I spent some long hours toiling away on flight comparison site Skyscanner and came up with some very interesting information for those thinking about a northern hemisphere ski or snowboard trip this winter.
I’ll leave it for some other time to extol the virtues of various ski resorts across the globe or compare the prices of various accommodation or lift pass prices. Here, purely and simply, is the dirt on flying from Australia to the US, Canada, Japan or Europe – when to go, when to avoid and where to save a buck or two. Other points include:
– The sneaky time to get to the States (in school holidays) – Why Europe actually represents awesome flight value – How to save real money if you are prepared to stop off – Some Japan hacks too.
Michael Coventry getting the goods at Annupuri, Japan. You may be able to join him on your day off ski instructing. Pic: Dale Goulding
Big changes in visa requirements set to make things easier for ski and snowboard instructors wanting a job in Japan.
While Aussies still can’t get enough of skiing and snowboarding in Japan it seems the industry is still on the skids domestically in the land of the rising sun.
But that looks like being to the advantage of foreigners looking for ski instructor jobs with Kyodo News reporting the government plans on easing visa requirements for foreign ski instructors. The belief is it will help the stuttering industry in Japan.
When it comes to choosing your next ski or snowboard destination big must mean better, right? For many people with limited funds and time there’s a natural inclination to seek out the larger resorts.
You know the ones. They like to flop their stats around like they’re packing a ski stock in their trousers. There’s a knee trembling 1300 metre vertical drop, 126 restaurants and bars within five minutes of your condo and enough lifts to send Schindler out of business.
And that’s all well and good – to a point. But as the years chip away and the seasons mount up I often find myself pining a little for homey ski areas – ones with a couple of lifts that work, the semi-regular opportunity to find a little pow and that Cheers attitude where everybody knows your name (or at least act like they want to know your name anyhow).
With that in mind I have put together my list of the best little ski areas in each of the four key destinations. Give ’em a try sometime, even if it’s just tapping one on as part of another trip.
I’m keeping this simple. Real simple folks. I gave myself the task of giving you a 1,000 word rundown of the northern hemisphere snow season that’s full of the things you need to know and all the links but light on the marketing fluff. And without sounding like a total tool, I’ve been to about 90 per cent of the places I’ve listed so I am not cutting and pasting this either.
It will be a fascinating year industry-wise. Will the Vail Resorts pass deal counter the renewed strength of the Greenback? Is Canada set for a surge given it still remains close to parity with the Pacific Peso? How much snow will the predicted big El Nino bring to North America? And will people desert Niseko after an unnamed blogger recently slagged the place off …
It’s the Japanese ski resort that once seemed to be sustained by Australian visitations alone. But is Niseko still feeling the love?
The conversation started on a ski lift in Victoria, but a few weeks ago. “It’s like Bali on the snow”. Yep, heard that one plenty of times before.
But this time it came from someone who was a bit older, a bit wiser and had worked in Niseko. On the brief chairlift ride he took me through drunken boorishness, powder demolished by snowboarders by 9.30am and the cultural wasteland that he thought the place was becoming.
It got me thinking – has the once-revered Niseko jumped the shark as the ultimate Aussie international snow destination?