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An inspired rival?

With a big vision that includes a few Aussies and a little Whistler influence, a Japanese resort could carve its line as one of the next world ski destinations



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When your mind finally surrenders to the cries of two abused, yet content legs you can reward them. With several hot springs in the Niseko area you can soak away your pains before answering the call of your futon. What could be better than a relaxing soak in a rotenburo (outdoor hot spring) while watching the next day’s freshies gently fall from above?

The resort itself is shadowed by the snow-dusted Yoteizan, known as “The Mt. Fuji of Hokkaido”, standing a proud 1,893 metes in the background. Beyond Yoteizan lies vast open land, which stands in stark contrast to Tokyo or Osaka and leaves you to ponder why more Japanese don’t live up in this outdoor Mecca.

Hanazono and the Niseko area in general have a lot to put on the table and sit in a prime position to offer more amenities as time goes on. Where infrastructure may be lacking the right plans seem to be in place, and with a little luck a quiet and unknown mountain resort may find its way onto the world map.

It is yet to be seen whether this venture by an eager Australian company wading into un-chartered waters will have any impact on the flow of North American-bound skiers from the Far East and Down Under. Only the skiers themselves will decide if a quick flight and lighter snow is a fair compromise for half the vertical and a fraction of the grandeur of Whistler.

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