Niseko Hanazono

Niseko Hanazono

Overall Rating

Niseko Hanazono

Niseko Hanazono4/52
Niseko Hanazono4 out of 5 based on 2 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%

Niseko Hanazono - Reviews

Niseko Hanazono - Reviews

Hanazono Happy Place

27/08/2020

Brandon Bates

Powder Connoisseur
Powder Connoisseur

Brandon Bates

Powder Connoisseur
Powder Connoisseur
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    5

Hanazono Happy Place

27/08/2020
Gate 9 Entry
Fun section in Gate 9
About halfway down after our hike to the peak
Our first experience in Hanazono was on day 2 of our trip when they opened the peak "Gate 3" for the first time since about 21 inches of the lightest fluffiest stuff on earth had fallen. In true powderhound fashion we were first in line on the gondola, behind a pair of skiers on the next lift, and 4th and 5th going up the single "pizza box" lift to the top. As we started the hike for the peak I counted 2 people ahead of us, however the spot we decided we would launch from was untouched as far as the eye could see. I dropped in and instantly felt the difference between JAPOW and PNW snow or even CO snow for that matter. It truly felt bottomless and poofed up all around me like I was engulfed in a cloud. That top section was a wide open bowl that fed into the sidecountry valley / gully that Gate 5 accesses as well. It was all absolutely incredible. We traversed out of that zone and headed for the infamous Strawberry Fields gate not expecting it to be very good since I had read that it gets hit pretty hard early in the day. Surprisingly we had excellent snow all throughout strawberry fields which we lapped over and over finding new pillows to launch from every time we went through it. It might've been our favorite part of all of Niseko. The groomed runs on Hanazono were nice and wide, nothing to complain about there. On a different day we entered the backcountry Gate 9 on the first day that it had opened all season. Through this gate you can head to Hirafu or towards Hanazono and on the Hanazono side we experienced total heaven. It was pretty mellow up top but there was a steep section with some beautiful pillows that we actually hiked up and hit twice. As far as the rest of Hanazono, the lodge was phenomal. Great burgers n fries, I had a shot of sake and everything was very clean and new looking. It was one of the nicer ski Lodge's i've been to. The lift structure was good as well. Two of the three lifts were hooded which was a nice feature and the entire time we rode Hanazono we didn't wait in a line at all. They even had a screwdriver station right next to the lift which I used. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed every minute spent on Hanazono. See our video here

Major Base Progress

26/03/2020

POWDERHOUNDS.COM

Powderhounds Ambassador
Powderhounds Ambassador

POWDERHOUNDS.COM

Powderhounds Ambassador
Powderhounds Ambassador
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    1

Major Base Progress

26/03/2020
Lift queues easily develop at the base
Hanazono is very family friendly (new Park Hyatt in the background)
It had been 2 years since we last visited Hanazono and the base area was barely recognisable. The luxury Park Hyatt juggernaut had taken over the landscape, the Hanazono 308 building had been partly repurposed, and a new building had popped up to house the Edge cafeteria and bar area. This building looked rather swanky, but we weren’t impressed with the value of our lunch which was cold, small in size, and cost twice as much as an equivalent meal at a Tohoku ski resort.

The family friendliness of Hanazono has increased a notch. In addition to the multitude of snowsports lessons on offer, the 308 building had a fabulous indoor play area for kids. This was primarily for those in child care, but other kids could utilise it later in the afternoon.

No enhancements have been made to the terrain or lifts, and the crowds have increased a little, possibly due to the Ikon Pass. Strawberry Fields was a big moguls field despite there being fresh snow, although there’s no point lamenting the good old days when you could find fresh lines in there at lunch time. Lift queues at the #1 lift were a problem and as an alternative, the ski school had to resort to ferrying kids up the slopes in rafts towed by snowmobiles. It’s good that there are plans to replace the quad chair with a 6-pack as well as the potential for a gondola from the base.

You can see our Hanazono overview regarding our thoughts on the pros and cons of Hanazono, and also see our Japan ski resort ratings to see how it compares to other ski areas. See our video here