When To Visit Niseko Ski Resort

Check what month will suit you best

Early, mid or late season?

The winter ski season in Niseko stretches over 5 months from late November to early May. So when is the best time to come to Niseko? To make it easier to decide what month will suit you best we have divided the winter into the following five sub seasons.

  • Opening week ~  Nov 23 to Dec 6
  • Early - Dec 7 to Dec 20
  • High - Dec 21 to Mid Feb
  • Mid  - February to early March
  • Late  - April to May 5
A woman throws a spary of snow above her head with Mount Yotei in the back ground
Anytime is a great time to visit Niseko in the winter, but below is some information to help you get the most from your winter vacation in the snow.

Open Season ~ November 23rd to 6th

The Good - No crowds, cheap accommodation and plenty of availability

The Not So Good - Limited skiing. Some services and facilities may not yet be operating.

Accommodation rates and Availability

A wide selection of accommodation is available at rates 30-50% lower than Peak Season rates.

Weather & Snow 

Although the first snow typically starts to fall in late October, there is no guarantee that the resort will have sufficient snow to ski top to bottom for opening day.

The backcountry gates will not yet be open and off-piste skiing may not yet be available or be very limited in the upper mountain.

Snow coverage can however change very rapidly during this time.

Temperatures average between 2°C and - 3°C.

Crowd Information

There are no crowds at this time.

Reservations for restaurants are typically not needed.

Closure Information

Most restaurants and shops are operating by December 1st

Depending on snow coverage some activities may not yet be operating.

The free village shuttle bus does not start operating until Dec 7th. You will need to walk to the lifts or have your own transportation during this time.

Niseko Village (The Hilton) ski area does not open until Dec 1st

Hanazono ski area does not open until Dec 7th

No night skiing

A snowy road leading to Hirafu ski resort with mountain to the right
Early season promises great deals and uncrowded skiing.

Early season ~ Dec 7 to Dec 20

The Good - No crowds, cheap accommodation and plenty of availability. Night skiing and the free village shuttle bus begin operating during this time.

The Not So Good - Limited off-piste skiing.

Accommodation rates and Availability

A wide selection of accommodation is available at rates 30-50% lower than Peak Season rates. Places start to fill up for dates around Dec 15 onwards.

Weather & Snow 

The backcountry gates will not yet be open and off-piste skiing will still be limited on the lower mountain. Large snowfalls can rapidly change the conditions. Night skiing is available from Dec 14th.

Temperatures average - 3°C.

Crowd Information

There are no crowds at this time.

Reservations for restaurants are typically not needed.

Closure Information

All restaurants and shops will be operating by now.

Depending on snow coverage some activities may not yet be operating.

Two skiers stand in the right of frame inside a snowy landscape of trees and rolling hills
High season is the time for powder, parties and a white Christmas

High Season ~ Dec 20 to mid Feb

The Good - Excellent snow conditions. Lots of dry powder. Awesome night skiing. Nightlife has a good party atmosphere.

The Not So Good - Highest prices for accommodation. Christmas/New Year and Chinese New Year can book out early. The coldest time of the year. More snowy days than sunny ones, which if you're after powder is actually a good thing!

Accommodation rates and availability

Highest prices for accommodation. Christmas/New Year and Chinese New Year book out early.

When to book?

6 months to 1 year in advance. Early bird deals are typically offered in April/May for the coming season. Peak periods book out so don’t expect much in the way of last minute deals.

Weather & Snow Information

Mid December through March is typically the snowiest season, with the best snow in late December, January and February. Niseko receives an average of 14 meters of snow per season with most of it coming during this time. There is excellent powder skiing during this time. Strong winds may close the top lifts and sunny days are rare.

Temperatures range between - 2°C and - 11°C in the village and -15°C and -25°C at the peak

Crowd Information

The busiest times are during the two weeks around Christmas and New Year. The other busy time is during the Chinese New Year.

While the town is crowded during this time of year, and restaurant reservations are a good idea, the peak time of year can be a great time to visit just for the sheer energy of the town and great skiing conditions.

Closure Information

Everything will be operating. Wind may close the top ski lifts.

A skier makes a deep turn in powder snow with trees all around
February to March can yield some of the best powder days of the season and accommodation is better priced

Mid ~ February to March

The Good - Excellent snow base, sunny days more likely but the likely hood of fresh powder snow still high

The Not So Good - Storm cycles can be slightly less consistent than December / January in February and will greatly lessen from March.

Accommodation rates and Availability

Accommodation close to the lifts can still  book out. A great chance for last minute deals during these dates.

When to book?

6 months to 1 year in advance for February dates. Early bird deals are typically offered if you book early. If you are looking to book but there is no availability keep in touch with your agent as cancellations do sometimes occur.

Weather & Snow Information

Excellent skiing conditions with a high chance of fresh powder snow. Great skiing on and off piste

Excellent back-country hiking conditions.

Temperatures average around -5 to -10°C.

Crowd Information

The high season crowds disappear. Restaurant bookings can still be advisable in February.

Closure Information

Wind may close the top ski lifts.

Two children stand with their instructor on a snowy slope with Mount Yotei in the back ground
March is great value, has great weather and is a great time to bring the kids!

The Month of March

The Good - Excellent base of snow. Less people and more sunny days. There is a chance of powder anytime right through until the end of March. Still plenty of nightlife. Lift ticket prices drop and there are great deals on accommodation, rental equipment, lessons and lift passes!

The Not So Good - Snow conditions can be variable but are generally soft and spring like or if you time it well, powdery.

Accommodation rates and Availability

Accommodation prices are lower than the high season and plenty of special deals can usually be found for March, especially for families. Accommodation close to the lifts can book out.

When to book?

March offers good family deals with discounts on ski rental and lift passes. Early March is becoming an increasingly popular time to vist Niseko so booking well in advance is essential.

Weather & Snow Information

Excellent skiing conditions with a high chance of fresh powder snow right through to the end of March. More sunny days but the chance of rain increases during March.

Excellent back-country hiking conditions.

Temperatures average around 0 to - 2°C.

Crowd Information

The high season crowds disappear. There is still plenty of nightlife but after mid-March bars become quiet. Restaurant bookings can be made in March but are not so essential.

The ski slopes become quiet.

Closure Information

Wind may close the top ski lifts.

Some restaurants and bars will start to close near the end of March.

Night skiing ends March 22nd.

Skiers and snowboarders stand n a flat section of piste with the Hirafu upper mountain slopes above.
In April resort operations are reduced but it is an excellent time to enjoy sun weather and spring conditions.

Late - April 1st to close (May 5th)

The Good - Large snow base. Cheap and plentiful accommodation. No crowds

The Not So Good - Most restaurants start to close. Skiing becomes restricted as Niseko Village and Hanazono resorts close. The village is very quiet.

Accommodation rates and Availability

A wide selection of accommodation is available at rates 30-50% lower than Peak Season rates.

Weather & Snow Information

The ski season stretches all the way to the May 5th.

Temperatures average +4°C in the village.

Crowd Information

There are no crowds at this time.

Closure Information

Niseko Village and Hanazono resorts close around the first weekend of April.

The free village shuttle stops operating at the end of the first week of April. You will need to walk to the lifts or have your own transportation during this time.

Most ski schools, restaurants, rental shops close during this time.

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