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Japan - planning a trip / guiding and instruction (Snoworks / Warren Smith)

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Mosha Marc, Re your question earlier in the thread - no plans for 2018, booked already to Arlberg - maybe one day....
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I've just booked a tour with Whiteroom tours for Feb 2018 - really helpful. I have tagged on a few extra days at the end in Niseko (I'm doing the 8 day central Hokkaido tour first). They sorted everything out for me except flights (as I'm coming from NZ) - e.g transfers, a night at the airport hotel as my flight arrives to late to make the last bus and the extra accomodation in Hirafu we wanted.

Obviously I can't tell what they are like yet as I've yet to travel! But so far they have been really helpful and easy to deal with, gave me lots of options for my extra days and coped well with my indecision about where to go and what to do! They ask for a brief ski resume to make sure I was on the right tour, they're doing a deal if you book and pay before the end of June!
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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?
As the nights are now drawing in, my lot have started WhatsApp chatter about next year. After a couple of dryish trips, the main criteria being powder.

Our pet Viking has been to Japow before; he stayed in a pension in Rusutsu which he says was very good value. But EVERYWHERE is compared to Norway.

He thinks we should avoid Niseko and instead base ourselves somewhere where we can get to the smaller resorts on the North of the Island easily. Book flights, transport, accom independently and hook up with a guide once out there to find snow on bluebird days and to do some walking with skis.

Anyone else?

Yes @Gämsbock I am looking at you wink
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@Mosha Marc, Norway is not an expensive place to stay. Unless you want to eat or drink Smile
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Quote:

He thinks we should avoid Niseko and instead base ourselves somewhere where we can get to the smaller resorts on the North of the Island easily. Book flights, transport, accom independently and hook up with a guide once out there to find snow on bluebird days and to do some walking with skis.

Anyone else?

Yes @Gämsbock I am looking at you


Chimes exactly with what I have been thinking! That's an emphatic yes from me.
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Excellent, more victims Twisted Evil

We're talking about 10 days on snow, looking to avoid feb half term. Last week Jan and into Feb or 27th Jan to 6th/7th Feb, or the week after - sort of thing.

How many in the Gämsbock herd?

@dobby, very true. Laughing
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Mosha Marc, timing is good too.

In the herd: definitely me and Snow penguin. Mairead O'Connor, what is your status?
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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!
Feb half term is not an issue in Japan - actually, it's a good place to go to avoid half term in Europe.
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Me and matwall are both in.

Plan sounds good to avoid Niseko; I want to see Japan, not just a bunch of Aussies (no offence to Aussies but I see enough of them in London Smile )

Do we have the numbers to have two ability groups? That'd be ideal. I'm similar to Gämsbock and Snow penguin, albeit with limited deep snow experience cos I've had no bloody luck on all my recent European trips. Matwall is a bit more timid.
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@admin, ah, but a couple of our lot have school age nippers; there may well be half term trips to be on too!
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@Gämsbock, hells teeth. 36 missed WhatsApp posts after a 90 min meeting.

We're thinking Japan 100%, Jackson Hole is too difficult/expensive to get to, but the main Island has now also been thrown in; so that folk can go look round Tokyo too if they want. Maybe Hakuba.

In the end it will come down to where we get the best deal (Some of us are from Yorkshire!)

@Maireadoconnor, there are six in the WhatsApp group who are nailed on, and a couple of others who expressed an interest; so at least 10 so far. I'm sure we can split groups; but Japowder is nothing to fear, you can snowplough it when it's fresh!
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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.
Was there anyone else fancying a dabble?
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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
Mosha Marc wrote:
Was there anyone else fancying a dabble?


I got myself semi-stoked for it but then worked out that my preferred dates weren't really going to be compatible with Mareid and her lot so I dunno. I'm keener on 14 days avoiding Chinese NY if poss I think.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
T'would be lovely if @Dave of the Marmottes was able to make it too, but post-Feb doesn't suit @Gämsbock unfortunately.

I am open to either Honshu or Hokkaido. I suggest that finding suitable guide(s) is probably the priority - then they would be able to advise on the itinerary. Any leads on that so far?
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Doh inability to spell paddy names apologies Mairead.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I'll be in Hakuba for the last week of Jan and first week of Feb if any of you make it there.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Mosha Marc, you should listen to your pet viking...

Nippon is certainly calling, but I can't see any 2018 Japlanning being done for a little while yet...
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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?
Oh, and I'm kinda fancying a longer trip...
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@Maireadoconnor, our Stian, said Viking brother, does have a guide contact who he has used and likes. This probably means that he knows the good bars too!

@Harrison the Rabbit, we is flexible in us planning. But there will be pressure on some, well me anyway, not to be away from home for TOO long. Some are staying longer to go sight seeing FFS.

................ and Happy Birthday fella.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Mosha Marc wrote:
@Maireadoconnor, our Stian, said Viking brother, does have a guide contact who he has used and likes. This probably means that he knows the good bars too!

@Harrison the Rabbit, we is flexible in us planning. But there will be pressure on some, well me anyway, not to be away from home for TOO long. Some are staying longer to go sight seeing FFS.

................ and Happy Birthday fella.


What are you looking for?

Happy to help
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@Mike Pow, I didn't like to presume.
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bit of a hijack - but just wondering if anyone has any advice on where to ski in Niseko. We've got a few days there after 10 days skiing in and around Furano. We wanted to go and spend a few days there to see what it was like as we're based in NZ and Japan is likely to become the "go to" place for us as most NZ skiing is not that exciting (we're from the UK originally and have spent 25 years skiing the European Alps).

I'd be keen to know any inside tips for places to ski, or place to avoid - happy to skin for lines. I realise that Niseko is the most commercial resort and that we might be disappointed, but remember we come from NZ where the resorts get way too over excited by 5cm of new snow...
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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!
Outside of ducking a rope, if you can see it ski it.

Niseko gets an unfair rap IMHO.

I certainly don't ski there as much as I used to because the alternatives - Rusutsu, Moiwa, Kiroro, Kokusai - appeal to me more.

But on a deep day, Niseko is hard to beat.

Try it. If it's your thing great.

If not, then the options above will more than keep you happy
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Of the places we went, Niseko was the one that most closely resembled an EU ski resort in that it had the largest number of interconnected lifts, creating an area big enough that a lift map was actually required. It's popular for a reason snowHead
It can't have been too bad: one day we skied there for 10 hours!
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But if you only go to Japan for piste skiing think it would be a waste. If you are piste skier you should go there for other things you would like to experience in JP.

I went as a piste skier last season for a few weeks - but had other reasons to go there, and enjoyed my stay a lot.
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BenAS wrote:
I've just booked a tour with Whiteroom tours for Feb 2018 - really helpful. I have tagged on a few extra days at the end in Niseko (I'm doing the 8 day central Hokkaido tour first). They sorted everything out for me except flights (as I'm coming from NZ) - e.g transfers, a night at the airport hotel as my flight arrives to late to make the last bus and the extra accomodation in Hirafu we wanted.

Obviously I can't tell what they are like yet as I've yet to travel! But so far they have been really helpful and easy to deal with, gave me lots of options for my extra days and coped well with my indecision about where to go and what to do! They ask for a brief ski resume to make sure I was on the right tour, they're doing a deal if you book and pay before the end of June!


Solid promo from Whiteroom Tours


Whiteroom Tours - Japan from Whiteroom Tours
https://vimeo.com/221194422
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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.
Not sure it is the best place for my post, but it is summer and not much activity around. I will be heading to Japan 2-17 February, first week in Moiwa/Niseko area and then a week in Otaru and commuting to areas around it. I consider myself a good and relatively fit skier but as a late starter to skiing my experience to powder skiing is limited (either no luck with conditions or skiing with kids). Thus a trip to Japan for a different experience and also in a hope to practice and learn skiing in/on deeper snow. One mental block though. Skiing and not seeing skis looks quite frightening to me snowHead I know this is irrational, but how to overcome this? It is a kind of obsession that I WILL be hitting objects (rock, trees, etc) that are not visible on the surface. Is it just me or is normal to go through this for powder virgins? Embarassed
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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
Quote:

It is a kind of obsession that I WILL be hitting objects (rock, trees, etc) that are not visible on the surface.

That's what releasable bindings are for! Toofy Grin

I don't know which is the better place for talking about skiing off-piste technique between "off-piste" and "bend ze knees"...
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Hokkaido is perfect for transitioning from piste to powder.

Plenty of ungroomed fringe skiing where you can make one turn on piste and the next turn in powder.

You can see the 'losing' and 'finding' of your skis in real time which builds confidence to then make more consecutive turns where the skis are submerged.

I've used this clip as as example many times to illustrate this


http://youtube.com/v/u7FkMRWlKxc
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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, thanks, that looks very easy indeed. I venture too to an easier off-piste whenever possible. I had an off-piste training in 3V (conditions were not great and skied among big boulders which was not great for confidence). But the sense of hitting something covered by snow is always in the back of my mind - must be a simple lack of experience? Hope this will go away in JPN the more I ski.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
My pleasure.

The next stage is a managed off-piste area which doesn't receive grooming but which has open terrain without too many obstacles - read trees not rocks - and which drops back on to a piste

PowderZone, Kiroro

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQB6tc8AMb6/?taken-by=mikethesnow
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
mooney058 wrote:
the sense of hitting something covered by snow is always in the back of my mind - must be a simple lack of experience?

If you join a guided or instruction group, you may be assured of the lack of obstacle in your path. Other than that, it will happen eventually. (hopefully not too frequent)

Not sure you want to hear this. Toofy Grin
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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?
Out of interest, what skis are you to taking to Japan? After much consideration and completely contrary to my own principles of not buying without trying first, I have just ordered Salomon QST106 with Sport Conrad.
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I didn't bring my own skis as I was combining the skiing with other activities on the trip. I had too much other gear I need to bring along and was making multiple stops along the way.

I was able to hire the same skis as my own had I so wish. Though I opted to try something different for some of the days. (I brought my own boots)
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Does anybody have any recommendations for ski rental in Hakubu and in Niseko? We have a split resort 2 week holiday in 2018.... Much appreciated!
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HTL wrote:
Does anybody have any recommendations for ski rental in Hakubu and in Niseko? We have a split resort 2 week holiday in 2018.... Much appreciated!


As I gather Niseko is big, so it depends which part of Niseko you are staying in
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rungsp wrote:
@Markymark29, i
Car hire: book online. The actual pick up might be a bit tricky if they don't speak English, but in our case the agent rounded up a nearby shopkeeper who he knew to speak English and all was well.
One-way rental is normal, and no surcharge at all so long as you within the same zone (for example just about the whole of southern Hokkaido is the same zone. We collected in Niseko (Kutchan actually) and dropped off in Sapporo.
Cost is a bit higher than Europe, but only a bit.
Everything is 4x4 with winter tyres....even little cars are 4x4, not just SUVs.

Sat-Navs in Japan are a step above ours, and your hire car will have one. Obviously multi lingual, and you just put in the destination's phone number. Very easy.

Road signs (in Hokkaido at least) are in English script as well.


For Car Hire, who did you use? I was trying to use Toyota rental, but could not find a one-way CTS-Niseko.
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