HEAVY snowfalls the past couple of days primed Niseko’s powdery slopes for the much-anticipated season opening today.
As promised, the Grand Hirafu lifts were switched on at 8.30 this morning, with hundreds of skiers and boarders turning out and hitting the mountain throughout the day to get their first taste of the 09-10 powder.
Those keen enough were up waiting in line for the familiar opening bells and sirens to sound, and a steady stream of people continued to flow through the gates all day to sample the upper half of Hirafu.
A solid 1m base up top allowed plenty of pow for all to share. And although there was only one official run open for business, everyone had a smile on their dial, stoked to be up there on Day 1 and dusting off the cobwebs of summer.
At around mid-morning, many were treated to a brief bluebird moment which beautifully lit up the piste, trees and surrounding mountain ranges.
The ‘official’ upper runs off the Ace #3 chair were pretty well tracked out by around 10am, but a group of cheeky cowboys may or may not have accidentally missed their download lift, sampling the goods all the way from top to bottom. Let’s face it, those tracks weren’t left by foxes!
Meanwhile, a group of Japanese and a handful of ‘gaijin’ (foriegn) locals gathered outside the Welcome Centre this morning for the official resort opening ceremony.
The cultural opening saw local identities, business owners and resort staff pay their respects, laying wreaths and blessing the area in anticipation of another great season.
Here’s hoping everyone didn’t exhaust themselves too much on the mountain today. We’ll all need all the energy we can get for the Wild Bill’s opening party tonight!
Both on and off-piste, the Niseko season has truly kicked off with a bang.
Keep an eye on our daily snow report and all our weather feeds at www.powderlife.com/niseko-snow-report.