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February 26, 2014
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Vail Resorts Epic Pass now extends to Japan's Niseko United

BROOMFIELD — Vail Resorts announced on Wednesday a partnership with one of the snowiest and most celebrated powder skiing resorts in the world — Niseko, Japan. The partnership represents the first Asian partner for the company.

This means that Epic season pass holders have the opportunity to experience unlimited and unrestricted skiing and riding at U.S. resorts including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Canyons in Park City, Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Lake Tahoe; and now five complimentary consecutive days at Niseko, Japan, for the 2014-2015 winter season.

“We’re excited to announce a partnership between Vail Resorts and Niseko, Japan, providing access to a part of the world that is legendary for its endless powder and overall incredible guest experience. Epic Pass holders now have access to the epic skiing and riding for which Japan is world-renowned” said Kirsten Lynch, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts.

WORLD-RENOWN POWDER

In 2008, Forbes crowned Niseko one of the Top 10 International Ski Resorts, and more recently, National Geographic voted Niseko as the best powder snow resort in the world.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled about our partnership with Vail Resorts, as the preeminent mountain resort company in the U.S.,” said Colin Hackworth, representative director of Nihon Harmony Resorts, representing Niseko United. “Niseko, Japan, is revered around the world for its consistently light, dry powder snow and warm Japanese hospitality. We welcome the opportunity for more Epic Pass holders to experience this very special part of the world and look forward to seeing them on our trails.”

The mountain boasts a jaw-dropping average of 590 inches of snow per year. Located 100 kilometers south of Japan’s fifth largest city, Sapporo, in the southwest corner of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, Niseko Annupuri is a part of the Niseko-Shakotan-Otaru Kaigan Quasi-National Park and is the most eastern park of the Niseko Volcanic Group.

Seasonal winds from the Eurasian continent blow in some of the driest, lightest and plentiful snow in the world. Set against the backdrop of Mt. Yotei — an active volcano similar to Mt. Fuji — the mountain is lit up a night with stadium-style lights that brighten 2,560 vertical feet of skiing and riding.

FOUR BASE AREAS

Niseko United, as it’s commonly referred to, is made up of four base areas that access one mountain, Niseko Annupuri (4,291 feet). The terrain caters to all abilities, from beginner to expert. For the adventurers, hiking trails lead from the highest lifts to the summit.

The Niseko area is also known for its premium agriculture and locally brewed alcohol. Local restaurants import fresh seafood from nearby towns and villages and the area is home to restaurants and bars with everything from authentic Japanese fare to European cuisine. Hokkaido is also well-known for its thousands of natural hot springs or “onsen.”

Non-stop flights go between Tokyo’s Narita International airport and several major U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver and New York. Niseko is typically open from November through May.

The five free consecutive days of skiing and riding will be reciprocated for Niseko all-mountain season pass holders, allowing more guests from Japan, China and surrounding areas to experience Vail Resorts’ world-class mountain resorts. The Epic Pass will be available for purchase beginning March 10, 2014, at www.epicpass.com.


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The VailDaily Updated Mar 5, 2014 09:58AM Published Feb 27, 2014 01:26PM Copyright 2014 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.