Every year when December rolls around, many excited travelers flock to Hokkaido, Japan for a few weeks of the renowned Niseko winter experience. Known for scrumptious Japanese fusion cuisine and knee-deep powder snow ideal for skiing, Niseko is one of the most popular holiday destinations among TAS students and the international school community. In fact, some families who travel to this town of ski resorts consider their holiday trip a decade-long tradition, including the Dongs, Los, and Whitefords. Visitors commonly bump into old friends while getting off of a ski lift, or meet up with family friends for dinner.
Niseko Ski Resort is officially Japan’s number one Ski resort. It accommodates little toddlers sliding down baby hills, but also has terrain parks, forests, and backcountry skiing for adrenaline junkie veterans.
Alex Dong’s (‘18) family has skiing in their blood. His mother trained on a small team in a mid Atlantic circuit and his grandfather was an Olympic speed skater. Alex himself is a snowboarder, and loves to explore forests and powder runs. “I like areas that are untouched,” he says.
Tiffany Lo (‘20) has been going to Niseko for several years now, and is also a proud foodie. “The ice cream is creamy AF!” she says. Alex adds, “Even though it’s cold I could probably eat five ice creams and it would be fine. There’s all-you-can-eat buffet and Japanese crab. And after I ski, I always eat katsu curry.” Hirafu Ski Village, one of the most popular resorts, is scattered with Japanese teppanyaki restaurants, some of which can be booked months in advance.
But for Jesse Whiteford (‘20), Niseko is more than skiing and good food. She says, “it’s special for my family because we get together with old family friends that live in other other countries.” Her favorite memories consist of getting midnight snacks at Seikomart, Niseko’s 7-11, and building “dank” snow forts. “You can’t experience it anywhere else!” Jesse says.