What is the difference between NISS and NBS?
NISS and NBS are two of the largest and leading ski schools in Niseko, offering highly qualified instructors and excellent lesson packages. There are a couple of key unique points:
NISS’s comprehensive learning facility at Hanazono 308 includes magic carpets, gentle slopes and awesome kids’ facilities, making NISS the pick for first-timers or nervous skiers.
NBS offer the convenience of having their base right next door to The Vale in Hirafu, which will make your morning a breeze.
How can I get to Hanazono for my lesson?
Hanazono offers a free shuttle bus between several Hirafu destinations and Hanazono 308, with a stop right out the front of The Vale, or just outside Seciomart for Freshwater / Setsumon Guests. The shuttle runs between 7:50 am and 5:30 pm and departs every 20-30 minutes for the 15-minute journey to the Hanazono learning facility.
Children’s lessons include a supervised shuttle bus that leaves from right behind The Vale Niseko near the Family Ace Chairlifts, and drops off in the same place again in the afternoon.
Do I need to pre-book lessons?
Yes, we highly recommend you do! Lessons book out months in advance for peak season, and even during the quieter periods you should pre-book so that the lesson can fit in smoothly to your holiday schedule. Pre-booking your lesson means there is no hassle with booking or paying once you have arrived on your holiday.
Do kids need lift passes if they are taking lessons?
Yes, lift tickets will need to be purchased separately as lessons do not include equipment or lift tickets. Our friendly Guest Services team is happy to help you ensure that your child has the appropriate lift ticket for their lesson, and can pre-book all your lift tickets and have them waiting at your accommodation when you check-in at no extra fee.
MOUNTAIN/ LIFT PASSES:
Can I access all the Niseko ski areas from Hirafu?
Yes, depending on the weather and your ability level, you can access all of Mt Annupuri’s four resorts (Hirafu, Hanazono, Annupuri, Niseko Village), although it may involve some traversing and walking.
What is that 1000 yen deposit for?
This is simply a deposit against the electronic lift pass. Your card can be easily refunded for cash at the end of your visit.
Where do I get my refund?
There are ticket machines at the base of the Family Chair right out the back of The Vale, or at the base of every mountain. Simply insert your card, follow the prompts, and collect your money! Operating hours vary throughout the season, and this information can be provided by our friendly Guest Services team or at Reception.
Can I store my equipment at The Vale?
Every room and apartment within The Vale has a state-of-the-art locker in our heated and ventilated boot room. For those staying at our nearby properties, we offer a communal locker room, accessed by a pin-code. Guests renting from The Vale Snowsports can also enjoy free overnight storage in the shop as part of their rental package.
If I change my mind in between and want to change from skiing to snowboarding, can I change my rental equipment at no extra cost?
The Vale Snowsports is happy to let you switch from skis to snowboards and back again as many times as you like during your rental period, provided your equipment stays in the same category (Premium or Mid-Range).
Do I need to pre-arrange equipment?
You should definitely book your rentals in advance to ensure your ideal rental equipment is available. Peak season is extremely busy and rentals can sell out quickly.
What type of skis do I need for the backcountry?
Depending on your trip, you will need touring skis, powder skis, or even a split board. The professionals at the local guiding companies can offer expert advice on what kind of equipment you will need for your backcountry adventure. There are a few excellent guiding companies that we recommend, which you can find here.
What is the minimum age for snowmobiling?
The minimum age is 12 or 13 for most companies. Due to strict safety regulations, the tour companies are very firm about this age minimum.
Can my child double up with me on one snowmobile?
Provided your passenger meets the minimum age requirements, there are some companies who can offer double ups on snowmobiles.
How long does it take to from New Chitose Airport to Niseko?
The drive is between 2 – 3 hours, depending on traffic, road conditions, and rest stops.
Do you provide free airport shuttle? What’s the best transportation method to get to Niseko?
Although Nisade offers no complimentary shuttle service we are eager to help you make your transfer arrangements. A number of shared services are available, but for your ease and comfort we recommend a private transfer which provides a door to door service direct to your accommodation. Representatives will meet you at your arrival gate and ensure a smooth journey to Niseko without any waiting, lugging of baggage, or cramped cabins. Contact our friendly Guest Services team for help with booking your transfer.
Is it okay to drive in Niseko? If yes, please advise what is the valid driving license in Japan?
Yes, generally if you have a valid international drivers license and are experienced in driving in snowy and sometimes icy conditions, it is okay to drive in Japan. The cars drive on the left side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right side of the car. In Australia you can obtain an international drivers license from registered outlets such as RACQ or NRMA for a modest fee. Learn more about license requirements here.
Can you arrange transportation?
It is our pleasure to help you arrange transportation, either ahead of time with our Guest Services team, or on the spot with our Front Desk Agents. Be sure to allow plenty of notice for a taxi request during the busy season, as their services can book up quickly, particularly around dinnertime.
Can I reserve a parking space at The Vale?
Yes, you will need to reserve a car parking space at The Vale prior to your arrival, as parking is limited. Our parking area is located out the front of The Vale, along the bank that lines the driveway down to the hotel. Upon check-in, a Front Desk Agent will give you a parking notice for your front dashboard, and request a license plate and mobile number.
Can the vehicle be ready at The Vale for me on arrival?
Yes, as long as the vehicle has been booked more than 48 hours in advance and the rental company has your credit card details, the car can be waiting for you at The Vale.
Are there any New Year’s Eve celebrations at The Vale?
Yes indeed! We have a night of festivities planned, featuring heart-stopping Taiko Drummers and wrapping up with a viewing of the spectacular Grand Hirafu fireworks display
Are there any Christmas Celebrations at The Vale?
Santa was a huge hit last year and has promised to return this season! We will have games and activities for the kids and hot drinks for the adults before the Taiko Drumming performance!
Do restaurants take credit card?
Generally no, although some restaurants such as the Vale Bar and Grill do. It is a cash-orientated town, and it can be difficult to use a foreign card.
Do I really need to make dinner reservations weeks in advance?
As strange as it might seem, advance reservation is a must if you want to experience Niseko’s famous restaurants during the busy season. Even the tiniest cafes will book out during this time, so if there is a restaurant you feel you just can’t miss, then make sure you have our Guest Services team make the booking for you ahead of time. Please kindly note that any changes to restaurant booking confirmations will incur a Y1500 administration fee.
How strict is restaurant policy in Niseko?
Very strict! Restaurants count on the busy winter to sustain their businesses over the slower shoulder and summer seasons, so no-shows or last minute cancellations will incur a fee.
Can I make a reservation for lunch?
In peak season it is advisable to make reservations for lunch, however during the slower periods walk-ins are okay for lunch.
What do I need to know to before using the onsen (Japanese hotspring)?
The onsen is an ancient and cherished Japanese custom, and bathers need to be completely naked and thoroughly clean before entering the mineral rich water. Wash yourself thoroughly at the shower stations before entering the water, and remember to ease yourself in; the waters are often piping hot. There are signs as you enter the onsen with instructions for bathing, and we ask all Guests to be respectful of Japanese culture and etiquette.