This is not a drill… It’s April 13th, and Niseko is still getting the goods!
Over the last 48 hours, we’ve had another welcome top-up of our snow reserves, serving to extend the season and begin to sate some serious powder cravings! But the adrenaline junkies out there are still not satisfied. Still want more? Bring on the Slush.
A fervently observed tradition in ski resorts across the world, the appearance of the fabled spring park marks the glorious transition between winter and spring.
Where many non mountain-dwellers typically associate this segue with rain, mud, and fresh-green-grass-that-looks-lush-but-is-a-little-bit-too-wet-to-sit-on-yet, we lucky few in the snowsports world are blessed instead with sun, slush, and some seriously sick kickers, slick ramps, slippery rails and super slopes.
Don’t believe me? Check out this awesome of Gen Sasaki slaying it from a first-person perspective last season.
With Hanazono closing for the winter, and most other resorts in the area starting to ramp down for the season, old faithful and Niseko’s favourite ski slopes, Grand Hirafu remains the number one spot for all of your spring skiing and spring park needs.
With kickers and jumps of varying sizes, rails, boxes and a few nifty terrain features – this is where all of the cool kids will be kicking it this month. New to the park? No worries, Grand Hirafu has you covered.
Every year the shaping team sets up a bunch of smaller terrain features and kickers for the newbies, and there’s typically a great community of both Japanese and foreign riders who are always eager to give tips, support, and praise for when you land that first flip.
In spring, there’s generally a bit less ice, with snow taking on a slushy, surfy feel the closer you get the the base of the mountain (and the later on you ride into the day). As a result, the ground tends to be a lot more forgiving of the inevitable slips and tumbles, so be confident and get out there!
But be careful!
With the melting snow, a bit more of the underlying scrub and sassa (local bamboo) is revealed, so make sure you stay aware of surrounding trees, roots, and rocks which can put a serious dampener on an otherwise wonderful day!