Learning to Ski for the First Time
Two of our team were learning to ski for the first time this past season! We arranged a first timers ski group lesson and a snowboard group lesson and split the group in two. We pre-booked ski equipment, lift tickets and the lessons with NISS. We decided to head to Hanazono to learn as they have a magic carpet for kids and adults and it makes it so much easier when learning to ski.
Taking the Bus from Hirafu to Hanazono
Getting to Hanazono when staying in Niseko is super easy. The free Grand shuttle bus is a convenient way to get around. It takes around 25 minutes to get from Hirafu, Niseko to Hanazono. Buses leave every 20 minutes in the winter.
Buying Lift Tickets for Hanazono
First things first. When you book any ski lesson in Niseko or Hanazono they will not usually include lift tickets. You can either pre-book lift tickets and collect them at the counter (like we did), purchase them on arrival at the counter or have them delivered to where you are staying.
Which Lift Pass Should I Buy?
The ‘Niseko All Mountain Lift Pass’ covers Hirafu, Hanazono, Niseko Village and Annupuri resorts; which make up ‘Niseko United’. Niseko United has a total of 61 runs and 38 lifts including 3 gondolas. Lift operations are from 8:30am – 8:30pm.
Collecting Ski Equipment
Again when you have booked a ski or snowboard lesson it’s important to be early to collect the equipment in time for the class. We decided to collect ski gear on the morning of our lesson from Hanazono however you can also collect gear the afternoon prior. You have a few locations where you can collect gear along with trying it on. Pick up locations include: The Vale in Hirafu and Hanazono.
Registering for Ski & Snowboard Lessons
Once you have the ski equipment, lift passes and have locked all of your gear away in the lockers provided head to the counter to register for the class. We had 10 minutes to spare before the class and after registering were told to meet outside at the numbered flags. Within minutes our instructor had come over to meet us and introduce himself so the small group of 4 guests.
Learning to Ski
You have a choice of lessons to choose from. We tried both the ski and snowboard group classes. We pre-booked the 4 hour 1/2 day lesson which was enough for first timers who were not use to the weight of the skis and being in them for a long period of time.
The Niseko Grand HIRAFU Snow School offers lesson programs to all levels, from first timers to advanced skiers & snowboarders. With kids lessons, adult lessons, powder snow guides, early powder lessons & nature hiking programs, the school has something to keep everyone having a great time. Our school staff love teaching & understand the importance of connecting with every student.
In this way, ski school instructors aim not only to pass on technical skill, but also ensure an enjoyable experience by focusing on communication with each individual student. Why not take a couple of lessons at the Grand HIRAFU Snow School this season?
Hanazono 308 is a great cafeteria serving great meals, from snacks to drinks. There is super fast Wi-Fi available too for mums and dads who are waiting for their little ones inside out of the cold.
The NISS Team
The NISS team are ski instructors who are specialists in teaching people of all ages to ski and snowboard. The team can speak different languages and if you have a language preference do let us know prior to booking the lesson.
How do I Book Lessons?
If you have booked accommodation with Ministry of Villas or Powderlife our concierge will help you arrange transfers, ski hire, snowboard hire, lessons and lift passes leading up to the trip. Keep in mind if you have booked accommodation over December and January to prebook lessons as popular dates and times can book out.