One of the downsides of having a ski resort season pass is the limits you are to skiing in just one part of the country. That’s okay for some folks, but nomadic types eventually want to seek out new powder in other parts of the world. Vail Resorts figured this out a long time ago. That’s why Epic Pass holders receive unlimited and unrestricted skiing and riding at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Canyons in Park City, Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Lake Tahoe.
About the Partnership
On February 25, 2014, the mega-resort company introduced the ultimate perk: Epic Pass holders are now entitled to five days of skiing and riding at the Niseko Resort in Japan. Colin Hackworth, Representative Director of Nihon Harmony Resorts, representing Niseko United, said, “Niseko, Japan, is revered around the world for its consistently light, dry powder snow and warm Japanese hospitality. We welcome the opportunity for more Epic Pass holders to experience this very special part of the world and look forward to seeing them on our trails.”
In 2008, Forbes Magazine honored Niseko as one of the Top 10 International Ski Resorts. Niseko also obtained bragging rights from National Geographic, who listed it as the world’s best powder resort. Niseko boasts an average awe-inspiring 590 inches of snow each year. The resort enjoys a prime location, about 100 kilometers south of Japan’s fifth-largest city, Sapporo.
Niseko Annupuri forms part of the Niseko-Shakotan-Otaru Kaigan Quasi-National Park and is the most eastern part of the Niseko Volcanic Group. The winds from the Eurasian continent deliver some of the driest, fluffiest and abundant snow in the world. As if that was not enough, the resort is set against the backdrop of Mt. Yotei, an active volcano. When night falls, stadium-style lights illuminate the mountain and facilitate 2,560 vertical feet of night skiing and riding. Deep-powder trails meander through the lit birch trees, creating a surrealistic and phantasmagorical skiing experience.
Four base areas, including Annupurri, Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village, and Hanazono, comprise the mountain, which offers a versatile mix of wide-open trails, scenic tree runs, epic backcountry and first tracks, for those willing to set an early alarm. Even better, the resort caters to all skiing and riding abilities. An extensive lift system of 26 chairlifts and three gondolas deliver you to 72 trails. Adventurous types, yearning to get a fantastic workout and reach higher ground, can take the invigorating hike to the mountain summit.
Then, there are the restaurants and nightlife, which offer an enticing blend of European and Japanese cuisine. At the end of the day, instead of the hot tub, relax in the natural hot springs, courtesy of the volcano.