Lift capacity in Niseko-Hirafu set to increase by 30% due to lift improvements
Niseko Tokyu Resort, the company that runs the ski lift operation in Niseko-Hirafu, have begun the process of improving the ski lifts from this spring. This redevelopment is to help to deal with the increasing numbers of visitors to the resort each winter from all over the world. Currently there are 13 lifts and gondola in Grand Hirafu and many of them were built back in the 1980s ski bubble. The last major refurbishment was 5 years ago and the plan is to replace or improve the lifts one by one over the next few years.
According to the Hokkaido Newspaper (morning edition 9th February), the first lift improvement will be the King Hooded Triple Lift #3. Construction will begin right after the end of the 2016 season and the new lift will begin operation in Winter 2016/17. The lift will be changed to a quad lift and the starting point will be pulled 130 metres down the mountain to allow a better connection to the high speed gondola. As a result of this improvement the current capacity of 1,800 people per hour will increase by 30%.
The Ace Family Pair Lift will be converted to a triple or quad lift some time after the 2016/17 season. This area has always struggled with crowds due to the high concentration of accommodation, especially as the Family Run is well suited to beginners. While Niseko Tokyu Resort have not directly confirmed the timing of the new lift, it will certainly lead to an improvement of traffic on the Family Run.
(Source: Hokkaido Shimbun)