IN a ‘bad season’, there are always plenty of little periods of ‘classic Niseko’. But in a good season, it’s classic Niseko almost all the time. 2004/05 and 2005/06 have been the barometers of a ‘good season’ in recent years, but I think after this winter the benchmark will have been refreshed.
So what is classic Niseko? I quizzed a few locals and here are some of their observations: When the snowbanks are nearing twice your height… at the start of February. When you haven’t seen the top of Mt Yotei since December.
When you can’t really remember the last time you woke up and it hadn’t snowed at all. When they’ve forecast no snow overnight and it still dumps 20cm. When you go back to sleep if there’s less than 20cm of fresh. When you don’t feel guilty for going back to sleep because you know it’s probably going to be better tomorrow.
When you can’t see out of your first storey window because of snow piled up outside. When you can open the second storey window and touch the snow piled up outside.
When you brush 40cms of powder off your car to get out in the morning, stop for a coffee, then have to rebrush another 20 to get going again.
When you run up the peak rather than walking. When a day in the backcountry seems like an unnecessary day of hiking. When you need a two-day powder break.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, the sun comes out for a 10-minute cameo, just as you get out of a gondola. You’re experiencing another classic winter in Niseko. Enjoy!
Kristian Lund, Powderlife Managing Editor firstname.lastname@example.org