One of the most powdery ski resorts in the world – Niseko United, Japan – has been added to Vail Resorts Epic Pass for the 2014-2015 season. The deal includes five consecutive days of skiing at the island of Hokkaido resort.
The partnership with Niseko represents the first Asian resort to join the pass program. There are currently 10 ski resorts (all Vail Resorts) where the pass is valid, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Canyons in Park City, Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in California; Afton Alps in Minnesota; and Mt. Brighton in Michigan. The 2013-14 pass included several partners in the alps offering five free days at Verbier, Switzerland; Arlberg, Austria; and Les 3 Vallees, France.
“Niseko is revered around the world for its consistently light, dry powder snow and warm Japanese hospitality,” says Colin Hackworth of Nihon Harmony Resorts, representing Niseko United. “We welcome the opportunity for more Epic Pass holders to experience this part of the world and look forward to seeing them on our trails.”
Niseko receives an average of 590 inches of snow each year and is located about 62 miles south of Sapporo, Japan’s third largest city and host to the 1972 Winter Olympics. The plentiful, dry powder is the result of seasonal winds blowing in from the Eurasian continent.
The resort is comprised of four base areas that access 4,291-foot Niseko Annupuri mountain and its 26 lifts, 3 gondolas and 72 trails.
Non-stop flights bring skiers and riders to Tokyo’s Nakita Airport from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, and New York.
Vail Resorts claims the Epic Pass pays for itself in less than a week of skiing and riding. The pass is available for purchase March 10, 2014. Prices for the new season have yet to be announced.
Photo: Powder is deep at Niseko United in Japan (Vail Resorts)