First Tracks on the First Snow

The first to ride in Niseko this winter.

With the first snow of the season in town, we couldn't resist riding the fresh snow! Putting on our winter gear and hiking up to the peak, our Experience Niseko team went out for the first track of the season. Check out the clip and their thoughts of the snow.   

"It had only been snowing for two days on Annupuri, but after a quick run to check out snow on Wednesday, I knew it was go time. I looked to Evan, who instantly agreed it would be a good way to spend a Thursday afternoon.

We pushed up the pump track, past the sasa fields, and followed the summer track, my ski boots hitting rock every few steps. Eventually, we got to a section with a bit of base, from where we stomped upwards in heavy snow, crossing one stream on our way to the drop-in point. The day was warm, but the occasional winter winds swept across the mountain, filling us with excitement as we slogged onwards.

First Run 3

Niseko Grand Hirafu Resort on 31, October 2018. 

Skiing the first pitch was a straightline affair; a turn would scrub too much speed because the snow was heavy and quite sticky. We carefully crossed the stream on the way down, making short turns back onto the upper parts of the summer track. From there, it was survival skiing on a bumpy surface, being careful to ride around big rocks and keeping the tips up. Catching a nose in sasa is never fun. 

First Run 1

Hiking up for the snow on 1, November 2018.

Eventually, I was scraping by and the snow thinned too much to make turns, the remnants of freshly cut sasa sticking out of the snow was hard riding. We walked the rest of the way down, straight to coffee.

I went to Kyogoku onsen after that, happy to feel the rhythm of winter again: the burn of hiking for lines and the heat of an onsen radiating into my tired muscles. I'm looking forward to a great winter of human powered riding on this snowy north island, turning imagination into a line on untouched, frozen water." - Nolan Isozaki, Experience Niseko Photographer (@chilledmoose)

First Run 2

Riding the snow with a beautiful rainbow. 

"Our spirits were lifted as the snow began to deepen the higher we hiked. A few stops on the way up helped keep us fuelled and we eventually decided at the top of the Ace Pair that enough was enough; it was time for the first lines of the season. As expected, the snow was heavy and a little wet under foot but there was certainly enough of it under our skis and boards to make some fun turns. 

My skills were more than a little rusty so, when we began to see some exposed rocks, I chose to make the (surprisingly fun) decision to slide down on my feet! Nolan daringly made it much further down than me on his skis.

Now we are back in town. Exhausted, a little. Incredibly pumped for the next six months of riding the world's best pow, absolutely." - Evan Johnson, Experience Niseko Writer (@evjohnson_)

With ski lifts scheduled to open in less than 20 days, get ready to ride Niseko's infamous powder snow.