The Hirafu Gondola in Niseko will be upgraded and expanded in time for the 2011 season, with capacity more than doubling. In real terms, this change will be enjoyed directly by more people than any other change in Hirafu village in recent memory! The old 4 person cabins will be replace with 8 person cabins, and speed will be increased from 4m/s to 6m/s, shortening the ride from 8 minutes to 5 minutes. In addition, the station buildings will receive a welcome facelift.
In addition, a new ski center will open in the space next to the Hirafu Gondola (near the current ticket sales building), and will house a restaurant, ski school, and sports shop. Critical for any large resort, a kid’s space will be created above the ski center, including a gently-sloped magic carpet.
These changes are all being undertaken by Tokyu Resorts, the owner of the Grand Hirafu Resort. It is a bold move, one that is both timely and will be much appreciated.
Ground works are already underway, and you can see where the old Hirafu Gondola ticket office has been demolished.
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