You want to enjoy the legendary powder snow, or you are just intrigued by the special vibe of this place, an ideal "East meets West" (or sometimes rather the other way around) where you are still in Japan, but find out that you can be understood speaking English in most of the towns around here.
So you begin to look a bit more into all this, and discover that:
You will actually work in Hirafu
Niseko town is not the place where you will actually work
Kutchan seems like the biggest place out there
So what does it all mean?
First, let's describe the resort in itself.
The resort commonly named "Niseko" is a combination of four resorts which access the mountain called "Mount Annupuri".
The mountain is actually divided into four parts:
Niseko Village (formerly Higashiyama)
The former two (Hanazono/Hirafu) belong administratively to a town called "Kutchan". Niseko Village and Annupuri Village belong to a town called "Niseko" (Which changed its name in 1964 from "Kaributo" - I told you it was complicated).
So basically, if you are looking for a place to stay or you want to know more about the town in which your company will provide your staff accommodation, here is a quick sum-up:
You stay in Hirafu:
Lucky you (or not). You can walk to the main lifts, and very likely walk to your place of work.
You will be able to walk to the most famous bars and restaurants.
The downside is - rent is expensive, your accom will very likely be super crowded, and most (if not all) the restaurant and bars have prices pretty high for a seasonal staff pay. You have a couple of convenience stores in the village, where you will have the privilege to wait 40 minutes to buy 6 slices of industrial bread.
You stay in Annupuri Village or Niseko Village:
Get ready to move around with shuttle buses, because there is not much to do around there. And grocery shopping is pretty difficult. However on powder days you will have first access to the backbowls and some of the best backcountry spots out there!
You stay in Niseko town:
On the plus side, it is quiet and the few restaurants opened in winter are more for locals than for tourists (that means affordable). And you are one step closer to Rusutsu. Rent is cheaper (if you can find something)
On the minus side, if you don't have a car it will be difficult for grocery shopping (the only grocery store in the center of the village is not opened until late and closed on Sundays) and going to the lifts on your day off might be difficult.
You stay in Kutchan town:
You will be far away from the lifts (but there is the United Shuttle), but amazingly close to the groceries, the train (day trip to Sapporo!) and the rent is much more affordable than Hirafu. Moreover, the town is a "real Japanese town", unlike Hirafu which in winter is much more a circus. So if you want to get a real feel for Japanese culture, you will have to live in Kutchan. You will be able to go to a local restaurant and chat with locals, and the prices are reasonable.
There is no "ideal solution", so it really depends what you really want and what you are ready to give up in order to get this.
In any case - enjoy your season in Niseko!
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!