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Why is Hokkaido's snow the best in the world?

Hokkaido is an island in the northern part of Japan covering some 83,000 square kilometres. Its capital, Sapporo, is the arrival point for most tourists thanks to its airport. The region is famous for its cold, snowy climate, which attracts thousands of people from all over the world every year.

The island's ski season lasts from November to April, giving skiers and snowboarders almost six months of fun on the slopes.

The quality of Hokkaido's snow

Hokkaido snow is known for being light, dry and powdery. Skiers and snowboarders around the world call it "Champagne Powder" because of its fine, airy texture. This snow is the result of the collision between cold, dry air from Siberia and warm, moist air from the Pacific, creating an air mass that brings light, dry snow to Hokkaido.

The cold temperatures recorded on the island also contribute to the quality of the snow. Average winter temperatures in Niseko are below zero degrees Celsius. This means that the snow stays in good condition for a long time, without melting or turning into wet snow or ice. Its light, powdery texture makes it easy to ski or ride.

The amount of snow in Hokkaido

The amount of snow that falls on the island is impressive. According to meteorological data, the town of Niseko, in the north-west of the island, receives around 15 metres of snow a year. That's almost twice as much as is considered a normal winter in the French Alps. This amount of snow guarantees well-filled pistes and a constant freshness of snow throughout the season.

What's more, the topography of the island of Hokkaido offers unique and varied skiing terrain. Each of the island's mountains is unique. Some have steep slopes and others rather gentle. Sometimes there are forest ski areas with narrow couloirs or freeride areas. This makes them accessible to everyone, depending on their skiing ability.

As a result, skiers can enjoy an incredible skiing experience thanks to its abundant, light, high-quality snow. What's more, the incredible scenery and views that the mountains present put everyone in agreement.

Japanese culture in Hokkaido

But the quality of the snow is not the only reason why the island of Hokkaido is considered to be the best ski destination in the world. The island's culture and cuisine are also part of the unique experience it offers visitors. Hokkaido is famous for its cuisine, particularly its fresh seafood and Wagyu beef.

Thermal baths, or Onsen, are also an important part of Hokkaido culture. There are many open-air Onsens in the island's ski resorts that allow skiers to relax in natural hot springs after a busy day on the slopes. These Onsens offer a unique experience, allowing visitors to relax and warm up in a natural environment.

Finally, tourism is an important industry for the island of Hokkaido, and it invests heavily in infrastructure to welcome foreign visitors. The island's ski resorts have been designed to meet the needs of international visitors. They are equipped with translation services, ski hire facilities for non-Japanese and bilingual staff.

As well as skiing, you can also visit the small villages in the surrounding area or the capital. Sapporo combines ski resorts and a large city with beer museums and a snow festival. It is one of the cities with the coldest climate on the island. This makes it possible to organise this event with a snow or ice sculpture competition.

In conclusion, the snow on the island of Hokkaido in Japan is considered to be the best in the world for a number of reasons. Its light, powdery texture combined with the impressive amount of snow that falls on the island guarantees exceptional snow quality throughout the season. What's more, the island's culture and gastronomy, as well as its investment in tourism infrastructure, make it an attractive and unique destination for skiers and snowboarders from all over the world.

If you'd like to know more about ski touring routes on the island of Hokkaido, read all our articles on the subject. Itineraries to suit all tastes.

Mount Yotei, Mount Tokachidake, Mount Asahidake, Mount Annupuri. There's also information on how to get to Nikeso (a small town and ski resort 2 hours from Sapporo). Or "Where to ski in Hokkaido", for the best ski spots on the island.

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