Sapporo 2030 Winter Olympic Bid Gets A Lift With Selection Of Niseko For Alpine Ski Events

Sapporo’s bid to host the 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Games is ramping up after the selection of the Niseko Village Resort to stage ski events should the Japanese city get the nod from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Niseko Ski Resort, About 100 km from Sapporo, could host Alpine events at 2030 Olympic Winter Games (Niseko Resort Photo)

Niseko Ski Resort, About 100 km from Sapporo, could host Alpine events at 2030 Olympic Winter Games (Niseko Resort Photo)

About 100 km from Sapporo, the resort could host four alpine disciplines including slalom, giant slalom, super giant slalom and downhill, with the latter two events requiring the development of new slopes should the bid be successful.  According to Hokkaido Shimbun Press, bid officials announced earlier this month that the resort received serious consideration after the International Ski Federation (FIS) assessed the venue for the slope, difficulty and snow quality.

Major investments are currently being made in the property including the construction of hotels and other facilities, and resort officials are in discussions with Sapporo City officials about the possibility of additional lifts and gondolas to support the Games.  Resort and bid officials have yet to decide whether the new downhill runs will be permanent.

Spokesperson for property owner YTL Hotels Luke Hurford said “we are fully committed to continuing this investment into the mountain and view the opportunity for the 2030 Olympics with the opening of Yu no Sawa as providing a huge expansion of new ski terrain to Niseko.

“Along with the Olympic and FIS associations we look forward to opening exhilarating new ski runs capable of hosting all Olympic downhill events including downhill and Super G as well as all slalom course on existing runs and further establishing Niseko as Asia’s premier alpine destination.”

View of the Odori Park during the Sapporo Snow Festival

View of the Odori Park during the Sapporo Snow Festival (Photo: NKNS)

Sapporo entered the race to host the 2026 Winter Games but later withdrew to instead focus on recovery efforts after an earthquake hit the region.  The bid had already been considering delaying plans until 2030 when a new high speed rail line was expected to reach the city.  The scheduled Shinkansen bullet train will also provide a direct link between Tokyo and Niseko.

A bid from Italy’s Milan-Cortina was elected this past June to host in 2026.

Sapporo last hosted the Winter Games in 1972 but next year the city will stage the Olympic Marathon events as part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to be held in July and August.  Japan last hosted the Winter Games in Nagano in 1998.

The IOC has yet to set a schedule for the election of the 2030 host but a newly formed Future Bid Commission is ready to discuss the matter with interested National Olympic Committees at any time.  Bids from Salt Lake City, Barcelona and Lillehammer have already emerged as possible contenders.

Robert Livingstone

About Robert Livingstone

Robert Livingstone is a senior editor, award-winning journalist and author, covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. He is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians. Follow him @enotsgnivil