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Japan 2017/2018

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Started here



Ashai Onsen looks nice in the snow



Skied to the ridge and out SW, nice views, rain crust not so bad



Finished here

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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Way to make the best of the conditions
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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?
Well, what a truly awesome two months itís been in Niseko...

@mike_pow thanks for the advice about 9 months ago when I was umming and arring between here or Canada. Definitely made the right choice!

Looking forward to March and April, just hoping on some fresh snow soon after the recent rain... followed by some nice long sunny days to get some tours in Very Happy
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Drifter210 wrote:
Well, what a truly awesome two months itís been in Niseko...

@mike_pow thanks for the advice about 9 months ago when I was umming and arring between here or Canada. Definitely made the right choice!

Looking forward to March and April, just hoping on some fresh snow soon after the recent rain... followed by some nice long sunny days to get some tours in Very Happy


Excellent.

My pleasure. My best season in the 11 I've been playing on Fantasy Island Smile
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I'm going to Happo One this week, but the temperature is heating up and the rain forecasts are great. I thought I'd go to Appi Kogen, anyone know? By the forecasts the temperature is lower. What do you think? I'm going to Happo One or change the mountain?
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@PowderAdict, yes-we did! It's a small world
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
musehead wrote:
@BobinCH, Volkl Katana V-Werks. Varied conditions - almost everything apart from slush really! Probably had really deep powder only about 1/3 of the time. Overall they were good. Next time I might take them along with some narrower ones and see how I get on.

Feel like I've missed out on a really epic season in Japan this year, I'm definitely going back next winter!


Thatís a pretty stiff ski by all accounts. I went from a 193 119mm waisted Volkl Shiro to a 185 124mm waisted DPS Lotus 124 and it is a much easier and more fun ride in all conditions - it is even remarkably good on piste! Worth a look if you can try some. The Wailer 112ís are also great! Pricy but Telemark Pyrenees have 15% off
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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!
BobinCH wrote:
musehead wrote:
@BobinCH, Volkl Katana V-Werks. Varied conditions - almost everything apart from slush really! Probably had really deep powder only about 1/3 of the time. Overall they were good. Next time I might take them along with some narrower ones and see how I get on.

Feel like I've missed out on a really epic season in Japan this year, I'm definitely going back next winter!


Thatís a pretty stiff ski by all accounts. I went from a 193 119mm waisted Volkl Shiro to a 185 124mm waisted DPS Lotus 124 and it is a much easier and more fun ride in all conditions - it is even remarkably good on piste! Worth a look if you can try some. The Wailer 112ís are also great! Pricy but Telemark Pyrenees have 15% off

FreezePro also have some good discounts at the moment on DPS - https://www.freezeproshop.com/brand/dps
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Im a 75kg guy but I bought a pair of 178 K2 Remedy 112 thinking they were just the mens Shreditor 112 with a different top sheet (same dimensions and mount point). Got them for 200euro on Sport Conrad and figured I couldn't lose at that price. However, I later read that they were a different construction and were softer, and I worried I'd be flapping about all over the place.

I was really impressed with how much fun they were. Given the terrain, the snow and the trees, I never really hit high speeds. Even the pistes were soft and mellow for the most part and the K2s cut nice arcs at moderate speeds. I never felt like I needed something burlier. A soft 112 ish in a playful shape suited me perfectly.

P.s. Just booked flights for next season. Yass!
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
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Also, does anyone have any recommendations for bars/restaurants/things to do in Otaru?
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element wrote:
Also, does anyone have any recommendations for bars/restaurants/things to do in Otaru?


good restaurants in Otaru need advance booking. Isezushi for sushi (book in advance or try your luck early lunch hours - worked for me as reservation was available in 2 months only when I inquired)
Soba restaurant - super cool - close to the train station, resto called Yabuhan - loved it.

There are many places arround, some more touristic than others, but otherwise lovely.

Bars - bavarian - Otaru Beer, on the canal, weird but good.

To do - (have not done this myself as one week was too short) - Nikka Whisky close to Otaru, Shokotan peninsula trip (day trip). These two are on my "to do" list for the next trip
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@element, go night skiing right in town at Otaru Tenguyama ?

Features the steepest piste in Japan (or so they claim)

Visit the canal...rather over rated in my view, but it is what Otaru is known for.

Sushi at the canal:
Kantaro Sushi was absolutely exceptional, and not expensive.
Like all sushi in Japan do NOT take it from the sushi-train as it goes past, use the order form and it is made bespoke, and ultra fresh, for you.

Japanese BBQ....you have an actual BBQ in the middle of your table with a fan that sucks all the fumes from below so no smoke etc
Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ
Was totally delicious
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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
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
Whiskey Bars seemed to be a big thing in Otaru. We went to Ritaís which is a tiny place down an alley, ask a taxi driver.

By tiny I mean maybe 10-12 people, but they have 100+ Whiskies. The sample menus allow you to try up to 8 different ones.

I went to Otaru Beer on a Friday in 2016 and they had run out of food rolling eyes
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@mooney058, @rungsp, @PowderAdict, Thanks very much, all of those suggestions sound great. Powder, sushi and whiskey is an unbeatable combo. Will be staying in the Grand Park, looks like a decent spot.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@element, while in Hokkaido I discovered sake. Heard horrible things about it before the trip, but was surprised by the variety, quality and taste.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@element, The Grand Park is a step up from the usual resort hotel. I stayed there the last three years. The rooms and breakfast are good, but I wouldn't recommend the hotel evening buffet, the food was ok, but nothing special for the 4000-5000 Yen price. The hotel is part of a huge shopping mall where you can get anything from KFC, Mcdonalds, Italian, Sushi etc, and a massive supermarket.

Just found the website for Rita's - http://nikka-rita.jp/
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
The Nikka whiskey distillery + museum / tour is quite an interesting visit - it looks like that Rita bar has been set up in collaboration with them.

I wouldn't make a special effort to visit but if you happen to be passing / it's raining etc
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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?
@BobinCH, Thanks, I'll have a look into DPS. Not had a chance to try them before.
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Monday, Sapporo Teine

Death cookies and ice. Better snow on my local hill in Shropshire. That said, 'On a Powder Day'....


Tuesday, Mount Racey.

Better, snowfall over night gave some dust on crust and we started to see the possibilities. 'On a Powder Day' it would score well with some steepish terrain, with very little traffic. A good option.

Wednesday, Furano.

More like it. Snow overnight. We opened Gate C, and after working out the line scored face shots. We chose to skin out rather than follow the line to the bottom. Repeat then boot packed up to Gate E which served up some lovely turns. We switched sides and headed up to Gate A and B, choosing A. That gave some nice tree skiing. No point tracking too far right if you do it.



Weather looks to be getting warm again so we'll see what the next few days bring.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@mooney058, wouldn't be averse to a wee sake.

Cheers again@musehead, and @PowderAdict, I've learned more useful stuff from the Japan threads on here than anywhere else.

Good luck with the search @AndAnotherThing..,
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@element, ta Smile
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Currently in Furano, first day. Decided to do 5 days on the end of a trip to the rest of Japan.
10C and very heavy rain.
Very quiet and closed up today with only 2 lifts running so havenít bothered skiing today.
Fingers crossed that the rain will turn to snow overnight as forecast.

Not the best first impression of Japan but knew it was a risk late season just didnít appreciate how quickly spring arrives here!
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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!
paddy2190 wrote:
Currently in Furano, first day. Decided to do 5 days on the end of a trip to the rest of Japan.
10C and very heavy rain.
Very quiet and closed up today with only 2 lifts running so havenít bothered skiing today.
Fingers crossed that the rain will turn to snow overnight as forecast.

Not the best first impression of Japan but knew it was a risk late season just didnít appreciate how quickly spring arrives here!


It isn't late season nor Spring on Hokkaido.

This is not typical of this time of year.

It may be no consolation to you because you may have left, but temperatures will drop and the snow will return.

Some of my deepest days have been in March
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Iím here for the next 4 days, temperatures have dropped now but no snow yet, fingers crossed it snows later.
Ideally would have come a bit earlier in the season but was unable due to other travel plans. Still loads of deep base and huge amounts of snow around the town just disappointed with the temperatures being so high.
Japanís been fantastic anyway just a bit of fresh snow now would be awesome.
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Arrived at HND 7 this morning and my trip hasn't got off the the best of starts. Couldn't pick the hire car up this morning, got to go back tomorrow. Still its all part of the adventure, 3 more days of work before I head to Hakuba and Nosawosen.
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Finally got to the mountains, and Japan has delivered, not the knee deep powder I had hoped for, but a superb day in the sun on spring corn at Happo One.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
For anyone on / heading to Hokkaido

Be nimble, go high

http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/KiroroSnowWorld/6day/top


There's snow in them thar hills
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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
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
Any suggestions for heading over to Asahi-dake Mike? with work out the way, thinking of taking a road trip up there. I hear its best to hire a guide if you want to explore beyond the 4 groomed cat tracks...
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Drifter210 wrote:
Any suggestions for heading over to Asahi-dake Mike? with work out the way, thinking of taking a road trip up there. I hear its best to hire a guide if you want to explore beyond the 4 groomed cat tracks...


Looks like wall to wall snow from now until Monday, so if you haven't been there before getting someone to show you around could be a good idea.

The ins are obvious, the outs not so much.

But it's not essential.

Just don't be greedy and head back to the lifts / piste before you get too low.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Mike Pow, Quite right, it was super easy to tour/hike up to the summit (in clear visibility) last winter but some lower level clouds had come in by the time we descended. We planned to descend on the north face while curving back round to the left towards the top lift station but lost altitude more quickly than we realised. Ended up having to skin back along flat/undulating ground for quite a while to get back to the trails, which was quite an effort in the deep snow. Another group were descending into the crater, which might be easier for route finding but you'd have to be careful of the steaming fumaroles.

I'm not sure how often the top part of Asahidake has good snow - it must get a lot of wind. When we were there it was just solid, giant sastrugi with the powder being amongst the trees lower down.
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@Drifter210, I'm there at the moment. We're not guided but have skins as a back up. As Mike says, as long as you don't get too greedy the nav isn't bad. Poor viz yesterday and today doesn't look much better. A day trip elsewhere beckons before the snow tomorrow.

@musehead, We skinned up the crater line a couple of days ago. A good option in better viz, but at the moment you would want axe and crampons to summit.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Thanks everyone for the input.

We are probably going to spend 1/2 full days up there, do you think itís better to head over once the weather has settled or just get in amongst it? Iím thinking in terms of lift operation and visibility. I ainít no fair weather skier and happy to just ski the trees if itís nice pow Cool
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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?
@Drifter210, not sure what happens in March but based on my one trip in Feb you could be waiting 10+ days for the weather to settle!!
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@kitenski, ooooh that could wind up being a rather costly road trip! I'm hoping March may be a little more settled than that... time to suck it and see
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Was up Asahidake 2 days ago in fantastic clear sunny conditions with no wind. Hired a guide with Whiterooms from furano and had a great day with about 5cm of fresh Ďdust on crustí off piste which was surprisingly soft and grippy.
Last day in Furano today, raining in the town again but snow is forecast for tomorrow if anyoneís coming out.
Great piste conditions and weíve enjoyed some sunny still weather. A bit more like good European alpine spring conditions rather than classic Japow.

Will hopefully come back one day maybe try earlier season to avoid the freeze thaw but genuinely had a great experience of Japan and still found some great snow.
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Report for those interested, having returned from Asahikawa. We took the hour long journey to Asahidake on the Friday and after a hefty snowfall the night before it was fresh plooms all day in shin to knee deep dry powder. There were some icy windblown patches up at the top but once dropping down in to the powder bowls conditions were simpleh loveleh!

Opting for local guide for the day was definitely the right call, we would not have ventured so far on our own given the low vis and blustery conditions at the top of the Ropeway. We could have followed the crowd it would not have been the same experience. Satoko, our guide from Totori Pension and in her 7th winter of guiding at Asahidake, knew the area like the back of her hand. She took us on 6/7 awesome runs including around the back of the mountain which involved a 15-20 minute tour up from the Ropeway and then some touring back round to the cat tracks which return to the Ropeway base. Yes the descents are fairly short lived but we knew that, and they were still really good fun in some super light powder, rivalling that of peak season Niseko. We had sunny periods in the afternoon adding to the touring experience with a majestic alpine backdrop. Quick note for snowboarders, it is an undulating mountain with some flats, many boarders ride with poles and they definitely came in handy for the missus. We joined a group tour, albeit there was only us two and one other guest. We paid 13,000 yen each for the guide plus the Ropeway ticket which was about 4,500 yen.

On the Saturday we chose to check-out one of the many hills local to Asahikawa, venturing 30 minutes out of town to Kamui Ski Links. The resort is affiliated with Niseko United (with about 12 other resorts in Hokkaido) and so we took a 400 yen saving on the 1-day lift ticket reducing to 2,700 yen. What an awesome resort this is! 20+ runs, 600m vertical, long winding and beautifully groomed pistes and some excellent side country tree skiing. After a big storm this place would provide days of fun, however, we were happy with the left over powder from the day before. Crunchy in exposed off-piste areas but mostly soft in the trees and on the pistes, all of which was largely untracked due to the quiet nature of the resort, even on a Saturday. Would recommend this resort if you're up in the area.

As for Asahikawa, a good place to base yourself, plenty of small cosy bars and izakaya style restaurants hidden down just about every side alley or back street. We used Airbnb and paid £20 a night in a simple but clean apartment 10 mins drive out-of-town. On the way back to Niseko we swung by a sweet little bakery owned and run by a Japanese lady who served us some of the most delicious artisan breads we've ever tasted. I think we ate our body weight. Loop it was called. Definitely worth calling in if you have a car.
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@Drifter210, Good one. We were there on Friday too. Shame we didn't bump into each other.

Out of interest, did you go to the lookers left or right of the hill out of the top station on your tour ?

I wondered what Kamui would be like on the Saturday having had an excellent day there on the Wednesday, spring skiing. Had they pisted the fresh and was the lookers left hand section of the resort open ?
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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!
@AndAnotherThing.., we probably unknowingly crossed paths at some point! Mostly went to the right side out of the lift. On the hikes we went in a sort of 1 o'clock direction as you head out from the top of the lift. then scaled across the back and dropped down.

Kamui was lovely, fresh corduroy top to bottom, there were a couple of ungroomed blacks if I recall but unfortunately the gated areas to the lookers left were still closed (courses 21-25 I think). Imagine these would be a treat in high season.
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@Drifter210, Cheers, that makes sense. We tended to do the same (mostly head right) although viz was not great at the top.
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