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Our general routine started with a slow, lazy
breakfast, skiing between 9.30am and 12.30pm
and catching up with the kids for lunch, before
another couple of hours of skiing. After skiing,
we all enjoyed a drink, snack and hot chocolates
at the bar, sometimes a swim in the large pool
and outside hot bath, then it was off to the
communal bath house to wash and relax. A
slow dinner was sometimes followed by kids’
activities, a show put on by the GOs, or a movie,
or it was simply off to bed, exhausted. We all
slept for eight to 10 hours a night, so the whole
thing doubled as a health camp.
Dining was all communal, so we met a lot
of other families and kids. The demographics
change throughout the season, but while we
were there, roughly 50 per cent were Japanese
and most of the other guests were ex-pat
families from Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong and
China. Australians made up just five per cent.
Inside the resort, you could find yoga,
ice-skating, table tennis, squash and other
activities to fill your time off-piste. Outside
the resort you could also go ice-fishing,
horse-riding, tree-climbing, snow-trekking
or visit the local town and bath house.
To get to the resort town of Niseko, we took a
train to Sapporo (two hours) where we were
picked up by a car organised by SkiJapan.com.
In hindsight, we probably should have caught
a bus or another train directly to Kutchan (just
10 minutes by car from Niseko), but the drive
some of the countryside.
While the runs aren’t as long as some of the
resorts in Europe and Canada, the reliability and
quality of snow is second to none and makes
Niseko a skier’s paradise at any experience
level. The vast majority of instructors and skiers
couldn’t say enough good things about the
place, and most were repeat visitors making
their annual pilgrimage to Japan.
The ski school for kids was great value – five
days from 9.30am to 3.30pm, including lunch,
cost about $100 a day each. The instructors who
were looking after our kids were lovely and
even helped out with babysitting for a couple
of nights. We were there in March, which is
shoulder season, so there were no more than
two or three kids for each instructor, which is
as good as a private lesson. However, at peak
times numbers are typically five or six, and we
heard that number can sometimes reach nine.
Regardless, our kids loved ski school and the
instructors, and each morning were keen to get
back on the slopes.
The big difference between the Niseko and
Club Med experiences is that while you don’t
have everything in one building, and have to
organise your meals and so on, the apartment is
more luxurious and the village has a great range
of traditional Japanese restaurants and bars, a
climbing wall and other facilities. We stayed
for six nights and, having established a routine,
could have easily extended for another week.
We booked through SkiJapan.com, a
company owned by Australian Peter Murphy,
“The reliability and quality of snow is second
to none and makes Niseko a skier’s paradise.”
Ski-in/ski-out night skiing at Club Med.
skiing at Niseko.
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