Tokyu have confirmed they will install a new 10-seat gondola in Niseko Hirafu!
Tokyu Resort, the owners and operators of Niseko-Hirafu ski hill, have confirmed plans to install a brand new 10 seater gondola in time for winter 2024/25. The gondola will replace the current quad lift (commonly known as the centre 4), which will be decommissioned after 37 years of service.
It will improve transport capacity from 1,800 people per hour to 2,800 per hour and is expected to immediately relieve congestion issues during peak periods of the season, as well as keep skiers warm on the way up the slopes!
The gondola will also be open to non-skiers, who will be able to enjoy views of Mount Yotei and the resort thanks to a 360 degree window. The announcement also noted the addition of new mid-station facilities and an après ski area.
The development is part of the resort’s “Value up NISEKO road to 2030” initiative, which is aiming to transform Niseko with new resort facilities, year-round activities and better roads by 2030, which is when the bullet train (Shinkansen) is due to be completed. The shinkansen will have a stop in Kutchan Town and cut travel time to Tokyo down to 4 hours and only 25 minutes to Sapporo.
In the press release (Japanese only), Tokyu Land Corporation acknowledged that the resort is over reliant on winter. The aim to make the resort more attractive to visitors year round and as such the new gondola will be fitted with bike racks, and the resort says that it is working to make the lift available “all seasons”.