i usually have a good laugh at blog posts that talk about how (especially odd parents) travel with a child. because.. y'know? you buy an air ticket, pick up your child and GO!! not rocket science. and nothing to be dramatic about. BUT i've already got a few emails writing to ask specifically about niseko. so i thought it would be much easier to share all the deets in one post!
accommodation :: i had a few friends do it before me so i did my homework prior! we booked a townhouse with its own proper kitchen and a lot of space for everyone to chill out. and blake had his own little tatami room which made his early bedtime easier to deal with. we were also near to the center of town (there's only one set of traffic lights) which is coincidentally near where the family ski lifts are. we took that as a starting point for any skiing. so being close to there helped because it meant that we didn't have to lug the gear too far.
p.s. the MOST exercise i did in my whole life was the morning we started skiing. there were SO many bits and pieces, baby ski, boots, adult gear, mitts, water bottles, helmet, bags, etc. and to top it off, a child that wanted to stop at every heap of snow to slide down. it was not pretty. D carried all the gear and eventually gave up and hauled blake over his shoulders too. by the time we got to ski school, i felt like i was ready to strip to my bathers.
we'll be looking to buy a bag that helps organize the gear better in future.
food :: on our way into town, we stopped by a massive supermarket and stocked up with supplies for days. our friend, pam, told us we had to so we blindly followed. but as always, she knew what she was talking about. the only other "grocery" store in hirafu is a convenient store which is pretty good by combini standards but we had tubs of baby juice, yogurt, fresh fish, cereal and all kinds of awesome bite-size snacks that the japanese are good at. you can drink tap water in hokkaido but if you're unsure, stock up on bottled water (and *ahem* alcohol) there. also, buy your child a toboggan there. its way cheaper.
dining out :: food options around town are aplenty! we had an easy time dining with him and most places had cutlery, baby chairs and whatever you needed! it was brilliant!!
ski school :: at age 2, the only option you have for school is at NBS (at the base of family ski lift). we signed blake up for a (2) hour private class. most teachers spoke english and from observation seem pretty patient with the kids. when they get older, there are many other schools and they can join a class which makes it less pricey and probably a lot more fun with other little friends! in the first 10 mins, the ski school is mayhem as instructors are getting to know their new students and getting geared up so stick around to help ease your child into things. they'll give your child hot chocolate breaks. they won't hold on to your kids' bags for you so if you have to, pack things that can be shoved into pockets, cheese sticks, raisins and biscuits!!
ski passes :: young kids ski for free so before their first class, bring them slightly earlier to retrieve their ski pass. they'll need them when the instructors take them up the ski lifts.
non-skiing activities within hirafu :: do you wanna build a snowman... EVERYDAY. and tobogganing galore! helps to have enthusiastic grandparents that never get tired of snowplay!! also, if you're looking for childcare options, we checked him into day-care at hotel niseko alpen. (full day 7000 yen, half day 4000 yen) they take kids from 2 - 6 and have a whole bunch of toys and really sweet child minders (mostly japanese) that will keep your kiddos warm and rested while you hop out for a quick run or two! that hotel is also home to a pretty decent onsen and freakin' awesome chirashi and is right off the quad lift so there's something for everyone!
p.s. pictures are not necessarily links to the content of the post. i just like posts speckled with pictures!
hope your little one has an equally awesome time as blakey did. they're really never too young to travel, see the world through our eyes.. and never too young to have fun in the snow! he was so comfortable on skis he actually fell asleep on his last run of the season! his papa had to carry him down and he stayed asleep for the next two hours! skiing is really the best workout for those little rugrats!