How to spend a perfect day in Niseko with Nisade Project Manager Andres Sarmiento

This article is part of Ski Asia’s Perfect Day series, where we ask locals and business owners how they would spend a “perfect day” in their home town.

Andres and his wife arrived in Niseko in 2015 for what he thought was a stopover season on the way back to the Canadian Rockies, the destination that first made him fall in love with the mountains. He did not know that he would be captivated by the face powder and the distinctive charm of Hokkaido. Seven winter seasons and four summers later, the Colombian-Australian now calls Hokkaido home all year round.

Niseko Snowboard Powder

Andres was “hooked by the face powder and the distinctive charm of Hokkaido”

In winter, you’ll find it deep inland or as it winds its way through Hokkaido’s famous tree trails in Niseko, Rusutsu, or Furano. In the summer, enjoy Hokkaido’s slower pace, which can include hiking, rock climbing, or camping in the wilderness.

How Andres would have a “perfect day” in Niseko

Morning

Hiking Mt. Yotei

“The four hour excursion [up Mt. Yotei] worth every turn “

My perfect day in Niseko starts early, clearing 20cm of fresh snow from the car and then heading straight to the Green Farm Cafe for a coffee and breakfast sandwich. Then we set off on the path, to climb one of the many peaks in the Niseko area.

While I still have a lot of fun riding the trails through the trees that Niseko ski resorts are famous for, when conditions are right there is nothing like a top-to-bottom run on the famous Mount Yotei. The four-hour excursion is worth every turn!

Niseko inland

“These days I usually opt for the peace and freedom that a pristine race has to offer”

Lunch / Onsen

Since morning hikes can sometimes tire the body, I usually head straight to the nearest onsen for spa and food therapy. My favorite onsen is Kyogoku Fureai Koryu, because it has a great outdoor pool and a great one too katsu curry.

Afternoon

Niseko cabin

Andres’ house in Niseko: snow clearing is a necessity!

After lunch and an onsen, it’s often time to take a nap or clear the snow (a necessity in Niseko). However, if the sun is shining, I enjoy tying my snowshoes and walking the forest path to Hangetsu Lake at the base of Mt Yotei.

I cannot recommend enough the afternoon or evening snowshoe hikes managed by the NAC (Niseko Adventure Center), a unique activity for the whole family, and a very special experience to walk in the snowy forest at sunset or under the stars.

Snowshoeing in Niseko

Snowshoeing with the family

Dinner

After such a great day, my family and I love to enjoy a relaxing dinner in nearby Kutchan. An old-time personal favorite is the Korean restaurant, Tomone Pocha, for some spicy fried chicken and a Korean hot pot to warm the soul and fill the belly.

Accommodation

After dinner, go home for a good night’s sleep, ready to do it all again tomorrow!

When friends and family come to stay, I recommend staying as close to the mountain as possible. Always Niseko is a great budget place with everything you need including breakfast, a free shuttle bus to the ski lifts, and a comfortable bed to rest your head after a big day.

The Niseko maples

The Niseko maples. View more images

For larger groups I tend to suggest one of the many 3 bedroom Nisade apartments. Vale Niseko has private onsen rooms with views of the slopes or Mount Yotei and is perfectly positioned at the base of the ski lifts. Also, it’s just the steps down to Hirafu’s main street. Alternatively, the direct access to the ski slopes and the central location of The Maples Niseko are unbeatable.

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