairman of Nihon Harmony Resorts KK which bought Niseko’s Hanazono Ski Resort in 2004.
Last year he opened Paddy McGinty’s Irish Pub in Hirafu’s main street.
Skybus president Jeremy Churchill said Donazzan would play a strategic role overseeing management operations and providing advice and guidance for the company’s growth.
"Roger recognized the potential of Niseko long before many other companies set up in the area," Churchill said.
NISEKO season 2008/09 officially closed on Wednesday after another five and half months of amazing skiing and snowboarding.
The ski hill here traditionally closes at the end of Japan’s Golden Week holiday celebrations on May 6, with excellent spring skiing right until the end up high (above where you can see in the photo on the right).
For the last few weeks of the season the cover wears thin at the bottom of the mountain and groomers push a ridge of snow together in the middle of the main run enabling people to make it down.
A bit of warm weather over the last week wore it right away and skiers have had to catch the lift down from the upper half of the mountain.
POLICE believe a jogger has discovered the body of missing Australian tourist Scott McKay in a river a few hundred metres past his accommodation.
Speaking on behalf of local police, Niseko-Hirafu safety liaison officer at the time of the disappearance, Derek Begley said the clothes Mr McKay was wearing when he was last seen match those on the body, which is now at Hokkaido University for identification.
"The river he was found in is very close to areas that were checked repeatedly, including by police divers and on our volunteer searches," he said.
He said that the river where the body was found was "twisty, tangled and difficult with four to five switchbacks in a 10-15m area with lots of trees – a creek really, maybe knee to thigh deep at the moment and perhaps 1-2m across".
By Bella Lund
A MEMORIAL service for Australian IT specialist Scott McKay, missing in Niseko since late February, was held last week at the chapel of his old high school, Brisbane Grammar School.
Scott, a prefect in his senior year, graduated in 1998 with the top score possible. In his five years at the school he not only succeeded academically, but was also a keen sportsman and a talented musician.
More than 200 of Scott’s family, friends, teachers and work colleagues packed the school’s Great Hall with many mourners having to stand outside.
Among those who spoke at the service were his former teachers, a friend and former housemate, a work colleague and Scott’s younger sister Julie. All remembered Scott as a loyal friend, a hard worker and dedicated family member.
THE Niseko community was rocked last month when Australian skier Scott McKay (right) went missing after leaving local bar Wild Bill’s.
An IT business owner from Brisbane, Mr. McKay, 27, was last seen leaving the popular Hirafu nightspot by himself on Friday, February 20, around 1.30am.
Friends arrived home only minutes behind Mr McKay, to find he had not returned to accommodation at Pension Fuu, on the outskirts of Hirafu at St Moritz, and notified authorities soon after.
A few hours after Mr McKay was reported missing, friends searched alongside police in a first attempt to locate him.
After initial searches failed, Mr McKay’s father and uncle arrived from Australia and signed off on an official search, which saw an increased police presence, as well as on and off-duty army, fire and search and rescue teams performed continual searches for almost a week.