The Ace Family Pair—The Last Ride Ever
A video archive chronicling the history of Niseko.
As the winter season's end was approaching, there were rumours around the resort that the Ace Family Pair was going to be upgraded with a new lift. At the time, nothing had been officially announced and the possibility that the pair lift would shut down for good was still up in the air. Just in case, we were determined to catch what could and did become the last ride ever.
This past winter, the Ace Family Pair was scheduled to run until 16 April, but was suddenly re-opened on 18 April due to inclement weather closing all the other lifts in the resort. We managed to catch a few final runs and the very last ride up at 4:28 pm. Our last ride up the Ace Family Pair for the season has now become the last ride up the pair lift ever!
Farewell Old Friend
For many, the Ace Family Pair lift was the first lift they would have ever ridden as they learned to ski here in Niseko.
Riding up along the forest edge, surrounded by old pine trees was an experience that would have stuck with many. The silence of a cold winter's eve as the snow gently fell from above, twinkling in the night lights, could be described no other way than as being magical.
We have dug up a few interesting stats about the old favourite in commemoration:
Elevation Difference: 89 metres
Transportation Capacity: 1,200 people / hour
Chair Capacity: 2 people per chair
Opening Date: 23 November 1983
If you consider that the chair ran an average of 130 days each year and 8 hours each day (plus an additional 100 days of night skiing for an extra 4 hours) the lift was running for a total of 48,960 hours over the last 34 years. If it was running at full capacity that entire time (of course there were never that many guests) it could have carried almost 59 million people—that puts it just beneath the population of Italy, the 23rd largest country in the world!
*The numbers above are averaged to account for late season starts and the occasional closure due to weather and are in no means completely accurate (they are just for fun)!