Niseko

2010-02-15

Here are pictures from a winter ski trip to the Sapporo Snow Festival and Niseko Ski Area in Hokkaido.

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The Sapporo Snow Festival (さっぽろ雪まつり Sapporo Yuki-matsuri) is a festival held annually in Sapporo, Japan over seven days in February.

The festival is one of Japan's largest and most distinctive winter events. In 2007 (58th Festival), about two million people visited Sapporo to see the hundreds of snow statues and ice sculptures at the Odori Park and Susukino sites, in central Sapporo, and at the Satoland site. International Snow Sculpture Contest has been held at the Odori Park site since 1974, and 14 teams from various regions of the world participated in 2008.

The subject of the statues varies and often features an event, famous building or person from the previous year. For example, in 2004, there were statues of Hideki Matsui, the famous baseball player who at that time played for the New York Yankees. A number of stages made out of snow are also constructed and some events including musical performances are held. At the Satoland site, visitors can enjoy long snow and ice slides as well as a huge maze made of snow. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of regional foods from all over Hokkaidō at the Odori Park and Satoland sites, such as fresh seafood, potatoes and corn, and fresh dairy products.

— Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapporo_Snow_Festival), 2013-03-15.

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Niseko, a famous Hokkaido ski village, has some of the best powder I've encountered. There are several ski areas, many tree runs, not so many double blacks, and nice views. In the summer, this area has scenic cheap camping and great day hikes.