It was announced towards the beginning of this month (rather optimistically) that Niseko Grand Hirafu would have its grand 2016-17 winter openings on the 23rd of November.
Today, in fact.
As of last week, it was becoming increasingly likely that this was just not going to happen, and the resort announced that we simply did not have enough snow coverage yet: Mother Nature was doing a fantastic job at keeping on top of her daily snow-clearing duties, and the intermittent dustings of snow that we were receiving between bouts of autumn rain and wild winds were patronising at best.
Okay, we get it—we’ll have to wait.
So we did.
Eventually, the 23rd arrived…and so did the snow.
Roughly 12-15cm of fresh, fluffy, thick powder has already descended upon Niseko, with plenty more to come. All doubts have been put behind us, and our gazes are firmly fixed upon the mountain. Although visibility isn’t high, (there’s a lot of snow, okay?) if you look hard enough you can see the winding turns and rapidly moving blotches of locals reaping the rewards of their early morning hikes. It really doesn’t get any fresher than that.
We’re now at over 60cm of snow for November alone, and the lifts are still off, but it won’t be for long…
The snow is most definitely on.