The Holiday Run in the Resort of Grand Hirafu is often thought as of a place to avoid. It is notorious for its flat spots, mellow pitch and trail of beginners clogging up the cat track. For snowboarders the flat spots can be torture. A torture often endured by many because of the glorious powder found in the trees that lead down to the Holiday track.
However, folk that bemoan the dreaded holiday run i think, are missing the point. Niseko is not really about the pistes. Most people don't go to the other side of the world for the piste riding. Niseko is special because of its powder, and even more special because the resort are happy for you to ride off-piste, where the powder is at it's best. Even on holiday there are some great zones, just a few metres off the infamous piste. In-fact these lesser know areas can deliver the goods long after the old favourites such as Strawberry Fields and Mihirashi have been long tracked-out. Why? Because not many people want to go there. Most riders don't know the potential they are missing out on. It is easy than most place to get to from Hirafu, as just two lifts will take you there and no hiking or traversing is required. Our tip is to hit it up at least once on you visit, maybe even make it one of your early places to visit as it has some mellow features and open patches to get your powder turns on and get your powder legs going. Or even if you are looking for new features to hit, go there, have a look around as you might be surprised.
There are open spaces to slash and float through the powder, there are deep spots in the trees, there are tree features such as tree rides or tree taps, there are little pillows to boost over, and there is even the occasional massive mushroom to send yourself off. We spent a couple of hours filming in there one day when other zones were tracked out. We arrived after midday and there was still enough powder for everyone to enjoy. We had a session the mushroom in the picture until the landing was done. Then hit a few smaller features on the way down. It was great for a skills riding powder, and our ability to land bigger drops definitely improved. It's an excellent as easy to access training ground for you off-piste riding.
To access Holiday's off-piste simply head up the gondola in Hirafu, then jump on the swinging monkey. When you head down through the trees on skiers left you will eventually hit the Holiday run. Just keep going straight across the holiday track and into the forest and enjoy the powder! Keep going and veer left and you will eventually meet back up with the holiday run. If you come out fast enough and at the right spot you can even make it home with one-footing at all.
Hope you enjoyed our take on Holiday, now go enjoy the off-piste!