Niseko Annupuri

Niseko Annupuri Off Piste Trees Image

Niseko Annupuri

With a Gondola and 5 other lifts, Niseko Annupuri is probably Niseko's 2nd largest ski-field. Annupuri is connected to the other 3 resorts on Mt Annupuri by the lift system and bus service. The bus is free with an All Mountain Lift Ticket and Annupuri's lifts take you to the foot of the peak, where you can ski down to any of the other ski fields.

The resort town of Niseko Annupuri is slightly less westernised than Hirafu, and has some loverly lodges, compared to the luxury of Hirafu, or large scale Hotels of Niseko Village. If you want to stay in a smaller community of visitors or mingle with some locals, Annupuri is a good option. The resort, in my humble opinion, has a more Japanese and traditional feel.

This traditional feel kind of carries over to the ski field, which actually is just a bit dated. The lifts, in particular the Gondola, are getting a little old. However, they do there job well and many people find them quite quirky. Despite it's ageing appearance the gondola keeps the weather at bay, and is very fast. The terrain it provides access to can be awesome if conditions are good, so do no be put off. Enjoy the shelter of the gondola, smile at the 70's music blasting from the speakers, and get waist deep in some of the worlds best powder.

For free-riders and powder hounds Annupuri's main draw card is the back bowls. These can be ridden down from the peak of Mt Annupuri, which can be accessed from either Hirafu or Niseko Annupuri. It does require a 20 minute hike up the peak. However the reward is definitely with the effort. The run down to Annupuri through the back bowls is as long a powder run as you will find in Niseko, and can be truly awe-inspiring. There are also a few gates in Annupuri which lead to some fun off-piste areas. The gates access some unique features and some great tree runs. If you can't be bothered to hike the peak then Annupuri gates will provide you with a more than adequate powder fix.

Due to the relatively low number of people staying in the resort, the ski field tends to be quieter than others on the mountain, and fresh snow does not get tracked out as quickly. Away from the peak season, it can often feel like you have the place to your self. In the rare occasion that the powder is not great, the pistes are wide and open. Combine this with no crowds and you have a perfect scenario for enjoying some nice carving or just hooning down the hill. It is also a great place to learn to ski or snowboard. If you are having lessons, I would definitely recommend you request a trip over there. I had the pleasure of teaching a few lessons over there last year, and because of the quiet pistes it was an absolute pleasure.

Annupuri does have a couple of freestyle features, but they are sparse. There are usually a couple of jumps on the way down, and box/rail or two. However they do not link up, therefore you don't get a proper park run. So they are more for a bit of fun in-between your carving or powder runs. They are very well built though, and great if you are new to the park.

The dining options are limited in Annupuri, with canteen style cafe being the major option. It is great if you are with the kids as it is quick and easy. However quantity prevails over quality really. There are a couple of smaller options with a take away van and a shop selling snacks and hot drinks and the bottom of the gondola. These limited options probably help keep the crowds small, saving all the good snow for folk who care more about riding than restaurants. The dinning options in the resort are much better though and you will find some excellent options once you are off the ski field.

Annupuri is one of two Niseko resorts to offer night skiing. As with Hirafu, the night skiing in Niseko can be truly awesome. It is hard to explain how much I get from a session night skiing here. For the quality of snow experienced under the lights, the crowds are remarkably small. So you can have great powder all to yourself. Visibility is sometimes better than during the day as the lights provide great contrast. Night skiing in Annupuri delivers real soul shredding.

Niseko Annupuri Night Skiing Image

If you want to party hard, or ride the best freestyle parks, you should look elsewhere. For every other visitor, Niseko Annupuri should be a serious consideration. For cosy lodge style accommodation, a local feel, powder fields or wide open pistes, Annupuri is a winner every time.