Skiing Hokkaido through the Eyes of Miles Clark

Skiing, United States
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Filling us in on the last leg of his trip to the skiing mecca of Japan - HH Ambassador Miles Clark is now back and still dreaming of the unbelievable powder he found in Japan.  Here is the final portion of his trip:

Japan’s north island of Hokkaido is more than just a bit of magical place.  It’s covered in deciduous trees, vines, deep snow, and more pillows than you can shake a stick at. 

You’ve all seen the hype of the north islands deep snows in the ski movies.  Well, it’s true.  The north gets unbelievable amounts of snow and it just about snows everyday. 

The terrain is generally mellow slopes pouring down from the random volcanoes that dot the Hokkaido map.  What separates this gentle terrain from anywhere else on Earth is the pillow formation.  There are pillows growing off of everything.  Snow just sticks and grows off everything in sight.  This makes for a freeskier’s paradise.

We often spent our days criss-crossing the volcanic terrain in search of pillows.  When we found a fun pillow feature we’d jump all over it and have a zillion laughs.  The snow is much drier on the North Island versus the south island of Honshu and provided for some splendiferous ski sensations.

The ski resorts and accommodations on Hokkaido are A+.  Big, empty ski resorts with plush hotels that are very cheap.  Since the nuclear disaster at Fukishima last year, tourism is down 50%.  There are places on the North Island where you can get a lift ticket, a night in a hotel, access to an onsen (hot spring), and breakfast for $65 usd.  Crazy cheap.

Where We Skied:

- Niseko = 4 ski resorts adjacent to each other on a volcano

- Rusutsu = one big ski resort spread out on 3 volcanos

Where We Stayed:

- in Niseko = Landmark View condos (VERY nice) & the Freedom Inn (VERY quaint and social and fun)

- in Rusutsu = Rusutsu Hotel, which is basically Disneyland in Japan (merry-go-round, full amusement/water park, carnival themed hotel)

Getting There:

- We flew from Tokyo to Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport and back

- Flights were only $110 each way

- Bus from Airport to Niseko only $26

Published April 8

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