Jacob in Niseko

Danish born, Jacob Termansen is a renowned and debonair photographer who has made travelling the world his life and lifestyle matters, his subject for over 25 years. His talents extend beyond the camera lens to include editorial and design work, garnering accolades through the years.

Devoted to working with natural light, he embraces a strong belief that the best images come with the luxury of time and has dedicated his craft to celebrating the beauty of the world. Jacob insists on showcasing only that which is the best, the most beautiful and luxurious in life around us.

Where I came from, skies were dark, the streets were wet with rain, true winter was nowhere to be seen, and summer still a long while away - the kind of place where seasons blend into a series of nondescript days of sullen grey.

Scandinavia.

Where I arrived, the sky was seasonably blue, the roads winding through forests and hills were lined with virgin snow and views were long and clear.

Hokkaido.

The first Niseko morning, the sun bathed the peak of Mount Yotei, and between the mountains you could still make out fields and pastures and see roads winding through the landscape. Anxious skiers watched the skies for signs of snow, for the coveted drift off the plains of Siberia, that every year transforms Niseko into a magical winter wonderland.

The next day, snow was in the air and soon nascent drifts were everywhere, the streets and fields blanketed by beautiful and amazingly light white powder. As I walked through the blue light of evening through Niseko Village I wondered if I'd brought the right clothes for this one.

Niseko Village, an organically arranged series of beautiful buildings lining wide streets and covered sidewalks, is a very welcoming place, a good mix of shops and restaurants. It did not take too long to find my favourite spot, the patisserie at the end of a street with views of the mountain and wonderfully effective heaters.

And of course great coffee!

I was there on shoot for YTL Hotels and was invited for the village and exclusive townhouses launch – exciting additions to the Niseko portfolio. VIPs arrived in droves much like the snowflakes all day and the hillside was ready to party.  

Freddie Cole, esteemed Jazz gentlemen and brother of the late Nat King Cole, had arrived with his trio ready bring some unabashed Las Vegas style to the launch.

The landscape changes with every day at the start of the season. Where before there were many animal tracks in the light dust of snow on the meadows, the white powder grows deeper now, and the tracks fewer and further between. Winter is setting upon Hokkaido, and with it, the land grows silent and beautiful.

Until today, I did not know, not even suspected, that I would ever need a gizmo like this. In fact, I did not even know that brilliant minds had been at work to create the ultimate winter toy. 

And as it turned out, I need one!!

Go Snowballs!!

You may have been in the Marines, you may have seen blood and guts, but you have never seen tough like these guys!

The Ski Patrol guys at Niseko Village, ever busy at keeping the slopes safe for the likes of me, are always there to remind us that places like these need people made of the right stuff, to become those fun-filled, amazing playgrounds that we enjoy. High Five Guys!

The village provides shopping, for those intervals between hurtling down mountains sides, as well as cosy restaurants offering much needed nourishment and after ski entertainment.

There is a wonderful sense of place over the village and its offerings.

For those who believe that being spoilt adds years to one’s life, the bespoke offerings at Kasara Niseko Village Townhouse is just what the doctor ordered. Ask a chef to cook up a storm or get the friendly ski school staff to stop by for a private ski boot fitting.

After a long day in the cold, unwind in the cosy living room before adjourning for après ski in the village.

Always intrepid in the execution of my work, I have risked my life trying to follow the energetic Luke Hurford around the mountain sides, I have been sliding my way along deadly, glacier-like sidewalks, I have enjoyed food that I had never imagined I would.

But I had never before sat in the middle seat of a congested shuttle bus, surrounded by people armed with skis and pick-axes!

Thankfully, I lived to tell the story!

The faces of Niseko are all smiles! Every place on the planet is defined by its people and here in Niseko Village, great big smiles and friendliness meet you everywhere. From the ski school, restaurant staff, the ski patrol, lift operators and happy skiers - taking a stroll around here, there are smiles everywhere.

And let us not forget those who care behind the scenes. Those who clear the snow and cut down icicles and the overhanging snow from rooftops, making every day and every place in Niseko Village safer.

No two days are ever the same here. Wind, snow, sun, cloudy skies, it all changes on thermal winds and nature's mood. But no matter as the inherent beauty of Hokkaido and Niseko allows for all kinds of weather to present the days as pearls on a string, regardless of the skies.

I visited the The Ski Patrol mountain lair today.

A strangely romantic place up high on the slopes, a ramshackle building with storage rooms and through a door, a heated room, a few chairs and a much worn couch. A warm refuge and a functional space from where these weathered guys are tasked to make life in the snow easy for us all.

I had Fish Sperm today for dinner! A delicacy and rare commodity, it tasted nothing like chicken or otherwise.

We were in the smallest restaurant imaginable at Niseko town – Jirocho. In the tiny kitchen, were a husband and wife team cooking up tasty dishes, and among them was this beautiful bowl filled with the most velvety white coils. Fish Sperm. A first, but not a last as it was fantastic!

Something missing? A DVD? Anything? Icicles the size of small saloon cars?

Not a problem, call "Mr Gonzales" - Kasara Niseko Village Townhouse's Jack of all Trades and he will sort you out!

Hokkaido is nature on steroids and very often, the beauty of nature reveals itself in the smaller details. One night, slightly warmer winds rose and the temperature which had been around -5°C all day fell in tandem with the rising winds, causing the icicles that had formed long and hard during the day to begin melting just a bit. Enough so that the strong winds that travelled through the night could bend them horizontally from their perches along the rooftop edges at Kasara Niseko Village Townhouse. This could not have been imagined or dreamed. Such is the nature of nature - a mind entirely of its own.

High up, in the white of the mountain, the beauty of winter has entered through cracks, crevasses and possibly through a window left open, into the insides of an old, abandoned lift station. The winds and the low temperatures in the high altitudes has created a soft, smooth and frozen interior to match the outside world.

I saw snow monsters approach through my room window at The Green Leaf. Slowly moving down the mountain, mostly obscured by trees, sometimes visible in all their commanding, shadowy size. There was no doubt; they were coming my way! The sharp pointy light of their beady eyes would shine across the foot of my bed and I would pull the duvet up closer. But as they neared, something scared them off and they vanished. Only to appear again the next morning!

To my relief, it turned out to be anything but snow monsters! They were massive, man-made machines driven by burly men, pushing tons of snow off the slopes so that we can have fun when daylight broke.

I made my way up the lift to where the slopes fan out every which way. Thick snow was hanging off tree branches and the clouds hung low over the mountaintop further up. Standing where the lift stopped and looking up at the big sign planted there, one suddenly realises the expanse of Niseko United and how these slopes and villages connect in so many directions, offering multiple levels of daring-do on small, elongated boards attached to your feet. Go skiing!!

Hard working men and women, armed only with smiles and endless patience, set up every morning for one of many ski school lessons available every day during winter at Niseko Village, for all levels. Some say that everybody can learn how to ski, and what better place than here, in this amazing winter wonderland of perfect powder snow.