How does Niseko compare to your favourite USA Resorts?
With the 19/20 Season almost on our doorstep and the first snow just starting to fall on Mt Yotei, we here in the land of the rising sun are getting excited for another powder-filled Winter.
You may have heard the rumours about Niseko being the final frontier of powder snowsports and a pilgrimage-worthy location to put on your bucket list - and you’d be pleased to hear those rumours aren’t far from the truth! The Niseko United Resort, including Hanazono's cult-worthy backcountry is truly a sight to be seen (and ridden), with annual snowfall beating most other Japanese resorts out of the park and an exponentially growing local community that makes the food, nightlife and adventure scene in Niseko almost second-to-none in Asia.
But why should you travel across the pond to experience great snow? There are plenty of awesome resorts in the land of the free, right? Well don’t take our word for it: we’ve compiled a list of USA resorts with high annual snowfall and/or avid fan bases to see how Niseko competes with some of the USA’s favourite resorts.
Average Yearly Snowfall (past 3 seasons): 966.3cm
Distance from closest International Airport: 2 hours by car - New Chitose Airport
What it’s known for: Famous “Japow” courtesy of winds from Siberia meeting warm air from the sea of Japan makes for incredible backcountry riding in areas like Hanazono's Strawberry Fields and Annupuri's back bowl.
Longest Run: 5.6km
Terrain Parks: 4
Difficulty Breakdown: 38% Beginner | 39% Intermediate | 23% Advanced | 0% Expert
Top Rated Restaurant: Bombay Sizzlers
Top Rated Bar: Bar Gyu
Average Yearly Snowfall (past 3 seasons): 1463cm
Distance from closest International Airport: 54 min by car - Reno Tahoe Airport
What it’s known for: Hosting the 1960 Winter Olympics and being home to the USA’s only funitel (two-cable Gondola).
Longest Run: 5.1km (Alpine Meadows)
Terrain Parks: 5
Difficulty Breakdown: 8% Beginner | 33% Intermediate | 59% Advanced | 0% Expert
Top Rated Restaurant: Fireside Pizza Company
Top Rated Bar: Auld Dubliner
Average Yearly Snowfall (past 3 seasons): 1412cm
Distance from closest International Airport: 39 min by car - Salt Lake City Airport
What it’s known for: Their top-class ski school, high snowfall and 125-passenger aerial tram.
Longest Run: 4km
Terrain Parks: 1
Difficulty Breakdown: 8% Beginner | 22% Intermediate | 41% Advanced | 29% Expert
Top Rated Restaurant: The Summit at Snowbird
Average Yearly Snowfall (past 3 seasons): 1526cm
Distance from closest International Airport: 1 hr 22min by car - Bellingham Airport
What it’s known for: Repeatedly awarded with the world’s highest snowfall in a ski resort.
Longest Run: 1.1km
Terrain Parks: 0
Difficulty Breakdown: 24% Beginner | 45% Intermediate | 0% Advanced | 31% Expert
Average Yearly Snowfall (past 3 seasons): 802cm
Distance from closest International Airport: 3hr 49min by car - Denver Airport
What it’s known for: One of the USA’s most famous resorts, welcoming celebrities from far and wide every Winter.
Longest Run: 8.5km
Terrain Parks: 10
Difficulty Breakdown: 6% Beginner | 43% Intermediate | 17% Advanced | 34% Expert
Top Rated Restaurant: The White House Tavern
Top Rated Bar: Zane’s Tavern
Average Yearly Snowfall (past 3 seasons): 508cm
Distance from closest International Airport: 2hr 8 min - Bangor Airport
What it’s known for: The only lift-serviced above-treeline skiing in the Northeast USA at the peak and the second largest ski resort east of the Mississippi.
Longest Run: 5.6km
Terrain Parks: 4
Difficulty Breakdown: 22% Beginner | 32% Intermediate | 26% Advanced | 20% Expert
Top Rated Restaurant: The Bag and Kettle
Average Yearly Snowfall (past 3 seasons): 1036cm
Distance from closest International Airport: 3hr 42 min - Bozeman Yellowstone Airport
What it’s known for: Abundant advanced skiing runs and being one of the top powder destinations in the country.
Longest Run: 4.3km
Terrain Parks: 1
Difficulty Breakdown: 33% Beginner | 37% Intermediate | 25% Advanced | 5% Expert
USA Snowfall/Resort Stats pulled from OntheSnow.com
Japan Snowfall Stats pulled from SnowJapan.com
Top Restaurants/Bars judged by TripAdvisor and Google Ratings
If you’ve decided on Niseko for your next Winter holiday or are thinking of taking a trip, here are some of the best ways to get from the USA to Niseko. Keep in mind that Hawaiian Airlines is the only carrier that offers direct-to-Sapporo (Niseko’s closest International Airport) flights from Honolulu. This means that generally, the most efficient trip is to fly to Tokyo from the US and take a domestic flight up to Sapporo New Chitose Airport.
Cities that offer non-stop flights to Tokyo
- Dallas Fort Worth
- Los Angeles
- New York JFK
- New York Newark
- San Francisco
- Washington DC Dulles
- Honolulu (Winter flight direct to Sapporo available)
- Portland, OR
From New Chitose Airport, there are a few options to get yourself to Asia's powder capital, check them out here.
Are you an IKON or Mountain Collective Pass holder? You already have days waiting to be ridden in our famous Japow!
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