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Japan for an intermediate?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi All,

Annual who knows what question.

Went to Park City last Christmas and had a stunning week skiing when the snow finished falling even if it was too cold for my Go-Pro. The other half had her best weeks skiing ever and would happily go back again. My issue with it was that the costs for my annual christmas pressie to myself of a couple of hours 1:1 lesson to tidy up technique were ludicrous so I missed out on thus side of things.

From reading the threads on here though Japan seems more sensible and the powder is first class. So the question:

Is there anywhere in Japan that can match the quality of on piste skiing for herself whilst giving me scope to go play a little to as a more than competent on piste skier bit relatively mediocre of piste skier (as the double diamonds proved to me last year lol)?

Language isn't a big concern.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
The few Japanese resorts that I have skied on all had fantastic groomed runs. Perfect grooming every night made easier by the quality and quantity of the snow falls. I would advise it for any level of skiers.
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@imull, As mentioned by @Sarge McSarge, the quality of the pistes is excellent, and strangely in my experience didn't seem to degrade during the day. This is helped by the quality of the snow, and more importantly there isn't any man made snow (at least in all the resorts I visited).

With regards to off piste, you'll need to check the local rules, as some have no restrictions, some have no official off piste, and some it is mandatory to have a guide for off piste.

I'm sure our resident Japan expert @MikePow will be along with some advice.
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imull wrote:

Is there anywhere in Japan that can match the quality of on piste skiing for herself whilst giving me scope to go play a little to as a more than competent on piste skier bit relatively mediocre of piste skier (as the double diamonds proved to me last year lol)?


Short answer a resounding YES 😀

The majority of the inbounds terrain of the Hokkaido resorts I've skied and the Hakuba resorts of Happo-One, Iwatake and Tsugaiake is very similar to that of Park City and The Canyons, namely rolling tree-lined runs with the odd steeper open bowl.

To get a better recommendation for destination please give us more info re things like

Duration
Budget
Preferred accommodation type
Off-snow needs / desires
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
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Does seem like a long way to go...
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imull wrote:


Is there anywhere in Japan that can match the quality of on piste skiing for herself whilst giving me scope to go play a little to as a more than competent on piste skier bit relatively mediocre of piste skier (as the double diamonds proved to me last year lol)?


I don't know Japan as well as Mike, and have never skied in the US, but while the snow-quality of the pistes in Japan is the great the actual piste skiing (length, pitch, variety, etc) I saw (tbf I wasn't really paying much attention to the pistes) was a long way behind a typical alpine resort.

Sounds like Japan would be perfect for you though!

You can also expect more storm days than than sunny days too - great if you like powder in the trees, but maybe not so inspiring for your wife?
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
clarky999 wrote:
imull wrote:


Is there anywhere in Japan that can match the quality of on piste skiing for herself whilst giving me scope to go play a little to as a more than competent on piste skier bit relatively mediocre of piste skier (as the double diamonds proved to me last year lol)?


I don't know Japan as well as Mike, and have never skied in the US, but while the snow-quality of the pistes in Japan is the great the actual piste skiing (length, pitch, variety, etc) I saw (tbf I wasn't really paying much attention to the pistes) was a long way behind a typical alpine resort.


Definitely compared with European resorts.

However the vertical drop, number of pistes, longest run at a resort like Niseko United (900m; 57; 5.6km) is comparable to the smaller Utah resorts like Solitude (615m; 77; 4.8km).

The combined resorts of Park City and The Canyons offer more pistes (111) but not much more vertical (970m).
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Mike Pow, I could spend a lot of time in Solitude and its trees. snowHead
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under a new name wrote:
@Mike Pow, I could spend a lot of time in Solitude and its trees. snowHead


Agreed, and I have Smile

I think the thing to take away about skiing in many resorts in N America and Japan is the ease of transitioning from piste to off-piste.

Then relatively small resorts get bigger, very quickly Smile
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Mike Pow wrote:


Duration
Budget
Preferred accommodation type
Off-snow needs / desires


Thanks all for your replies.

Due to term dates we're limited to the week over Christmas itself.

Budget is relatively flexible. Think a week in Park City wound up at about 2300 each all in last year. Wouldn't want to go much pay this but as ever not going to scrimp when we work so hard to earn it in the first place.

Chalet or small hotel would be nice but not fussed to much. Like the social atmosphere mainly. Suspect after last year's Doubletree a hot tub will be a non negotiable (for her naturally Laughing )

Snow wise - due to mainly Xmas skiing in Europe I'm pretty average in the powder so just a chance to spread my wrongs and learn a bit. Not going to spend a whole week off piste. The bowl set up in Park City was perfect as there was a run she could loop round and meet me at three bottom...

Main things are enough to not get bored on piste, a good range of runs and lack of the icy death rattle sound for herself Madeye-Smiley

On another theme, Rach would also like to know, is the ski etiquette European loons flying past or American chilled out and relaxed.
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In the airport, so a quick but critical reply in the meantime.

I would not recommend a 7-day trip to Japan regardless of whether it's Honshu (main island) or Hokkaido.

10-day minimum, preferably 14-day trip.

Long flight and you lose 9hrs crossing time zones.

You'd leave UK on afternoon of Day 1, arrive in resort early evening Day 2, and first ski day would be morning of Day 3

And depending on your carrier you could well have an overnight flight on your return.

Japan is awesome but Europe and USA or Canada better placed for a 7-day trip
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I don't know enough about flight scheduling. But I would have thought Japan not being that different than North America? Both are roughly 9 hours time difference. and also roughly 9 hr flight, give or take.

Park City is particularly well suited because the transfer from airport to slope is non-existent. But that's 3 hours extra out of a 7 day trip...
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
abc wrote:
I don't know enough about flight scheduling. But I would have thought Japan not being that different than North America? Both are roughly 9 hours time difference. and also roughly 9 hr flight, give or take.

Park City is particularly well suited because the transfer from airport to slope is non-existent. But that's 3 hours extra out of a 7 day trip...


It's more like a 12 hour (direct) flight from UK to Tokyo, plus then onwards to Sapporo (or wherever). And going east the jet lag is worse.

I did a 4-day trip for work this winter, which was just about enough time to get used to the time difference before flying home and getting hit again. Worth it for the powder, but if on holiday I'd definitely go for 14 days minimum.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Definitely go to Hakuba.

Stay in Happo One, can recommend Snowlines Lodge, and sample a different resort everyday for a week. Intermediates will love the place, I'd love to go back. Loved Tsugaike, perfect for intermediate piste skiing and advanced back-country/tree skiing.

Do make a trip of it though, it took 3 days to get over the jet-lag, so try take in some culture in Tokyo/Kyoto/Mt Fuji first, and once acclimatised head for the Hakuba Valley!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Rusutsu. Though the quality of the instruction could be suspect from what I saw. A more than reasonable sprinkling of very fresh faced, not so great Brit skiers instructing.

Niseko might be a better bet for instruction as it is virtually Australia.

As always Mike Pow is Mr Hokkaido.

On the main island you could well struggle to get good English instructors.

You want at least 10 days. I wouldn't do the travel for just a week. I'm going back to Rusutsu w. friends but then a couple of weeks on the main island.

Also Japan is not cheap. You can do it cheaper but it is not cheap.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all!

I'm seeing lots of great advice on skiing Japan. I have a few questions that I'm hoping you guys can answer...

My buddy and I are flying into CTS, arriving at 21:25 on Friday, 19-Jan-2018. Is there any chance that we will be skiing on Saturday?

Details: We do not want to rent a car, simply due to cost and the fact that we don't plan on driving a whole lot. From what I am seeing on the various shuttle schedules, it does not look like there are any shuttles that leave that late to go to Niseko. Assuming we were to stay the night at CTS on Friday night, is it possible to get to Niseko Saturday morning in time to ski most of the day? I looked at some of the shuttle schedules, and many of them do not leave CTS until 09:30, arriving Niseko at 12:30. My thought is that arriving at 12:30 is too late, and that it would be closer to 14:30 before we could get to the slopes.

I would hate to lose all of Saturday to travel, but that may be our only option. Can we hire a private car to take us to Niseko after we land on Friday night, or can we leave CTS very early in the morning on Saturday?

Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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@lrmernst, Hi, I was in Niseko in February this year, what area of the resort are you staying at? They do have night skiing with Hirafu I believe having the most open after 16:30 so it is very possible you could get quite a bit of riding in on that Saturday but you will be tired from the long journey (I assume you'll be flying in from Europe). I can't help with advice on hiring a car or early bus I'm afraid but I will say Japan is fantastic and you will have a great time.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Hi @minion1980

I still need to finalize my lodging / housing for the trip, so I'm not sure just yet. I will be flying in from San Francisco, CA, so I do think we will be quite tired. I depart SFO at 11:30 AM on 18-Jan-2018 and arrive CTS at 21:25 on 19-Jan-2018, but hopefully I can sleep on the plane Smile

I sent an inquiry to Sky Station Transfer to understand if they can do a late night transfer after we land.

Cheers,

LRME
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There's a hotel at the airport
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Mike Pow wrote:
In the airport, so a quick but critical reply in the meantime.

I would not recommend a 7-day trip to Japan regardless of whether it's Honshu (main island) or Hokkaido.

10-day minimum, preferably 14-day trip.

Long flight and you lose 9hrs crossing time zones.

You'd leave UK on afternoon of Day 1, arrive in resort early evening Day 2, and first ski day would be morning of Day 3

And depending on your carrier you could well have an overnight flight on your return.

Japan is awesome but Europe and USA or Canada better placed for a 7-day trip


Excellent point - hadn't thought of the time zone working against.

Will have a chat with the boss and see what she says. Sadly that might be the killer for this year. Normally would would aim for 6/7 days there and travel around it but need go be back for a family visit Sad

For anyone else thinking of time in Japan, as others have said go and sample the culture. I was lucky enough to live in Tokyo for 9 months and would love go back. Shibuya square and the tube at rush hour just have to be seen tp be believed...
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Mike Pow wrote:
In the airport, so a quick but critical reply in the meantime.

I would not recommend a 7-day trip to Japan regardless of whether it's Honshu (main island) or Hokkaido.

10-day minimum, preferably 14-day trip.

Long flight and you lose 9hrs crossing time zones.

You'd leave UK on afternoon of Day 1, arrive in resort early evening Day 2, and first ski day would be morning of Day 3

And depending on your carrier you could well have an overnight flight on your return.

Japan is awesome but Europe and USA or Canada better placed for a 7-day trip


Excellent point - hadn't thought of the time zone working against.

Will have a chat with the boss and see what she says. Sadly that might be the killer for this year. Normally would would aim for 6/7 days there and travel around it but need go be back for a family visit Sad

For anyone else thinking of time in Japan, as others have said go and sample the culture. I was lucky enough to live in Tokyo for 9 months and would love go back. Shibuya square and the tube at rush hour just have to be seen tp be believed...
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