To all EpicSki members with experience with skiing in Japan - please provide some information to help me make decision where to ski this January.
Every year I take a solo trip to ski. Last few years it's been Europe, Utah, Tahoe (favorite, 6 years, I hope it snows there a shitload - north to south) and Colorado (too high - I can't breathe over there).
This year, in lieu of poor snow season start in Europe and the fact that I will be making a trip to Geneva area with family in late March/early April (snow or no snow), I am in the planning stages for my next journey. Japan seems to have a decent snow year. Some research is showing that prices are not prohibitively high and flying to Japan is not any different than flying to Europe. Capital One miles take care of that.
Two of the most popular ski areas in Japan are Hakuba and Niseko. Niseko would take a bit longer to reach from Chicago - multiple stops and very long transfers. Hakuba seems easier to get to. I am leaning towards Hakuba ... wrong?
How these two areas compare to North America/Europe ski areas? Are they much smaller ? Any comparison? This is very important.
How easy it is to get between smaller ski areas incorporated into area - ski bus shuttles, how long does it take ? No desire to drive in Japan.
Accommodation and apre ski ? As much as I like ryokan I would prefer a western style bed with internet and satellite TV - Australian Open and NFL Playoffs are going on at the time of my visit. Any suggestions?
Any Australian/Japanese holidays when areas are more crowded? How bad are the lift lines ?
Last few years I got spoiled with those on mountain lunches and drinks - anything similar to Euro "lunching" in Japan? Like sushi or yakitori with hot sake on the hill ? Prices?
I intend to ski for about 10 days - 6-7 days super hard, 3-4 days 'take it easy - spa yourself". That jet leg going to Japan is pretty severe. January 15- February 3 is the window.
Thank you all.