Niseko Grand Hirafu resort and Niseko Village have announced plans for major lift upgrades in response to growing numbers of skiers to the area.
In Hirafu The King Hooded Triple Lift #3 will be the first lift line to undergo renovation, with construction to start at the end of the 2015/16 season. The upgrade is to a high-speed quad and it will be moved 130 metres down the hill from the Hirafu Gondola. The revised starting point will also make the new chairlift accessible from the top of the King Quad Lift #2 – a lift that has been kept closed for most of the season over the last few years. This will be a huge benefit to SKYE Niseko allowing easy access to all the main lifts taking skiers to the top of the mountain.
Niseko Grand Hirafu has indicated that its next priority will be the renovation of the Ace Family Pair Lift, which services the ever-popular Family run. The lift is expected to be upgraded to a triple or quad, though no time frame has been made clear at this point.
The upgrade is set to increase the lift’s capacity by up to 30%, and will be complete in time for the 2016/17 season.
In Niseko Village a expansion to their beginner terrain with two all-season lifts and a new 1.2 km beginner run that runs along-side the central village will make Niseko Village a very attractive choice for those new to skiing or snowboarding.
A state-of-the-art “Village Express” – a high speed detachable lift, comprising of six-person chairs and eight-person gondolas – will service the new beginner course, which will run from the Green Leaf Hotel and Kasara Village Townhouse past the central village retail and dining area and over the main access road for Hilton Niseko Village. The lift will have a mid-station half way up to allow easy access to the central village, and will feature a single glass-bottomed gondola. Two magic carpets will operate in the area between the bottom lift station and the Niseko Kids beginner area, serving as a perfect training ground for those not quite ready for the full 1.3 km course.
Both new lifts will be operational until 10 pm each night, extending night skiing hours by 90 minutes and allowing convenient evening transportation between the village center and all three major accommodations.
Shiau Wee Long, Chief Executive Officer for Niseko Village was rightfully optimistic. “This investment represents the next step within the master plan to develop Niseko Village into one of the world’s greatest all-season resorts. Niseko has fast gained worldwide acknowledgement as the premier ski resort in Asia and this enhanced lift infrastructure will continue to grow the destination’s popularity and keep us top of mind. As an integrated all-season resort, Niseko Village is committed to provide all the existing accommodations, shopping, entertainment and dining facilities including future developments within the resort with the ultimate ski-in ski-out accessibility, day and night during winter. The new lift infrastructure will run throughout the year giving travelers added reasons to return during summer for sightseeing and activity offerings within Pure at Niseko Village, our nature and adventure park, from 2017 onwards.”
Indeed very exciting times for Niseko and in the future we hope to hear of more upgrades to the two remaining resorts of Annupuri and Hanazono which will greatly benefit the whole area.