Niseko opening day feature

Postcards from Niseko is a new series we are developing with Rome SDS Ambassador, Evan Wilcox. To find out more about Evan and how he ended up in Hokkaido, check out his interview here. He will be sending us digital postcards from Niseko, sharing images and videos of the famed japow and detailing the adventures he gets up to.


Opening Day in Niseko!

I arrived back in my second home of Niseko on the night of November 14th . Leaving tons of snow back home in Mt. Hood, it was hard to come back to Japan without any snow on the ground. This all changed very quickly, as I woke up to a huge storm blanketing everything in white. This storm wouldn’t stop for a few days. How much did it snow? I’m not sure, but I do know that I had to dig my car out 3 times in about a day and a half. Even long time locals were impressed with the quality and amount of this early winter gift.

Niseko opening day spray
📷 Toshi Pander

A few friends and I decided to hike up to a local spot to sample the goods. They snow was deeper than we thought, and flatter sections proved difficult to maintain speed. However, once we hit the steeper sections it was almost impossible to keep the snow out of our faces.

Niseko opening day turn
📷 Toshi Pander

After we took a few laps and a few photos, we spotted a temple with a fresh layer of snow on it. We spent a few minutes walking in silence through the beautiful structures.

Niseko preseason temple
📷 Toshi Pander

Niseko Grand Hirafu opened up on November 23rd . The moisture didn’t stop rolling in, but the day before opening day was much warmer. It rained down in the village, but the top was cold enough to continue to keep laying a base of heavy (for Hokkaido) snow. The temperature immediately dropped down to the level needed to produce that light snow Niseko is famous for. I’m guessing the rain in town scared much of the public away from riding, as the slopes were almost empty. I got up early and spun hot laps of creamy pow. Smooth turns reminded me how much I missed snowboarding!

Niseko opening day lifts
Too bad I have all this powder to myself!

With snow in the forecast, it looks like this winter is going to keep this great start going.



Hello from Hokkaido! I'm Evan. I'm from Portland, Oregon, but now call Niseko my home. A few uninspiring snow years in the US left me with a hunger for deep snow, which let me to pick up and move to the snowiest place on earth. I now work marketing for Hanazono Niseko Resort and have the freedom to ride and explore these incredible mountains blessed with that world-famous japow. Follow my adventures here through Japan Grabs' Postcards!