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Vail Resorts adds Niseko, Japan ski resort to its Epic Season Pass

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Vail Resorts announced today 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, further enhancing the value of its flagship and industry-changing season pass.

Epic Season Pass holders have the opportunity to experience unlimited and unrestricted skiing and riding at Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Lake Tahoe, and Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado, plus Canyons in Park City, Utah.

And now the Epic Pass will include five complimentary consecutive days at Niseko, Japan, for the 2014-2015 winter season. In less than a week of skiing and riding, Vail Resorts says the Epic Pass pays for itself.

The Epic Season Pass will be available for purchase beginning March 10, 2014, at

“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,” said Kirsten Lynch, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts. “Epic Pass holders now have access to the epic skiing and riding for which Japan is world-renowned.”

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. I

Niseko boasts an average 590 inches of snow per year. The ski resort is 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 Niseko region boasts not only epic skiing and riding, but also breathtaking scenery.

At night, the mountain is lit up with stadium-style lights which brighten 2,560 vertical feet of skiing and riding. Deep-powder trails through lit birch trees are a Niseko staple, offering sheltered stashes of untouched powder skiing.

Niseko United, as it’s commonly referred to, is made up of four base areas – Annupurri, Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village and Hanazono – that access one mountain, Niseko Annupuri (4,291 feet).

With wide open trails, incredible tree runs, epic backcountry, first tracks and night-skiing, Niseko caters to all abilities, from beginner to expert. For the adventurers, hiking trails lead from the highest lifts to the summit. An extensive lift system of 26 chairlifts and three gondolas accesses 72 trails.

“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.”

With non-stop flights between Tokyo’s Narita International airport and several major US cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver and New York, it’s never been easier for U.S. skiers and riders to visit Niseko. Niseko is typically open from November through May.

For more information, visit Passes will be available for purchase beginning March 10, 2014.