If you’re a skier or snowboarder, and you’re considering a stay in Niseko, you’re in for a memorable trip. The Niseko climate is perfect for skiing, with the Siberian winds keeping temperatures between 0 and -10 degrees Celsius all winter. In 2007, Niseko was named the second most snowy ski resort in the world. All that snow, in those cold temps, means plenty of fresh powder when you hit the slopes.

Here are some tips on making the most out of your ski-and-stay vacation to Niseko.

  1. Select your Niseko accommodations carefully.

When deciding where to stay for your ski vacation, consider your unique needs. Do you need family-friendly accommodations and beginner ski lessons? Or do you want to go where the locals go? Do you want a lot of après-ski options, or are you just looking for big skiing and a comfy bed?

Niseko Central has Niseko accommodation to suit your level of comfort and provide the right mix of amenities for you.

Check the weather forecast.

Before you hop on the next flight to Japan, study the weather to know which days you’ll want to spend slopeside and which days you’ll want to spend doing other things.

Another benefit to checking the weather is knowing what to pack, which brings us to the next point:

Bring more layers than you think you’ll need.

It’s better to have too many clothes than not enough—especially when you’re at the top of the mountain, looking down at your first run of the day, only to realize you’re already cold.

Layer up, and peel off layers as you need to, to prevent yourself from having to head back to the village earlier than you’d planned. A ski and snowboard trip is no time to travel light.

Plan how you’ll gear up.

If you own your own gear, you’ll need to decide which items, if any, you want to bring with you on the flight. Boots can be stowed as a carryon item, and other pieces packed away in checked luggage.

If you’re concerned about something happening to your gear, look into whether you can book rentals before you go and have them ready for you at your hotel. That way you won’t waste time in a rental line when you could be on the slopes.

Schedule a wide variety of activities.

Ski vacations aren’t just for skiing. Visit the village shops and restaurants, or visit a spa for a massage to loosen your muscles after a hard week of skiing or snowboarding.

Most resorts have a concierge who can help you find things to do that don’t require you to buckle into your ski boots.

Ask the locals for the best advice, on the slopes and off.

Sure, you can use a travel brochure for some tips on what to do and see, but asking the locals what you can’t miss out on is a great way to find out-of-the-way treasures.

The best part of asking the locals? Not only will you get to visit places most people don’t get to see, but they’ll usually be remote and quiet—a welcome change from the busy hotspots frequented by the tourists.

Take advantage of après-ski specials.

Much like happy hour, early afternoon specials lure in guests in the slow hours between lunch and dinner. Hit the bars and restaurants between 2 and 5 for discounts on drinks and meals, and then get back on the mountain while everyone else is having dinner.

Consider taking a lesson.

Just starting out with snow sports? Or maybe you’re great at skiing but want to try snowboarding, or the other way around?

Even taking just one lesson, in a private or group setting, can help you get a feel for the sport and determine whether it’s something you want to make a hobby out of.

Visit the resort’s website.

Each resort is different, with different accommodations, deals, specials, attractions, amenities, traditions, and so on. A quality resort will provide everything a visitor needs for the ultimate experience right on their website.

A ski or snowboard vacation can be the ultimate getaway for relaxation, fun, and renewal. With the right accommodations, amenities you’re looking for, and the right preparation, you can get the most out of your visit—enough to tide you over until you come back again.