What is Ski in/ out?
1st August, 2013
Our definition of ski-in ski-out is strapping in at your door and riding down to the lift and skiing back to your door when you're done.
Australian skiers are blessed, well sort of. Australian mountains are millions of years old and so have been eroding for a very long time. This means that Australian ski resorts are flat which of course means that it is easy to build on them. I know it is nice to have a "Ski-in ski-out" accommodation but it is rare outside Australia unless you are super rich. Another fact is when you only average one and half metres of snow the buildings don’t need to be engineered any differently than buildings outside of the ski areas, once again cheap and easy to do.
Compare Australian ski resorts like Hotham where the village is on the top of the mountain to say St Anton in Austria. The resort sits in a narrow valley and has had avalanches come down one side that are so big they take out all the buildings in their path and then go UP the opposite slope, they are that powerful. So the buildings in avalanche paths have to have barriers built behind them to divert the flow of snow around them pushing construction costs up significantly. There are however ski-in ski-out hotels but they are very expensive.
Other European resorts like say Chamonix are so extremely steep that the cable cars they have put in are an engineering marvel. To build accommodation up these mountains is just out of the question. These resorts are so big that they have shuttle bus systems to help the tourists get from one area to the next. Compare that to the little hill that is Mt Buller, you can drive to the peak, there is no need for shuttles because you can ski every run in just a few hours or less. What I'm trying to say is just because the lodge you stay at in Australia is ski in ski out don’t expect that to be the same elsewhere in the world! It’s actually quite rare.
The big resorts on the south island of NZ have no ski in ski out at all...people stay where the restaurants and nightlife are. North America does have a bit of this type of accommodation though but once again like European ski resorts it is very expensive. Really your best bet for affordable, very close to the lifts accommodation is Japan!
There is virtually no Hakuba accommodation that is ski-in ski-out, Niseko either for that matter. If people say their lodge is, they are exaggerating. There are some places closer than others and one or two lodges beside Happo's Nakiyama lifts that are. Also there are a few next to the lower run at Goryu but they are not foreign owned and not all that nice either.
Hakuba is like a European resort, spread out, quite large and linked with free shuttles. We get 10 metres of snow per year. Houses in Niigata have doors on the second floor so they can get in and out in winter!!! I know ski-in and out sounds great but it is rare all over the world for good reason. Except Australia because Australia has virtually zero snowfall and no real mountains. It really is best to stay near the nightlife and restaurants. Just choose a resort with lots of snow. Japan is No.1 for that. And lots of diverse runs. Hakuba is No.1 for that!