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Japan 2016 / 17

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Minion1980, listen to @Mike Pow, he is the one who really knows...The Guru of all things Niseko/Kiroro/etc.

I've just got great memories and high hopes...
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@rungsp, You could make yourself known here:

http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=98245
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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?
@Mike Pow, thanks Mike much appreciated!
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Mt. Tairappyo above Naeba

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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Idris, great photo. Looking like decent snow might be arriving on the 9th/10th and continuing for a while if i'm reading the charts right. Also looks like it might be quite windy. Any tips for where to go if the upper lifts are on hold in Niseko?
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element wrote:
@Idris, great photo. Looking like decent snow might be arriving on the 9th/10th and continuing for a while if i'm reading the charts right. Also looks like it might be quite windy. Any tips for where to go if the upper lifts are on hold in Niseko?


@Idris is at Naeba on Honshu.

Very localised weather patterns in SW Hokkaido.

Niseko United can be on windhold, when Rusutsu or Kiroro are fully open.

It's a check early and head there scenario.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Hey All,

A group of mixed skiers/snowboarder are looking to go to Japan next year. Our levels are varied as well, with some really keen on doing off-piste and others will be happy with just staying on-piste. What is the best way to book i.e. everything separate, package deals and if so where would you recommend? All of us being complete Japan novices, so any advice would be greatly appreciated...
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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, thanks - I'll set my alarm.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@gm4422, I'm a Japan novice so can't advise too much on specifics, but I was in your position this time last year and we're heading off for the first time this weekend. We have a mixed ability group and the general consensus on here was base yourself in Niseko Hirafu as it has the most accomodation/restaurants/bars/english speaking tuition and guiding. We've done it all DIY which was pretty straightforward to book and a lot cheaper than with a tour operator. Ill report back in a few weeks as to whether it all worked or not!
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@element, Yes the weather setup looks really good from about the 9th onwards. A pretty consistent N/NW wind and staying cold too.

There's been a short-lived Northerly wind the last day or so which dumped 40cm on Kiroro and 30cm on Sapporo Kokusai last night. It has continued snowing there most of the day. Looking very snowy on Kokusai Facebook page this morning.

BTW does anyone know the backcountry policy at Kokusai? Is any signout required etc?

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No sign out protocol established at Sapporo Kokusai.

Excellent off-piste and backcountry terrain, but some severe / deadly terrain traps down at the river.

Be careful.
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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.
Finaly some lift served Pow.

This time at Hakkaisan





Just to make things interesting, but also to get deeper into the pow, the Pink Bear was on blades! and I was on carving skis at 71mm underfoot....and lightweight touring boots Wink
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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
Thanks for the reassurance everyone😊, I have avoided the forum and anything snow forecast or condition related for the past couple of weeks to save myself the nervous mess I become if it is not looking so good😜 It's the problem with being a powder addict which I am sure most on here suffer from as well 😄 Anyway I finally snapped today and to my joy the forecast is now looking promising for the next couple of weeks, fingers toes crossed 😎. In Hirafu from 14th so if any wants to meet for a beer/hit the mountain let me know.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Mike Pow, how easy is it to get from Hirafu to places like Kokusai and Teine? I know there are buses to some places but I wasn't sure about these.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Rishie wrote:
@Mike Pow, how easy is it to get from Hirafu to places like Kokusai and Teine? I know there are buses to some places but I wasn't sure about these.


Tough.

Long day by car - approx 2hrs each way.

Better bet would be to spend a night or two in Otaru then day trip to either/both resorts.

Otaru to both Sapporo Kokusai and Sapporo Teine is about 30-45 minutes each way, depending on road conditons.

And there's also Kiroro, Otaru Tenguyama and Asarigawa Onsen within 30 minutes from Otaru.

Otaru as a gateway is the next stage for Hokkaido IMHO, if you're prepared to drive.
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Poster: A snowHead
@Mike Pow, thanks very much. Useful to know. Very Happy
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
gm4422 wrote:
Hey All,

A group of mixed skiers/snowboarder are looking to go to Japan next year. Our levels are varied as well, with some really keen on doing off-piste and others will be happy with just staying on-piste. What is the best way to book i.e. everything separate, package deals and if so where would you recommend? All of us being complete Japan novices, so any advice would be greatly appreciated...


I would book independently, we have booked both our trips to Hokkaido this way and is by far the cheapest method. Use one of the flight scanner sites to find your flights https://www.hipmunk.com/ or https://www.momondo.co.uk/ I found the best flights on these. Book your accommodation via a reputable accommodation agent for your digs. We have used https://holidayniseko.com/and they are good value if you book early you can also haggle with them also check out https://www.niseko.cc/ i suggest if your going next season to get your accommodation booked around May/June as i found great deals at this time and particularly if going in peak season you want to get a good place at a reasonable price. Also make sure you pay for everything on credit card to give you some protection.

I am sure others on here such as Mike Pow can offer even more advice.

Have a great trip Japan/Hokkaido is amazing.

Very Happy
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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?
@gm4422, If you go down the independent booking route, it's worth a mention that the BA economy standard luggage allowance to Japan is now two 23kg bags (one or both of which could be ski bags). It changed over the summer from a standard allowance of one 23kg bag which is what most airlines will give you.
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Swiss are also offering two 23kg bags, we've just booked from Lyon to Tokyo with Swiss but I don't think we'll need that much luggage.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
musehead wrote:
@gm4422, If you go down the independent booking route, it's worth a mention that the BA economy standard luggage allowance to Japan is now two 23kg bags (one or both of which could be ski bags). It changed over the summer from a standard allowance of one 23kg bag which is what most airlines will give you.


This is what we had, and we maxed it out with 2 pieces of hand luggage (one regular + one laptop), even though it's less than the traditional 32kg x 2 of old it was still a real "tour de force" on transit between trains and buses.
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Idris wrote:
Mt. Tairappyo above Naeba



Gorgeous. Are you there at the moment?

Probably headed to Japan next year and want to try somewhere new. Naeba is on the list.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Visa is in the passport.

Flight booked. Heading off in the am from Cardiff via Amsterdam and Osaka.

Arrive Wednesday afternoon (11th), skiing Thursday.

Going to be thigh deep at least Smile

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


CAN NOT WAIT
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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, Do you know if it is possible to just turn up and take the bus from Sapporo Chitose airport to Kiroro?

We've booked a last minutes flight out to see our kids who are working the season in Kiroro and tried to book the bus online but it is only allowing bookings 9 days in advance.
We've messaged them to see if they can sort anything from their end but they'll probably be asleep now.

The fallback seems to be the train to Otaru and then bus or taxi from there. I don't really want to hire a car and we don't have an international driving permit so that is probably not an option anyway.

ps Our daughter was complaining about powder spraying her face the other day so probably better than thigh deep.
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@skichampcouk, getting an International Driving Permit only takes about 10 minutes in a main post office, and costs just a few pounds.
Check online which post office to go to.
If you are flying any day except tomorrow you have time to get one.
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@Mike Pow, perfect timing for the upcoming dump! Will be interesting to see how much falls.

The snowfall forecasts for some of the central Honshu resorts this coming week are looking insane.
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@skichampcouk,

If you can not get on the direct bus, you can take the train to Kutchan and the bus to (Niseko-Hirafu) or if you have to go further to Annupuri switch in Hirafu.

No need to hire a car, if you don't want.

Change in Otaru.

Timetable found here: http://www.hyperdia.com/en/ New Chitose to Kutchan.
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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.
@rungsp, We're out in France at the moment and flying from Lyon on Wednesday morning so probably not possible and I'd rather take a bus or a train. The initial plan was to go in March but we decided to bring it forward at the last minute as we had a couple of cancellations out here.

@Hyst, Thanks, the hyperdia timetable looks useful.
Hopefully we will be able to book the direct bus from Chitose airport to Kiroro, online bookings finish 9 days before the journey but it says on the website you can contact them directly. Hopefully one of the kids should be able to sort something out for us tomorrow.
We're having a night near the airport in Tokyo before flying to Chitose early on Friday morning so still plenty of time to sort something.
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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
@skichampcouk, Sorry - I missed you go to Kiroro. Embarassed
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Currently dumping in Niseko. Great day today, there was only 2 or 3cm of snow on the ground when we left the apartment this morning, but it was boot to knee deep in the trees higher up. You could still feel the firm bumps underneath, but it was a lot of fun. Hoping for this current storm to deliver. Glad the visa came through Mike!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Thanks all.
Better to be born lucky than rich Smile
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Managed to book the bus by just sending the bus company an email, all we need to do is pay for the ticket when we arrive at Chitose airport.

Any suggestions for decent places to eat in Narita? we're stopping near the airport on Thursday night.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@element, Glad to hear it, precipitation seems to be ramping up in Hokkaido at the moment on the NW wind.

Kutchan JMA showing 14cm between 2pm and midnight. Should carry on snowing pretty much non-stop for the next 48-72 hours.

Kiroro have a new webcam pointing at a snow depth measure which is cleared at 5pm each day:

https://www.kiroro.co.jp/wp-content/themes/kiroro/_template/getlivecameraimage5.php

Looks like the snow might be drifting up a bit onto the ruler, i'd guess the depth to be around 10cm currently (image grabbed 1am Japan time 11th Jan):

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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?
You can really see the lake effect clouds forming off the coast of Russia now and streaming towards Japan:

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About time to get the real winter pattern. Toofy Grin
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Yay! Let it snow, 3 and a bit more weeks to go Smile
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+1 on staying in Otaru: quiet but at least one very good hotel, not too much sea urchin and easier to get out of than Sapporo. Asari makes a great warm up day: not busy, laid back, Japanese practice opportunities and freshies everywhere snowHead

Personally I'd recommended (really quite strongly) to hire a car...
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
From the 15th of januari starting of in niseko, are we getting deep pow☺? What is the "insider" forecast.

Thnx
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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!
If you haven’t been to Hokkaido before, then probably the most snow you've ever seen / skied 👍
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@Mike Pow, yes a have been there, and it was great ,but we want the new fluffy stuff. Waist deep😃
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Today was unreal. It's all true! Face shots all morning. Was pretty tracked out in the obvious places by about 11am, but was still a lot of fun. Steady light-moderate snow at the minute.
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