Great value lessons, priceless memories.

FAQ

The Mountain

What clothing do I need for on the mountain in Niseko?

Waterproof and well insulated ski wear is needed for skiing/snowboarding in Niseko. While other ski resorts and areas in Japan are colder, temperatures during December to mid-March will generally be in the negatives to -10 degrees Celsius range. Sometimes it can reach as cold as -20 degrees Celsius for night skiing near the top of the mountain. Thermal underwear should also be worn by beginners and those that feel the cold. When not skiing, warm waterproof boots with grip (ice/snow is very slippery to walk on) are highly recommended.

What is the difference between an All Mountain and Grand Hirafu lift pass?

An All Mountain lift pass gives access to all four resorts on the Niseko-Annupuri mountain- Grand Hirafu, Annupuri, Niseko Village and Hanazono. A Grand Hirafu lift pass allows you to ski at Grand Hirafu and Hanazono. All lift passes are electronic and require a ¥1,000 deposit which can be collected from a deposit return machine at the resort after you have finished your last day of skiing.

What lift pass do I need to purchase for my lesson?

For first-timer to novice ability level guests, a Grand Hirafu Pass is required.  For guests that are of an intermediate to advanced ability level, an All Mountain Pass is required.  Please ensure that the pass is valid for at least the duration of the lesson. Eg. A 3-hour lesson requires a 5-hour pass, a 6-hour lesson requires an 8-hour or all-day pass.

Where do I get my ¥1,000 lift pass refund?

Lift pass machines are located conveniently at both our Gondola base (within the Mountain Center) and our Family Base (next to our Guest Services office) Simply insert your card, follow the prompts, and collect your money!

How can I get to the other resorts on the mountain?

All the resorts are connected via lifts at the top of the mountain for intermediate and advanced skiers. Depending on conditions, some traversing may be required. Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village and Annupuri are also linked via the Grand United Shuttle bus which is free for All Mountain lift pass holders. Hanazono can also be accessed via the complimentary Hanazono Shuttle from Grand Hirafu.

Do I need a separate lift pass for night skiing?

Night skiing is available at no extra cost if you have a valid lift pass for 1 day or longer. Grand Hirafu's night skiing gives access to the largest areas in Japan till 8:30pm meaning you could potentially ski for 12 hours a day if you have the energy. Depending on snow conditions, night skiing usually starts early December and runs through till late March. Please see the Grand Hirafu website here for planned lift operation date and times.

How many ski runs are there at the resort?

There is a total of 61 ski runs across the whole Niseko United resort with 2,191 acres (8.87 km2) skiable. The lift system comprises 3 gondolas and 35 lifts in total.

Kids Lessons

I have two children in different age groups. Can they join the same group lesson?

We recommend that children participate in lessons that fit within their age range as they are specifically tailored to ensure the children get the most out of their lessons.  If it is a necessity, younger children cannot move up into the Yama Riders. Older children can move down into the Ninja Kids, but we don't recommend this. A Private Lesson is a better option in this circumstance, provided they are the same ability level and the age gap isn't too large.

Do children need a lift pass?

Everyone participating in lessons is required to have a lift pass however for children under 7 years old they are free. All that is required is to pay a ¥1,000 deposit which you can get back once you return the card.  You must have your child with you when you get their lift pass.

What happens if my children arrive late for their lesson?

GoSnow cannot guarantee that we will be able to have your children join their lesson if you arrive late.  Please ensure you allow adequate time to arrive at 9:00am for check in.

What do I need to bring for my child?

Please ensure that your child is dressed adequately for their day on the mountain. Waterproof, warm outer layers, warm dry underclothes, gloves and goggles are required at a minimum. Please note, helmet is required for all children participating in GoSnow lessons (including the Teen Program) Please ensure that you arrive for check in with children dressed, boots done up tight and ready to get out on the snow!

Will you provide food for my child?

Children in Full Day lessons are provided with lunch and this is included in the lesson price.  Regular breaks are taken throughout the day and all children (including those in Half Day lessons) will have hot chocolate and drinks provided.  It is a good idea to put some extra snacks in their pockets if you are concerned that they may get hungry.

My child is vegetarian – can you accommodate this?

We can accommodate vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free dietary requirements.  Please make us aware of these at the time of booking so a special meal can be arranged. Please note; all GoSnow Kid Club’s are strictly nut-free facilities – please ensure any snacks containing nuts are left at home.

My child has learning difficulties – can they still join the lesson?

You can discuss the requirements of your child with our Guest Services team at the time of booking.  As long as we are aware of any additional attention requirement or how your child will respond best, then we can more often than not provide a complete lesson with the other children in the group.  It is best to let us know in advance so our instructor knows how to best interact with your child.

Can my 5 year old join a group snowboarding lesson?

Due to the coordination and strength of younger children, we don’t offer group snowboarding lessons for children under the age of 7.  We are able to accommodate younger children in a private snowboarding lesson as they will have the focused, one on one tuition that is best to see the child improve in their skills.

What if there is a problem when my child is in their lesson?

If there is any problem, you will be contacted by our team as soon as possible to advise you of the situation.  It is a requirement that a working emergency contact number is provided at the time of booking.  This will also be checked when you are checking your child in for their lesson.  Please ensure that this is switched on and you can be contacted at all times.  It is not possible to reach guests via online applications. 

Will I get a refund if my child decides they do not want to ski?

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide refunds for this reason.  If you have multiple days booked and your child will not ski, your paid lessons can be credited to another GoSnow product.

Can I watch my child in their lesson?

If you wish to watch your child’s lesson we ask that you watch from a distance; it is harder for little ones to bond with their instructor and class if they can see you.  If you wish to check in on your child then lunchtime is best. Lunch will be served from approximately 12:30pm to 1:30pm. 

Adult Group Lessons

Do I require a lift pass if I will only be on the magic carpet?

All participants in lessons are required to have a valid lift pass – for First timers to Novice level, a Grand Hirafu pass is sufficient.  Please ensure that this is purchased for the amount of time the lesson you attend is running for.

What happens if I am late to my group lesson?

GoSnow cannot guarantee that we will be able to have you join your lesson if you arrive late.  Please ensure you allow adequate time to arrive 15 minutes prior to your lesson for check in.

I really liked the instructor I had yesterday – can I request to have them again tomorrow?

For Group Lessons we are unable to ensure that you will have the instructor you request.  They may be assigned to a different product or may be teaching a different group on the day you are coming back for your next group lesson.  The best way to ensure you have the instructor you request is to check with our Guest Services team and to book in for a Private Lesson.

It has been a long time since I last skied and I am unsure of my ability level – can you help?

You can have a look through our skills chart here to see which ability level best suits where you were the last time you were on the snow. Don’t worry too much if you think that you may have lost some of the skills you had when you last skied/boarded - each of our lessons will start with a “safety lap” to determine where each guest fits within the ability levels of the groups going out for the day.  Guests can be shuffled between groups to ensure that they fit with other guests closest to their ability level.

I am a skier and my friend is a snowboarder – can we be in the same lesson?

Ski and snowboard lessons are conducted separately and you cannot take part in the same group lesson.

Is lunch included in the lesson price?

Lunch is designed to be taken at the group’s leisure for 1 hour. Lunch is not provided.

I am unsure if I will be able to take part in a full day lesson – can I book a half day lesson and extend to Full Day at the time?

Absolutely – as long as there is availability in our afternoon classes you are welcome to upgrade to a Full Day lesson.  Just see our friendly Guest Services team at your lunch break to pay the ¥2,000 difference.

Can I decide to change to a Private Lesson instead of a Group Lesson?

Ideally this decision would come prior to your lesson starting or at the very start of your day. If we have availability and you are not too far through your lesson, we would be happy to you to upgrade to a Private Lesson – you will just need to see our Guest Services team to make payment for the upgraded lesson.

Workshops

Can I take a workshop on a day that it is not scheduled?

If we have 3 guests that would like to take the same workshop on a day that it is not scheduled, we are happy to run the lesson.

I see you require a minimum of 2 people for the workshop to operate – what happens if I am the only person booked?

You will be offered to re-scheduled to take the workshop on an alternative day or we may offer a special rate to upgrade to a Private Lesson.  If we cannot accommodate your requirements we will provide you with a refund of your lesson.

What happens if I am not advanced enough to take part in the workshop?

No trouble at all!  At the beginning of your lesson you will complete a “safety lap” which will determine the ability levels of the workshop participants.  If it is found that a participant’s level is not high enough to take part in the workshop, they will be offered to move in to the Adult Group Lessons and a refund for the difference in lesson price will be arranged.

Can I book a Workshop for half a day?

No – our Workshops operate for full days only.

I see that you offer the Freestyle Workshop in March only – can I take this at any other time?

If we have 3 guests that would like to take the same workshop on a day that it is not scheduled, we are happy to run the lesson.

Private Lessons

How many people can be in a Private Lesson?

You can have up to 6 people within a Private Lesson.  We recommend that participants are of a similar age and ability.  The price will be the same for 1 person as it would be for 6 people.

What is the benefit of a Private Lesson over a Group Lesson?

Private lessons are great for accelerated learning. If you want to learn something specific, are getting over fears / injuries or prefer one on one attention, private lessons are for you. If you have some specific goals you would like to work towards, please let us know at the time of booking and we can ensure that we allocate the best instructor to help you achieve these goals.

I am a skier and my friend is a snowboarder – can we be in the same lesson?

Ski and snowboard lessons are conducted separately and you cannot take part in the same Private Lesson.

Can I request a certain instructor?

We love to receive instructor requests and will accommodate this where possible.  Sometimes instructors have other lessons allocated to them that cannot be moved or there is also a possibility that they are sick or injured on the day you request them.  If we are unable to fulfil your request we will allocate an instructor who fits the profile and experience you require.

I am Advanced and my friend is a Novice level – can we take the same lesson?

This is not recommended.  The instructor will always tailor the lesson to the guest of the lowest ability in the group so if you are split abilities then you will not see the best progression.  In order to get the best results from your lesson we recommend guests to be of a similar ability level.

My child is 2 years old – can they have a lesson?

For children under the age of 3 lessons need to be conducted in a one on one setting.

Can I request an instructor who can speak my native language?

You can certainly request this and we will do our best to accommodate.  GoSnow have a diverse range of instructors from different countries and backgrounds.  Please let us know of your request at the time of booking and if we have an instructor who can speak your native language we will allocate them to your lesson if they are available.

Can I start my lesson in Annupuri?

All GoSnow lessons must start and finish within Grand Hirafu.  It is possible to make your way to other resorts in your lesson timeframe should weather and snow conditions as well as ability levels of the guests allow for this to happen.

I’d like to have a lesson with my 3 children – is this possible?

Children tend to have very different learning styles from adults and progress at a slower rate. If you are looking to make the most of your time with the instructor and see good progression within your lesson, we recommend that you book separate Private Lessons for yourself and your children.  If you are looking to enjoy a day of fun on the snow together as a family making memories then our Family Private would be ideal.

Family Private Lessons

Can we have skiers and snowboarders together in the same lesson?

The Family Private Lesson is available for people of the same discipline – we are unable to accommodate both skiers and snowboarders within the same lesson.

My child is 4 years old – can they join in the lesson also?

Children under the age of 6 have very different learning styles and abilities to those of older children and adults so we cater the Family Private lesson to children 6 years and over.  We recommend your younger ones enjoy a Private Lesson on their own or to join in our Ninja Kids program.

I am an Advanced level skier but my child is only turning on green runs – can we enjoy the lesson together?

Absolutely!  The Family Private is about enjoying time together on the snow with less focus on the progression of skills.   The lesson will be conducted on the terrain suited to the lowest ability level of the group to ensure that all guests experiences are within a safe environment for their skill level.

I would like to learn technical turns – is this lesson suitable for my goal?

No – this goal is suited to a Private Lesson on your own or with someone of the same ability level and goal as you.   The Family Private Lesson is an environment for exploring the Niseko slopes together as a family, enjoying some laughs and building memories.

I would like to enjoy lunch at one of the on-mountain dining facilities – is this possible?

We can arrange for your lunch to be taken at the time and location of your choosing as long as all members of your group are of the ability to safely make their way to the lunch location.

My child has never skied before – will we be able to go up the chairlift in the lesson?

It would depend on the progression of your child however it is possible that they may not be ready to move off the magic carpet during the lesson.  If you are looking to work on something for your own progression, a separate Private Lesson should be booked. 

Can I have the lesson for my children in the morning and the parents in the afternoon?

The lesson is designed for the family to enjoy time on the snow together.  If you are looking to learn specific skills for yourself or your children then it would be best to book Private Lessons to work towards your goals.

Powder Guiding

Do I need to arrange avalanche equipment?

GoSnow will supply you with all avalanche equipment that you require.  This will be an avalanche beacon, shovel and probe all stored in a comfortable back pack.

I am not familiar with how to use avalanche equipment – will this be okay?

You will receive information and training on use of your equipment prior to your lesson.  Please ensure that you arrive 15 minutes prior to your lesson starting to allow adequate time to receive this training.

What equipment do I need to bring?

It is a good idea to pack some extra layers/neck warmers to change if required.  We recommend packing some snacks and water to keep your energy levels high.  Please also ensure you have good gloves and goggles – we recommend guests wear helmets also.

Will my lesson still go ahead if there has not been any fresh snowfall?

Although we all hope for the best snow quality, we are always dependent on nature. The experienced GoSnow guiding team know the Niseko area very well and have developed good intuition to find good snow if it has not snowed for a while.  It can happen that fresh snow lacks everywhere in the area and in such a case your guide will take the opportunity for other learning, a challenging steep slope for instance.

How do I know if I am good enough to go on a Powder Guiding Trip?

Skiers and Riders must be of an intermediate to advanced ability level to enjoy our Powder Guiding products.  You can refer to our Powder Skills chart here.

If you are participating in a Private Powder Guiding experience, your lesson will be tailored specifically to your groups goals.  As with any Private Lesson, we recommend that all guests are of a similar ability to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals.

For a Group Powder Guiding, you will be split into groups based on ability and goals for the day.  It is important that you supply this information at the time of booking so we can allocate you to a group whereby guests are of a similar ability and looking to achieve the same things as you.  All groups will start with a “Safety lap” to ensure that all guests have the ability to navigate the terrain that will be accessed.   A guest may be moved to either our Powder or Technical Workshop (dependent on the day) should they not be at a suitable level to complete the experience.

Where will I be skiing/riding?

This will be dependent on the snow conditions and weather on the day. It will also be dependent on the tour preference you have selected at the time of booking and if you are looking to hike or enjoy terrain accessible by using the resort chairlifts. If you are looking to enjoy hiking and back country access, the terrain accessible will be dependent which of the gates are open for access.

Will I need skins, snow shoes or a split board?

Regular skis and snowboards are fine to use for Powder Guiding however powder skis/boards are a great option to have. Skins, snowshoes and split boards are not required.

Can skiers and snowboarders be in the same group?

Yes! As there is less of an instructional element to our Powder Guiding we are able to have guests on both skis and snowboards within the experience.

When is the best snow?

Niseko generally receives its highest snowfall from late December through until mid-February however this can vary from season to season.

Will I learn technique in the Powder Guiding trip?

Our guides can offer you some tips and tricks to help with your skiing/riding however if you are looking to learn see more progression in your skills we recommend a Private Lesson or our Powder Workshop.

General FAQ

What is the difference between Family Base and Gondola Base?

Apart from the location there is not much difference! Both bases provide access to all levels of terrain, magic carpets, and mountain facilities. The biggest difference is that our Workshops and Powder Guiding products operate out of our Gondola Base only.

Do I need to book my lessons in advance?

To avoid disappointment, it is best to book your lessons in advance. We can sell out of certain lessons types over the peak season so it is best to get your lessons locked in!

If I book a morning group lesson (adults or kids) can I extend it to a full day lesson later?

Absolutely! We just need you to visit us in Guest Services and pay the ¥2,000 difference. Extensions for Private Lessons may be possible however this is subject to availability of the instructor.

What is your cancellation policy?

No refunds are given if cancelled within 48 hours of the lesson. If cancelled 48 hours to 7 days prior to lesson there is a 20% cancellation fee. If cancelled 7 days or more from the lesson a full refund will be given.

I injured myself/am sick – can I get a refund?

GoSnow requires a medical certificate from a local practitioner stating the guest is unable to attend the lesson on the date that it has been booked for.  When this is provided the lesson can be refunded or re-scheduled to an alternative day.  It is recommended that all guests have travel insurance to cover these medical reimbursements.

Which lift pass should I get?

For First Timer to Novice levels, you need a Grand Hirafu pass, which covers Grand Hirafu and Hanazono. For Intermediate to Advanced levels an All Mountain Pass is required.  The pass needs to be for as long as the lesson. Eg. 3-hour lesson = 5-hour pass; 6-hour lesson = 8-hour or all-day pass.

Does the price include lift passes and rental equipment?

No. Lift passes much be purchased for all lessons and rental equipment needs to be arranged.  The only exception is if you have booked our Adult First Timer Pack which includes lift pass and rental equipment.  We are happy to make recommendations for rental equipment suppliers.

The weather forecast looks bad – will my lesson go ahead?

Lessons will commence if the mountain facilities are open and operating.  The instructor will adapt the lesson to suit your skill level and ensure that you are challenged.

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