Archives: 2011年1月

§24. Birth of ALPEN lift. (3)

 Let’s continue story that Nagae Katsuro recites. It is the times to the 1950s through the 1960s this time.

 In the land of HIRAFU skiing area, the top is national forest at
around 400 meters above sea level as border, and bottom is municipal
ownership place. It was company called MAGOME industry that German
capital was in before the war that owned the current municipal
ownership ground. After defeat, this land was managed as some
compensation to allied powers. Kucchancho starts activity to purchase
this land in 1949 and succeeds in the purchase in 1953. Area is 493
hectares. This land purchase allowed skiing area development to begin
before long.

 In January, 1959, Kutchan mayoral election was held. Takahashi
Seikichi which was Manager at Shiribeshi Subprefectural Office was
elected the town mayor. Town mayor of Takahashi pushed forward company
invitation and sightseeing promotion. There was plan that Toni Sailer
which was star of world alpine skiing world shot movie in Japan in
winter of 1959. Kucchancho invited the filming ground of movie.
However, we will take movie in Zao skiing area (Yamagata) with lift
institution. This was opportunity, and demand of townsman to want to
install lift in our town was strengthened more. Town mayor of Takahashi
succeeded in plywood production company, invitation of Hokkaido
fiberboard Co., Ltd., and it was the beginning of lift setting to
Hirafu. As a result, town mayor Takahashi realized both company
invitation and sightseeing promotion.

 In 1960, Kutchan bridge and HIRAFU bridge, two bridges became
permanent bridge. Because two bridges were completed, we became able to
carry heavy machine and material to mountain. The snow removing with
construction machine was enabled in winter. “SENNOKI OSAWA overpass”
across a certain valley was completed between KABAYAMA and YAMADA
district. Furthermore, in the same year, electricity runs Yamada
district. Kutchan Station was rebuilt, and it was 1960 that the
entrance of sightseeing was done. And Yamada Onsen of HIRAFU which
there was in national forest was transferred since the opening of
business of 1897 at the foot of a mountain in the autumn of 1961.
(Yamada Onsen was demolished in the autumn of 2010.)

03オープン日ニセコ高原 082 .jpg
 Nagae talks. Even if “one one of these events is missing, there was
lift setting in 1961, will not there be”? It may be said that it was
necessary event that lift appeared in HIRAFU with the history as place
skiiing for a long time at last.

HIRAFU slope (the spring of 1961) before skiing area establishment.


Recent HIRAFU slope. In main street that ski visitor from foreign countries comes and goes now.

§23. Birth of ALPEN lift. (2)

Katsuro was devoted to design of course of ALPEN lift and mountain
cottage where we could stay at. Some improvement based on experience of
4 seasons in KOGEN lift was considered to be. For example, they were to
do installing lift platform in low land where skier came into at the
last minute naturally and lift person in charge crew room and mountain
cottage office in one building. Nagae designed logo mark that
surrounded squirrel in circle.


 Lift place to get off was plan to set up at first in the vicinity of
“UMANOSE” in national forest. However, on account of the procedure,
setting place of place to get off will be changed in municipal ownership
place that permission has been already granted to.

 It was with half board, and the hotel charges of mountain cottage were
1,000 yen. Rate was more expensive than Guest House, but provided
luxurious supper which did pork steak in Maine.

 The staff of gathering the best people repeated strenuous efforts toward the opening of business in the night and day.

 However, achievements in the establishment of a business first year
were sluggish. As for the cause, it was thought about two. As for the
first cause, Saint Moritz Lift Co., Ltd. had only one lift to have two
lifts in NISEKO KOGEN KANKO Co., Ltd. The second cause was that there
was position of place to get off of lift to insufficient height not to
arrive to height of national land. On the other hand, good location of
mountain cottage was supported because sales staying thing of mountain
cottage were good.

 In 1966 of the second establishment of a business season,
construction of the second lift was urgent business. Nagae was engaged
earnestly in securing of fund. We took advice of Akiyama Aritoshi of
Director of federation of Niseko ski (the Kucchancho Konpira temple
chief priest) into account and decided to fix mountaintop station of
the second lift on 800 meters of plateaus. As for the high difference
of lift, 300 meters, lift extension are 1,000 meters. Construction was
started in September. Construction was pushed forward at a fast pace,
and aim of service start was in sight in the new year of 1967.

 However, problem of lack of electricity occurred suddenly.
Electricity of skiing area transmitted electricity with power line
which Yamada district had in those days. Saint Moritz Lift Co., Ltd.
was going to use this power line, too, but capacity of this power line
was insufficient so that two companies used.

 Therefore Saint Moritz Lift Co., Ltd. changed power supply to diesel
generation and started service of the second lift on 1st on schedule in
January, 1967.

 This thing was the beginning, and good relations between Saint
Moritz Lift Co., Ltd. and NISEKO KOGEN KANKO Co., Ltd. reached the end.
After this, both companies competed for expansion of lift each other and
built the basics as of thing of HIRAFU skiing area.

 The above is process that two lift service companies were organized
in HIRAFU district. Nagae Katsuro of executive director who led Saint
Moritz Lift Co., Ltd. for many years retired from company in 1986.