One domestic flight later, I landed in Hokkaido, checking into the Hilton Niseko Village. If I thought my view of a snow-covered Central Park was the bomb, I was wrong. You just cannot beat a floor-to-ceiling view of Mount Yōtei, (literally ‘sheep-hoof mountain’). Unbelievable.
Known for its resemblance to Mount Fuji, this inactive stratovolcano had me mesmerized. The first 40 hours, we got over 2 feet of fresh snow and I couldn’t stop staring. I also had no idea that Hokkaido had local wine, and the hotel left me a bottle of 2016 Hokkaido Zweigelt in my room that kept me company. Delicious.
The hotel has an unbeatable slopeside location, making it the only resort in the area with a ski valet, so you get to ski-in and ski-out of the hotel.
I met people from all over the world, in particular six couples that live in Colorado, the home of Aspen and Vale, and they said: “we only ski in Niseko.” Apparently, this was (unofficially) the snowiest ski resort in the world with the best powder, and I was there to learn to ski!