Niseko’s Biggest Annual Photo Contest Announced

ニセコシュートアウト Niseko Shootout

One of Hokkaido’s biggest photo contests, the Niseko Shootout, launched for the fifth consecutive year this December. In this prestigious contest, photographers are encouraged to showcase their skills by photographing winter scenes as well as capture imagery of skiing and snowboarding in Niseko and the wider Shiribeshi region.

Photographers are able to enter the Niseko Shootout by shooting an image in the Shiribeshi region during winter and posting it to Instagram with the hashtag #nisekoshootout.

The Niseko Shootout photo contest was first launched in January of 2018 by Winse Heyward (USA), and initially had just one prize for photography of skiing and snowboarding. As support for the Niseko Shootout grew, the contest expanded to three categories, Ski, Snowboard, and Landscape. From this year, however, the Landscape category has changed to “Open”, to allow photographers more creativity and flexibility with the images entered.

“Over the past five years, seeing the excitement from both participants and organizers makes me feel like the sky’s the limit. I hope that the Niseko Shootout will become a household name and be regarded as highly as other major festivals around the world.” – Winse Heyward, Niseko Shootout founder.

Judging for the Niseko Shootout contest is done by some of the most prolific photographers in the area. Judges for previous contests included professional photographer Yoichi Watanabe, Gentemstick founder, and photographer Taro Tamai, as well as Australian photographer and long-term Niseko resident Aaron Jamieson among other well-known photographers.

Accompanying the main photo contest are two additional competitions – the “ProAm” and the “Short Film Festival”. In the ProAm contest, photographers and riders enter as teams and will be able to enter images they shoot together from the 7th to the 10th of January. The ProAm contest is judged by professional skiers and photographers from around the world that have a connection with Niseko. Judges for last year’s ProAm included prolific skier and filmmaker Eric Pollard (USA), Winter Olympian Torah Bright (AUS), filmmaker and professional skier Lena Stoffel (GER), among others.

The Niseko Shootout Short Film Festival will showcase films created in Niseko. The event will be held in Hirafu as a drive-in cinema and will be live-streamed around the world. The event will be hosted in both Japanese and English. To showcase the films, a giant cinema screen will be constructed out of snow with the winners of the main photography contest and the short film festival announced at this event.

First-place prizes for this year’s Niseko Shootout are valued at ¥100,000 each and include a season pass for the Niseko United, a Gentemstick snowboard, and a stay at a NISADE accommodation in Niseko.

Fact Sheet:

  • The 2021/22 Niseko Shootout opened for entries on 1 December 2021, and close on 1 March 2021
  • Winners will be announced at this years Niseko Shootout Short Film Festival on 12 March 2022
  • Niseko Shootout started in January 2018 and was created by American Winse Heyward
  • The Niseko Shootout is the official photography contest for the Niseko region and is endorsed by Niseko Tourism