Can anyone give me some advice on skiing Japan, most likely Niseko over Christmas and first week of January?
Having grown up skiing in Colorado, I know that only fools, or the desperate, spend big bucks to go to a Colorado ski resort before mid-January as frequently the snow conditions will be very marginal. I am wondering if the same is true of Niseko in Japan? (Yes, I know 2005 was a killer season, but what's the typical?)
We recently relocated to Hong Kong and Niseko is probably the closest best area with a 5 hour flight and 2 hour bus. I have a break from 24 December to 7 January and am considering a Japan ski trip with kids. I LOVE the Steep and Deep, and understand that even Niseko will probably not compare to Aspen Highlands in terrain, but there might be good powder. So any help on the following questions from someone who knows would be great:
1) How likely am I to get skunked with poor snow over Christmas and New Years?
2) I assume Niseko Grand Hirafu is the best resort in Japan in terms of the most challenging terrain and best conditions?
3) Any experience with the kid's ski school?
4) How crowded should we expect it to be over Christmas and New Years?
5) What is the best lodge/hotel/condo to stay for 7-10 days with a family?
6) How does the "expert" terrain at Niseko compare to Colorado/Utah/Squaw Valley expert terrain? If it snows a metre, can I find steep enough pitches to have fun?
Thanks for all the help!