Beginner Terrain in Niseko: Your Guide to a Perfect Start on the Slopes

Niseko is not just a paradise for powder hounds - it's a paradise for beginners, too!

Niseko is an excellent resort for learning to ski or snowboard. There are beginner slopes all over the mountain and plenty of easy-going routes between all of them. Plus the lovely powder makes for a super soft landing. In this article, we'll discuss the best spots for you to hone your skills and start improving!

If you've never ridden before, we highly recommend a lesson regardless of your age. Learning from a professional (even just for one day) really helps to lay the perfect foundation to build from. The correct technique is extremely important with skiing or snowboarding and failure to learn the basics correctly can mean you don't enjoy yourself as much as you should. You'll also learn how to get on and off the chairlifts properly once you progress past the very basics, which is something you'll be doing much more of once you start exploring. We recommend familiarising yourself with the Niseko United Trail Map so you don't get caught out on more advanced terrain.

Our friendly reservations team can help assist with booking lessons. Also be sure you read our guide on what to wear in Niseko below so you're prepared for an excellent day on the slopes.

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Grand Hirafu

Family Run

Once you've progressed past the magic carpet, you'll usually first be introduced to Hirafu's "Family Run", which is serviced by the "Ace Family Quad Lift". Conveniently located at the base of The Vale Niseko, this run is around 1km long and has a very mild gradient. This makes it perfect for beginners looking to start linking turns together and get experience riding a proper chairlift. It also provides ski in, ski out access to The Maples Niseko.

Based at the bottom of the village, the low altitude means this area stays relatively warm to other parts of the mountain. However this doesn't mean it won't receive any snow, as you'll often find the run covered in a fresh layer of powder most mornings during the peak season. Family Run does tend to get relatively busy at times, so it's important to be mindful of others while riding here.


Kogen and Boyo are both green runs located at the base of the Hirafu Gondola. Best accessed by the Holiday Pair #1 Lift, this is another excellent area to progress to after mastering the magic carpet. The entire area is a wide-open playing field, with much more room to turn than what Family Run provides. This means you can progress at your own pace, making long open turns across the mountain or short and sweet turns straight down the hill. The Holiday Pair lift sometimes isn't operational during the winter season (crowd depending), so it's important to check this before heading over here otherwise you will end up on the Gondola much further up the mountain.


Once you've become confident riding the lower parts of the mountain, the next area to progress to in Grand Hirafu is at the top of the Ace Quad #2 Lift or Hirafu Gondola. These lifts will take you much further up the mountain (around 400-500m of vertical), to what's commonly referred to as the "mid-mountain" near King Bell Hut. Weather conditions at times can be completely different up here as you crest the last hill on the lifts. You'll be exposed to more of the mountain with less tree cover, which important to know so you can dress appropriately. However in some occasions, the weather up here can be clearer if there's low cloud cover centred over Hirafu village.

"Green" is a run that snakes its way back down towards the base of the mountain, before splitting off for access to either the Ace Quad #2 Lift or Hirafu Gondola. It is a much longer than the previously mentioned runs, making it great for improving ability and endurance. It is important to know that this run is also at times steeper than Family Run, however only for small sections before flattening out again. If this is your first time riding up this far, the run can be quite exhausting given how much longer it is than Family Run. Take your time and follow the signs that lead you along the green route which will take you back down to the bottom of the chairlift or Gondola.


By far the longest green run in all of Hirafu, Holiday is a groomed cat-track that weaves through the valley separating Grand Hirafu and Hanazono. Accessed by taking the Swinging Monkey chair at the top of the Hirafu Gondola, this is another excellent run to improve your skills. The gradient changes quite frequently and does have a short uphill section towards the bottom (snowboarders beware), but offers beginners a unique place to practice keeping some speed up to avoid walking up the uphill section. Follow this run all the way to the bottom and it will merge with Boyo, leading back to the base of the Hirafu Gondola.


Juicy Fruit

With the recent addition of Hanazono's Symphony Gondola, beginner riders can enjoy fast access to Juicy Fruit by exiting at the Gondola's mid-station. This run is perfect for beginners progressing from the magic carpet, with an average slope angle of just 7 degrees. The wide, open slope has plenty of room for linking first turns together and the mellow gradient means you can control speed with ease. Following Juicy Fruit to the bottom will return you back at the bottom of the Gondola.

The addition of the Gondola has made Hanazono more accessible for beginners, as previously the resort was mainly filled with intermediate runs. The low altitude of Juicy Fruit means great visibility and warmer temperatures, even during the height of winter. This is an excellent place to continue practicing, however the lack of any green runs from upper Grand Hirafu to Hanazono means you'll normally want to catch the Hanazono Shuttle to avoid more advanced terrain.

Colly's Folly

Taking the Gondola to the top station will put you onto Colly's Folly, a newer intermediate run that feeds onto Juicy Fruit. This is technically a red run, with the slope angle increasing to an average of 20 degrees. However the wide, groomed slope offers beginners an easy transition up to slightly more advanced terrain, with an easy green run afterwards back to the Gondola.

Still relatively low in altitude, you'll often find the weather here much nicer than riding the higher altitude green runs in Hirafu. If you find the terrain too steep for your liking, you can always revert back to exiting the Gondola at the mid-station and riding down Juicy Fruit until you are more confident.

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Niseko Village

Niseko Village Gondola

The Niseko Village Gondola gives access to one of the longest beginner runs in the entire Niseko United. Dabesa begins at the top of the Gondola and snakes its way back down to the bottom of the resort. While the run essentially changes names multiple times on the way down (it becomes Enshantment, then Meke Sense, Unforgettable and finally Banzai), this is essentially the same trail the whole way down the mountain. The length of this run gives beginners a great chance to build their endurance, as it stretches for multiple kilometers.

The top of Dabesa can also be accessed from Grand Hirafu's Ace Pair #3 Lift (a short walk is required), which means it's not 100% necessary to catch the bus to access the beginner trails at Niseko Village. Following the run all the way to the bottom will take you through the series of intertwined beginner slopes at the base which lead to various different lifts. If you wish to do this run again, you'll want to follow the signs to the Niseko Gondola, which will lead you along the Shaky Knees run and onto Final Fling. You can then ride the Gondola back up to the top, where you can ride again or take a short walk back to Hirafu and ride the green runs from here. The Mori-no Chair in Niseko Village takes you about halfway up this long green run, so is also an option if you want a shorter version of the same trail.

Banzai Chair

The Banzai Chair is a standalone chair on the west side of Niseko Village and gives access to Cruiser and Pure Magic. This chair is a quiet place to visit to earn some turns away from the crowded beginner runs on the main gondola side. Unfortunately the chair doesn't give access to any other lifts for riding further up the mountain, but this is the main reason it is quieter. There is however an intermediate run Koguma nearby though so you don't have to leave this area if you want to try something more difficult first.

Village Express

This chair/gondola is where you'll find most beginner riders in Niseko Village, as it gives access to Ageimo and Shaky Knees. Both runs are long, wide and flat, offering plenty of space for beginners to practice and progress with ease. These areas to become reasonably busy during peak season, but nothing like Family Run over in Hirafu. Following Ageimo will take you back to the base of the Village Express, whereas Shaky Knees leads back to the Niseko Village Gondola or the Community Chair.


Dream Quad Lift #1

This lift gives direct access to the bottom of Junior, a mellow gradient beginner slope at the bottom of Annupuri. This is the perfect beginner slope as the run is short and wide-open, making it the best spot to ride after progressing from the magic carpets.

Jumbo Hooded Quad #4

Once you're ready to progress from the Dream Quad Lift, you can start moving higher up the mountain for longer trails that will push your endurance and skill level. The whole lower part of the Annupuri mountain is where you'll want to ride if you're not experienced enough for steeper gradient red trails. This chair gives access to Paradise and Family which are beginner runs that feed into Junior. All runs feed back to the bottom of the Jumbo Chair for easy access back to the top.


Niseko United offers plenty of green trails across the four resorts, giving plenty of terrain to explore for beginners. The Niseko United Shuttle service provides excellent accessibility to each resort, which is recommended for those wanting to ride as much beginner terrain without having to ride more difficult trails. As always, it's important to ride within your limits and be mindful of other on the mountain. A lot of value can be had from booking a lesson with one of the many companies in the area, who can fast-track your progress and teach you about the mountain.

For those looking to improve and progress their skill level, we recommend reading our Intermediate Mountain Guide below for an in-depth look at the red and black trails located across the mountain. If you're wanting to start exploring off-piste, check out our comprehensive guides on the best in-resort powder runs and the backcountry gates.

Blaize Kelly

Blaize Kelly

Blaize is a photographer and content creator from Australia, having worked for our team during the 22/23 winter season. He has an extensive knowledge of the Niseko area, frequently visiting to enjoy the world-famous powder snow.


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