Night Skiing in Niseko

  • By Camryn Williams

For keen skiers, night skiing is an opportunity to spend more time on the slopes. For beginners, it is a chance to practice without the crowds and see the mountain in a whole new way.

Night skiing can be great for all skill levels, but it can be an adjustment from skiing during the daytime. There are certain tips and tricks to remember before you take to the mountain at nighttime.

If you are staying with us this winter, we want to help you make the most of night skiing. Keep reading to prepare yourself for night skiing in Niseko.

Need to Know

Information

This winter season night skiing is available during the ‘regular’ ski season which is 16 December 2023 to 20 March 2024. This season the lifts will be operating from 16:30 until 19:00 with Annupuri open for an extra half hour until 19:30. 

If you do not already know, the Niseko ski fields are made up of four areas. They are Hanazono, Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village and Annupuri. Last year in 2022 the Niseko Hanazono resort opened its gondola meaning for the first time that all four resorts could be open for night skiing. 

Whether you have a season pass or a day pass, if the lifts are open for night skiing you can ski to your heart's content. All day tickets are valid until end of night skiing on the final day of the ticket during the night skiing operation period. Not all lifts are open for night skiing, there are specific lifts open that will be well lit for visibility. You can find these lifts here using the key to see which lifts and gondolas are open at night. 

From experience, Grand Hirafu is the best resort to ski at night. This is because it has the gondola running (much warmer than a chair lift at night) and a larger amount of runs open. In fact, Grand Hirafu is the only resort with green, red and black runs available for night skiing. That means it is good for all ranges of abilities from beginner to advanced. Grand Hirafu is a preference for most because of its wide open space on the mountain. This is especially good at night when there are less people.

Remember

It will be no surprise to you that night skiing is much colder than skiing during the day. Once the sun sets you will need extra layers to keep warm. Prepare by adding an extra layer of warm clothing before you leave, or if you are transitioning from day to night skiing then be sure to have extra layers in your bag. 

As it is colder, the conditions of the mountain will likely become icy. Icy snow can be harder to ski or snowboard on as it is more slippery and harder if you fall. This is not to say that you cannot ride on icy snow, it is still possible to do this in a safe and fun way. You just need to be aware and adjust to the conditions. 

Night time also brings less visibility. While it may be best to wear sun protection for eyewear during the day, wearing any dark or tinted lens when night skiing is not great. This is because it is dark meaning you may not be able to see as well, including bumps in the terrain that would usually be more visible or other people on the slopes. It also may be snowing which, while beautiful under the lights, can make it difficult to see. 

It is best to follow mountain etiquette when night skiing (or whenever you are skiing) to combat the points above. Be sure to give those skiing below you the right of way, do not ski too close to others and try not to stop in the wrong places. If everyone helps by following these guidelines then night skiing should be easy for everyone. 

One aspect that is different about night skiing in Niseko to skiing during the day is that you cannot ski between the four resorts. That is because the lifts that are open do not allow this, they only allow you to ski in the resort you began in. This is important to remember if you are planning on catching the Setsu shuttle after night skiing is finished. 

Pros of Night Skiing

There are of course highlights to night skiing. That is why it is so popular with those who try it out. Apart from having more time on the slopes, you can count on there being significantly less people skiing. This will mean more space to ski and less time waiting for lifts. The smaller amount of people on the mountain at night is great for both beginners and advanced skiers. It means you can either have more space to learn or more space to speed down. 

Night skiing also offers a whole new view of the mountain itself. The parts of the slopes that will be open at night will be lit up by flood lights so you can see. If it is snowing you may have the magical view of glittery snow falling while you ski. You will also have the view of the ski town below twinkling in the night. 

Après ski becomes even sweeter after a session of night skiing. If you enjoy relaxing after a long day of skiing, imagine how good it will feel to unwind after a few extra hours of glorious skiing at night. That glass of wine or delicious meal will go down a treat.

What to Take

One thing you might need to change up for night skiing is your eyewear. As mentioned above, dark or tinted lenses will only lessen your ability to see in the dark. You might want to consider swapping these out for lighter lenses before you go night skiing.

Remember to pack warmer clothes! Add an extra layer to your bag and do not forget to cover areas such as your neck, ears and face. One top tip is to take warmers for your boots or gloves. These come in many different forms such as battery powered warmers that can be installed, chemical powered warmers or fur inserts in your socks or gloves. Whichever you prefer, taking something to warm yourself up after the sun sets might be a good idea. 

Lastly, skiing is always better with a friend. Take a friend to enjoy the quiet, glittery slopes with. Having a friend with you may also help you to feel safer if you are new to night skiing.

The Setsu Experience

At Setsu we want to help you make the most of the snow and night skiing. Our shuttle service will extend during the night skiing period and continue running. The last shuttle will leave Setsu 40 minutes after the lifts close. This means you can travel from night skiing to Setsu with ease. See more information about our shuttle service here.

Après Ski

Once you have made it back to Setsu, you do not even have to leave the hotel to enjoy an après ski evening. We have 5 on site restaurants for you to choose from as well as a wine bar. You can take your pick of cuisine and relax.

Onsen

Finally, nothing is more relaxing after a session of night skiing than a soak in the onsen. At Setsu, we have both public and private onsens available for guests. Open until midnight, you can finish your day in the best way and have no worries about aches from a long night of skiing.

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