Throughout Asia, Niseko is often considered as one of the best place for beginners to familiarize themselves with snowsports. The abundant snowfalls make Niseko a winter wonderland that is offering prime conditions 4 months every year. The light snow is powdery and the weather is mild, creating the perfect setting for anyone to discover how much fun can be had on skis or snowboard.
In order to make the most out of your time and progress quickly in a safe environment, you will need to chose a ski school that offers certified instructors. Niseko has fortunately a wide choice of good ski schools that offer lessons in English and Japanese. However, some schools offer a better experience by having their own dedicated learning areas. Among these, the Niseko International Snowsports School (NISS) is easily ranking at the top of our list of recommended ski school. By offering a more personnalized approach, high level facilities and learning areas in an easy to reach setting, NISS is redefining the way learning to ski or snowboard should be done. Read on to find out why you shouldn't look any further and opt for the NISS ski school on your next trip to Niseko, wether you are a first-timer or a seasoned skier looking at improving your skills.
Optimal Learning Environment
Perhaps the first reason why NISS is the most recommended ski school in Niseko is it's optimal learning environnment, with a dedicated first-timer area, exciting adventures trails and spacious, uncrowded slopes.
First-timers will get to experience world-class learning facilities on the snow. The learning area is a giant bowl sitting right in front of the Hanazono 308 restaurant. It features 3 "magic carpets", which are sheltered conveyor belts. This is a safe and easy way to reach progressively higher slopes to build your confidence.
Once your children will master these areas, the NISS Kamonohashi ride will be the way your children will access progressively higher beginner slopes. The NISS Instructor will take the children up to these areas on a fun snowmobile sleigh.
For more advanced children, the NISS ski school also offers great challenging terrain. Kamp Kitsune is a new exciting adventure trail in Hanazono that will take the kids throug bumps, lumps and powder among the trees. This will make sure the children get a taste of what the world's best skiing areas are all about.
The real magic of Hanazono will operate when learners will have developped the skills required to hop on the chairlifts. During lessons, the NISS Ski School has priority lift queues in Hanazono, meaning there won't be any precious time lost waiting for the chairlift. The instructor will board the lift with the children and give them precious advice while going up the hill. Hanazono's wide open and uncrowded ski runs will provide the ideal learning environment with safe, gentle slopes that stay in great condition throughout the day.
Group Size: Smaller is better
When it comes to learning a new sport, it is often better to learn in a group with other skiers and snowboarders of the same ability level. This can give you added confidence and an opportunity to make friends. But to make sure that the instructor can provide the best experience and better accommodate each child's specific needs, the class groups need to be of just the right size.
Always at the forefront of ski teaching in Niseko, NISS offers small group sizes to ensure each individual gets the best advice from their instructor. For kids between 3 to 6 years old, the class sizes are capped to 5 students per teacher. For older learners, the class size is limited to 7 children per instructor. This guarantees plenty of one-on-one attention with the intructor. As well, all children will feel welcome and have the opportunity to progress at their own pace.
The same goes for adults that want to learn or refine their skiing skills. With a low student-to-instructor ratio of 5 learners per instructor, the NISS ski school give the best chance to meet and progress with like-minded individuals of the same ability level.
Premium Resort Facilities
The Hanazono 308 Center is the hub of the NISS ski school. This is where registrations takes place and also where children will come take a break at mid-day with the provided healthy lunch.
The Hanazono 308 learning center is a world-class indoor and outdoor facility. The place provides a children-only area where skiers and snowboarders can familiarize with each other under the supervision of the NISS staff. The dedicated kids eating area offer meals prepared specially by the ski school's chef and will ensure to provide a nutritious and healthy option. People with special dietary needs will also be taken into consideration. Plenty of activities are also available for the children, such as coloring, Lego blocks, books and much more!
In order to promote a healthy lifestyle, the students enrolled in a NISS ski school program also have free access to the NISS salad bar during lunch time.
For kids who arrive early in the morning before their lessons start at 10h00 am, they will get free access to the Hanazono snow tubing! This activitiy will let children do some stretching and get their bodies ready to do skiing in a safe fashion.
The Hanazono 308 restaurant also features a panoramic restaurant area that is freely accessible by anyone. You can enjoy fresh coffee, Japanese and Western lunch options, beer and much more while keeping an eye on your children's progress. Hanazono 308 also feature coin operated ski lockers and the Niseko Sports rentals and retail shop where you'll find everything you need to enjoy winter with the latest gear!
Easily Accessed Location
Hanazono is the home of the NISS Ski School. Among the 4 resorts that share the same mountain in Niseko, Mt. Annupuri, Hanazono is the easternmost one and probably the quietest, as there is no major accommodation development in the area yet. This creates a perfect learning area with its uncrowded slopes.
Reaching Hanazono has never been easier. For those who booked one of the ski school's group programs, parents or guardians can simply drop their kids at the NISS office in Hirafu between 8:30 - 9:15 and their ski instructor will escort them to Hanazono on a kid's only dedicated shuttle.
Anyone can aslo reach Hanazono quickly using the free shuttle bus that links Hirafu village to Hanazono throughout the day. No matter where you are staying in the village, you'll find a bus stop just a few meters away. Every 20 minutes, a Hanazono shuttle bus will come by and take you quickly to Hanazono 308. To find the closest bus stop to where you are staying in Hirafu, you may consult the comprehensive Hanazono Shuttle Bus map by clicking here.
Something for Everyone
To cater for every skiers and snowboarder's specific needs, NISS ski school continuously develops a wide range of lessons that ensures you'll find what you need. These programs include:
- Kid's group lesson: Full day group lessons from 10:00 to 15:30, either for 3 - 6 yrs old (Tic Tac Group) or 7 - 14 yrs old (Yuki Group)
- Adults group program: Available for skiers and boarders 15 yrs and older of any ability level, the lessons are offered in a half-day (morning) or full day program.
- Private lessons: available in a wide range of duration and starting time, such as full day (6 hrs), Morning (4 hrs), Espresso (1,5 hrs), Lunch time (1hr) and more!
- NISS Beginner's Package: Perfect for first-timer skiers and snowboarders, this all-inclusive program includes equipment rentals and full day group lessons at a single special discounted price!
- Yuki Freeride Program: New for 2017-18 winter, the Yuki Freeride is designed specifically for Yuki Riders who are at level 4 or 5 and are looking to further develop their mountain skills, such as park, off piste, race training, mountain rescue, hiking and more!
- Niseko Parent's Program: Another new addition for the 2017-18 season, the Niseko Parent's Program is an 1,5 hour Adult group program for a reduced price of 8,000 JPY / per parent whose children are booked into a Tic Tac or Yuki program!
To learn more about the above programs, be sure to visit the NISS Ski School official website.
An Official Resort-Operated School
As an official resort-operated snowsports school, NISS is one of the few schools accredited by Niseko United. This ensures a quality experience where guests' enjoyment and safety is maintained at all times. With such accreditation, NISS can conduct lessons all over the four Niseko United resorts. This means your instructor will know where to take you to ensure you have a fun, safe and memorable experience!
Interested in visiting Niseko this winter and joining lessons conducted by the resort's premier snowsports school? Contact Vacation Niseko's friendly reservation staff to start planning your winter getaway. The NISS ski school team can also be directly contacted through their official page.