It has always been strongly recommended in the Niseko rules to wear a helmet and avalanche beacon outside the gates. These two conditions however are becoming mandatory from the winter of 2020-2021. These rules will likely be enforced by ski patrols on the backcountry routes and beacon testers at all 11 gates. Those who violate this new rule may be denied access to the whole resort by having their lift pass confiscated and being denied new purchase.
What beacon to buy? If you’re new to avalanche beacons, pricier does not necessarily mean better. Often the more expensive beacons include sophisticated technologies and features that can be confusing for a first-timer and be counter-productive when trying to use their primary function.
If this is your first time buying a beacon, we recommend one of the following:
- BCA Tracker 2
- BCA Tracker S
- Ortovox Zoom Plus
- ARVA Evo4
If looking at other models, the most important feature is that it includes 3 antenna’s. Beacons can be ordered online in advance of your holiday or at shops such as Niseko 343 or Rhythm Summit in Hirafu village.
For helmets, you may wish to buy 2nd hand to save money on the long list of equipment needed for a ski holiday. If buying 2nd hand, make sure the helmet fits you comfortably and there are no fractures or large cracks as it may not absorb high energy impacts adequately rendering the helmet useless.
For detailed daily avalanche reports at Niseko visit this site: