Skiing in Japan
Foreigners Skiing in Japan; the Early Days
Ski Japan; the Beginning
Believe it or not until recently skiing or snowboarding Japan was pretty much unheard of outside Japan itself. Snow enthusiasts instead flocked to Canada and the U.S. in Nth America and France, Austria, Switzerland or Italy in Europe for their powder snow fix.
That all began to change around 10 years ago when Australian companies in two resorts, Niseko and Hakuba realised that Japan was an untapped skiing and snowboarding paradise. Started in 1998, Snowbeds Japan was one of them and is actually the first foreign owned company in Hakuba.
Getting the Word Out About the Skiing
It took a few years to get the world to take notice though. This writer, after telling a prominent Melbourne travel agent some 10 years ago that "Hakuba averages 10 metres of snow a year, never has lift lines or crowds and a daily lift pass is only AUD$60" was told; "You don't go to Japan to ski, you go to Canada" Imagine my surprise! What had I been doing in all that powder for the previous five years!?!
It just seemed too good to be true; cheap, uncrowded, world class ski conditions and also in the same time zone as eastern Australia and half as far as the traditional skiing destinations. These fledgling companies knew they were onto a good thing so despite lacklustre interest from agents they persevered with their "Ski Japan" sales spiel and as their few but growing numbers of customers returned home with amazing stories and photos of incredible untouched snow the word slowly spread and year by year more people came to see if the rumours were true. By around 2005 there were thousands of skiers and snowboarders converted to the Japan snow experience. The legend was born.
Ski Japan; the Present
There are now tens of thousands of diehards enjoying the skiing and snowboarding in Japan experience every year and dozens of new companies have jumped on the bandwagon selling everything from 5 star luxury to cheap package tours. Many newly arrived Australians also bought their own lodges to "live the dream" or investment properties and have helped promote the economy and diversity of these resorts. Don't worry though, these resorts are big enough that even with these numbers the crowds are still smaller than you will encounter at most other ski resorts in the world.
While Niseko and the much bigger Hakuba are still the most popular resort destinations for convenience and foreigner friendly service other great resorts like Nozawa Onsen are gaining prominence.
Snowbeds Japan, also known as skijapantravel.com, though over 10 years old is still a boutique agency preferring to concentrate on quality over quantity and we have built a strong and loyal client base as evidenced by our glowing customer testimonials. Contact us now to ensure your next Ski Japan holiday is the best it can be.
One of our best ski holidays ever – we stayed at The Hakuba Echo Hotel. Having access to our own tour guide, Dan was invaluable. He knew it all from ski lessons to restaurants to onsens and where to ski each day. We had it all sorted.
The staff were so friendly - they enjoyed The Echo Hotel as much as us, their happiness was infectious. The location would be the envy of many – in the heart of Echo Land, in amongst all the restaurants and night spots and on top of the bus stop for the shuttle bus to ski the mountain of your choice. Our king size bed was heavenly to sleep in each night and definitely assisted with muscle recovery. Had an awesome breakfast each morning, eaten while staring up at chair lifts and the gondola. No app necessary to tell us what the weather was going to be like on the mountain. The glorious view from the dining room said it all.
Thanks so much Mitch, Tina and your team, we had a Japan ski holiday to remember! Can't stop raving...
Read more testimonials about skiing in Japan