While we all go on vacation to get away from the rules and regulations of daily life, please don't forget that the rules of the resort are for the safety of you and those around you.
Each year, especially during January and February, we receive enormous snowfalls - sometimes as much as a metre overnight! With such heavy snowfall, there are increasing risks of avalanches and while it might seem like awesome conditions to duck a rope or slip through a closed gate - it might cost you more than you are bargaining for.
Niseko's gate system was one of the first of its kind, and has garnered a lot of attention and replication over the years. Resort staff monitor avalanche conditions daily, opening and closing sidecountry and backcountry gates where conditions are too dangerous. While it might be your last day on vacation and tempting to duck out a closed gate - it is very important to follow the Niseko Rules.
The Niseko Rules
The Niseko Rules are a set of regulations which were created for the safety of those who ski or board within any of the Niseko United resorts.
- Off limit areas are strictly NO ENTRY -AT ALL TIMES.
- Crossing boundary ropes is prohibited. Those who violate the rules may be refused from using all resorts facilities.
- No safety control & no patrol beyond resort boundaries.
- Do not step out of bounds when gates are closed.
- The “Niseko Avalanche Information’ is the offcial daily info of the Niseko Rules.
- Special charges will be applied for out of bounds search and rescue.
- Ski patrol’s instructions must be obeyed.
- Children under 12 must refrain from going out of bounds unless accompanied by a proficient adult leader.
- The resorts and the local community respect the freedom of all resort users, but are also deeply concerned about their safety.
Furthermore, the “Haru no Taki Prohibited Area” and the “Yu no Sawa Prohibited Area” are strictly off limits at all times, irrespective of conditions, due to the extremely high risk of avalanche and accidents. Please do not enter these areas under any circumstances.
Any skiers or boarders who violate this prohibition will immediately have their lift ticket confiscated by the ski patrol or resort staff, and no more lift tickets will be issued. In addition, such persons may be banned from using the entire ski resort in some cases. We request that you follow and respect the Niseko Rules, for the safety of all our visitors.
Tips for heading into the powder
There are a lot of things to take into consideration when heading out the gates, in 2015, we put together a 7 point guide to going out the gates and it is definitely worth a look! Not without reason, the 7th and final point on that list is to read and know the Niseko Rules!
To sum the article up, we ask all riders looking to go out the gates to know the rules and check the avalanche conditions for that day; make sure you have the ability to ride in heavy powder conditions and that you have proper avalanche gear and training; don't go alone and try to make sure you are familiar with the area (take a guide if you aren't); and have an emergency plan and contact numbers readily available before you go!
If you are planning a trip out the gates for your stay, our friends at Hanazono have created a list of all 9 gates and it is a good first read to familiarizing yourself with the gate system. Lastly, if you are keen on hitting the powder, beginner or veteran, we recommend looking into a workshop or going with a guide - there is always more to be learned and you can always take your riding to a new level!
Safe riding this season - and please follow the Niseko Rules!