Niseko United information
Lonely Planet review
Niseko United is the umbrella name for four resorts, namely Niseko Annupuri, Niseko Village, Grand Hirafu and Hanazono. What makes Niseko United stand out from the competition is that you can ski or snowboard on all four slopes by purchasing a single all-mountain pass. This electronic tag gives you access to 18 lifts and gondolas, 60 runs, as well as free rides on the inter-mountain shuttle bus. If you're planning on skiing for several days, a week or even the season, you can also buy discounted multi-day passes.
Rental equipment is of very high quality, and can be picked up virtually everywhere at affordable prices. Rental shops also typically have a few foreign staff on hand to help English-speaking customers. A high percentage of visitors to Niseko are from Australia, which means that English is everywhere you look and listen.
At the base, most of the après-ski action is in Hirafu, though luxury seekers harbour in the Hilton at Niseko Village, and locals tend to stick to Annupuri.
Communal bathing in an onsen after a day on the slopes is your chance to jump into Japanese culture. The scene is even more surreal during a blizzard when frozen flakes melt mid-air into steamy vapour clouds. Most hotels either have an onsen on the premises, or can point you in the direction of the nearest bathhouse.