Tag Archives: niseko

Niseko: The Barn

Niseko night number 2. Dinner at The Barn. A meal well worth venturing out in the snow for.


The Barn’s structure is literally barn-shaped, but so much chicer.



Dinner was a set three course affair.


We split a bottle of wine from the owner’s vineyard in Bourgogne, France. Not bad.


With Mom out of the country, it was just the three of us, a father-daughters weekend.


The focaccia had the most amazing crust! With a smear of whipped butter, delish.


Tasmanian Salmon Confit. This slow-cooked salmon was smooth and flavorful. I’d never tasted anything like it.


My main: Hokkaido flounder poêlé. The portion was insane, but boy was it good. Underscored by onion sauce and roasted vegetables, this light, flaky fish was sensational.


Between dinner and dessert, we had a chance to admire the decor. This sculpture (?) won the award for wackiest artifact hands down.


The interior was airy and elegant, despite skiers-cum-diners like us dressed in fleeces and jeans.


I love having a sister. When it comes to ordering dessert, Eve and I are of one mind. Making the choice between Crème Brûlée with Milk Sorbet and Warm Gâteau au chocolat with Framboise Sorbet would be tough. Luckily, we never had to cross that bridge. In our typical style, we went 50/50 on one of each.


The chocolate cake was the winner. While the crème brûlée was good, it simply couldn’t match up to warm, gooey, chocolate goodness cut by the tang of a fruity sorbet. The pudding was thick and creamy, but those rare bites sans sorbet and sugar crust felt a little lacking in flavor. Then again, maybe my deep affection for chocolate makes my assessment a little bit suspect…


Anyways, a cup of camomile tea later, it was time to step back out into the snow drift and get some rest before another day on the slopes.


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A long weekend in the middle of February? What better to do than go skiing? For the past few days, I’ve been skiing up at Niseko, a resort in Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan. Niseko doesn’t have a whole lot of vertical or many scary steep slopes, like North American big-mountain resorts. What it does have, is incredible snow. The powder here is lighter, fluffier, and deeper than anywhere else I’ve ever skied. And it never stops coming! At this point, we’ve been here for almost 4 days and it has snowed on and off the entire time, the ‘off’ segments lasting for ten minutes tops.


My family has been coming to Niseko for years, seeing as it’s some of the best skiing we’ve done in Japan. While the weather is usually like this, I do have a couple photos from that rare sunny day to give you an idea of what the place really looks like.


It’s pretty beautiful up here when you can actually see where you’re going, but bad visibility is definitely a worthwhile price to pay for phenomenal snow.


At Niseko, since the number of difficult slopes is limited, our strategy tends to be find a good run and ski it over and over for an entire half day. My favorite slope here is Strawberry Fields, a powdery pitch that is technically out of bounds but is accessible via gate. It is really multiple runs in one. You can drop into the pitch in any number of places, each one presenting a new line. Dodging trees adds excitement as well as aiding visibility on pea-soup days. Here is the view from the top in the sun. Strawberry Fields Forever.


In accordance with the conditions, I rented big fat powder skis, or as I like to refer to them, pontoon skis. Although they don’t carve as well as my trusty Atomics, these Volkls were a wonder in deep power.


The Niseko clientele are largely foreign. The resort is especially popular with Aussies. At Hanazono 308, the best place to eat on the mountain, this is not an uncommon sight.


The app screenshot-ed below is called Ski Tracks. It tells you how far and how fast you ski. I highly recommend it. Yesterday was a very satisfying day. I went faster than I ever have before. At 81.7 kmph, I’m not far behind my dad’s 84.1. Lindsey Vonn’s 135 kmph is a little further off, but, hey, I’m over halfway there!


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