This afternoon, Tokyu Resort Services officially announced planned upgrades to the current Family Ace Pair Lift at Niseko Grand Hirafu Ski Resort have been finalised and will be ready for operation from 1st December 2017.
The rising number of visitors flocking to Niseko is increasing demand for beginner infrastructure, and Niseko United heard the call.
Last year Grand Hirafu Resort witnessed the installation of the new high-speed King Hooded Quad and the new development of Go Snow’s ski school in front of Aya Niseko. Niseko Village completed major infrastructure adjustments adding two gondolas and a new beginner course in summer 2016, and early this week Niseko Annupuri announced the expansion to their beginner’s area with the installation of a new slower-moving four seat quad.
Anyone who has queued in the peak-season crowds at the Ace Family Chairlift will be thrilled to hear the news, which is especially exciting for guests at The Vale Niseko, whose ski-in, ski-out experience will become even more seamless thanks to this welcomed upgrade.
What’s happening to the Ace Family Pair?
Tokyu’s official statement announced the current double chairlift will be replaced with a new high-speed four seat quad chair.
In addition to the extra leg room, the existing loading base (starting point) will jump ten metres up the mountain and will venture slightly east to that of the current lift line. The rise in slope length from 598.2m to 840.55m locates the unloading base (exit point) atop the green run ‘Sennoki’.
The current double lift operates at a speed of 1.8 metres per second transporting on an average 1,200 guests per hour. Tokyu Resort estimates the increased speed of five metres per second will double the number of guests to 2,400 guests per hour. Which means more slope fun for our Niseko powder enthusiasts.
What does this mean for future Niseko visitors?
Tokyu’s decision to upgrade the current infrastructure could not have come at a better time as the expansion of Go Snow’s ski school and the addition of a new magic carpet in 2016 drastically increased the volume of guests visiting the base of The Family run.
The new upgrade spells great news for first-time skiers and boarders as their transition into the sport is about to become more comfortable. Even the more advanced powder enthusiasts have welcomed the news, as many skiers and snowboarders use the Family Chair as the first step on their journey to the peak of Grand Hirafu.
Possibly the most exciting and welcomed change is the upgrade to the current loading station with the re-positioning 10 meters up the mountain. The extra space will create greater flexibility for instructors and a more comfortable viewing atmosphere for Niseko visitors. Transporting four guests at a time, the new lift will also ease the high level of congestion experienced at the loading base and make for a smoother transition from the summit to the Dot Base Ski Center and Hirafu’s main parking lot.
Niseko Alpine Developments [NISADE] Chief Operating Officer Satoshi Nagai, is excited for the new developments and the benefits experienced by our beloved holiday makers.
“The lift upgrade will enhance the luxury of staying at a ski-in/out property such as The Vale Niseko. Waiting in long queues will no longer be a worry and guests will have smoother access to slopes where the world’s best snow awaits them.”