It was the perfect night in Hirafu Village for a New Year’s fireworks celebration; warm temperatures, relatively clear skies, and calm wind. Hundreds of spectators gathered at the foot of the Kogen course to watch the NYE celebrations, the famous torch run, and participate in the countdown to 2012. Even NHK, the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation, was there to document the evening and showcase on national television how Hirafu rings in the New Year.
The fireworks had to be cancelled on Christmas Eve due to the storm that hit Niseko during this period, and therefore it was a relief that the weather held out for December 31. It was also bitterly cold around Christmas time whereas New Year’s Eve had temperatures hovering around 0°C, and it was warm enough to wander the village and enjoy the festivities without frozen toes or fingers.