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Powderlife Magazine

Records Tumble in Historic Season

While it’s far from done, season 2011/12 is winding down – and what a season it has been. Here in Niseko, and all over Japan, the record books have been rewritten. And for those of us lucky enough to have skied and boarded here we’re not likely to forget the last few months for a […]

GRANDPAPA, Hirafu Lower Village, Kohei Nikahara

KOHEI Nikahara learnt how to make cheese fondue in Germany and Switzerland, where he used to live as a student. His family has been running lodge & restaurant Grandpapa for 25 years, but only five years ago did they start serving cheese fondue after Kohei had returned from Europe with his recipes. He only uses Swiss cheese for Grandpapa’s fondue and also serves a variety of European meat dishes.

The 29-year old was born in Sapporo and loves Niseko for its powder snow. He took part in the German ski championships as a teenager and has appeared in several Japanese ski magazines. When Kohei is not too busy managing Grandpapa, he likes to take his guests to Annupuri’s peak and shows them the best spots to drop in. Grandpapa is open for dinner everyday. Tel: 0136 23 2244.

SOGA, Niseko Village, Shinichiro Satoh

38-year old manga fan Shinichiro Satoh manages Soga, but it was his mother’s idea to open the spacious restaurant on route 66, just beside Niseko Village’s convenient store 7-Eleven, which she owns. The Satohs are locals and that’s why most of the dishes at Soga are authentic Hokkaido cuisine.

There is a huge selection of fresh sashimi, ramen and fried food. Yakiniku, several Korean dishes and Shabu-shabu (beef hot pot) round up the menu. Shinichiro is more than happy to help non-Japanese speakers with the food selection, because he went to high school in the US and speaks excellent English.

While waiting for your food, you can have a browse through Shinichiro’s impressive manga collection. There are several bookshelves in Soga and you’re allowed to take as many comic books as you want and read them at your table. Tel: 0134 (33)1310.

Editor’s Note

THIS is the last issue of Powderlife for the 2011/2012 season and those who decided to spend the winter in Niseko instead of Europe or the US have been rewarded with record snow, as Hokkaido was swept with some of the heaviest snowfall in decades.

First tracks were in mid November and the beginning of December saw the best early season dump of powder in 50 years, according to Japanese media. Word spread quickly, with visitor numbers picking up fast in late December and January.

While non-stop snowfall for weeks on end is not uncommon here, we’ve had some quite unusual cold snaps with temperatures hovering around -20 degrees Celcius. Niseko, like other parts of Japan, was pounded with blizzards a few times, but we also had more bluebird days in January and February than in previous years. All in all the conditions have been – and still are – fantastic.